Why Do You Say I'm Sorry All the Time?
The Sorry Syndrome
Everywhere I go people are saying, “Sorry.” Not “I’m sorry.” Just “Sorry.” In the market, in the bookstore, at the mall, on the street. “Sorry.” “Sorry.” “Soory” – the Canadian version. What’s that about? Even when it’s the other person’s fault, they say “Sorry.” I can’t stand the wimpiness of it all. Granted, I tend to err on the side of no apologies whatsoever, and I admit that has got me into some serious trouble. But, "PUHLEASEEEE", as my former landlady, Gertrude, used to say about American politics.
First offenders – young women. Why do you do it?
I have taken to stopping these young women in the marketplace and saying emphatically, “Stop that! You don’t need to apologize for every little thing. Especially when you haven’t done anything wrong!”
The first words out of their mouths, “Oh, wow, I’m sorry.”
And I say, “There you go again.”
We talk about why they do it. We talk about possible ways to stop doing it. Not one of these ladies has ever walked away from me angry. They truly want to know why they do it and what to do about it.
When I looked into it to research for this blog post, I was surprised to see how wide- spread the problem is. Google search yields some 50 plus articles on the topic and that’s only for one keyword phrase. And if you don’t think this habit is prevalent in our culture, watch the video that accompanies an essay by Clarissa-Jan Lim about Lena Dunham and her apology addiction on the A Plus site (Click the A-PLUS below). The video of actresses in major roles says it all.
I have previewed 20 of the plus 50 articles on this topic and come up with five tips to eliminate excessive “sorries” from your vocabulary. As Jessica Bennett says in Time Magazine, June 18, 2014: “Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand.”
I add to that that I think the women I know do it to shield themselves from rejection.
Here are five tips to give up your “sorries”:
Be aware you do it and when and where you do it.
Keep track for one week – journal it – tell yourself why you think you do it.
Reflect on why you do it: To take responsibility to be polite? To ward off or shield yourself from conflict or violence To apologize for your existence? To something else?
Find ways to change your vocabulary. For example, if you interrupt or bump into someone, try “excuse me” instead of “sorry.”
Begin to respect your right to take up the space you’re in.
I leave you with this. Remember, from the iconic Love Story, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” (Unless you really need to, of course.)