There was an article I read a while ago that changed my approach to work and life. It was about not saying “sorry.”
Sorry, in my opinion, was always a throwaway word with little to no meaning. We are usually forced to say it at a young and as we grow older we’re expected that by saying it it’s supposed to grant us some level of exoneration from whatever it is we’re apologizing for. So I decided to try an experiment. I was not going to say “I’m sorry” in 2015.
Originally I was going to hold off on this post until later in the year but since we’re just past the 6-month mark I figured it was a good time to write about it…plus I needed another idea for my 30 day challenge.
I’m Not Sorry
There are many things that are out of our control and many of those things are to be expected. Late trains and traffic, meetings that run over, research that takes longer than expected, the list goes on. Saying “I’m sorry” in many of those instances serves as a catalyst in admitting that you were wrong when in fact things were out of your control.
The article I read mentioned that apologizing offered up “a transfer of power from the offender to the victim.” That resonated with me. Was I really truly sorry about the things I was apologizing for or was I cheapening the word but using it so frequently?
Alternatives to Saying Sorry
Sometimes a solid heartfelt “I’m sorry” is in order but when it’s not there are other alternatives I have been using that work just as well if not better.
- Excuse me or Pardon me
- This can come in handy if a call runs over its allotted time causing you to be later for the next appointment. “Please excuse the lateness, I had a call that ran over.
- Acknowledging the reason why
- If you’re late due to traffic or train delays, mentioning why in lieu of apologizing will help get the point across. “How frustrating is it that there is always traffic on the,” “Isn’t it maddening that those trains are always late?”
Having been practicing this for the past six months I have noticed that people are not as upset if I am delayed getting to a call or meeting. Things come up and most everyone expects that to some degree.
I hope this exercise will help to shape your approach to work and life and realize that you don’t have to be sorry all the time.