No More “I’m Sorry”

women1Again and again I find myself starting or ending emails and phone calls with “I’m sorry.”

  • I’m sorry it took me so long.
  • I’m sorry I couldn’t make this or that happen.
  • I’m sorry I haven’t done this or that.

But recently, it struck me that mostly, I’ve got absolutely nothing real to be sorry about.  I may have wanted to get something done the day before I actually did it, but the person I’m writing to doesn’t care… or hadn’t even considered that I might respond immediately.

By saying “I’m sorry” I just undermine myself and my work. I raise questions about my reliability. Which, really, when I consider the matter, is pretty darn good.

So I’ve started editing out “I’m sorry.”  I can’t seem to keep my fingers from typing those words yet.  But I can swish them away before I send the communication off.  And presto!  I’m no longer late or derelict or irresponsible.  Instead, I’m just doing what I was supposed to do.

Do You Apologize for Nothing?

Am I alone in this ridiculous pattern? Do you find yourself apologizing when there’s nothing to apologize about?

I suspect that apologizing may be an older woman’s thing. I don’t think I know any men or young professional women who apologize for much of anything.

If I’m right, I’d like to extend to you, my women friends, a call to arms against unneeded apologizing.

Instead of apologizing for what we didn’t get done, let’s celebrate what we did get done.

Instead of being sorry for all of the things that might be not quite perfect, let’s give a big cheer for all of the things we try — whether they are perfect or not.  In fact, let’s find the perfect parts in everything we do because there are always some.

And let’s stop demeaning ourselves with empty apologies because we’re afraid to take credit for all we do.

  • No more, “I did this, but I don’t know if it’s any good.”
  • No more, “I’ll try, but I’m not sure I can do it.”
  • No more, “I’m just little old me.”

I’m ready to take a page out of the playbook of some of my younger women friends.

They aim high, stand up and take their rightful place among everyone else who is doing good work.

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Stop Apologizing Unnecessarily

Do you find yourself apologizing when you’ve got nothing to apologize for? Join me in breaking the pattern. For one full week, take “I’m sorry” out of your vocabulary (unless, of course, you really have something to apologize for).

Stand up and stop undermining yourself. Then notice how you feel? Does it make a difference in your confidence?

Do you find yourself saying your sorry for no good reason? Share your thoughts below, or leave a comment on my Facebook page.

  • Kathleen

    I can totally relate to this, Andrea. I too have found myself typing out some version of “I’m sorry” and then deleting it after I review the email. Have you heard of the “Just Not Sorry” app?

    http://www.elle.com/culture/news/a33059/just-not-sorry-app/

    I found the interview in the article very interesting, including the discussion of the backlash to the app. I haven’t given the app a try myself but may download it to see what it highlights in my emails.

  • Andrea, YES! And thank you.

    Another word I’m trying to eliminate is “just”. (As in “I just want to add…”) I don’t need to apologize for speaking or writing!

    And I’m watching “I think”. Too often, it’s a sort of apology in itself. “These are just my little thoughts, take them with what skepticism you will.”

    I’m with you – let’s stop it!