Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’m sorry…” to someone who’s being rude to you?
Or mumbling, “Pardon me…” as a stranger knocks you out of the way?
Or have you ever found yourself feeling guilty about responding to an email later than the minute you receive it, and so starting your response off with, “I’m so sorry for the delay…”
Well, if you’re a woman, then you’re definitely not alone.
Research has shown that women have a tendency to over apologize, having a much more sensitive reading of whether offense has been (or could be) caused.
According to Psychology Today –
Examples include apologizing for being hurt by someone else’s offense, apologizing for being over-sensitive, apologizing when someone else bumps into you, and apologizing for apologizing.
Women have a horrible habit of saying “sorry” as a substitute for many other words, including “thank you.” It’s become a phrase that flows too easily, apologizing for taking up space or voicing an opinion. The words of apology have become almost meaningless, and so when they’re needed for something big, they often feel inadequately small.
There are certainly times when an apology is necessary; such as if you’ve acted inappropriately or let someone down in a major way. But there are plenty of times when you need to break yourself of the habit of uttering “I’m sorry…” as a pacifier or hollow statement.
Occasions you DON’T need to apologize:
- When it takes you more than a few days to respond to an un-urgent email.
- When someone bumps into you, or when you have to ask someone to give you space.
- When you don’t want to attend a social gathering, or cancel on a large-group activity last minute.
Occasions you DO need to apologize:
- When you cancel on a 1-on-1 get together or small-group activity last minute.
- When you run into someone because you’re not paying attention to where you’re going.
- When you haven’t responded to an urgent communication request for a lengthy period of time.
Do you want to stop saying “I’m sorry” all the time? Here are some tips:
- Start with cultivating an awareness. How often do you say “I’m sorry…” for minor perceived infractions?
- Stop and think to yourself, is this something I really need to apologize for? Is it something that has actually caused offense?
- Install this Google Chrome PlugIn, “Just Not Sorry” which will “warn you when you use words or phrases that undermine your message,” when sending an email to help cut down on unnecessary written apologies.