When I bump into someone, I say, “I’m sorry.” Even if that someone was technically the real bumper.
If I interrupt a blowhard in one of my meetings, I apologize. Even though that blowhard was probably due for an interruption, I still can’t help but say, “I’m sorry.”
(P.S. If you’re reading this and we work together, I’m sorry. I’m obviously talking about a different blowhard. You’re not a blowhard. You’re awesome. High five.)
When exiting a crowded elevator, I usually find myself pushing and squeezing past a bunch of morons who could have easily stepped out to make way for me. Still, I am the one mumbling, “Excuse me. Sorry. So sorry. Excuse me. Sorry. Thank you. Sorry. I’m sorry.”
Anyway, I’ve heard a lot of strong, powerful women speak about this topic. They want us to stop saying “I’m sorry!” They want us to stop apologizing for who we are, what we say and what we want. And I totally agree. 98%.
Because here’s what’s up. I’m ok with being sorry. I don’t feel one tiny bit smaller or inferior or embarrassed or unimportant when I say it. For me, apologizing is just a nice thing to do. And if the other person replies, “Don’t be sorry.” then cool. We’re good. Moving on.
In fact, sometimes I wish more people would say, “I’m sorry.” I can think of a few people who could really benefit from those three little syllables.
I guess my point is this. If you’re being abused or threatened or you’re the victim of someone else’s mean-spirited dickness, then I stand with the strong, powerful women and say “Stop apologizing. You did nothing wrong.” But if the driver behind you hits your car and you jump out saying, “Ugh, sorry.” who the hell cares? All you did was dissolve the possibility of a fight. Nice job!
So, yeah. I’ll be teaching my daughter to say “I’m sorry.” And if you’ve ever met my daughter, I think we can all agree, apologizing isn’t going to turn her into an unassertive wallflower.