STOP BEING ALWAYS SORRY - THE TRUTH BEHIND OVER-APOLOGIZING (Food for Thought)
Last Friday, I debuted this new series called Food for Thought. The first post to kick things off was about how we sometimes have a hard time accepting compliments. And the response I got on Instagram was crazy. I was honestly REALLY surprised to see how many women replied to say that they completely understood what I was talking about, because they had SUCH a hard time accepting a compliment. I was seriously baffled. Especially since I thought it was only in my head and everyone would be like... WTF Jenny, you drunk again?! LMAO.
So I'm back at it again today, with a bit of a similar topic... Being sorry. But not like being sorry you cheated on your husband kind of sorry. That's a totally different story - and well, you SHOULD be sorry... Here I'm talking about being sorry for all the teeny tiny things you shouldn't be sorry about. Basically, I wanna talk about over-apologizing for everything. Bear with me.
I don't know what prompted this, but lately I started noticing how people over-apologize about everything. People (myself included - sometimes) are constantly over-apologizing about not being able to make it to an event. About being literally 3 minutes late. About dinner not being ready at 7pm sharp. I shit you not, I've seen people say "sorry" because someone bumped into THEM!!!
I don't know about you, but when someone is over-apologizing to me (or around me), I find it so annoying! Like I feel bad for them, and I wanna scream "STOP APOLOGIZING SO MUCH" while holding them by the shoulders. And I'm barely exaggerating here. Not only does constantly apologizing make anyone look like they have the self-esteem of a carpet, studies also show that it's a huge sign of anxiety. Personally, I also find it to be a telling sign of someone being extremely uncomfortable. With themselves, as well as in their environment.
And listen, there's nothing wrong with having anxiety. But coming across as someone who has zero self-esteem can have horrible repercussions. In a professional environment, it's obvious why. But also in a personal context. Appearing self-conscious and unsure about yourself is the perfect way to show people that you have low self-esteem. And the funny thing is that the people who are attracted to that... Are the people who are gonna take advantage of it. Not exactly the kind of people you wanna have around, if you ask me.
It's also true that people usually are attracted to others who show signs of self-confidence. People who carry themselves with their head high and their shoulders straight... As opposed to people who are hunched down, permanently staring at the floor.
And yes, I know, you might be only apologizing because you don't wanna hurt people, or come across as an asshole. I totally get that! I personally don't wanna be the kind of person who bumps into someone's table and doesn't apologize. #RUDE ya know? But I also think it's important to behave in a way that doesn't make me always apologize for everything. I don't feel sorry for myself, and I certainly don't wanna project that image!
So I've done some research, and I found many tips on how to correct this behaviour. The most obvious is to start being aware (duh!). And then, here comes the GOLD: Replace I'm sorry by thank you. I actually really like this tip, and I feel like I want to apply it to my own life... So, I did.
I'm not by all means an extreme over-apologizer, but it does still happen to me. After all, I'm only human. Things I would apologize for are mundane little things like being a few minutes late or not having dinner ready when Sasha gets back from work. And no, we don't live in the 60's, mind you, but he's at the office all day and gets home super late while I'm working from home. So I feel like having dinner ready when he gets back is not exactly like burning the feminist flag (is there one?) but more like basis decency and care. By the way this last sentence was meant to be taken lightly, and it's not a stab at anyone - just in case it wasn't clear enough.
So for about a week now, I tried this thing of thanking people instead of over-apologizing. When I met a friend and got there 3 minutes late, I replace "I'm sorry I'm late" by "Hey, thanks for waiting for me!". Last night, we were watching Bates Motel with Sasha and he mentioned that I better not pass out this time, because this was his third time watching the same episode (whoops!). Instead of apologizing, I said "Aww, thank you so much for doing this for me and making sure I don't miss a minute". I might have said it in a slightly teasing tone, but still. The message came across.
What I noticed? Over-apologizing doesn't make people happy. Over-apologizing is a negative approach, from a strictly analytical point of view. Truth is, most people won't even realize if you're 3 minutes late. But by saying "Oh, I'm so sorry I'm late", not only are you making them aware, you're also blaming yourself. But by thanking someone for waiting for you, you're making them feel like they did something great. As opposed to making them feel like you wronged them. I don't think I need to tell you which one I think is the best approach, right?
Thanking people not only shows them that you appreciate them, but also shows that you value yourself. That you think you're worthy of them waiting the extra 3 minutes. And it honestly makes all the difference, even if it might seem insignificant.
What do you guys think? Are any of you over-apologizers? Would you try this tip? Let me know, and if you try it, let me know how it works for you! You can always leave me a comment below, or come say hi on Instagram!
Wishing you all a great weekend!
Love, Jenny xx