Time after time, I find myself apologizing for things that really don’t warrant it, and notice other women doing the same. Lately, I’ve started tracking my and my friends’ apologies in an effort to cut down to only the truly necessary. Here are some things that we’ve apologized for lately and wish we hadn’t:
- Sorry, I have allergies. How many times has a woman interrupted a work meeting to apologize for sneezing? You just react poorly to pollen, it’s not like you have Ebola. Relax.
- Sorry, I have to hang up. I always feel like I need to invent a legitimate excuse to hang up the phone. Sometimes the conversation’s just over, but I need to explain what other pressing issue I have in order to be excused. I have never ever had a guy apologize to me for having to hang up, whether it’s a friend or a colleague.
- Sorry, do you mind if I go to the bathroom? What. The. Actual. Hell. Do you want me to write you a bathroom pass while we’re at it?
- Sorry, I didn’t see you! I say this all the time when I bump into someone, but seriously, it takes two! Why didn’t the other guy move out of the way? Why are women always the ones to apologize when we bump into someone? Next time, I’ll wait and see if the person I bumped into says something first before I apologize.
- Sorry, I have a question. Asking questions, especially at work, is a good thing. It shows that you care about your performance and want to make sure that you are delivering to your client’s expectations. Better to clarify now than to realize later that you had a misunderstanding or could have done something more effectively.
- Sorry, I need to eat something. Sorry for being an actual human being instead of a robot, and for requesting that you give me the lunch break that is actually legally required of you, thanks very much.
- Sorry to interrupt, but… Just say it! Don’t draw attention to it! Obviously you don’t want to cut off your colleagues all of the time, but if what you have to say is relevant to the conversation, just jump in.
- Sorry, I was away. Did the person in question really think you were just ignoring them to screw with them? If you don’t respond to a text or a Gchat right, a friend who is secure in your friendship should be able to figure this out without you having to explicitly say it.
- Sorry, I’m currently booked and won’t be able to do this project. Great! Your work is in demand and because of that, you’re not taking on any additional assignments at the moment. Instead of apologizing, have you considered asking for a raise? Go get ‘em!
Sure, there are some instances where an apology is justified and is just plain good manners. But don’t overdo it. Cut yourself some slack and before you say those magic words, think about whether you are really, truly sorry.