Do you ever find yourself apologizing for speaking up about something? Like apologizing to a waiter if there’s something wrong with your meal, or apologizing for “being a pain” when you have questions you want to ask?
I recently had a miscommunication with my doctor about something, and I could tell she was getting frustrated with me. It was really hard keeping myself from sending a “sorry I’m such a pain, but…” message! I know intellectually that I have nothing to be sorry about. Besides, it’s my body and I can ask all the questions I want about it.
At work I was drafting a presentation based on some information I was given. I was given feedback to include some things I hadn’t known about. This time I only had a mild impulse to apologize (and I didn’t).
I just negotiated something and felt no impulse to apologize for my “demands.” It seems I’m getting better with practice!
I read an article in the New York Times about women who apologize too much – and I’m sure there are many of us who do. To the author, the apologies “sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic.” I suppose if you say sorry in sarcastic way, it could mean that. I see it more as a problem with people pleasing. Don’t rock the boat, don’t upset other people, don’t be a bother.
Why are we so worried about being a bother? Sherry Pagoto said in Psychology Today that People Pleasers have an intense fear of rejection and a fear of failure. There must be a lot of us out there with these fears because I hear a lot of people (mostly women), apologize for things they shouldn’t be apologizing for.
I, for one, will stop apologizing for speaking up for myself. Will you join me?