Now, I’m not talking about a genuine apology after you’ve made a mistake. I’m talking about the times you say “I’m sorry” when you haven’t done anything at all. According to Linda Sapadin, author of Master Your Fears: How to Triumph Over Your Worries and Get On with Your Life, phrases like “I’m sorry you don’t feel well” undermine self-confidence, hurt relationships, and cost you the respect of family and friends. Here’s the scoop.
- People who say “I’m sorry” to avoid saying how they really feel may think they’re making peace, but they’re really causing trouble. Saying, “I’m sorry this place is such a mess” may sound better than “I’d like more help around the house,” but it actually sends the message that you’re the one responsible for doing all the chores.
- The 2nd reason people apologize when they shouldn’t? They think they’re being polite. If you can’t hear someone, do you say, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you?” If you do - you’re chipping away at your self-esteem. Instead try, “Could you speak more loudly, please?” And simply substituting a phrase like “excuse me” for “I’m sorry” will make you feel more confident.
- Saying “I’m sorry” more than once for the same error sends the message that you’re not someone people can count on. So try replacing, “I’m sorry” with “I made a mistake.” It’s a subtle difference - but you’ll come across as more reliable. Want to go further? Check out Master Your Fears: How to Triumph Over Your Worries and Get On with Your Life by Linda Sapadin.