5 ways to stop saying sorry all the time

Susanna Kahr

Are you someone who seems to go through life apologizing all the time? Perhaps you apologize when someone bumps into you on the subway, or you say sorry when you need to complain about something. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but if you constantly find yourself saying sorry and apologizing for yourself at work, then this could be having a bad effect on how you see yourself and how others behave around you. So you need to fix it ASAP. Here are 5 ways to stop saying sorry all the time. 

Why you need to stop apologizing.

Apologizing unnecessarily can hurt your professional image at work, especially if you apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong. Women often feel that they have to apologize for themselves at work, for the space they take up, for interrupting during meetings or for their ideas. But apologizing all the time can make people think that you’re unsure of yourself and your work meaning that they don’t take you so seriously. 

“There’s always someone from a different branch willing to help you out if you are unsure of something.” – anonymous employer review at Energex LLC

It can also have an effect on our ability to get promoted too. The polite, agreeable humility that many women show means that they often downplay their achievements and, in the worst cases, actually credit others. How many times have you found yourself insisting that it was a “team effort,” when you know that you made most of the decisions that led to success? If this is you, then you have to remember that there is only one ‘manager’ role and by crediting others all the time, you’re getting in the way of your own ambition. 

Work out why you keep apologizing

In order to stop apologizing all the time, it makes sense to work out why you might feel the need to apologize in the first place. There are lots of reasons why we might overuse the word “sorry.” Many of us say sorry so as not to come across too direct, too powerful or too opinionated. We might also say sorry to reduce the risk of confrontation or conflict. 

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It’s not you, it’s me

If you apologize to avoid conflict or to avoid coming across too strong, then you need to ask yourself why this worries you. Is your working environment stressful or toxic or are your colleagues confrontational? Or is it you that doesn’t feel confident in yourself and your ideas? If it’s your working environment that makes you feel like you have to apologize all the time, then make sure to check out our employer reviews, and find a better employer where you feel supported. If it’s you that feels unsure, then stop apologizing and make it your goal to start acting more purposefully at work, you’ll be surprized how good it feels! Here are some other tips to help you. 

Ask yourself if you really did something wrong

The first thing to do is to actually check yourself and ask if you really made a mistake worth apologizing for. If it was a moment of forgetfulness, a misguided approach to a task, or a minor mistake and no harm was done, then maybe you don’t need to apologize after all. Equally, you should also recognize when you need to make a real apology. If it was something that warrants an apology then make sure to make it a heartfelt, sincere apology. This way your colleagues will know that you don’t apologize unless it’s really needed and will respect you for your honesty. 

Offer a solution instead

If you feel yourself getting ready to say sorry, when you make a minor mistake then try to flip the situation and offer a solution to the problem instead of an apology. For example, if you sent out a meeting agenda but missed off some important information, then instead of starting the next email with “I’m sorry, I missed out some information in my last email,” write “in my last email I did not include XYZ.” This way you don’t admit fault, you just rectify the situation and it makes you appear cool, calm, collected and confident. 

Say thank you instead of sorry

If you are late to a meeting then try turning the remorse you feel into gratitude instead. So walk in and say “thank you so much for your patience” instead of “sorry I’m late.” This way you acknowledge the fact that your colleagues have been waiting for you and you thank them for their time, and you set a positive tone for the rest of the meeting. Equally if a colleague covers for you with a client, instead of saying “sorry I didn’t send X” say “thank you so much for sending X.” This will have the effect of making it appear like you have a good handle on everything and that you appreciate your team, we’d call that a win-win! 



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