Have you ever noticed – I mean really noticed – how often you apologize in a given day? As women, we’re brought up to be polite, accommodating, and agreeable. These aren’t bad qualities, but they are often so engrained that we apologize unnecessarily for things that need no apology. Once I started noticing all the times I nonchalantly uttered, “sorry, but…”, I realized it was practically using it as a conjunction. How ridiculous is that?!
The thing is, I know I’m not alone. I hear my friends and – and read from others’ social media – masking their emotions and actions with sorry’s at regular intervals, in similar circumstances that simply do not require it.
Here are 4 things you should never apologize for:
What You Eat
“Sorry, but I’m eating this whole burger”, “Sorry, but can I get the dressing on the side?”, “I’m getting my own fries, sorry!” First of all, no one cares what you’re eating. If that is your friend’s or date’s biggest concern, there are other things that need to be examined here! You never need to justify what you you eat, to others or yourself. Waiters are there to give you what you want, no need to apologize for your specifications.
Take a cue from Meg Ryan:
If everyone is ordering a salad and you want the pizza, get the pizza, apologies be damned! Maybe you did have a tough workout that morning, and finish every last crumb at lunch. These are simply two things that happened, one does not justify the other and in what world does finishing what you ordered need a reason?
The next time you’re out with a group, notice how many of your friends offer up apologies in regards to their meals. Notice your own word choice throughout the meal.
Have you every said “yes” to something – a favor, a task, a meeting, etc. – and immediately thought, “Ugh, I really don’t want to. Whatever, I’ll deal with it later.”? Then there are those occasions you say, “no”, yet ramble on with reasons and excuses why you can’t? We feel we need to apologize after saying “no”. We offer up things other than “this doesn’t work for me now”, and give a million little reasons – real or not – why we can’t, always uttering “sorry” multiple times. There’s no need for this. Be concise and polite in your, “no”, and move on. A simple, “thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not able to do this at the moment.” will do.
It’s harder than it sounds! We want to help others, to make things easier for those we love, even when it causes undue stress and inconvenience in our lives. It’s not as if you’re saying no to everyone who asks you to do anything, I’m sure you say yes when you’re able to. For those times you aren’t able to accommodate someones last minute request, there’s no need to apologize. Your time is precious, and deciding what’s worth spending it on is your decision without justification.
Asking For Help
Help comes in many forms, and we often find ourselves asking for forgiveness from those we need assistance from. From small things like asking where something is located, “I’m sorry, could you show me where the bakery is?”, to larger things like help with a project, “I don’t want to bother you, but could you help me with this rewrite? Sorry!” Often, all that is needed here is a thank you. “Could you point me towards the deli? Thanks!”, gets you what you need without feeling guilty.
Just as much as we like to help others, others are typically happy to help us. Remember that they are in control of what they agree to, just like you are the one to accept a request from a friend. If they can’t help you right now, they’ll tell you. No need to gush how sorry you are for bothering them.
Sometimes we’re actually saying sorry to ourselves, because asking for help feels like we’ve given up or failed. Instead of viewing asking for help as giving in, try looking at it as a strategic move. Sure, you could try to piece the end of a project together and hope it gets done and is done correctly, or you could ask for a little help from a coworker and ensure it’s done on time and right the first time.
Just like we don’t want to burden others with our questions, it’s common to keep your emotions to yourself as to not make someone else uncomfortable. We are human, we all have emotions, and shutting them down or apologizing when they work their way into our conversations is not emotionally healthy.
This happens a lot to me. I’ll be recapping an issue I’ve been struggling with to my husband, Brett, and my voice will start to crack the more worked up I get. “Sorry, it’s just really frustrating”. Stop. What am I sorry for? This is a person who I share my life with, and getting upset, sad, and frustrated is part of that. I’m not yelling at him (which can be a scenario where a “sorry” is called for!), I’m simply venting what I’m feeling.
I see why we do it; we don’t want to appear weak, to seem like we’re falling apart. But letting others into our heads and hearts can be the opposite. Have you ever had a friend open up to you and cry? Did you think, “wow, she needs to get it together!” No. You may have thought she was brave for confiding in you. Honest, for opening up and being vulnerable. The more comfortable we are with sharing how we feel with others close to us, the more in tune we are with what we’re feeling. By not shutting off, burying, and excusing ourselves when emotions bubble up, we’re forced to deal with what’s going on. We can work through it with others instead of in solitude.
Take notice of your apologies. There are times you do owe someone a “sorry”; there are times we are in the wrong. But more often than necessary, we offer them without reason, for things we should feel confident and comfortable doing. Eating what you want, protecting your time, asking for help, and showing your emotions are all things that need no apology.