Sorry Not Sorry

by Emma Robson

If I had a catch phrase, it would be an apology. I apologize for everything. When someone backed into my car in a parking lot, I said sorry for being behind him. One time, I dropped a yogurt in the grocery store and apologized so profusely that a woman I had never met told me to stop. Naturally, I told her I was sorry.

I know I’m not the only one who does this. I constantly hear women apologize for silly things. We are sorry for sending food back in restaurants, sorry for being walked into by someone who was texting, sorry for doing better than a classmate on a test. But what good is sorry? Why do we try to redeem ourselves for things we haven’t done wrong?

There are certain things that require an apology: hurting a friend, showing up twenty minutes late, or forgetting your mom’s birthday. And then there are things that don’t require an apology: taking up half of the sidewalk (they’re made for two people!), having an unpopular opinion (you don’t have to agree to be respectful!), taking someone’s time to ask a genuine question (your time matters just as much!). When we apologize for something that isn’t wrong, we are sacrificing our own strength.  

So how do we stop? It’s hard to quit something that is so habitual it has practically become an instinct, but here are some tips:

Stop typing the s-word: Next time you want to start an email or a text with “Sorry to bother you, but,” think twice. You should not feel bad about asking a question or raising a concern.

Rely on your girl gang: I have recently made a pact with all of my friends promising to call each other out. Friends don’t let friends make stupid apologies, right?

Catch yourself: If you hear yourself saying it, it’s totally okay to say “Actually, I have no reason to apologize.” Other people will admire your self-respect and general badassness.

So here’s the truth: the apology plague is much too common in women. When we say sorry for nothing, we contribute to the discrimination we claim to be fighting. We delegitimize our opinions and accomplishments. We make ourselves look small, insecure, and weak. We can’t empower other women without empowering ourselves, and saying stupid sorries only brings us down.

Now here’s the dare: stop apologizing!! Remember that you deserve respect, especially from yourself. Your opinions are valid. Your time is valuable. You should not discredit your words or actions by apologizing for them. Sorry not sorry.

Emma RobsonComment