In the heels of last week’s admonishment to not be afraid to say no, there’s really only one logical follow-up (especially for the women out there):
Reminding you that you do not have to apologize when you say no; it is, in fact, a complete sentence.
We know that women apologize more than men do, for a variety of reasons (many of which are socially/ culturally encoded).
Our tendency to over-apologize may be attributable to a confidence gap exhibited by women, even amazing powerful women. The overuse of “sorry” can- and often is- seen as a sign of weakness. We need to hold each other accountable for the abuse of this poor little word, giving each other a friendly nudge when we catch each other (or ourselves!) apologizing for those things we can’t control, and apologizing for things that really don’t merit it.
This piece from Medium captures the author’s quest to decrease her inappropriate apologies over the coming month. I particularly like her friend’s comment about only apologizing if he acts in a way that is inconsistent with his values.
I’m obviously not advocating for complete abandonment of common courtesy; I was raised south of I-40 and my Daddy was in the Marines, meaning manners are paramount in my world. What I am challenging each of you and myself to do is to be authentic, to state our intention rather than taking the easy, “I’m sorry” route, and to only apologize when we really mean it.
I’ll count my abuse of the word “sorry” tomorrow and report back. I hope you’ll do the same.
And do NOT apologize for saying no. Ever.