I used to be one. A chronic apologizer. I hadn’t noticed how often I uttered the words I’m sorry until a friend called me on it: “Why do you always say you’re sorry?! Haven’t the women who came before us apologized enough?”
So I stopped. And you know what I realized? My “I’m sorry’s” were more filler words than they were sincere expressions of regret.
Looking back on situations that previously emitted apologies from my lips have me shaking my head today:
I am sorry you had to wait so long on that uncomfortable furniture! I pushed and pushed for three whole hours, but that darn emergency c-section took longer than expected.
I apologize, but I don’t have a babysitter, so I can’t drink myself stupid with you on Friday night.
I’m really sorry I fell short on that project.
Realizing that I had been apologizing for things beyond my control, or worse yet, for simply being me, hit like a right hook from Laila Ali.
Cold is the day in hell when I again apologize for protecting mine or my kids’ feelings, despite any inconvenience or the discomfort of waiting room couches. Your back hurts? Have your back call my vagina.
When guilt trips from friends tempt an apology from me, I remind them that I do not have a bevvy of babysitters at my disposal. And sometimes, I choose my family.
The next time my boss disguises a project as a compliment, covertly trying to motivate me to pick up a coworker’s slack, I won’t apologize for declining: My plate is too full right now.
“I’m sorry” hasn’t become obsolete; I don’t “yada yada yada” the apology. Now when I show remorse for something I’ve done (or more likely something my big mouth has said), I am genuine. My sorry’s have substance. But there are absolutely situations that do not warrant concessions of regret; the women who came before us have unquestionably apologized enough.