It’s important to say “sorry” when you truly want to apologize to someone for something you did. But for goodness sake, let’s stop saying it so many *other* times too.
Something you said hurts your friend’s feelings.
You oversleep and don’t show up for a morning coffee date.
You accidentally walk into someone at the grocery store.
What do all of the above have in common? They are all times when it’s perfectly acceptable (and even necessary!) to say “I’m sorry” to another person.
But if you’re like most of us, you probably say those two little words a whole lot of other times too … like when you’re about to say anything that someone might not like or agree with, or when someone else does something wrong and you feel awkward and don’t know what to say.
Why do we do this? Simple: we do it because we’ve been taught from a young age to avoid confrontation and conflict at all costs. But today’s post isn’t about psychoanalyzing ourselves, rather, it’s simply about putting an end to the habit of apologizing all the time.
(However, if you’re a longtime people pleaser as I once was, I highly recommend my popular post, The People Pleaser’s Cure: Why It’s OK Not To Be Liked. Bookmark it for another time!)
But let’s get back to business. Read on to learn three tips for putting your “I’m sorry” habit to rest once and for all.
Tip #1: “Sorry Scan” Your Emails Before Hitting Send
It’s easy. Before you hit that send button on your emails, do a quick visual scan for the word “sorry.” If you find it, ask yourself: “Do I truly have something to be sorry about here?” If the answer is no, DELETE IT.
Tip #2: Set Up an Internal “Sorry” Radar
Decide that you are going to notice anytime you say the word “sorry.” Visualize that each time you say it, bells or sirens will go off in your head – ding ding ding! Then, at least to start, don’t worry about changing your behavior. That takes time. What will help you most of all at this point is to simply notice when you say the word “sorry” so you can reflect on if you really needed to say it. No judgment – just observation and reflection. Then, as time goes on, you’ll find you’ll be able to catch yourself and stop that “sorry” in its tracks before it takes the reins.
Tip #3: Spread the Love
My sister and I both know we say “sorry” too often and we’ve made a joke of it. If I say sorry for something absurd that I have no fault in, she’ll laugh and say “You’re sorry? For me not knowing how to do something?” etc. You can spread the love by gently saying to others “No apology necessary” when they apologize for something they don’t need to. And you can encourage them to do the same for you. Let’s jumpstart the “Not sorry” revolution!
Looking for more?
Here are some other posts from Janelle (that’s me) at Ellanyze on learning to embrace conflict or disagreement when it just needs to happen: