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Are you constantly saying “sorry” in your conversations with others? For example, do you find yourself saying things like, “Gosh, I’m so sorry about the bad weather we’re having!” or opening up your sentences with, “I’m sorry to bother you, but can I ask you a question?”
You may have “Sorry Syndrome.” What is Sorry Syndrome? It’s the compulsion to apologize for things incessantly, even for things outside of our control or for actions we do not believe to be wrong — and the topic for this week’s episode of Belle Curve Podcast.
Here are a few signs you might be afflicted by Sorry Syndrome, according to a few articles listed below:
- You apologize for things you have no control over
- You apologize for someone else’s actions
- You apologize for normal, everyday interactions (e.g. scooting past someone who is seated on your row in a movie theater or airplane)
- You apologize to inanimate objects
- You apologize for things you don’t think are wrong
- You apologize when you’re trying to be assertive
Language matters. When we over-use apologies, we weaken our communication and diminish ourselves. Not only do real apologies ring hollow when we are constantly apologizing, we also create an interior landscape marked by feelings of not being worthy to have our beliefs, requests, and general statements stand on their own merit.
Instead of saying sorry flippantly, a good way to analyze if an apology is necessary or helpful is to ask yourself, “Do I need to ask for forgiveness?” “Did I do something that legitimately meets the following criteria?
When to Ask for Forgiveness
- When you’ve harmed someone
- When you’ve offended, disappointed, or hurt a person’s feelings
- When YOU regret your behavior (not when someone else doesn’t like your behavior but you stand by it)
- When you make a mistake and your mistake affects others.
- To end disputes and leave behind old grudges
- When you need to ask yourself for forgiveness. All of us make mistakes.
Too many of us have become used to inserting “sorry” into our language as frequently as we use verbal pauses such as “Um”. Listen to yourself this week and take note — how often are you apologizing? How many of those apologies were unnecessary? Start holding your tongue when you feel the urge to apologize. Not only will others respect you more — you will respect yourself more.
Would you or your team benefit from expert communication coaching? Our ICF-certified master coaches have worked with clients ranging from Olympic athletes to Fortune 500 CEOs to many to corporate professionals, small business owners, and beyond to help them break through perceived limitations that are keeping them from reaching their potential. Learn more about our executive coaching services and contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
- Exploring Your Mind: Are you Apologizing Too Much?
- Psychology Today: When “I’m Sorry” is too Much
- Positive Prescription: Do You Apologize for the Rain?
- The National Law Review: You Had Me at “I’m Sorry”: The Impact of Physicians’ Apologies on Medical Malpractice Litigation
- HigherEchelon, Inc. is a consulting firm providing Human Capital Services including executive coaching and training in leadership, resilience, adaptability, applied high performance, change management, and a range of mental, emotional, and psychological skillsets meant to optimize organizational performance. The organization also provides a range of technology services such as Salesforce Implementations and Consulting, Enterprise Technology solutions, Gaming and Simulation services, and Cyber and Engineering Services.
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Belle Curve Podcast is sponsored by HigherEchelon, Inc. and co-hosted by Mary Scott Hunter, Liz BeShears, and HigherEchelon Director of Marketing & Communications Rachel Bryars.