You Don't Have To Apologize

Last week I spent a late night at the library, and after one too many sips of coffee I ended up in the women's bathroom. In the five minutes I was there, I noticed myself and three other girls consistently apologizing for the smallest things. One girl apologized to me for washing her hands when I was waiting behind her, another apologized for walking by a stall when the other girl tried to walk out. I even apologized for throwing my paper towel away because a girl was standing in front of the trash can. After I walked out I realized: Why did I apologize when I did nothing wrong? Every girl in that bathroom apologized at least once in less than five minutes. So why do women apologize over every little thing?

About a year ago, Pantene aired a commercial encouraging women to stop overusing the word "sorry." The commercial shows everyday women apologizing in a situation that did not actually require an apology. Take 30 seconds to watch it now, and I guarantee it will make you think twice about saying "sorry" again.



This five-letter word can change how people perceive you. When these women replaced the word “sorry” with “I have a question” or “good morning,” it made them seem more confident and more superior in the situation. Saying "sorry" multiple times, especially in the workplace, is not a good leadership quality. It holds women back from climbing to the top of the ladder in their career. 

I will say that I use the word "sorry" frequently myself, even when I'm not at fault. The day after my realization I decided to count how many times I said "sorry" in one day. My grand total was 11. I also asked a few women between ages 18-20 years old to count as well. They averaged about 14 times in one day. Over-using the word "sorry" makes it less meaningful when it actually needs to be said.


Not to promote women to never apologize again, I believe apologies should be said less in everyday conversation. Spilling someone’s coffee deserves an apology. Showing up late deserves an apology. Saying "sorry" because your thoughts or actions are different than others is not a reason to apologize.