Sorry [sawr-ee] adjective: Dictionary.comFrom
I’m soooo sorry. My apologies. Oops, sorry about that.
Sound familiar? Story of my life. I apologize for ev.er.y.thing. I apologize when I don’t respond to a text within an hour. I apologize when I ask a question on a work call. I apologize for expressing my opinion in a conversation. I even apologize then someone else bumps into me! I’m not kidding, I have a problem…and it’s called, excessive apologizing. It is also without a doubt in my top three bad habits.
It’s gotten so bad that people have actually started telling me to stop apologizing. When this started happening, this is when I decided I needed to do something about it! If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing this is something you’ve determined needs improvement for yourself too. I’m going to share my progress thus far in just a week of trying to address my apologizing dilemma.
1. Identifying the problem.
First things first, it’s time to assess the situation. This probably seems pretty obvious, right? But, my challenge to you is to keep a tally of the number of times you apologize for just one day. You can do this in your planner or simply on a post-it note. Or even start a note in the Notes app on your phone. Or maybe even tuck a pen in your back pocket an start a tally on your hand (if you’re cool with that!).
It doesn’t really matter how you keep track. What really matters is that you pay really close attention to any word or phrase that is some form of apology. Every. Single. Time. At the end of the day, count up the number of times you’ve apologized that day. I think you’ll be surprised. I was! The next step is what will make this exercise even more surprising.
2. Determine if it’s an appropriate apology.
Yes, this is as simple as it sounds. Every time you put a slash down or note in your phone that you have said, “I’m sorry” or “oops, my bad” or “my apologies,” think to yourself, did that situation warrant an apology? Don’t get me wrong, many situations do. You say something awful to your significant other, apologies necessary. You blatantly interrupt a colleague – say, I’m sorry! You bail on a friend for no good reason…yup, you should probably apologize for that too.
That being said, this exercise really brought to light just how much I was unnecessarily apologizing…a lot…everyday. I was SHOCKED! I was actually on a work call where were asked to speak up and provide feedback. And when I did so, I started it off with a quick, “sorry” before jumping into providing my feedback. And I WASN’T EVEN SORRY! I was being asked to do just that! After I had done that about three times on that one call, this is when I started this exercise.
3. Think before you speak.
Bringing it back to third grade – yes, I am actually telling you to think before you speak. What I am talking about it the next time you go to say, “I’m sorry” or “my apologies” or “my bad,” stop and think. Do you mean it? Is this a situation that warrants an apology? Did you actually do anything wrong? If not, pause and well…don’t do it! And the next time do the same thing. And the next time. And the next time. Eventually you’ll start reversing the habit.
4. Start reaping the benefits.
I’ve only just started doing this in the past week and I’m finding myself apologizing less and less. What has really surprised me, it feels so good! It’s almost feels like I’m free to do and say whatever I want without starting it off without making that one statement beforehand. This may sound silly but, trust me, if you have self-diagnosed yourself or have been told to stop apologize, I think you’ll be surprised how relieving this feels.
Something else I’ve noticed, the statements I say are said with more conviction. This is especially beneficial at work. You wants to get feedback or direction from someone who sounds hesitant about what they’re saying? I sure don’t! And I refuse to be that person.
Sorry, not sorry.
I’d love to hear how you have broken this habit too. How did it feel? Did you notice your conversations or relationships change? How did you ditch this dissatisfying habit?