When confirming bad news, or replying to a request in the negative it is common to hear one of these two phrases:
I'm afraid so.
I'm afraid not.
The general meaning inferred by "I'm afraid" seems to be apologetic, as in: "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news".
Is someone able to explain why we use this terminology and whether afraid in this sense is the same afraid we use to mean "to be fearful of something"? And if it is, what exactly is it that one is afraid of?