{flickr photo by Craig Murphy}

I am. And I’m betting most women are. In fact, a study found that women apologize more than men do. Why? Men have a higher tolerance for what they perceive is worthy of an apology. Women who want to instill harmony in their relationships are more sensitive to transgressions, and more apt to feel like victims of wrongdoing.

The Bad Thing About Over-Apologizing

The thing about saying, “I’m sorry” is that it becomes habitual. Some of us do it as a courtesy, a polite remark. Others say it because they genuinely feel bad for something they’ve done. It can also be an afterthought, an easy statement to appease it’s recipients: “I’m sorry for not blogging, for my last inadequate post, for snubbing you, for what I wore today, for not working hard enough, for breathing.”

As women we’re taught to apologize, to appear polite, to sweep up the dust under the rug so no one sees it. But when does saying, “I’m sorry” become too much?

After the tenth time apologizing for a transgression (maybe you’re constantly late or you continually offend a friend), your apology may become watered down. Maybe it’s a sign you need to delve in deep and figure out why you’re really doing what you’re doing.

What Apologizing Could Really Be Hiding

You’re always late for a class or a meeting. Why? There’s a part of you that just doesn’t want to be there. It could be a sign you’re avoiding addressing an issue because it’s uncomfortable. Instead of just relinquishing a commitment, it feels easier to apologize for being late or unavailable.

If you find yourself continuously apologizing to a friend or your partner, you probably feel pretty resentful inside. Maybe you do it because you don’t know any other way to communicate. Maybe you’re afraid to open up and express how you really feel. It feels a lot easier to pacify an angry person then it is to figure out if you should be in this relationship in the first place.

Apologizing can heal a relationship, but it can also be a temporary band-aid. The key is to figure out what role it serves in your relationships. Are you apologizing because you feel less than, to temper a difficult person or issue or are you doing it because you are sincerely sorry for what you have done?


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