10 Reasons You Need to Stop Apologizing
When you were growing up, your parents most likely taught you how to say please and thank you and to mind your manners. They probably also taught you to always respect your elders, hold the door open for others, as well as treat people the way you want to be treated. It is probably safe to assume that they also taught you how to apologize for your wrong doings.
Growing up, you probably grew accustomed to saying you were sorry when you hurt someone’s feelings, made a mistake, or did something that would cause someone harm. Kids make mistakes. They act foolish and silly because they are still developing and learning the ways of the world. As a result of these foolish actions, children often grow accustomed to using this word to apologize for all of their misdoings and to correct wrongful doings.
As a kid, saying you are sorry for something is innocent. Often times, it comes from the heart and is a knee-jerk reaction to mom and dad’s constant reminders of being kind and respectful to others. As an adult, saying you are sorry is also important. The problem is that most adults tend to overuse this expression, saying they are sorry for things that don’t command an apology or that they aren’t truly sorry for.
If you, yourself, are one of these adults who tends to overuse the expression, it is time to make a change. Here are 10 reasons why you need to stop apologizing now.
10It Can be Annoying
If you tend to overuse the word, ‘sorry,’ then perhaps it is time to stop. When your gut reaction is to apologize, even when an apology isn’t warranted, it is time to take a step back and reanalyze your reaction.
Not only is ‘sorry’ not warranted, but it also gets annoying. When ‘sorry’ is the first word out of your mouth, it loses its meaning and becomes a rather annoying conversation filler. Think about those that are closest to you in your social circle. Do you have any friends or relatives who over-apologize? It doesn’t matter if they are pouring a glass of juice and get a little on the counter-top or if they put the wrong shoe on the wrong foot, they are always apologizing for something that they did or did not do. When they really make a mistake, an apology is fine. But the majority of the time, they don’t even need to apologize and they do so anyway!
When the bulk of the conversation is an apology, you need to take a serious step back and reevaluate how you react to certain situations and to certain people. If you are always apologizing, it is time to reconstruct your vocabulary bank and deduct that annoying, little five letter word before you are permanently isolated from your social circle for being a nuisance.
9It is Probably Unnecessary
Let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes. You are human and, by design, humans are destined to make errors from time to time. Sometimes, these errors are large and quite destructive. Other times, those errors are harmless.
When you make a sincere mistake, it is socially appropriate to apologize. For instance, if you were to lose your sister’s favorite article of clothing, it would probably be in your best interest to tell her that you are sorry. However, there are instances that don’t require an apology, especially if you did nothing wrong. You should not be apologizing for someone else, and you should also not be apologizing for something that does not warrant an apology.
In many cases, however, people over apologize. They apologize for everything! The apology itself becomes more of a conversation filler than anything else and really begins to lose its meaning over time. The apology, over time, becomes quite unnecessary, and, as mentioned prior, quite annoying.
The next time you find yourself apologizing for something, take a moment to think about what it is that you are apologizing for. Is it warranted? Is it sincere? If you are saying ‘sorry’ to simply fill the void in an awkward conversation, you need to stop. Apologies should only be reserved for special circumstances and situations that demand such attention.
8It Makes You Look Weak
When a person is strong and confident, he or she does not need to apologize every five seconds for something they did not do. Saying you are ‘sorry’ over and over again is not only excessive, but it is, often times, a sign of weakness. Saying you are ‘sorry’, especially for things that you did not do, makes you look meek, fragile, and insecure.
Think about, for instance, the last time you asked your boss for a raise. Negotiating salary is not always the easiest thing to do, especially if you don’t get along well with your boss. However, it is a conversation that needs to happen if you are committed to performing well in the workplace and dedicated to the work that you do. When you put in your time, you should be compensated accordingly.
When you approached the conversation, did you find yourself saying that you were ‘sorry’? Perhaps you didn’t even notice that you were saying you were sorry because it blended in so well with the rest of the conversation. Perhaps you asked for a boost in your paycheck, and then said you were ‘sorry’ subconsciously for even asking in the first place!
In cases like this, it is important to be firm and to stand strong for you believe in. If you believe, for instance, that you deserve a pay increase, then you should not be apologizing (even subconsciously) for asking the question! Saying you are sorry when an apology is not even warranted makes you look insecure and weak. Rather, when you converse with others and hold important conversations in the workplace, it is important to stand tall, be strong, and to use apologies as little as possible unless the situation calls for one.
7It Makes You Look Guilty
What’s worse than looking weak? The only thing worse than looking weak is looking guilty, especially if you have done nothing wrong. In any situation, especially in the workplace, saying you are sorry makes you look incredibly guilty. Forget looking fragile and insecure, if your boss thinks you are guilty of something, you have a completely different situation on your hands!
Think about the last time you used the word, ‘sorry’. Were you truly sorry for whatever you said or did? When you looked the other person in the eye, were you sincere when you allowed that word to escape from your lips? Did what you say or what you did warrant a true apology?
If so, then it is probably best that you apologized. If not, however, you probably took an ordinary situation and turned it on its head. If you did not do anything and you said that you were sorry anyways, it probably made you look pretty guilty. The other person was probably thinking, ‘why would this person be sorry unless they really did something wrong?’ If you are simply saying ‘sorry’ to be polite, it can easily be misinterpreted.
When it comes to apologizing, it is best to do so when you do something wrong. Don’t use the word ‘sorry’ as a conversation filler or something you say when you get nervous. This is the quickest way for someone to think that you did something wrong! Don’t get caught red-handed when you have nothing to be caught for. Instead, be more thoughtful about the words that come out of your mouth and save the word ‘sorry’ for situations that truly call for a sincere apology.
6It Takes Away From the True Meaning of Your Message
Have you ever heard of the story of the boy who cried wolf? The tale’s title was taken from the idiom, ‘to cry wolf,’ meaning that someone is setting off false alarms or telling stories that simply aren’t true.
In this tale, a little boy is watching over a field of sheep. This is not the most exciting time. The boy finds himself bored as he watches over the field of sheep, so he starts to yell to himself that he sees a wolf. At first, it is all fun and games for the little boy. The people in town come to his rescue, only to find out that he is simply playing games out of boredom. So, they scold him and return to their dwellings. This happens on a couple of different occasions, and it is still considered to be somewhat of a game on behalf of the little boy.
Well, the little boy’s game suddenly becomes much more serious when he spots a real wolf and starts crying out for help. The problem is that he has cried falsely so many times before, that no one believes him when he calls this one last time. Luckily, the little boy was fine, but was very upset that no one came to help him when he really needed the help. All of the people in the town had come to help him so many times, that they got tired of him setting off false alarms and playing jokes.
Saying ‘sorry’ time and time again is similar to crying wolf. If you are always apologizing, even for things that don’t warrant an apology, it takes away from the true meaning of the word. If you always apologize, no one is going to believe you when you actually owe a sincere and thoughtful apology. Your apology suddenly becomes much less significant.
5You Can’t Accept Someone Else’s Blame
When you are little, you are taught manners and how to behave yourself in public. Your parents serve as role models, teaching you all the right things to do and providing you with the tools needed to steer clear of all of the world’s misfortunes.
At one time or another, your parents most likely taught you the importance of sticking up for yourself. Perhaps you were bullied in school. When you came home, in tears, complaining to them what the little boy in your class said to you, your parents probably taught you how to stick up for yourself and how to handle that situation with care.
Being strong and resilient not only requires you to stick up for yourself, but to also admit when you are wrong. You cannot be strong and resilient if you never acknowledge your flaws or admit when you have made a mistake. In order for this world to function in an efficient manner, everyone must be brave enough to take ownership of their flaws and their mistakes. Flaws and mistakes are prime learning opportunities and must be viewed as such.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is apologizing on behalf of someone else. When someone else does something wrong or something that hurts another individual, he or she must be the one to step up to the plate and apologize. If the apology comes from someone else, it is virtually meaningless. You cannot apologize for anyone else, nor can you accept anyone else’s blame. So, if you are accustomed to doing this, you must stop for your sustained health and wellbeing.
4It Sets a Poor Example
If you are a parent, you know how important it is to set a good example for your little ones. Children look up to their parents and often mimic their behaviors. This is why it is so important to set good ones.
Teaching them how to stand up for what they believe in, admit to their faults, and recognize their own misdoings is, without a doubt, important. It is also important, however, to teach them to apologize when the occasion calls for it, not whenever they feel like saying the word, ‘sorry.’ It is important to make them understand that the word, ‘sorry,’ is a special word that should be used with extreme care. It is not a word that should be thrown around carelessly to the wind whenever one feels like using it. It is a word that should be saved for special occasions when a mistake is made or someone’s feelings are hurt to make peace with the situation on hand.
If you, yourself, overuse this particular word and are always apologizing for things that do not warrant an apology, what kind of example is this setting for your children? As they look up to you, are they going to learn how to use that word in the correct manner or are they going to learn how to overuse and abuse that word? It is important to think about this as you go about your day and to always set the best example possible for those who follow in your footsteps.
3You Set the Wrong Tone for the Future
Another reason you should stop apologizing all the time is because you set the wrong tone for the future. Think about all the conversations you have had where you’ve said you were sorry numerous times. How did they go? How was the dynamic the next time around? Where did the conversations go? How did those you were speaking to respond to you the next time you spoke with them?
When you continuously use the word, ‘sorry,’ and apologize for every little thing, it sets the wrong tone for future conversations. It is OK to be sorry, and to apologize for some things when the occasion calls for it. However, if you are always saying you are sorry, the word eventually becomes an empty phrase that is void of any emotion or true meaning.
If you automatically say you are ‘sorry’ every five seconds, people are going to expect you to say this. When the time comes where you are actually sorry for something that you did or said, are they going to believe you? It becomes more of an expectation that anything else and it sets a poor tone for future conversations.
2You Need to Learn How to Embrace Silence
Every person has experienced what they would refer to as an awkward conversation. You have most likely have spoken to someone that has made you feel somewhat uncomfortable. Most often, it is not what is being said that makes you uncomfortable, but a lack of words that makes the situation feel so awkward. While an awkward silence may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, does this mean you should overuse the word, ‘sorry,’ to fill the void?
When it comes to apologizing to fill the void, you need to stop. Save the apologies for situations or conversations that call for a sincere apology. Rather, learn how to embrace the silence. If someone is not talking and you don’t know what to say, don’t apologize. Recognize how you are feeling and acknowledge the fact that it is ok to feel a little weird or uncomfortable every once in a while. These types of occasions are the ones that make you learn and grow. These are the situations that make you a stronger and more resilient person.
Next time you feel the need to apologize to fill the void, embrace silence. Practice it and be patient with it. Over time, you will learn how to efficiently handle such situations and will learn how to be comfortable without having to blurt out apologies to kill the time or cut the tension.
1You Need to Find Another Phrase
At the end of the day, if you are overusing the word ‘sorry’ and apologizing every chance you get without even really thinking about it, you need to find another word or phrase to use.
It has become fairly common for people to use the word, ‘sorry,’ as they would the word, ‘um’ or ‘uh.’ These are common pauses in the English language that provide people with an extra second of time to gather their thoughts or the words to fit the rest of their sentence. They become so accustomed to using this word that they don’t even notice they are using it.
There are more than 170,000 words in use in the English language today. Out of that many words, is it really necessary to use the word, ‘sorry,’ as a placeholder? If you notice that you use overuse this word and apologize way more that you should, it is time to consider using some other words. Explore some other options and don’t be afraid to expand your vocabulary. As you speak, make note of all the times that you say you are sorry. Take a tally in your head and be more mindful of how much you use this word moving forward. Try to swap it out with another word that has a similar meaning and see how that works.
Small changes can lead to big results. At the end of the day, if you are apologizing way too much, maybe it is time to make small changes with simple words. Big results start one word at a time.
Apologizing for something that you said or did wrong is one thing. Saying it over, and over, and over again as a subconscious conversation filler is another. No one likes to be around someone who apologizes every five seconds for something they didn’t even do! Not only does this get to be old, but it is also gets very annoying!
If you are one of those people that subconsciously uses this word way more than you should, it is time to make a few changes. When you constantly apologize in conversation, it makes you look weak and guilty. Not only this, but it also takes away from the validity of your apology when it is time to actually deliver a sincere one.
Modifying your behavior to cut down on a meaningless apology is not that difficult. With a little time and attention, it is possible to recognize such behavior and proactively make changes to improve the quality of your dialogue for more thoughtful, and less apologetic, conversations.