We seem to be the most apologetic of the sexes, but why women really apologize so much goes so much deeper than those two simple words.
The other day a friend of mine stopped over for a much needed coffee break. We had both finished dropping our kids off at school. We hadn’t showered or put make up on but for a moment we could just breathe.
And then it began.
“I’m sorry I forgot to grab the coffee you like.”
“I can’t believe the kids left that pile of clothes there.”
Say huh? What were all these apologies for? This was my friend…someone just like me. Had we gone to her house and it been in disarray I wouldn’t have batted an eye. Was I in some way hurting my friend by not vacuuming my floors?
Well of course not. And yet, as women in society, we have this irrepressible urge to apologize for circumstances well beyond our control.
A University Of Waterloo study in 2010 revealed not so much that women apologize more than men but that we feel we have more wrongdoings for which we SHOULD apologize for. It showed that men were not being negligent or careless…only that they weren’t so afraid they had offended another person, therefore an apology was not necessary.
You can read the full article here: http://www.livescience.com/8698-study-reveals-women-apologize.html
I think part of this feeling comes from the need to please. As women we so badly want others to like us, we are terrified of saying or doing something that might be taken negatively.
My one good friend and I are just alike. We will have a regular conversation where NOTHING wrong has been said…but we part ways and replay these conversations back and inevitably one of us ends up calling the other one to explain/discuss further something we had said. We are so afraid of hurting each other that we worry about NOTHING. NOTHING people! It’s insanity.
And what I’ve noticed is that this is a self perpetuating cycle – the more I say I’m sorry, the more I worry I should apologize when I know in my heart I’ve done nothing wrong.
And guess who’s watching me? And you? Our children…
The Real Problem With Women Always Saying I’m Sorry
Lately, especially with my 8 year old Hannah, I’ve heard her apologize because she missed a problem in math, because she didn’t like the shirt I had chosen for her, and because she fell outside while riding her bike!
We obviously want our children to have good manners but could it be we are encouraging them to unnecessarily apologize for things they don’t have to be sorry for?
Shouldn’t we be empowering them to stand by their choices and yes, even their mistakes. Because there is learning and growth to be found everywhere.
But I feel certain it won’t be found at the bottom of a jar of empty sorry’s.
For me, I’m going to start asking myself these 2 simple questions before I blurt out “I’m Sorry.”
- Did I truly do something wrong?
- Are someone’s feelings hurt?
If I answer yes to EITHER of these, then yes, an apology is likely warranted. But if not, I may just take whatever immeasurable, invisible offenses I’ve created in my head and own the person I am. Because more often than not, I’m not all that bad!
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