Recently a dear friend of mine sent me an article about words to avoid in an email, as working women. Turns out I was guilty of writing all of the things they tell you NOT to write. http://www.vogue.com/13362056/things-working-women-should-never-email/
And it really got me thinking…How many times have I heard women apologizing for things that require no apology. Or more specifically using the word “sorry” unnecessarily.
I remember playing soccer as a teenager and hearing all over the soccer field, “Sorry, oh sorry, sorry, you ok, sorry.” The parents even commented about how the girls were “so nice.” But we weren’t. There were some really mean girls on my team. No SERIOUSLY. So why were we apologizing? When did that become an expectation or a norm? When did we think we had to apologize for taking up space in the world? I’m not sure. But I also don’t think this is doing women any favors.
Now as an adult, it’s a real struggle for me to NOT apologize in every email or conversation. I have to be super conscious of it and stop myself, and ask if the interaction actually requires a “sorry” before saying or writing it. I’m curious how my face must look as I almost spit out the word “sorry”, and then quickly bring it back in and regroup. Quite honestly, I’d rather have a weird look on my face, than diminish my personal power by apologizing for no reason.
I realize there are some men who fall into this category as well. But primarily if you start to listen for it, women can’t stop. But we need to. For so many reasons. None the least of them being we aren’t saying what we actually MEAN. If we expect to be taken seriously, we must stop apologizing prior to asking for what we need!
“I’m sorry but would you mind…”
“I’m sorry do you have a second…”
“Sorry, can I just get by….”
It’s everywhere and it’s going to be a struggle to remove it from your every day vernacular. That, I can promise you. So maybe start by just noticing when you say it. Then ask yourself if an apology is necessary in that situation? Start slow and do NOT beat yourself up for saying it. Be kind with yourself, this is going to take some practice.
The good news is that when you start removing the word from where it doesn’t belong, you will start to be received differently. You words will have more weight for you and for others.
You’ve got this.
Take care of YOU.