Sorry, But I'm Not Sorry

In the last three days, I’ve apologized for making dinner, changing lanes and being bumped into.

Not bumping into someone. Being bumped into.

Earlier this year, Pantene released a commercial aptly titled ‘Not Sorry.’ The ad featured women in various situations apologizing for various behaviors, whether that be taking up too much space in the waiting room or speaking out of turn in a meeting. It sparked a huge conversation on social media – why are we, as women, apologizing so much?

In 2010, Psychological Science reported that when they studied 66 subjects over a 12-day period, not only were women apologizing more than men, they were reporting more offenses as well. That means that, as women, we don’t just apologize more – we genuinely believe we’ve done more things wrong.

“Sorry is a crutch — a tyrannical lady-crutch. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear ‘soft’ while making a demand,” said gender and culture writer Jessica Bennett in a column for Time magazine. “It falls in the same category as ‘I hate to ask’ or ‘I know this is a stupid question’ or another version of ‘No offense, but’ or ending your statements with a question.”

Brooke Almony, a junior majoring in Biology Pre-Med, said her apologetic nature was due, in part, to her love life in the past.

“I used to apologize a lot to my ex boyfriend,” Almony said. “When I started dating my boyfriend that I have now, I would always say sorry for the most irrelevant things, and he would always say, ‘Don’t say sorry, you didn’t do anything to apologize for.’

“The difference between this relationship and my last is that this one is healthy, I don’t need to feel bad for speaking how I feel or apologize for acting how I do. Now I have someone in my life who supports me and never makes me feel bad for being me.”

And while it may seem obvious that apologizing in love is not the ideal, when you work in primarily female environments, like Event Management senior Taylor Dante, you’re still bound to hear apologies left and right.  

“I was working with a company who had hired numerous women to promote a particular product, and one of the girls actually kept apologizing or saying ‘I’m sorry’ for almost everything she did. It was so continuous that another employee even asked her to stop,” Dante said. “The girl responded that she didn’t even feel sorry, it’s just become a habit over the years.”

Catherine DiPersico, a senior majoring in Advertising/Public Relations said an apology just feels ‘automatic.’

“It is my natural reaction. Why that is I have no idea. Maybe it's my way of being polite,” DiPersico said.

Hospitality senior Kaitlyn Mangold added that the habit impacts our relationships more than we realize.

“I have tried not to do it as much, mainly in my relationships. To me, saying sorry about being upset makes the other person think the behavior doesn’t need to change,” Mangold said.

As our conversation reaches its end, Mangold confesses, “I literally almost just said, ‘Sorry if my answers sucked.’”

I told her I understood. Each time I approached someone to be interviewed for this story, I began the inquiry with “Sorry to bother you,” or “Weird question!” I didn’t even realize it until I was looking back over my notes later.

Ladies, there’s nothing inherently bothersome about asking for help, nor is there anything wrong with being confident in your professional life. Humility is great, but when it’s hindering your development, the only thing you should be apologizing for is, well, apologizing.

What are you #NotSorry for? Let us know on Twitter @HerCampusUCF!