Have you noticed how often women say “I’m sorry?” There are lots of studies that prove they do and multiple opinions as to why women do it. My sister Chris and I noticed we apologize so much, we turned it into a routine: “Sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry I exist.”
Inside Amy Schumer’s sketch about the common tendency of women to apologize frequently and unnecessarily is funny—sort of—but mostly uncomfortable to watch because it rings so true. I tried to find a working link for the three-minute video for you but I couldn’t download one (sorry). You can read a description of the sketch here.
One positive explanation for why women apologize so much is that we are more sensitive to what offensive behavior, though that doesn’t explain why we apologize for the inoffensive. For many women, “sorry” is as common a verbal tic as “you know.” Just listen to conversations around you or—better yet—pay attention to how many times a day you apologize. It will happen more often than you imagine.
A necessary, heartfelt apology is a very good thing, though some consider them signs of weakness. In researching the subject, I found articles advising women not to apologize at work because it will diminish their authority. One article quoted Bill Clinton, apparently a master of the art of apologizing without saying “I’m sorry.” Yes, it is inappropriate and even sad to overdo apologies. But those who make it a point never to apologize? I feel sorry for them.
*Photo by Junior Mascari via Unsplash