The other day I caught myself just before it rolled off the tip of my tongue. Where I would normally have opened with ‘I’m sorry, but’ — this time I left that part out and simply explained to a potential client that my fee is non-negotiable. And it worked. By being direct and showing my true confident self, I gained a client and likely earned his respect. Like many others (and women in particular), I’m personally guilty of over-apologizing – it’s even become a reflex. Sometimes we apologize when we feel uncomfortable asking for something or to avoid being perceived as rude (even when our perception of impolite is way off base). Why on earth would anyone apologize for stating their fee, right? Ridiculous.
The subject of over-apologizing has gotten a lot of attention recently, and with good reason. As a New York Times Op-Ed article points out, the word ‘sorry’ is taking up too much airtime in our lives. Saying it too often and unnecessarily has a negative impact on self-esteem and can cause a lot of miscommunication and confusion. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out Amy Schumer’s quick comedy sketch about successful women over-apologizing – it’s disturbing, yet eye-opening.
If you’re someone who naturally gives opinions openly and without apology, I applaud you. But if you find yourself saying, ‘I’m sorry’ too often, it’s worth working on. The best part: with just a little bit of effort, positive results are pretty much guaranteed. Through increased awareness and continual practice, you can drastically improve how you communicate with others and noticeably boost how you feel about yourself.
3 Tips to Help Kick the Habit
1/ Ask yourself if you’re truly sorry and why. If you can’t answer this one in a heartbeat, you probably shouldn’t be apologizing. If you’re saying ‘sorry’ out of habit or to avoid awkwardness: stop. You’re diminishing your strength. There should always be a clear reason.
2/ Are you responsible for what you’re apologizing for? Be sure you’re not saying ‘sorry’ for something that’s not actually your fault.
3/ Remember “I’m Sorry” is a sentence (not a disclaimer). When you begin a sentence with, ‘I’m sorry, but’ — it’s a sign you may be apologizing without reason. Make sure you’re not using ‘I’m sorry’ as an opening to a question or before asking a favor of someone.
* Song to get you in the mood:
“I’m Not Sorry”, by Celeste Buckingham.
Eloquent, powerful and true. Don’t be sorry.
* Great Pantene commercial, “Not Sorry”: https://youtu.be/rzL-vdQ3ObA
* Disturbing ‘I’m Sorry’ comedy sketch, Amy Schumer: http://goo.gl/rTsZVf
* New York Times Op-Ed article, Sloane Crosley: goo.gl/y55SNk
* “Why Over-Apologizing Could Make You Sorry”, The Muse: https://goo.gl/0w5eiD