When you say ‘sorry’ as often as you say ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye’ or ‘thank you’ the word is meaningless.
In BuzzFeedYellow’s new video, “All The Times I Didn’t Need to Say Sorry,” we see this in action, as the video follows a woman apologizing multiple times throughout the day. As she makes a mistake using the ATM, she says she’s sorry (to the machine!). When she raises her hand in a meeting to make a point, she says it again. Then, when her friend remarks that she doesn’t need to apologize, she apologizes for saying sorry. The video, wittingly illustrates the absurd habit of ‘redundant’ apologies.
Usually, when people say that they’re sorry, they are apologizing for harming a person physically or emotionally. If you’re Donald Trump, maybe you need to say it more often, but otherwise, saying sorry as often as your next breath reduces the significance of the word. For example, when someone apologizes for not putting on makeup or wearing sweatpants, I start to wonder why they apologized in the first place. After all, deciding what cosmetics to apply or clothes to wear are personal decisions. Be unapologetically confident in yourself. Don’t apologize for not wearing makeup or dressing down; you’ve done nothing wrong.
You may ask: How do I know if I’ve harmed someone? Usually, you can look for verbal or nonverbal cues to understand if your actions have hurt someone. If they don’t say “ouch,” perhaps their face will scream, “I strongly dislike you at the moment.” When you discover that you’ve hurt someone, make sure that you don’t just say “I’m sorry,” also acknowledge what you’ve done, the impact of your actions and hold yourself accountable. Some people hold themselves accountable by saying, “I’ll never (insert your offense here) again.”
However, for the socially anxious or awkward, it can be hard to identify their offense and recognize when they should apologize. Some people in these groups may believe that people are judging them. As a result, they may constantly apologize for what they do. If this is you, I’m letting you know that you are fine. Don’t apologize for your presence or your existence.