A Letter to Over-Apologizers

Dear Over-Apologizers,

My first instinct is to say, sorry for calling you out like this, I understand how it feels to constantly need to apologize. I too, am an over apologizer, and I can’t describe a time when it worked in my favor. In high school, it kept me in an emotionally abusive relationship that I couldn’t get out of, because every time I tried to break up with them, I ended up apologizing for how I was hurting them. In professional situations, it puts me (us) at a disadvantage, because if we don’t sound like we believe in ourselves, no one else will either. Eventually, it actually will start wearing at our self confidence. Just the other day at the gym, I asked a teammate to spot me after I overestimated how much I could lift. I told them “sorry I’m not good at this.” I didn’t believe that at all though. I’ve lifted that much weight before. It just so happened that on that day, I was having trouble.

So why is our instinct to apologize for everything? This Forbes article says that it may be because our households taught us the importance of politeness, which we then ingrained in our minds so deeply, that we do it almost unconsciously. A Psychology Today article says that you may be more likely to apologize excessively if you were raised as, or have identified as a female for a long time. They suggest the reason behind this is that women have a higher offense threshold than men, or they perceive more offenses to be more needing of an apology than men.

What are some ways that over apologizing is affecting our lives?

  1. People see us as more submissive than people who apologize less frequently

  2. When someone does feel like they deserve an apology, ours might not sound as sincere, because we do it so often

  3. Our professional value is questioned, because excessive apologizing makes us seem less sure of ourselves

How can we stop doing it as often?

  1. Try to understand why you apologize

  2. Start saying thank you instead of sorry when someone does something nice for you (I know, it’s hard)

  3. Pause for a breath before you start talking, you might be using it as a filler word

  4. Begin a routine of self affirmation (this article has some exercises you can try)

  5. Smile anytime you would say sorry in a context that didn’t need to be apologized for

Are you ready start changing the way people view you? Use the #ApologyPledge to stop apologizing for things that you aren’t sorry for. Try out one of the self affirmation exercises, put the results on Instagram or Twitter, and make sure to tag @HerCampusEmerson in the photo! An extra “like” or "re-tweet" doesn't hurt!