No More Apologies

By Richa P

Are you a woman like me who always apologizes for things? Even when you didn’t cause anyone else discomfort  or do anything wrong? I find myself saying “sorry” throughout the day. I say sorry at work, I say sorry while I wait for the bus, I especially say sorry when I am in a crowded place like the grocery store. For as far as I can remember, there hasn’t been a day where I don’t say sorry to someone.

After watching this video by Pantene, I thought about the reasons why I say sorry. Do I say sorry because I genuinely feel bad? Do I say sorry because I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable? Do I say sorry because its automatic and I’ve been taught to say sorry? I think it is a combination of all of these things.

A while ago, I was talking to someone about this, I think it was my husband Chris. We were talking about my tendency to always say sorry. I think he said something like always saying sorry can be insincere. This got me thinking. It is true I say sorry when someone else bumps into me. Why am I sorry? Am I just saying to fill time or space? Am I actually sorry?

When I am actually sorry, does this mean people won’t take it seriously because they have heard me say it all the time? I think sometimes my husband doesn’t find my apologies to be sincere and I totally see where he is coming from. In the end my biggest fear is not being at fault for doing something wrong, but actually having people think that a real apology is not genuine. I mean, I am a very sensitive person. I honestly don’t like making people uncomfortable and I take into account their comfort before my own. It’s a bad habit at times. I value being a nice person, but at what cost?

This has got me thinking. Why should I apologize for other people’s mistakes? Why I should apologize for small discomforts like the waiter getting my order wrong? Will the world end if I don’t say sorry? After all, I didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t my fault. I think being a nice person is great, but I should also take care of myself too. I should be honest with myself and voice my discomforts as well.

I want to work on not saying sorry especially when I am out in public places. I don’t want to say sorry when someone bumps into me, or when I take the last seat, or when I ask my partner to make dinner.

I notice that I am not the only female doing this, there are many like me apologizing for things that don’t need any apologies. Men don’t seem to have this problem, why is that? Are they less willing to apologize? Can they not own up to their mistakes? Do small things not bother them? I will not generalize, but it is true that more women say sorry than men.

I don’t really remember where I learned it, did I learn it from my mother? Did I learn it in school? Did I just pick it up? Was it taught on TV? I am not sure, but I don’t want to teach my future daughter (if I have a daughter) to always apologize. I don’t want her to pick up this habit of saying sorry all the time. How can we break this habit? For many instances, it’s automatic for me, I don’t even have to think about it. It just comes out of my mouth. The hardest part for me will be to ignore my automatic response of sorry, rather, I will need to be more mindful.

So ladies, how often do you say sorry? Why do you say sorry? Are you working on not saying sorry? Let’s make an effort to leave our sorry’s behind! Let’s work on expressing how we really feel without starting with a sorry. I value myself as being a feminist and an independent woman. I don’t want to be know as the woman who always says sorry. From today on, I am going to say sorry less!

*Originally published on Drishtanta (our partner)

7 thoughts on “No More Apologies

  1. Rhijuta D says:

    Hi Richa,

    I definitely know you as someone who says sorry a lot. A lot more than necessary. So I just learnt to ignore it over the years.

    I used to be on the same boat, I used to apologise more than necessary. You are right, more women than men are apologetic (not true for British men, I read it somewhere). I did feel like what I was saying was insincere and have reduced saying ‘sorry’ or apologising a lot more. I consciously make a decision on when I’m writing, talking to someone and make a quick judgment on whether I need to say sorry or apologise in any sense.

    Anyways, I enjoyed reading this article. Such an easy yet effective reading, it had been a while since NepaliChori brought out something that was more blog-like. Reminded me exactly why we started this.. Keep up the good work!

    • Richa P says:

      Thanks for the comments Riz! I am glad you learned to ignore it, I imagine most people in my life have. Hopefully I will start being more conscious too! Maybe when I am in Nepal it will decrease?

  2. Hey I grew up in Canada – saying sorry all the time is practically the national past time – for men and women! 😉 Living in India for more than a decade hasn’t quite kicked me fully of the habit but definitely reduced it substantially! Good luck with your quest. 🙂

  3. Jamie G says:

    Not Just women but men as well.

    I feel like it falls under the over politeness factor, who knows, sometimes its annoying.

    Just know Richa you have POWER, we all have power, no need for the over politeness, at that point sometimes the insincerity factor comes into play (as Chris says).

    Try not to feel bad about things that has nothing to do with you.

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