I am definitely cursed with the “I’m Sorry’s.” As far back as I can remember, I’ve been apologizing non-stop at every little bump, nudge, and at times, just for being human. I have managed to change this. A little. Once in a while, I catch myself about to say apologize but for the most part the “sorry” that creeps up my throat has almost been totally deleted.
Yes, I still apologize when truly necessary.
I started talking about unnecessary apologies after I helped a woman jump her car. She apologized so much for needing help and it got me thinking about how many “I’m sorry’s” we fling around. At what point do we apologize to where it doesn’t mean anything anymore?
Since then I’ve seen some great articles address the same exact issue. One even said, “Women know they have to be likable to get ahead. Apologizing is one way to make yourself more accessible and less threatening… Apologizing is one way of being deemed more likable.”
I’ve been spending a good chunk of time thinking about words and how we use them. When I communicate with my children, I’m very selective about the terms I use because I know that’s something that’ll stay with them.
I started noticing how my son would apologize for things that weren’t his fault and my daughter was following suit. Right away, I knew it was more to the language I was using since I’ve never witnessed guys apologizing as much as women do.
Some say that apologizing is a sign of weakness and at times, I think that’s true. If you’re apologizing needlessly to someone who doesn’t own their part of the situation, you’re taking all that responsibility. When it’s not all yours. And whether you really are taking that on or not, it implies to the other person that you are.
This summer I was playing a game of Polish Horseshoes (super fun!) and a screwed up a catch. I naturally fell into apologizing but was pleasantly surprised when my (male) teammate said, “What? Don’t say sorry. We are whooping them. You don’t need to apologize for that.” I could’ve hugged him. He probably had no clue how awesome that statement was (he may or may not have been intoxicated) but it was exactly what I needed to hear to keep me on track.
Do you senselessly apologize?
Photo credit: Creative Commons/Nguyễn Tuấn Bình