Women apologize too much. It’s true. Just observe your female friends for a few days or weeks and you’ll notice without a
doubt, many women apologize too much. Not only too often but for too many things. Some women even make apologies for things beyond their control.
Think about it. Ever heard an apology for bad weather that ruined an outing or for the actions of someone else the apologize had nothing to do with, or for being bumped into? The list of unnecessary apologies is lengthy. Let’s just suffice it to say it is not uncommon for women to over-apologize, and that is a problem for all of us.
Let’s look at the impact of that habit:
1. It creates a self-deprecating pattern for the apologizer, believing they are always at fault.
2. It releases others from owning their part in conflict or confusion.
3. It teaches people to expect others (apology-addicts) to take the blame.
4. It moves -the focus from the person who was wronged to the person delivering the apology.
The benefit of an apology is for the person on the receiving end. It’s so they will feel better. So they will know there was no bad intent. It’s to set things straight. To clear the air. Although there is a certain release for the person making the apology, it’s not really about them. It’s about the receiver.
But all of that changes with multiple, repetitive apologies. Imagine this scenario. At a gathering of friends, one person says they can’t stay for the entire event and will be leaving early. Their apology is made in advance. No problem and the gathering continues. Then at many points in the visit, the early departer reminds the group they must leave…each time with another apology. Sometimes they even share the reasons why they must go. This continues until it’s time to leave.
The apologies begin again….to the host and hostess, maybe to the entire group. At this point, no one can count how many apologies were delivered, but everyone knows there were too many.
Instead of being an expression of sincere apology, these communications become an attention grabber, not necessarily intentionally, but an attention grabber all the same. In an effort to curb the apologies, others reassure the apologizer saying things like:
- “It’s all good. It’s not a problem.”
- “Oh don’t worry. It’s ok.”
- “Oh forget about it. It’s not important.”
- “It’s alright.”
- “I understand. Don’t feel bad. I’m fine.”
Instead of being a self-less act, the apology becomes self -focused. The receiver feels obliged to make the apologizer feel better.
Who is this apology about anyway?
Ladies, if this sounds like you, make a change. Rarely do those who over-apologize intend to make it “all about them.” Unfortunately, that is the end result.
If this sounds like you…intentionally or unintentionally, stop. Learn to limit yourself to one, no more than two, apologies. One at the onset of the issue, and possibly a second one as you depart or end the conversation to show your good intentions.
For tips on how to deliver heartfelt apologies without over-doing it, stay tuned to next week’s blog post. And of course, share your thoughts and experiences with comments.