Why We Should Stop Apologizing—and Say “Thank You” Instead
Unlike going to the gym, or setting your alarm an hour earlier, or drinking a green juice every morning, one of the biggest—and most important—things you can change in the New Year is so simple it probably hasn’t even crossed your mind. Well, unless you saw it all over Twitter yesterday. #ThingsIWontApologizeFor is more than an excuse to clap back at haters. If “sorry” has crept its way into your daily convos, especially in response to anything you shouldn’t feel sorry for, then you’re probably like most of the female population.
Do you find yourself saying sorry when the other person has done nothing to deserve it? Making excuses for things that you're perfectly entitled to? Defending decisions that are totally valid? Then you’re an over-apologizer and it's gotta stop. But don't apologize. This is society's fault, not yours.
Saying “sorry” when you have nothing to feel bad about is an all too common trait, especially if you’re not a dude. “Women know they have to be likable to get ahead. Apologizing is one way to make yourself more accessible and less threatening,” says Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl. “Apologizing is one way of being deemed more likable.” It’s easy to assume that people will appreciate the apologies—It’s polite! It’s humble! More people will like you! In reality, though, you’re only setting yourself back.
Just ask high schooler Reilly Brady, who told us, “I am officially naming 2017 as: The Year of Being Unapologetically Me!” (A motto we’ll be borrowing for ourselves, and you can/should too.) Once she realized she was using “sorry” as a crutch, she decided she needed to say it less. Easier said than done. “I personally say sorry way too much, even when it is not my fault,” she explained. “I despise it more than anything else, and it has become such a bad habit. I am tired of apologizing for who I am.”
Here’s a place to start: Rather than apologizing, replace all your sorry’s with thank you’s. Instead of “Sorry I was late and am once again the worst,” say, “Hey, thanks for waiting for me.” Substitute “Sorry for talking incessantly” with “Thank you for always listening to me.” As Reilly put it, “You are you for a reason, and it is nothing to apologize for.” Another reader, Jacinthe Lau, agreed: “It will not only improve your relationships with other people, but will also help you to have a more positive perspective with yourself and others around you.” Which, let’s be honest, is something we all want. And there’s no better time to do it than right now.
Of course, there are things that do deserve apologies (just ask Justin Bieber!). But make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.