A Case for Not Saying Sorry

Apologizing too often eventually erases the sincerity behind it

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

So, why do we abuse this word so much? What profound sense of unconscious guilt do we have that makes us say sorry after even the most insignificant events? And why do we use say it so casually, so reactively when we don’t have anything to be sorry about?

I personally ask myself these questions whenever I hear the words leave my mouth. Although I’ve gotten [slightly] better at saying sorry less frequently, I haven’t fully omitted the word from my vocabulary list. But, there is a case (a few cases, actually) for when to not say sorry.

When you’re scrambling to find an opening line.

In my case, I mentioned earlier that I preface a lot of my work e-mails by saying “I’m so sorry” or “My apologies …” because I don’t want the other person to think that I was intentionally replying late to their e-mail or that I had perhaps completely forgotten to reply to their e-mail. I want to cover my bases.

When you feel bad for something that you did unintentionally.

Another common case of saying sorry is in a situation where you did something unintentionally such as accidentally bumping into someone or accidentally stepping on the heel of their foot (Again, I’m taking this from personal experience).

When you’re asking for something that you want.

This is one of those cases where it almost seems ridiculous to apologize. For example, there’s no need to apologize when we’re asking an employee at a clothing store for help finding a pair of jeans or when we’re ordering food from a server at a restaurant — Their job is to literally help you.

Apologizing too often eventually erases the sincerity behind it.

The sentiment of an apology goes away when we abuse the phrase. We shouldn’t be the boy (or girl) who cried wolf. We shouldn’t let people believe that we feel guilty for every single thing that we say or do. Instead, we should practice saying things that we can replace with “sorry” so that we rid ourselves the bad habit of defaulting to this word. Myself included.

Writer & Digital Advertising Expert based in New York. Avid Runner & plant Mom. I write about writing and life in general.

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