Women are serial apologizers — we want to diminish any problems that might arise, even if we’re not responsible for them.
So we blurt out an apology to anyone who might be upset. According to a study published in Psychological Science, women are more likely to apologize frequently and to perceive more potential offenses.
The women who participated in the study reported that they not only apologized more than men, but also committed more offenses. This behavior suggested that women have a “higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” the study authors said.
Next, the men and women in the study rated offenses based on whether an apology was deserved and on apology behavior. Men rated offenses less severe than the women did.
Even science backs up the theory that women apologize more. So how do we stop apologizing for unnecessary “offenses?” While women try to be nicer to be more attractive, a line has to be drawn at some point. Here’s how to do just that:
Make a Conscious Effort to Communicate Better
Throw “sorry” in the trash for a week to see how you can become a better version of yourself. While you don’t have to become aggressive or meaner, taking sorry out of your speech can mean finding better ways to say things you’ve always apologized for.
Replace “Sorry” with “Excuse Me”
Apologies seem to be the most organic when you’re in someone’s way. Instead of apologizing for your basic existence, replace the S-word with “excuse me.” That’s most likely what you’ve always meant anyways.
Remove “Sorry” From Your Cannon Fodder Lineup
Sorry can fill a great awkward silence, make up for a lapse in thought, or just slide out when you have nothing else to say. Instead of filling the silences with an apology, wait them out. You’ll probably have better conversations as you challenge yourself to speak on topics that interest your friends.
Don’t Apologize to Cover Embarrassment
If you find yourself already turning shades of pink from a blunder, odds are, those around you know that you know you messed up. If you followed that line of logic, you’ll also know that apologizing for being embarrassed doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’ll do wonders in making you feel worse. So save the sorry, and just let the pink fade.
Understand That Some Apologies Are Necessary
Some situations do require an apology. If you hurt someone’s feelings, you’re unintentionally rude, or you do something offensive, you should probably apologize.
The best policy when it comes to slinging around the sorries is to take inventory. Ask yourself if a sorry is really necessary, and if it is, don’t feel bad for apologizing. If the situation doesn’t call for it, but you’re just unsure of what to say, try steering the conversation somewhere else.
You’ll feel better in the end.
Tori Linville is a freelance writer and editor from Clarksville, Tennessee. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s faithfully watching her alma mater, the University of Alabama, dominate the football field.