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Why Do Women Apologize So Much?

17 Apr

I was standing in a hallway of a restaurant waiting for my turn to use a women’s restroom. The door was locked and within 10 seconds it opened and a lady appeared. She looked at me and said “I’m sorry.” And I thought … for what?

Why would this person think to say she was sorry in this situation?

It turns out that women believe that being apologetic is a way to demonstrate that you are being polite. And saying sorry means that you aren’t being rude.

This Pantene commercial, that suggested that women stop saying they are sorry, gives great examples of situations when women felt the need to apologize. And then replayed the scenarios with a different approach.

Inside Amy Schumer‘s “I’m Sorry” sketch also highlights this phenomenon to excess. A panel of highly educated and accomplished women are on a panel at a “Females in Innovation” conference. What starts out with apologies for being introduced incorrectly by the panel’s male moderator, devolves into “I’m sorry” for being allergic to caffeine.

You get the point. Women are over apologizing.

The definition of the word “apology” is a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.

So ladies, use that benchmark as a gauge of whether blurting out “I’m sorry” is really appropriate to the situation.

I’m sure sometimes it is. I have written about the importance of genuine and effective apologies.

But, often, “”I’m sorry” is just filler and a reflexive reply.

So perhaps it’s time to start replacing it with statements that express your opinion or contribution to the situation that is unfolding.

Or if appropriate, a simple “Excuse me” might work instead.

Jeanette

 

 

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