From the Editor
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.
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!