From the Edi­tor

Cosmopolitan (India) - - CONTENTS -

How of­ten do you apol­o­gise? No, not when you’ve effed up, but even when you don’t re­ally mean to say the word and even when it’s some­one else’s fault. I first started think­ing about our ‘I’m sorry’ mind­set when I saw hair­care gi­ant Pantene’s new video, part of their #ShineStrong cam­paign (YouTube it!), which asks a straight-for­ward ques­tion: ‘Why are women al­ways apol­o­gis­ing?’

The video shows one woman apol­o­gis­ing for hav­ing a ques­tion at work (‘Sorry, can I ask a stupid ques­tion?’), and an­other be­cause she needs her hubby to hold their child, and yet an­other be­cause a guy bumped into her (just for the record, the guy didn’t apol­o­gise).

I found my­self nod­ding through the en­tire video. In just the week gone by, I had apol­o­gised to a friend for want­ing my dress back, to a sales­girl for not buy­ing a pair of shoes, to a ta­ble of din­ner mates for look­ing ‘so ter­ri­ble’ (I’d rushed over straight from work), and to an in­ter­view can­di­date for not think­ing she was good enough.

The truth is, women, in gen­eral, are over-apol­o­gis­ers. In one study, it was noted that fe­male par­tic­i­pants apol­o­gised more than their male coun­ter­parts. In a sec­ond, when re­searchers asked how apol­ogy-de­serv­ing a sit­u­a­tion was, the women in the group per­ceived all sit­u­a­tions as more se­ri­ous—and thus more apol­ogy-de­serv­ing—than the guys.

But here’s the thing: ask­ing for for­give­ness when there’s noth­ing to be for­given for can have a big im­pact on how we are per­ceived. Con­stantly be­ing in a sorry state makes us sound de­fen­sive, un­sure, and—most im­por­tantly—un­der-con­fi­dent (AKA, the en­emy of kick­ing a*s). Also, it makes us feel bad! “By tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for things that aren’t your fault, you den­i­grate your self-es­teem,” says Linda Sa­padin, PhD, au­thor of Mas­ter Your Fears.

Bot­tom line: ran­dom sor­ries are so not em­pow­er­ing. And it’s time for a detox. In­stead of apol­o­gis­ing for a 5-minute de­lay, try thank­ing the per­son for their pa­tience in­stead. And if you meant to start a sen­tence with ‘Ex­cuse me...’, say that in­stead of ‘Sorry...’. Feel­ing cranky or un­der the weather? No need for any apols; just don’t say any­thing! “If women can delete the apol­ogy and just go forth with their state­ment, they’ll come across as much more pow­er­ful,” Tonya Reiman, au­thor of The Power Of Body Lan­guage, told ABC News. Start sav­ing your sor­ries, ladies. Un­less you’ve done some­thing aw­ful, of course. In that case, a swift, sin­cere apol­ogy (and a box of red-vel­vet cup­cakes) have been his­tor­i­cally proven to work.

Nan­dini Bhalla, Edi­tor @nan­dinib­halla @cos­moin­dia

Till next month,

PS: On page 92, Cosmo asked 100 guys how of­ten they changed their sheets. 64% said ‘once a month or less’, but one dude’s an­swer truly stood out. “Once a year. Sorry, not sorry,” were his ex­act words. Zero points for clean­li­ness, 100 for not giv­ing a damn!

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