Why You Should Stop Apologizing For Everything
In the aftermath of Juno, some meteorologists took to Twitter to say sorry for predicting a bigger, badder storm than what actually hit most of the Northeast (the Massachusetts coast did, in, fact get clobbered). One particularly prolific apologizer, Gary Szatkowski of the National Weather Service, tweeted repeatedly about his remorse, including: "My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public."
Kate Bilo of CBS3 in Philly called herself a dunce, and quipped in 57 characters: "This is about the part where I rendezvous with a sleeve of thin mints."
C'mon weather folks, stop beating yourself up! Nobody blames youâ€”well, some blame the politicians like Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York for listening to you. Mother nature is, after all, predictably hard to predict. So why the rush to say, "I'm sorry" for things beyond our control?
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I know in the past week I've apologized for my train being late (like I was driving it), finding the water at the hair salon too hot (I'm so picky about second-degree burns), and being hit by the door someone else flung open (how dare I be in the way?). What gives?
"Women, in particular, over-apologize as a way to avoid conflict and to foster peace and harmony," says Aimee Cohen, author of Woman Up! Overcome the 7 Deadly Sins that Sabotage Your Success ($15, amazon.com). "We impulsively blurt out 'Iâ€™m sorry' even when we havenâ€™t done anything wrong. Weâ€™re taught to be well-mannered and learn early on that itâ€™s not polite to make others feel uncomfortable."
While everyone appreciates a friend or partner who is able to shoulder some blame, you probably want to go easy on the "I screwed up's" at work. "Excessive apologizing is perceived as a sign of weakness, a lack of confidence and competence, and an inability to lead and make difficult decisions," notes Cohen, who is also a career coach. "Reserve your apologies for truly offensive behavior and egregious errors.â€