Recently, I’ve noticed myself starting sentences with an apology: “Sorry, do you have a minute to talk?” “Sorry, I have a meeting that day.” I even apologized to the guy who spilled his beer on me at work. The list can go on and on, and I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one doing it either. Women everywhere seem to be apologizing for things we shouldn’t need to apologize for, and it needs to stop.
“I’m sorry” has become so common that some might say it’s becoming the new “um”. Where did this bad habit came from? I’m not really sure. The need to be perceived as polite and well mannered has been molded into women everywhere. To get ahead, women know they need to be likeable. Apologizing will make you seem approachable and less of a threat to others, but it also gives your power away.
Amy Schumer has geniusly noticed this bad habit and made a skit for her show "Inside Amy Schumer." It’s slightly uncomfortable to watch because it’s so familiar, yet it shows how ridiculous women look when they apologize for things they shouldn’t be sorry about. The skit is set at a "Females In Innovation Conference" with four women who are well educated and are leaders in their respective fields. Watch how your respect for them dwindles more and more with each “I’m sorry” they say.
Perception is everything, and this skit does such a great job of pointing that out. If you’re always apologizing, people will perceive you as defensive and unsure. Your power as a woman shrinks with every unnecessary apology you give. “I’m sorry” shows your lack of self-confidence and your willingness to fold under pressure. The confidence gap is holding so many women back from succeeding in the workplace, and overapologizing seems to be the biggest contributor to this.
How can women go about breaking this bad habit? Start by changing the words you use. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t sound like a b*tch if you state your opinion, question, or concern without saying “I’m sorry.” You will sound like a confident woman who believes in herself and isn’t afraid to speak up. From now on, take charge of the situation. Stand up for yourself and stop being sorry.