Do You Say Sorry Too Much?

I apologise all the time.

I apologise at work. For being late, for being early, for having opinions, not having opinions, for leaning in, for leaning out, for saying no and asking for help.

I apologise to my husband. For being tired, for being cranky, for going to bed early, for taking a break, for meeting friends, for not being perfect, for the baby weight I put on, for the baby weight I still haven’t lost, for not being superwoman (please note he thinks I am great just as I am)

I apologise to my children. For being tired, for being cranky, for not being with them all day, for not having 15 varieties of food available, for not reading their minds, for not being super mom

I apologize to society. For not being the picture-perfect wife, mother, friend, and businesswoman with an Instagram account full of picture-perfect moments to prove it.

And worst of all, I apologize for things that have nothing to do with me. I apologise when someone else is wrong, someone else is disappointed or when someone else behaves like a total jackass.

I asked you last week if you too over-apologise and 92 % of you came back and said much to your frustration you say sorry excessively, habitually, and constantly.  Some of you even shared with me that your children are now over apologising too.

Why do we say sorry so much?

The list of reasons is endless. We are trying to be nice, trying to appease and desperately trying to avoid conflict.  We are lacking confidence; we want to be liked or we are simply trying to fill the gaps. We say sorry to be polite, to keep the peace and to sound sincere.  We say sorry because we have always done it and have no idea how to stop. We say sorry because it’s easier, we would rather take the blame and move on as quickly as possible. We say sorry because we are human and according to some because we are Irish!

You will not be surprised to hear from a communication point of view it’s not good to over -apologise. Apologising too much whether out of habit or doubt shows a lack of confidence and very much undermines what you are trying to say. It is considered weak language right up there with Um, maybe and basically

How do we stop over-apologizing?


Gently start to notice when, why, and with whom you over-apologizing. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings at the time. Are you feeling anxious or afraid or inadequate in that moment?

Is an apology necessary

 Did you do something wrong? How bad was it? Are you taking responsibility for someone else’s mistake?  If you often think you’re to blame, check out your belief with a trusted friend and make sure you’re not expecting too much of yourself.

Sorry not sorry

Instead of saying I’m sorry, try another phrase. Depending on the situation, you might try:

  • Thank you – Thanks for your patience.
  • Unfortunately – Unfortunately, this isn’t what I ordered. I asked for no sauce
  • Excuse me – Excuse me, I need to get around you.

Or try saying nothing. Silence can be overwhelming at first but practise sitting with it instead of trying to fill it.

For many of us, over-apologizing is a bad habit. And like any habit, it takes effort and practice to undo and replace it with a new behaviour.  Don’t be discouraged and go easy on yourself. Remember you’re only human and maybe even Irish!



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