I Stopped Apologizing And Here's Why

I Stopped Apologizing And Here's Why

Apologies are great until you ruin the meaning.
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In a conversation, if I were to be speaking to my friend or my girlfriend one on one about something which I found entertaining or enjoyable and they responded shortly, my emotions kicked in. I would instantly begin to wonder why they weren’t as happy as I were, and assume it was my own doing. A short “lmao” compared to their usually “omg asdhjsf” wasn’t right. Being someone who has a fear of upsetting others without knowing what I had done, I would apologize immediately. They would then ask “for what?” or “why?”

I didn’t know.

And that was the problem, wasn't it? Why apologize for something which you have no clue why you’re apologizing? I suppose I used it as a filler word, much like a speaker may use “um” or “uh” in a presentation. Constantly, I would apologize for I didn’t know what, and constantly I would be greeted with “it’s fine!”, “you’re fine”, and eventually the all telling, “i don’t know why you’re apologizing.”

It wasn’t long before my girlfriend started to show more and more signs of frustration with me, which I understood greatly. I would get annoyed too, after all, and I’m not just saying that. It had gotten to the point in which we had almost broken up due to this. While I knew it was a harmless tick, she made a point. My real apologies were muddled in with the messy, questionable apologies. It had gotten so bad as to drive us near the point of a break up, with her stress and my constant “I’m sorries”, even as pity as in “I’m sorry you’re sick”. Now, to some this may seem as a flaw on her part, but she made perfect sense. There was no line that differentiated my real apologies from the nothings, and it needed to stop. I needed to break the filler.

So I did.

Since before New Years, I have greatly cut back on my apologies. No more “I’m sorry I’m talking so much”, “I’m sorry you’re sick”, “I’m sorry, I was doing this.” None of it. And it has helped so, so much.

By cutting back on my apologies, I have learned to communicate better and not rely on the crutch that was “I’m sorry.” The key is to delete “I’m sorry” and continue on with the sentence, then delete those words before sending them. It helps to communicate better without taking fault for something out of my control, something which has nothing to do with me or my being.

It has helped me to converse better, not just communicate. Like above, “I’m sorry you’re sick” turns into “you’re sick.” Well that doesn’t carry on the conversation, not one bit, does it? You try to respond to it, go on. By deleting the “I’m sorry” from my vocabulary, I have to elaborate or come up with a question for the other and contribute further. “You’re sick” turns into “well what's wrong?”, “what do you think it is?”, “what are the symptoms?” It would never have gotten that far with “I’m sorry,” I would have only been met with “”it’s okay!”, “it’s not your fault!” and how self centered was that?

I have learned acceptance. Talking too much is still a fear of mine, I would never want to bother someone with being the overbearing friend, or being too talkative, but I no longer assume the reason their mood changes is due to me. Especially in the world of text. If the other party’s mood changes, I resist the apology and continue on with my own words. If it continues, I will ask the other if they’re okay. Usually, it is met with a “yeah” (or a preferred and more enthusiastic “yeah!”) and I would then explain why I came to the conclusion to ask. If it is not alright with the other, I will offer my shoulder and be there for them if they choose; but I won’t apologize until I know it is something in my control.

It took a lot of willpower, but I’m happy I did it. I’m thankful she was my wake up call, because since apologizing our communication has gotten a lot better, and my mistakes are fixed a lot easier because she knows I am careful with my words. All it took was one good wake up call before I realized that apologizing too often was a cop out, and those words should be saved for the screw ups and not for the awkward gaps.

I believe Apologies contributed heavily to my socially awkward self, and maybe even my “slight” anxiety. Apologies were just natural, but self control has helped me to refrain and learn more about the other party as opposed to worrying about myself first. Now that I look back on it, the apologies I made were rather selfish, and I could would have been annoyed at the extent my apologies went.

Apologies are meant for genuine mistakes, not small inconveniences or awkward silences, and should be used accordingly, careful to not diminish the meaning.

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All my love this Valentine’s Day goes out to you, my friend, because you do not receive it enough. You have picked me up out of the dirt, brushed me off, and kissed my wounds more times than I can count, and I will never be able to thank you enough for that, but I am sure am going to try.

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Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.pederson.5/photos

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A Letter to my Best Friends that go to the Rival School

It's a love hate relationship..

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To my Indiana University Hoosiers,

The concept of rivalry is something that we are taught from a very young age. You're not supposed to like your opponent. You're supposed to despise them with every ounce of your being. When it comes to competition, we're taught that our ultimate goal is to come out on top and in order to reach the goal of winning. We can't subject ourselves to the weakness of friendships with the enemies. In my own life, I've been taught that the IU vs. Purdue rivalry has a certain level of importance. I was born a boilermaker and I followed in the footsteps of my great-grandparents, grandparents, uncles, and parents by deciding to become an official boilermaker last fall. I've had the hatred for IU implanted into my brain and ever since I was young I knew that IU was the enemy.

So how do I have such good friends who go to the rivalry school? Do I have a secret level of hate for the ones who are closest to me?

The truth is, I don't. Do I hate your stupid "cream and crimson" candy-striped pants? Of course. Do I hate the fact that people are always claiming that your school is the Indiana school for basketball even though Purdue has consistently beat IU since Cody Zeller left? You bet I do. Do I hate the fact that you're always bragging about your banners? No doubt. I hate everything about your school.

But do I don't even hate you to the slightest bit.

The truth is, you guys are the best friends I have ever had. You look out for me. You care about me and always make sure I'm okay. You tease me like siblings. You allow me to be my very best self. I love the times we spend together because I'm always on the flooring dying from laughter. There's no rivalry on earth that could make me not want to spend the weekends with you guys, staying up until 1 am and going to Mcdonald's or laughing about stupid inside jokes. You have shaped into being a better person and you have allowed me to enjoy every single moment of life. I don't know where I would be without you guys and our friendship. Without you guys, I would be incomplete.

All the time I think about the things I am going to tell my kids about when they ask me to tell them stories about when I was younger and when I am living out moments with you guys, I know that these are the stories that I'm going to tell them about. I'm going to tell them about all the fun times we've spent at both of our schools. I'm going to tell them about the amazing friendship that we all shared and the amazing friendship I hope they find someday in their own lives.

One day, I'll teach my kids all about the pride of being a boilermaker. I'll tell them about the amazing energy you feel as you walk into Mackey Arena. I'll teach them to sing "Hail Purdue" as soon as they can even speak. I'll tell them about the amazing fountain runs that they can do on campus. I'll tell them everything they need to love about Purdue. I'll even tell them to hate IU.

But you know what else I'll tell them?

Some people are worth crossing enemy lines for.

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