A blog about leadership and confidence.

by Lisa Hinz     •      Leadership Development

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Quit Over-Apologizing

Quit Apologizing and Do This Instead

How many times do you start a sentence with an apology? Or hear someone else do it?

Instead of saying, "I'm sorry" say, "Thank you" instead.

Studies have shown that women tend to apologize more frequently than men, and that can reinforce gender stereotypes about women being more apologetic and less assertive.

Over apologizing, while well-intentioned, can have several disadvantages.

- When apologies are overused, they can lose their sincerity and impact.

- Constantly apologizing can undermine your confidence and self-esteem.

- Over apologizing can reinforce negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy.

- Over apologizing can strain relationships by creating unnecessary tension or discomfort.

- Over apologizing can normalize mistakes or shortcomings that may not warrant an apology.

- It can give the impression that you lack conviction in your abilities, which can weaken your position in negotiations or discussions.

- It can give the impression that you're not in control or don't have the confidence to stand by your decisions.

Why "thank you"?

Because gratitude not only acknowledges the actions of others but also uplifts both the giver and the receiver.

Rather than dwelling on what went wrong, we focus on the positive actions and intentions behind them.

Apologizing often places the focus on faults and mistakes. In contrast, expressing gratitude shifts the perspective towards acknowledging the good in a situation, fostering a more positive mindset.

Here are some examples:

Instead of saying: "I'm sorry I'm always bouncing ideas off of you."
Simply say, "I appreciate you being my sounding board."

Instead of saying: "Sorry for taking up all of your time."
Simply say, "Thank you for spending time with me."

Instead of saying: "I'm sorry for talking about all of these challenges."
Simply say, "Thank you for listening."

If you step on my foot, yes, saying "I'm sorry" is a natural and fitting response.

Speaking up in a meeting, saying "I'm sorry" is not a natural and fitting response.

You deserve to speak up just like anyone else in the room.

Lisa Hinz Writing

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