Why Women Need to Stop Saying “I’m Sorry”
walking towards someone and you both step to the same side to try to get out of each other’s way: “oops, i’m sorry!”
squeezing past someone on the airplane as you try to make your way to bathroom: “sorry.”
sending your food back at a restaurant because they got the order wrong: “i’m so sorry to do this but…”
speaking at the same time as someone in a meeting: “oops, i’m sorry, you go ahead!”
you are trying to make your way through a crowded room: “sorry, just trying to get through, i’m so sorry, ack – sorry!”
do the above scenarios sound familiar? i have done all of them at some point in my own life. we, especially as women, apologize when we don’t need to. none of the above examples require an apology.
saying the words “i’m sorry” should happen when you have done something wrong which has hurt someone. it is used to acknowledge an offense or failure.
we should not be apologizing when someone else gets our order wrong. we should not be apologizing for taking up space. we should not be apologizing for existing.
i distinctly remember talking to a friend (hi lisa!) a few years back and she said one of the most influential things that a woman in her life told her was to stop saying “i’m sorry” when you trying to get through a crowd and instead say “excuse me.”
i have started implementing the “excuse me” statement instead of “i’m sorry.” before this was brought to my attention, i did not realize how often i gave an apology for merely navigating the world. doing this has also allowed me to be more observant as to how often people, especially women, apologize when it’s unnecessary.
our words carry immense value with them so i encourage you to look at how often you are saying “i’m sorry” and if it is an appropriate use. we don’t need to be apologizing for navigating the world and side-stepping someone unless you crash into them. also by incorrectly using “i’m sorry” we are devaluing the powerful words for when we do need to actually apologize to someone.
just the other day, my husband and i were waiting for the elevator in our apartment building. another woman got on and pressed the third floor button – a few floors below ours. when we approached the third floor and as she was waiting for the elevator doors to open, she half looked at us and said “sorry” before she exited.
she basically apologized for living a few floors below us and making us “wait” (like 5 seconds) while she made her way home. WHAT! it all happened too quickly to do anything other than have a weird look on my face but if this happens again, i plan to say in a friendly tone “no need to apologize for living on the third floor!”
like i mentioned, i am guilty of this too but ladies we have to stop apologizing for taking up space or time or really anything that does not cause harm/offense to someone. this is why women need to stop saying “i’m sorry” and transition to “excuse me” or something more accurate. i encourage you to start paying more attention to how you personally interact with these words. let’s hold one another accountable because we do not need to be sorry for interacting with the world, unless of course you step on someone’s foot while doing so, then say you are sorry.
have you noticed this in your own life or have witnessed similar situations?