Over-apologizing at work is a plague among our core demographic of readers (young people, women, judgmental introverts).
If you’re anything like me, you were raised to apologize way too often. I grew up in the American Midwest, Land of the Rising Ope. Socially, we value politeness above all else (corn subsidies and casseroles excluded, obviously). I never thought critically about how much I was apologizing. Until, without realizing it, “sorry” became my default response to every conceivable situation, whether positive, negative, or neutral.
- Me, when I’m five minutes late: “Ope, sorry!”
- Also me, but when I’m five minutes early: “Ope, sorry!”
- And me when I’m exactly on time: (Okay, this has never happened to me even once in my life. But if it did, I would absolutely apologize for setting incorrect expectations of future punctuality.)
This habit was especially noticeable at work. For years, I unconsciously gravitated towards soft, supple, accommodating language in every communication I sent, lest my coworkers find me bitchy and unlikable. It was tedious, but I truly thought I was being a polite, flexible communicator.
In reality, I was sabotaging myself.
Now that I’ve recategorized “being bitchy and unlikable” from fears to goals, I have embraced a more authentic communication style. And that’s allowed me to express myself more easily and effectively than I ever thought possible.Read More