I’ve recently noticed a lot of Internet literature (like this and this) regarding the habit of over-apologizing that plagues millennial women. I’d always thought that in addition to being used for a formal apology, saying “sorry” was just a polite thing to do, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.
I say sorry when I feel like I’m bothering my boss too much via email, when I really just want to make sure I’m doing things correctly. I say sorry when I ask the cashier to pack my groceries in a reusable shopping bag. I say sorry when a waiter brings me a regular Coke instead of diet, even though I know I ordered correctly. In reality, I shouldn’t be sorry for any of these things–my existence and my preferences aren’t an inconvenience.
“I think along with ‘I’m sorry’ comes the fluttering eyes and bad posture and maybe the raised shoulder as if to protect yourself from what’s coming. I’m asking women to own up to that, to stop saying they’re sorry, and to stand up straight and to look at people in the eye and be cool! Just be cool with yourself.” -Mika Brzezinski
I recently resolved to reduce the amount of airtime I give the word “sorry.” It’s been a difficult task–I usually don’t even realize when I say it, so I made sure to consciously avoid apologizing (unless, of course, I was in the wrong). Someone knocks on the bathroom door while you’re using it? There’s no need to apologize for occupying it. Don’t want to get drinks with a guy who keeps badgering you? You shouldn’t be sorry for not wanting to waste your time.
Here are some more things to stop apologizing for:
- Asking someone to clarify something.
- Someone else’s mistake…it’s not your fault if the barista at Starbucks gives you whole milk instead of skim, even if she makes it seem like it’s a major inconvenience.
- Declining an invitation somewhere. Say “no, thank you” instead.
- Leaving work early or calling out sick (as long as you’re actually sick).
- Not knowing the answer to something.
- Asking someone to move over on the train so they only take up one seat instead of two, so you can sit down.
blair waldorf gif from giphy.