Why do people apologize for everything?
As a teenager, I was known for being extremely sarcastic and biting toward my classmates.
I was definitely not the cool, calm, and collected girl others thought I was.
It’s a wonder I made it through the early years of my life!
Fortunately, I learned the very valuable lesson that the way I was taught to respond to difficult conversations was for people to either lie and tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about, or I was to apologize.
I had an issue with being wrong, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. When it comes to being wrong, I get extremely frustrated and angry.
For some reason, I feel like it’s ok to misjudge and make incorrect statements about something I have no clue about.
I believe the reason we apologize so much is that we’re always trying to say we’re sorry
We’re saying it when we think we’re being wronged. We’re saying it when we are trying to be seen as being “compassionate.”
When I sit down with someone to discuss how I misjudged something or make a mistake, I feel like I have to apologize so I don’t look like a know-it-all.
What’s worse is when I’ve made mistakes or made completely erroneous statements and I’m “merely” trying to answer.
I’m trying to say, “Please understand that my comments were inaccurate and that I should not have made them, but I did say them so please stop attacking me and accusing me of being wrong.”
Now, I know I’m not perfect and that I’m definitely not able to handle a discussion with everyone 100% of the time.
However, I do think that’s what makes us human. The ability to admit when we make mistakes and admit that we weren’t right.
We try so hard to make a statement, say the wrong thing, and defend it. We need to get out of our own way and stop apologizing so much.
How to not apologize so much
There are so many ways to approach this topic and so many ways to do it.
However, I think the best way to go about it is by asking yourself a few questions.
- Do I always apologize for everything?
- Do I feel like I need to apologize to keep peace in the room?
- Is apologizing for my sole mode of communication?
- Do I feel like I need to get every single person on my side or they’re going to attack me for making a mistake or two?
- What situations do you find yourself in that make you feel the need to apologize?
Let me tell you when you start questioning things in life, things start changing for the better.
For example, I used to be the girl who would doodle in my notebook at social gatherings.
Of course, I wasn’t doing anything bad like starting fights with strangers in the middle of a crowded bar, but I had a habit of drawing one thing in my notebook and would then tell people, “oh, I was just doodling.” I had no clue!
I had such a fear of looking like a loser that I would shut down and apologize because I felt like I was making a fool of myself. My apologies would come from a place of fear.
Thankfully, I learned that there’s no reason for me to be afraid of making a mistake. I don’t have to apologize for it. In fact, we all make mistakes, and sometimes they’re huge and life-altering.
There’s a big difference between making a mistake and apologizing for one
I know sometimes we have to say sorry when someone else steps on our toes or makes a mistake. I’ve done that, too.
However, the purpose of an apology should be to teach and lift.
In this case, the apology should come when someone asks for an explanation of what was said or who did something.
I’m still making mistakes and that’s OK! No one is perfect and if they are, they are a robot.
I think the problem with apologizing so much is that we think that there’s only one way to be right.
That’s just not true! In fact, we have a million different ways to be right and we just have to find them and learn from them!
Your body language speaks volumes, but we have to teach our subconscious that it doesn’t have to be so closed off to the world.
Be more confident and relaxed. Be more comfortable and friendly.
Keep your handheld message with you
One of my favorite little things to do as a marketer is telling people when they leave a message that they need to put it in their back pocket.
Why is this important?
This communicates to your subconscious that you’re saying, “thank you.”
When we’re in an intense situation like that we are sending signals with our nonverbal cues to others around us that we’re vulnerable and excited to share what we have to say.
By taking what you want out of the message, you’re letting people know that you’re looking for a good connection and there is a common ground.
Whether you are using a hand-held message, recording your voice, or texting the person, make sure that what you want out of the interaction is the driving force behind every word you say.
The human brain loves to process visual information and if you can show a photograph to someone, they’ll remember more than the spoken word ever will.
Use your words. Use your body language. Be more comfortable and confident and let your subconscious do the rest.
What are some of the most important communication principles that you have to practice?
What are some of the things that make you more uncomfortable or uncomfortable when you do them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.