Stop Over-Apologizing – Yes, You.

by Flose Boursiquot

Elton John sings that sorry seems to be the hardest word, but for a lot of us it comes out as much as we breathe. Although men —the good ones— sometimes apologize, women tend to be the bigger culprit when it comes to over apologizing. 

In Why Women Apologize and Should Stop, Sloane Crosley states that “for so many women, myself included, apologies are inexorably linked with our conception of politeness.” So in an effort to water down our demands or “as a prompt for the person who should be apologizing,” we say “sorry.” 

This idea of over apologizing is important to me and I want to stop, especially because I have a successful career ahead of me (speaking it into existence), but there are times when I feel like a Miley Cyrus song and just-can’t-stop-myself. 

According to Bonnie Marcus, executive coach and radio host, women put themselves in a “subservient position” when we breathe sorry more than we do breaths. Luckily for us, we CAN stop. 

In Gwen Moran’s Sorry, Not SorryWhy Women Need To Stop Apologizing For Everything, she outlines some advice Marcus has put out there. 

Let me break it down

  • Treat it like extra fat you gotta get rid of— keep a journal like you would for dieting. When are you saying sorry? Why? How did you feel? Normally, when I’ve said sorry for something that wasn’t my fault, I immediately feel guilty after then judge myself— don’t do that.
  • Ask a trusted friend or partner to let you know when you say sorry. 
  • Take notice of your environment, is there someone around you who makes you feel insecure. I tend to feel insecure in situations when I am not appreciated or feel as if I am not needed or work alongside folks who make me feel like I am not doing enough. I have the power to change those things and so do you. 
  • Once you are aware that you say “sorry,” try to replace the word with silence instead. You might be using sorry as a thought holder and that ain't cool. 

Habits are hard to break so be nice to yourself and take your time. I also recommend consuming work (articles, songs, books) by women who ain’t sorry. Someday soon, you’ll approach things like your favorite lady who commands, demands, and succeeds without being sorry for it. 

LearnKaren Spears