Women tend to apologize more frequently than men, a study in Psychological Science shows. Whether it’s in lieu of an “excuse me” or something we deem more of an offense than men, it’s a subtle, self-defeating habit.
To see if I could stop pardoning myself so much, I kept track of my apologies to family, strangers, and anyone else for a month (excluding the times I genuinely messed up and owed someone an apology).
1. Being sleepy
2. Writing a long email
3. Asking a question
4. Fishing change out of my wallet
5. Someone holding the door open for me
6. Being told where to swipe a credit card
7. Having to pee
8. Being bumped into
9. My grumbling stomach
10. A spill in the fridge
11. Ordering a drink
12. Being under the influence
13. After taking a sip of soda and making that satisfied “ahh” sound
14. Not getting back to someone right away
15. Taking the elevator one floor
16. Petting someone’s dog
17. Stepping over someone’s foot
18. Opening the door at the same time as someone else on the other side
19. Being extremely excited
20. Not following someone on Twitter I didn’t want to follow
21. Canceling plans in advance
22. Asking to change the music on a road trip
23. Squeezing past someone who’s blocking an aisle and won’t move
24. Not being able to afford a personal chef
25. For my bathroom’s temperature in the summer
26. Walking into a freshly cleaned room
27. Texting a lot
28. Not texting enough
29. Texting late
30. My phone dying
31. For apologizing
The exercise worked: After writing down every instance in my phone’s notepad — accompanied with mental forehead slap — I felt my brain halt the words before they reached my mouth. I’d either omit them entirely or say “excuse me” instead.
You can try boosting your confidence with the exercise if you feel you apologize too much too. Or add yours below, if you feel inclined!
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