I’m done saying sorry for shit that I’m not really sorry for. I’m done apologizing for being myself.
As a very flawed human, I’ve been wrong many times in my life. I’ve lied, cheated, and stolen, but I’ve taken responsibility for all of those instances. That’s not really what I’m talking about.
I’m talking more about the slip of tongue that’s followed by a, “…Just kidding”, or backtracking after speaking a hard-to-swallow truth with a regretful, “I shouldn’t have said that”.
Or even that awkward moment where you’re in someone’s line of walking and you say “sorry [for being in your way],” and do the stutter step thing until each person decides which side to walk on (Hint: in America, you always go right).
To be the frankest of frank, over apologizing makes you seem like a huge pussy. It’s like over complimenting – you think you’re being nice, but it looks more like a lack of confidence and may actually be counterproductive. Similar to cursing, apologizing too much makes a true apology feel less sincere, like the boy who cries wolf… but in this case you’re just the boy who cries all the time, no wolf needed. Saying sorry too much ironically reflects a fear or rejection of who you are. That doesn’t sound very cool does it?
Let’s say a guy or girl asks you out on a date. Maybe you just got out of a relationship, maybe you’re just content right now and don’t want your boat rocked, or maybe you’re just not that into it.
“I’m sorry Jonathon, but I can’t go out with you”.
In this instance, there’s no reason that this person needs my forgiveness for not wanting to go out with me. While I’d argue that this person would ultimately feel sorry in the future (lol), there’s no reason for this person to feel “sorry” for telling me how she feels, or for being at a comfortable place in her life.
Choosing not to apologize can also have positive psychological benefits, according to The European Journal of Social Psychology.
Researchers found that participants who refused to express remorse showed signs of “greater self-esteem, increased feelings of power (or control) and integrity.”
You can still be polite without apologizing. It begins with awareness. Once you notice the habit you can start working to change it.
How to apologize less:
- Replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you”
- “Sorry I’m late” turns into “Thanks for waiting on me” = power move
- If someone I work with points out an error in one of my projects, instead of saying, “Sorry for my error” say, “Thanks for catching that” = power move
- Know what to apologize for
- If its out of your control or if its an honest mistake, there’s probably no need to apologize
- If you were at fault, own it and move on. This isn’t easy, but your vulnerability and emotional intelligence will be appreciated. Understand that not everything can be forgiven
- Embrace silence
- Let’s say you’re negotiating and the other party asks too much. “Sorry, but….” diminishes whatever you’re about to say. Instead, use the power of a pause, and ask definitively for what you want
- Learn how to say “No”
- You are not responsible for other people’s feelings
- “I can’t make it, maybe next time”
- “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, but [now is not a good time for me], etc.”
I have more respect for people who own their personality – flaws included – and are true to themselves than I do for people who are always nice but come off as fake or people pleasing.
Even if it offends someone, this is who I am, and this is how I think.
Never apologize for who you are.
Unless you’re a like a pedophile.