Episode 23: Show Notes
Today we’re talking about a really important subject, not just for ourselves but also for our children and the example we’re setting for them. In this episode, we discuss over-apologizing; the way in which people say “I’m sorry” when it’s stated reflexively and not as a sincere apology. We chat about the importance of apologizing when you have wronged someone, what apologies are supposed to mean, and why you shouldn’t apologize unless you really mean it. We share our thoughts on how we feel this is something that women struggle with more than men and then we breakdown a number of reasons why you may do this, how it negatively affects the way people treat you, and the challenges of breaking a habit that you may not even be aware of. Tuning in, you’ll find out how to become aware of your own unnecessary apologizing, the different contexts and reasons you may be doing this, and what you could say instead of “I’m sorry.” For all this and more, tune in for this unapologetically candid discussion!
Read Full Article Here:
Key Points From This Episode:
An introduction to today’s topic of over-apologizing and why we should stop.
The importance of apologizing when you have wronged someone.
How, at the risk of stereotyping, the people who have a hard time apologizing tend to be male.
How apologies are supposed to mean that you won’t do it again.
Why you shouldn’t apologize unless you mean it.
Whether or not we’re taking away the meaning of those words by saying them too often.
The many reasons why we might be over-apologizing, starting with a lack of confidence.
How some people apologize when they’re fishing for a compliment or validation.
How over-apologizing affects how people treat you in a negative way.
Why over-apologizing may make you seem less capable and professional in your career.
The challenges of breaking a habit that you’re not aware of.
How apologizing for behavior that doesn’t change becomes a form of gas-lighting.
Thoughts on when not to apologize in a restaurant and what you can say instead.
Apologizing for taking up space and how this has gotten worse since the pandemic.
How an unnecessary “I’m sorry” in a business context can often be replaced with “thank you.”
Why you shouldn’t start a phone call with an apology and what you should say instead.
When Kelly and Megan personally use the words “I’m sorry” unnecessarily.
“I’m sorry” as a statement of sympathy and how this could be an attempt to redirect attention to you.
Homework for the week: to pay closer attention to when you say “I’m sorry” reflexively and to notice how other people respond.
“If you’re one of those people who says “I’m sorry” every conversation for little things then when you really do need to apologize, it might not have the impact that you’re hoping for.” — Kelly Castillo [0:09:48]
“There’s a lot of ways that I think we teach people how to treat us and when we’re constantly apologizing preemptively or without there being anything to apologize for, it kind of gives the other people permission to walk all over us.” — Kelly Castillo [0:16:17]
“‘I’m so sorry to bother you.’ ‘It’s okay.’ What was that for? I’m really not sorry and you really don’t need to be okay with it. It’s just such a waste of time!” — Megan Block [0:34:58]
“We all just need to have more confidence in ourselves, and we all need to have more confidence in the space we’re taking and the time we take of people.” — Megan Block [0:37:57]
“The more confident and whole with ourselves we are, the less apologetic for even the smallest things.” — Megan Block [0:47:16]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to She’s A Full On Monet, a digital lifestyle magazine for women. Every week, our Editor-In-Chief, Kelly Castillo, along with Megan Block and special guests, participate in a deep-dive discussion about recent articles and topics we have covered. We invite you to become part of our community, where everyone’s welcome.
[00:00:27] KC: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us again. I believe we are on Episode 23 if I am right? Episode 23 of a She’s A Full On Monet. I’m your host, Kelly and I have with me here, Megan.
[00:00:39] MB: Hello. Hello. Hello.
[00:00:41] KC: We are going to talk today about something that I think is a really important subject, not just for ourselves, but also as I was just talking off-camera with Megan, about – as an example we’re setting for the children that we are raising or are in their lives. I think this is a particular issue for girls and women more than men, but that’s just been what I’ve observed in my life. Today, we are talking about the over-apologizing that a lot of people do that, the “I’m sorries” all the time and why you might be doing that and things that you can do to maybe make a change, and what you should say instead.
I think this is a good topic. This has been something that – I’ve seen a few people do like TikToks about this, about how they find themselves – once somebody points it out to them, they find themselves realizing how often they say, “I’m sorry” when it’s not necessary or – yeah. I think it’s a really good topic. I think a lot of people will probably really relate to this.
[00:01:42] MB: I agree. Like I was telling you off-camera, my daughter says it a lot. I don’t notice that I say a lot, but she had to have picked it up from somewhere and her father doesn’t say it. Really just out of like, “Well, I’m sorry.” Anyway, I’m interested because maybe we’re more aware when others do it than when we’re doing it ourselves. Then when it’s been pointed out to you, what do you do then? Because it’s almost like, “Okay.” Like you almost want to be like, “Well, I’m sorry. You don’t know.”
[00:02:11] KV: No, don’t say it again. Yeah.
[00:02:12] MB: Don’t say it again, but it’s a good thing to point out because – and a lot of people do it and it’s a good subject to talk about, so I’m excited to hear some tips and to talk about it more because I feel like I need to practice this so that I get it out of my nine-year-old a little bit.
[00:02:28] KC: Yeah. Well, I think first, we should touch on the fact that I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of apologizing. If you mess up, if you hurt someone, if you do something that impacts another person in a negative way, I think you do owe them an apology. To me, I’m really easy to let things go and I really move on from things really fast. I’m not a grudge holder. But I do need the person who “injured me” to say, “Look, I’m sorry. Either it wasn’t intentional or this is what happened,” or whatever, and to have that conversation before I can let it go. Yeah. I want to say, we’re not talking about no apologizing, because I think it’s really important. It’s a great life lesson for everyone when you mess up or are when you have regret for something that you did that you apologize.
[00:03:19] MB: Yeah. No, I totally agree.
[00:03:21] KC: So I think we can all agree that apologizing is an important thing to do now. It seems like – I don’t mean to stereotype, but it seems to, in my lifetime, the folks who have hard time apologizing like with their heart in a meaningful way tend to be male. That’s a stereotype and I’m so sorry. I’m just talking from my own personal life experience.
[00:03:48] MB: You don’t mean every male, but I agree with you. If you’re going to talk to people about it, more people than not are probably going to agree with you. But that certainly doesn’t mean that every man out there has a problem apologizing genuinely. In my world too –
[00:04:02] KC: Right. In your life experience, that’s also the case?
[00:04:07] MB: I’ve almost like accepted it, like I know that if for example, my husband and I were to get into a fight, and we’re getting better at it. I know that I will be the one to apologize for what I did wrong. Like I have no problem when I know I screwed up, like we spoke on genuinely apologizing, because I think that no matter what that other person may or may not have done, I am in control of my own words, actions, etcetera. If I did something that may have affected someone and hurt someone, then I need to make that right. I’ve always been like that.
[00:04:41] KC: When I fell like I’ve messed up or I wasn’t proud of how I reacted something, even if the other person was in the wrong of the event or whatever, if I’m not proud of how I reacted or if I said something I didn’t really mean or even if someone tells me unintentionally, I hurt their feelings, whatever it is, my apologies come in a way where I say, “Look. I’m very sorry that I did this,” whatever the action is, or “said this” or whatever. I’m going to take these following steps to make sure that that doesn’t happen again, because I want you to know like I’m really serious.”
[00:05:14] MB: Because here’s the thing, an apology is not some magic spell that you put on someone to make them forget. Like it’s supposed to mean, “I’m sorry I hurt you and I won’t do this again.” Like who likes apologizing and hear someone apologize for the same thing six times in a row. Like you should also point out how you will not let that happen again. Some people don’t go that far. You pointed out; men have a hard time typically apologizing in a genuine form. There’s a difference between saying the words and saying the words and meaning the words. You can immediately tell when someone is saying it and someone saying it and meaning it.
[00:05:51] KC: Right. I will say that before I did some necessary work on myself when I was younger and someone was upset with my behavior, but I was kind of petty and spiteful, I would say things like, “I’m sorry. You feel that way” or “I’m sorry that you’re hurt.”
[00:06:09] MB: Like we all can’t see right through that or it doesn’t make people more angry and [inaudible 00:06:15].
[00:06:17] KC: I knew that person wanted an apology from me, so I gave half-assed apology.
[00:06:22] MB: Not the words, but not in the way that they were intending you to do. That’s another – that all comes back to like – you shouldn’t apologize unless you genuinely mean it, because anything that you say or do is going to read fake and people are smart. Like my kids know when they’re apologizing to each other that someone is like beating around the bush. Like, “I’m sorry you felt like I took your doll from you meanly.” I’m like, “That is not an apology.” Why bother?
[00:06:53] KC: When my kids used to fight and I would make them apologize to each other and they weren’t sorry at all. They would say things like, “I’m sorry you touched me and I had to punch you.”
[00:07:03] MB: That’s the thing. We all know from day one that it’s just a waste of time to apologize when you don’t genuinely mean it. That sometimes can mean just the person is still angry and they need a minute to reflect, and have some space and realize, “Oh yeah! Like maybe there’s so much in their own head at the moment” especially kids and teenagers. They don’t really realize that they did something wrong quite yet.
[00:07:30] KC: Right. My partner is short-tempered. That’s his nature. It’s something he struggles with. I know a lot of times he’s not proud of his reactions to certain situations. But when I’ve screwed up and done major mistakes in the past and he’s flown of the handle in response, later on, when we’re all calm, we had a conversation about, “I sincerely messed up and I know that. As you can see, I’m working on fixing it, but that doesn’t make that your response is acceptable either.” When you say these things even out of anger, this is how it makes me feel. We work through that, so now he – even though he’s right in the big picture, he can apologize for the reaction.
[00:08:14] MB: Yeah. Because sometimes the other person feels validated in how they react because they are in the right.
[00:08:19] KC: Because you are wrong, yeah.
[00:08:20] MB: Like, “Hmm, still I’m a person who has feelings and you over-stepped” or the things people say can really like cause resentment if you don’t apologize. Like if you don’t apologize right, then they’ll feel like, “Well, did that person mean it?” Then they never go back to fix it. There are some open wounds that never really fully heal. The whole point is like, you should definitely – we’re not talking about never apologizing. We’re talking about saying it out of habit because you just – like when I would say, I would rub my eyes out of – it’s a nervous tick. I mean, are we saying I’m sorry out of a nervous tick, and are we taking away the meaning and the importance of those words when we say too often? Because my daughter, my nine-year-old says it all the time and I’m like, “When are you really, really sorry?” Because like, she’s saying out of nervous tick.
[00:09:12] KC: Yeah. That’s exactly what I was bringing this up, is that, for me, there are certain words that have a lot of meaning behind them, and they’re really important words, and they’re kind of like sacred words. I don’t say – I don’t use the term “loving” for every single – I don’t, “Oh my God, I love that.” I try not to do that because I want when I say I love you to someone that that is like super strong words.
[00:09:34] MB: I say sometimes “My favorite” a lot and my husband points it out. He’s like, “Everything’s your favorite.” I’m like, “Well, yeah.” Like okay. Maybe it’s not my favorite, but I really like it. If you do it a lot, certain words should be used with intention behind it.
[00:09:49] KC: Right. So if you’re one of those people who says “I’m sorry” every conversation for little thing, then when you really do need to apologize, it might not have the impact that you’re hoping for.
[00:09:58] MB: Yeah, even the smallest bit of criticism will – I only use my daughter as an example because I’ve noticed it a lot recently, where I’ll mention something or I’ll l come out of the room and she’ll be walking and she’s like, “I’m sorry.” I’m like, “For walking? It’s okay.” It’s like, almost like she’s saying it out of a nervous habit.
[00:10:18] KC: Like it’s a reflex.
[00:10:19] MB: But I don’t want her to go into the world constantly apologizing. There’s got to be a better word that she needs, like, “Excuse me.” I don’t know. It’s situational, but I noticed that she uses it a lot. I’m just curious where it comes from. Because I genuinely don’t feel like I am that person that does it, but I could be and I’m just not in tune with it. It’s never been pointed out to me though.
[00:10:44] KC: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about some of the reasons why we might be over apologizing. Some people over-apologize and you can usually tell this with that person where it’s a confidence issue. It’s almost like a self–esteem issue. That again, I see more with girls and women, but I’m not trying to stereotype. But you do – I think the, Oh! I’m sorry for this. I’m sorry” when you’re walking the hallway and you’re in the way of someone or it’s like an apologizing for taking up space, which his every person’s human right, right?
[00:11:16] MB: Which is your human right, yeah. We say it out of – or like you’re walking out of a Starbucks and someone’s walking in, “Oh! I’m sorry.” It’s like, there is just a better word for it.
[00:11:27] KC: There’s a better word for it, yeah. Excuse me would be fine.
[00:11:29] MB: Pardon me. Let me hold the door for you. I don’t know.
[00:11:33] KC: Yeah, I don’t know.
[00:11:33] MB: Something, but I’m sorry is not the time for that moment for example.
[00:11:39] KC: Yeah. I know with some people, if the were in a toxic relationship in the past or they had an unhealthy dynamic in their childhood perhaps, maybe they were made to feel at some point in their life small or less worthy of things than other people. I could see how that would lead to an over apologizing problem.
But I think there’s another aspect of this, and I’ve seen it in a few of my girlfriends and I won’t name names, they over-apologize because they’re like fishing for a compliment. I don’t know if they do it subconsciously or not, but they say things like, “Oh! I’m so sorry. I’m always such a scatter brain” or “I’m so sorry. I’m so disorganized.” Then there’s a pause and you know they’re waiting for you to say, “What are you taking about? You have everything together perfectly.”
[00:12:26] MB: Gross!
[00:12:26] KC: Yeah, it’s gross.
[00:12:27] MB: That’s all I think about when I hear that. I’m like – I don’t personally know that does that or if they ever apologize, it’s like, “Well yeah, you are.” My friend does it like sometimes, but it’s genuinely because we’re a hot mess and fun.
[00:12:40] KC: Have you ever walked into someone’s house that it immaculate and they say, “I’m sorry for the mess?”
[00:12:46] MB: Ugh! No, I’ll hate them for that. No, I haven’t – people say that but you look around and you’re like, “Mm-hmm.” I hang out with moms with young kids. No one’s house – the crowd that I – which is a small circle. The circle I hang out with does not have an immaculate house and we won’t for a while. But if they are ever like that, Oh! My mom would be like that. My mom would spend like 30 minutes cleaning and then she immediately apologizes for the place being a mess. My brother and would be looking at each other like, “Well, you didn’t have us problem putting us to work for the last 30 minutes for free, trying to get this place like she would vacuum. It’s because like, maybe she needed people to tell her how amazing her place was? I’m not a thousand percent sure, but I do remember it never being good enough.
[00:13:33] KC: I don’t think it’s malicious necessarily. I think it’s just – maybe based on an insecurity or something, and the validation is what they’re looking for. But I have the same – I know some of the same people will say every time I see them, “Oh, I’m sorry. I look so grubby. I just came from yoga” and they’re full make up and hair. I’m like, “What are you talking about?”
[00:13:52] MB: I feel like maybe they’re also saying that – like they’re used to saying that to their – like they don’t fell like maybe, whatever is being presented in front of then is good as is, and they always need to apologize for what’s in front of them. They could be in the beautiful ball gown having dinner on the table and their husband will come home and she’ll be like, “I’m so sorry. I look like a mess.” It’s like, “You do that to other people because you’re looked to fish for compliments from your partner.” But that’s just a theory. That thing is kind of crazy.
[00:14:23] KC: They’re not getting validation maybe somewhere.
[00:14:26] MB: So out of habit, they search for validation somewhere else. Like if you’re not getting validation for the same reasons when we talked about like that, having an emotional affair. Like sometimes, if you’re not getting validation in your own relationship, you seek outward. So maybe if you’re not getting validated in your relationship by like what surround them, maybe you need someone to tell you your house is amazing or like, your dress is awesome, you’re super organized, whatever. You need someone to do it, because like, you’re aware of it, but it doesn’t matter until someone else says it, right?
[00:14:57] KC: Yeah. Exactly.
[00:14:58] MB: That’s a habit that would annoy out of me. I don’t think I could be friends with people like that.
[00:15:04] KC: Yeah. It’s not endearing for sure.
[00:15:07] MB: Because it’s so – that’s the thing, I’ll come back to it. We all see through this stuff. We all see through when someone’s fishing for a compliment or we all see though when someone’s not genuinely apologizing. Just be genuine, but if you’re doing it because you – maybe when you were a kid, you apologized a lot. Maybe you had to always apologize for things as a kid. So out of a bit, you do it. I don’t know.
[00:15:34] KC: Yeah. I don’t know either. But there’s a lot of reasons why over apologizing can affect your life and can affect how people see you. I mean, I think, when you apologize as almost – you use it almost like a catch phrase and it come out all the time, I think it does have people see you as less confident, and maybe even less capable. Because if you’re constantly apologizing for things that aren’t your fault, have nothing to do with you literally, it’s just whatever it is. You’re taking up space that you’re entitled to. I think people might think that they can place blame on you for things that are not your fault, that you are just less of a confident person, less professional.
There’s a lot of ways that I think we teach people how to treat us and when we’re constantly apologizing preemptively or without there being anything to apologize for, it kind of gives the other people permission to walk all over us unfortunately.
[00:16:32] MB: I agree. No, I think – you don’t feel like that person is fully capable of whatever is being presented in front of them. I mean, from a business standpoint, if you’re always apologizing or being known for that, then you’re not going to – you need that assertiveness and it doesn’t come across that way easily affected one way or another by something if you’re apologizing all the time.
[00:16:54] KC: Yeah. I think especially in a professional environment if you’re at work and your emails are – when someone asked you, “Hey! Am I going to get that report today?” and you respond, “I’m so sorry. I’m working on it right now.” It’s not late. You haven’t past the deadline, but you’re giving the impression that you’re disorganized or you’re late on your assignments. It’s just less capable is what you would come across. I would be very careful. If that’s a habit that you have, I would be very careful, especially in how it’s affecting your work life and your career. Because you want to come across as capable and assertive and professional in your career.
[00:17:35] MB: No one ever wants to like handle someone with super care, walk on eggshells and worry that – because when you hear the words, “I’m sorry,” it does alert the other person that’s hearing it, going like, they do some – like if it’s not in the right environment, you go – your brain almost reviews like the last 30 seconds of like and go like, “Why are they apologizing?” without even thinking about it. If you’re always having to feel that way, it’s like, you’re not going to give that person as much like work responsibility as you might want if you were more assertive and more competent and show more confidence.
[00:18:14] KC: Yeah. That totally makes sense to me. I think, also, you know, if you have a friend or you know someone who’s just constantly – like they walk into the room and they immediately apologize for just existing, it can get annoying. It’s something that – it’s almost like a nervous tick like you said and you definitely want to get a handle on that, because you don’t want to be one of those people that is starting off every interaction kind of negatively. I don’t think it could. It doesn’t add anything to the interaction for sure. We already talked about how it takes power away from the word “I’m sorry.” That’s a powerful word and we want to leave it as a powerful word.
If you accidentally interrupt someone when they’re talking, little things like that, I mean, you could still apologize for it, because yeah, it’s kind of rude behavior. But if it happens constantly, you may want to evaluate. If you’re doing things –
[00:19:06] MB: Find a way to stop the behavior and not apologize for the behavior, and it’s hard to do. I mean like, breaking any bad habit that you’re not fully – not in charge of, but breaking any bad habit that you’re not fully aware of when you’re doing it is hard to do.
[00:19:23] KC: Yeah. Also, I mean, if you do have bad habits like talking over people, interrupting, running late, things like that. The more you apologize for it over and over again without changing any of your behavior, all you’re doing is calling attention to that negative trait and you’re not fixing it. Like every time you meet your girlfriends for lunch, you’re late 10, 15 minutes every single time and every single time you apologize, but you’re going to be late next time as well.
[00:19:51] MB: You’re [inaudible 00:19:50] your behavior, then what’s the point.
[00:19:54] KC: You might as well stop apologizing.
[00:19:55] MB: Yeah. Even it’s the most genuine apology in the whole world, it’s like fixed. Cool. You know, like, it doesn’t excuse the behavior. That’s not what it’s for. It’s almost like – it does nothing to excuses the behavior, it almost kind of helps in a way, but if you’re abusing it, then it really doesn’t help.
[00:20:15] KC: If you have negative behaviors like you have a bad hair trigger temper, or you say things that you don’t mean and you say things that you shouldn’t. I’m not talking about little things like running later or talking over people, while those things are disrespectful of other people. I’m talking about things that are genuinely bad behaviors and your routine has just been to continue to do them and apologize. When the person brings up later and says, “Hey! This keeps happening” and you say, “But I said I’m sorry.” Yeah. But if you say you’re sorry every single time, it’s manipulative because you’re not sorry, you’re just trying to get the person to move on and not talk about it.
[00:20:51] MB: It’s using the word to your advantage at that point, not actually thinking of the person and their feelings. The apology is not in the right place and people see through that.
[00:21:00] KC: Yeah, a false apology, it’s almost like a form of gas lighting, because later on, you can point back to the apology as like a get-out-of-jail free card, but if the behavior continues indefinitely, then you’re not sorry because people who are sorry change their behavior.
[00:21:15] MB: Yeah. First of all, understand the words “I’m sorry” actually mean or “I apologize.” Like do a little research, figure it out. Then be selective on when you use them. I’ve heard people like put little rubber bands on their wrist to like, if they know they’re about to do something that it isn’t a bad habit, that they’re trying to be more aware of, they’ll like snap themselves out of it. It’s really hard to change behaviors when they are so deeply ingrained in you and you’ve been doing it for so long, and they’re so not what you feel like is in your control. Like you’re aware of it after you’ve done it, and the dance is like already out there. It’s not within “I’m sorry,” but I have behaviors in my own relationship that really annoy my partner and they really don’t come out until I’m like in what I call caveman mode where you’re not really thinking with like your logical brain. You’re just going into like – that’s when those things come out. It’s like, “Well, how am I supposed to be in control when I’m least in control?”
Some people do this when they’re like – because being in a room with people or passing someone gives them anxiety, so that’s their thing that they do. Or like, whatever it is, it’s hard to be in control when something feels out of control. When you do realize this is a habit you do, if you’re listening to this and you go, “Oh yeah! I do say it a lot, but not for the reasons that I should be saying it. What’s the next step about how to go about fixing that so that it’s not continually happening?” I feel like we all want when we use the word. Most of the time, we all want that person to feel like we meant it, but if you’re saying it too much to the same people all the time, where you’re using it like a get-out-of-jail free card like you said, well, then how do you bring the meaning back when you’ve used it too much and how do you stop this behavior.
[00:23:02] KC: Yeah. I think probably the most common misuse of I’m sorry is when people use it reflective – I could not think of that word. As a reflex.
[00:23:11] MB: Effectively?
[00:23:11] KC: As a reflex where it’s like a knee-jerk reaction and they say, “I’m sorry” all the time when what they really mean is something else. Let’s talk – if that is the issue, then that’s an easier solved issue than saying sorry just to have the person move on and you’re not sorry. If that’s what’s happening, you need to work on your behavior. We all agree. If you just keep apologizing for the same rude thing that you’re doing and you have no plans to change your behavior, then you are not actually sorry and you shouldn’t be apologizing. But I think what we should talk about and what is probably the more common problem is people who say, like you were talking about your daughter. Just say, “I’m sorry” when they don’t mean that word.
What are the things that we can say instead? I’ve seen this from my daughter who really hates confrontation. If she gets served the wrong order at a restaurant, she will – first of all, she probably wouldn’t say anything, to be honest. But if she did say something, she would probably call the waiter over and say, “I’m so sorry, but this isn’t what I ordered.” Now, in my mind, there’s no reason to have an apology at the beginning of that statement.
[00:24:20] MB: If I was in the same scenario, I would say the same thing. I would start off with like, “I’m so sorry,” but you’re right.
[00:24:27] KC: But what are you sorry for?
[00:24:27] MB: But why? Maybe because I feel like it’s a perfectly good platter of food for someone else. It just wasn’t what I ordered and it’s like, how dare I’d be so selective but also like, I chose to come in to this restaurant and pay for the food that I wanted a certain thing and this is clearly not it. So yeah, why am I sorry? But I do that too. I think there’s a lot of people do that. What would you say?
[00:24:54] KC: I think, a lot of people when they’re calling out someone else on a mistake, they start by apologizing first. I don’t know if it’s meant to like soften the blow or what is, but I think, the excuse me in that scenario would work just as well. I mean, I don’t want to be like, “Don’t say it” like very [inaudible 00:25:10] like, “Excuse me!”
[00:25:13] MB: Yeah. But in the same way, you’d be like, “I’m so sorry.” You’d be like, “Excuse me.” They didn’t make the food. They’re doing their job.
[00:25:22] KC: A lot of time when I’ve been served the wrong food or it was cooked in properly according to what I ordered, the waiter had absolutely no idea. Like he put it in properly and it just didn’t come out of the kitchen that way. It’s probably not their fault either. It’s just one of those things that happens and you don’t need to apologize to them for them giving you the wrong food.
[00:25:43] MB: Yeah. Wow! I do that too. That’s an eye-opener. Maybe I do say I’m sorry a lot in like the most unnecessary of times. But I feel like my brain just goes to that, because I’m like, “They’re off going getting sugar for table 16, and now I have to make them come back after they just gave me my food.” Like I feel like somewhere, I’m doing something wrong, but probably not.” Like I’m really searching at that point.”
[00:26:09] KC: Yeah. I mean, I think when we apologize to people for expecting them to do the job that they’re doing, and the job that we’re paying them for in some aspect is probably inappropriate time to apologize. But you can say excuse me, you can say – if you really have that problem with confrontation, you can start with a compliment and be like, “Oh! Our service has been so good, but I just want to let you know that this wasn’t right.” I think in any time you’re –
[00:26:37] MB: You just start with a nice thing, what you say after is going to be less of a blow in your head and theirs if that’s something you’re worried about.
[00:26:43] KC: Yeah, exactly. It’s the same with when you apologize for just taking up space. I don’t think anybody should have to apologize for taking up space. I don’t know where that started or where it comes from.
[00:26:55] MB: I feel like it got more alert and aware with the pandemic, and people now coming out in public. There are some people that are very good at knowing what six-feet is and there are some people that are not. Then there are some people that six-feet is just never going to be enough for them. When you meet all different types of people, when you get in an environment where there are all types of people and you don’t know what type of that person is, you’re just like – if you get what you feel like might be too cliché, but “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I noticed that I’ve been doing that a lot more after the pandemic and I’m like waiting in line for food at Starbucks or something like that and we’re all waiting in the area where you wait to get your food.
Not like I’m sorry that I’m taking space, but I’m just like, “Man! This is a weird time” and I don’t know if this is comfortable space for you. That’s my personal experience with that. No need to apologize though, I guess, unless I’m like right on them. I mean, even then, I have to be shoved like cattle or something like for that to happen. Is that still my fault? Probably not. Yeah, it’s not really a need, but it makes me feel more okay with people being in whatever I’m doing. If I’m too close, I’m sorry. But that’s also me saying like, “This is what I’m choosing to do.” If you don’t like it, “I’m sorry.”
[00:28:19] KC: Yeah. I think in a business context, how we talked about – it can really make you look less capable and unprofessional if you apologize really routinely, either in your emails or in correspondence in business. I think that one, we can easily replace with a thank you, thanking the person. If you have to put someone on hold or you’re a few minutes later to get into a Zoom or a meeting. I mean, you don’t need to necessarily apologize for that, but you can thank them for their patience. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s the same with the email example that we used saying, “Will I have that report by the end of the day?” You can say, “I’m working on it right now. Thank you for your patience.”
[00:28:59] MB: Yeah. I’ve noticed when somebody says in a store or something, “I’m so sorry for the wait” versus “Thank you for your patience” when I have to be like, “It’s okay.” Even though maybe I don’t mean it, like I feel like I’m now responsible for their feelings subconsciously.
[00:29:14] KC: That’s the whole thing. When it’s an apology-based comment or conversation, it’s rooted in blame or guilt. You then reflexively feel like you need to appease the person and say, “It’s fine.”
[00:29:26] MB: Your brain goes, “Did I look like I was impatient?” Did I look like I was pissed off? Like even if I didn’t, you’re like, “Oh, it’s okay.” But it’s like – it’s a weird thing.
[00:29:34] KC: “The whole exchange, it starts it off – yeah. It’s a weird dynamic, but when you think the person, it comes to gratitude, a place of gratitude. It’s a very different mindset.
[00:29:43] MB: Like professional mindset, and I think it’s a confident mindset, something that you just do instead.
[00:29:48] KC: If you are running late to a meeting, you can say, “Thank you all for waiting” but you can say, “Thank you for your patience.” I mean, anything like that. If you feel like you’re taking someone’s time or taking up space, you can also thank them for their time. Instead of saying, “I’m so sorry. I know you’re very busy, but can you do this or that.” You can say, “I always appreciate the time you spent with me. Thank you for your time. If you could also blah blah blah.” That is also appreciated. Something like that. I think it doesn’t need to have an I’m sorry in it. Especially an I’m sorry with an exclamation point, which I am really bad about doing. I always do that. I always send emails with I’m sorry.
[00:30:21] MB: I say I’m sorry to every email, because I’m always sorry. Like it is my fault. I don’t – I’m not not genuinely apologizing. I’m just like, “Oh shoot! I’m sorry.” Because like, “I do say it without being aware, like when I’m sharing space. But I also say it when I’m genuinely sorry, but it’s like, “How would the normal person, every day person knows the difference?” Am I saying, “It’s so much that I’m taking away the importance of it when I really mean it?” Even if I’m not saying it consecutively to the same person, maybe that person I said I’m sorry to at Starbucks, I’m never going to say I’m sorry to again. But it’s just like, that’s the Megan I’m pretty known into the world and that’s important too. And I don’t need to apologize for every move I make. I have a right to be there as much as they do.
Just be aware when you’re saying it, which is hard to do. We’re not really aware what we say sometimes or how we say things sometimes. We’re so wrapped up in our own head when we’re listening to ourselves. But maybe make it like an experiment and listen to yourself, and like – when you’re saying words, kind of say it back in your head as you’re saying it and hear yourself talk.
[00:31:32] KC: No. That’s very true, because when my older daughter first started really using a cell phone and texting me and stuff when she was a teenager, she would be really abrupt in what she was saying. To me, it sounded like a huge amount of attitude, so I just asked her, “You know what, before you hit send, read your text message aloud to yourself, because I don’t think you realize how it comes across.” Once she started doing that, she was like, “Mom, I sound so snotty and I don’t mean that.” But it was just the way she was typing, the way she was typing out her responses just sounded like not very polite and she had no idea. Because you can’t pick up someone’s tone from an email or a text message.
[00:32:11] MB: No, you can’t, and that just leaves it open to 15 possible tones and none of them you meant. That’s funny that you bring that up. When you’re more aware of those things, you’re more aware to fix the things. Like I remember, this is off subject but on the subject. You and I were having lunch years ago when we’re doing real estate stuff, and you were like, “You said something about like, “I hate when people abbreviate words, then I have to go on play like investigator. Like how hard is it to just write great, when you put like gr8. I hate when people do that.” That made me realized and reflect how much I do that, and abbreviate text messages. I’m just like, “I’m going to be more aware and like write things out, so I sound more intelligent and I don’t have to like make a code for everyone.”
But when you’re aware of certain behaviors that are just become – you’re so unaware of it, and then you just like kind of tune into yourself, talk to yourself, read things that you’re writing to yourself, then your narration is much more loud and you become aware of how you’re putting yourself out there into the world. You’re like, “I use the word like a lot” or it’s like this nervous habit, or “I use the word I’m sorry a lot.” You won’t know until either someone is bold enough to point it to you or until you listen to yourself talk. Right?
[00:33:27] KC: Yeah. I know I use the word “cute” way too much, so I am working on that. I would say, “Oh my God, that’s so cute. This is so cute.” I don’t even – it’s not even – like cute is not even the right word that I’m looking for. It’s just the word that I’ve adapted into my vocabulary for anything pleasing to the eye is cute, which is not. Like puppies are cute, babies are cute, like no.
But I think one of the things we could exchange for “I’m sorry” is to ask the question that you’re really wanting to ask, which sometimes I do this. I’ll call someone, and because I’m usually a texter or an emailer, when I actually call someone, I usually start by saying, “I’m so sorry. Are you busy? Can you talk?” Instead of saying something as simple as “Is it a good time for you right now?” Because when my phone rings and I’m in a middle of something, I’m always like, “Ugh! Why don’t they just text me what they need?” I’m sensitive to that and I do preemptively apologize in those situations, or if I stop by at some kind of business where I don’t have an appointment or I just want to ask them a quick question, I always say, “I’m so sorry to bother you” instead of saying, “Are you free for a moment? I have a question.”
If you just turn it from, “I’m sorry” into the question that you really want to ask, I think not only is it more clear, but it doesn’t make the person responsible for your feelings like you said by having to tell you, “Oh no! It’s no trouble. What do you need?” If you say –
[00:34:47] MB: Because a lot of B – I’m sorry. I’m going to call it. There’s a lot of BS we don’t need. That’s seven to eight seconds of exchanging – I don’t need like –
[00:34:58] KC: Spring on it.
[00:34:58] MB: “I’m so sorry to bother you.” “It’s okay.” What was that for? I’m really not sorry. And you really don’t need to be okay with it. Like it’s just such a waste of time.
[00:35:09] KC: I hear something, because I don’t like usually getting bunk also, somebody calls me and they start off with, “I’m so sorry. I know you don’t like to talk on the phone, but I have a quick question” or whatever. Then I feel obligated because they apologized to me. Now, if I would say, “You know what? Actually, I’m busy.” Then I’m rude, right? But if they started the conversation out by saying out by saying, “Is it a good time? I just have a quick question.” If it’s not a good time, now, I’m free to say, “Actually, you know what. I’ve got my hands in bread dough, can I call you back in five minutes?” Whatever it is, right? You also are giving that person permission to freely answer your question, instead of putting an emotional –
[00:35:44] MB: Here’s something my husband would point out when I’ll would call and be like, “I’m sorry. Is this a bad time?” He’d be like, “If it was a bad time. I wouldn’t have picked up the phone.” Most of the time, if someone’s going to pick up the phone, unless it’s my kids, or my kids’ school, or my dad who’s kind of older, like if it’s not a good time, I won’t pick up the phone. I may call you back in like 45 seconds to a minute when like you said, my hands are in a bread dough or whatever it is. But if I picked up the phone, I’ve already made the decision to talk to you, so you apologizing and asking if it’s a good time. I’m just like, “Freaking clearly, because I picked up the phone.” Even if I was busy, it just makes the people feel like you said, responsible to like make it okay for this conversation to happen and it’s like, “It’s clearly okay. I picked up the call.”
There’s a button that you can hit when someone’s calling that’s ignore and there’s custom messages that says, “Can I call you later?” You know when you get it, it’s a bad time. It’s not horrible.
[00:36:39] KC: Usually, I call people sometimes and then I say, “I’m so sorry. Are you driving?”
[00:36:45] MB: Shouldn’t be.
[00:36:46] KC: Shouldn’t be if you answer the –
[00:36:47] MB: Or the reputation of driving –
[00:36:49] KC: Or maybe they are on Bluetooth and it doesn’t matter. And they can say, “Oh no!” You could just ask.
[00:36:54] MB: If they picked up, it’s probably fine to talk. If it’s not fine, they’re a person. They will tell you, “Hey! I’m sorry. I’m dropping off so and so right now. Can I call you in two minutes?” Because maybe they didn’t want you to be like be ignored, but they also know they can’t talk right now. Don’t start it with, “I’m so sorry. I know you’re busy.” Even if the person is like literally the busiest person in the world.
[00:37:14] KC: I am insanely busy. My life is insane.
[00:37:20] MB: If I pick up, freaking be grateful you picked up and let’s have this conversation. Don’t waste my time –
[00:37:25] KC: Don’t. Then now, I have to respond and say, “Oh no! That’s okay. I have a minute. What do you need?”
[00:37:31] MB: Like I said, seven to eight seconds of BS of –
[00:37:32] KC: Wasted time.
[00:37:33] MB: – we don’t all need to deal with. Let’s just get to what we need to get.
[00:37:36] KC: Exactly. If you know that person is actually insanely busy, don’t why –
[00:37:41] MB: That’s kind of annoying.
[00:37:43] KC: Taking up more of their time by going through that whole exchange.
[00:37:47] MB: Because you’re insecure.
[00:37:49] KC: Seriously.
[00:37:50] MB: And it’s fine. We all do it at the weirdest times. It’s fine. It’s just – we all just need to have more confidence in ourselves, and we all need to have more confidence in the space we’re taking and the time we take of people. Like, I’m sorry. The lady that goes – I just did it. I’m sorry. The lady that goes to work at the dentist office knows that there’s going to be walk-ins asking random questions. You don’t need to apologize. She’s already aware of what her job entails. That’s a part of her job. You don’t need to be apologetic about it. If you ask her to come and help you change your tire, that’s not a part of her job. You can still say, “Excuse me. This is going to sound weird, I’ll buy you a Starbucks.” But you don’t have to start with, “I’m sorry.”
I notice I say, just like I just did in this podcast. I say I’m sorry when it’s like a transition to another thought sometimes. It’s like a nervous – it’s a misusage of a word or a collection of words during the time that isn’t needed. It’s not harmful, but also when I say, “I’m sorry” to someone like my daughter or someone like my husband and they hear me say, “I’m sorry” in passing conversation, could there have been a moment where I could have used a different word or set of words to mean the same things, to get me into the next train of thoughts without saying, “I’m sorry, but.” I say that a lot, a lot.
[00:39:15] KC: I apologize. I think everybody does. I apologize for things that have absolutely nothing to do with me and I have no control over. Don’t have anything. Like if mu husband is having a really bad day, I’ll say, “Honey, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day” or “I’m so sorry, you don’t feel well.” He’s like, “Did you do it?” Why are you apologizing?” Or if I tell him, “I’m sorry. You’re feeling sick.” I didn’t get him sick, like why am I apologizing?
[00:39:42] MB: I do it too. I think we all doo that, but it’s like, what do we use in replacement of?
[00:39:46] KC: But I can switch that
[00:39:46] MB: You’d be like exercising that over the fact that this is happening to you.
[00:39:50] KC: It’s a statement of sympathy.
[00:39:51] MB: Our brain is not as big of a thesaurus as we’d like it to be in those moments, and we just go to what’s natural and what flows. If it’s a, I’m sorry, then you got to change that flow.
[00:40:02] KC: Yeah. It’s a statement of sympathy, but I could easily say, “Honey, I know you’re having a bad day. Is there anything that I can do to make it better?” or “I know you’re not feeling well. Would you like some soup or is there anything I can do? Do you want a jot washcloth or something?” I don’t know. We need to kind of back up from the over apologizing if it’s something –
[00:40:23] MB: You’re like, for example, if someone didn’t get that apology at work and they’re venting to you, we feel like if we apologize for that action, it’s going to make them feel better. But really, that apology is not meant from you, it’s meant from somebody that’s wronged them. It’s not going to make them feel better.
[00:40:40] KC: Right. When someone –
[00:40:41] MB: We subconsciously think it will make us and them and the situation feel better.
[00:40:46] KC: Right. When someone’s explaining a bad situation that happened to them, we always want to say, “I’m so sorry that happened to you.” Instead of like, “Wow! That sucked. I’m angry on your behalf.” Like what are you going to do about it?
[00:40:55] MB: Which is the same thing by the way. We’re meaning the same thing, but it’s like, you do go into like, “But you didn’t do it, why are you sorry?” Then you go, “Oh! I don’t know. I just like – I’m so sorry that happened.” You’re like, “Again, why are you sorry?” You’re right. I do that too because if the coworker wronged your spouse, or like a friend, they’re in a fight or something and they’re just venting to you. Your first reaction could be to apologize for that person or that situations on their behalf when you have nothing to do with it. And now they’re having to take your feelings into it and it’s like so off subject and it’s off topic of what they wanted from that in exchange. Sometimes they just want to vent and have like a teammate. You can still be a teammate. You can say, “Argh! Go!” You don’t have to apologize.
[00:41:43] KC: No. You can still say like, “I know exactly how that feels and it’s awful. What can we do to get your mind off it?” Do you want to tell me more about it? What will help you right now?” That’s probably a more effective question than just that blanket apology thing that everybody does.
[00:42:02] MB: Because immediately, they’ll either ask a question like, “What are you sorry for?” or they’ll have to subconscious – they’ll have to say, “It’s okay.” Then now, it’s about you and –
[00:42:12] KC: You made it about you.
[00:42:12] MB: Too often, if you make it about – this could be making it about you. You could be saying it because subconsciously, you want it to come back to you. If that’s truly why you’re doing these types of things, well then, yeah, self-reflection and figure out why am I needing so much validation and to always be about me?
I have a spouse and partner who I may not like it at first, but I really appreciate how honest he is. But when I do something that, like a subconscious behavior like this that we’re talking about, like I always make it about me or something like that, like he is not afraid to point those things out. Sometimes it’s not always in the right moments, like I’m heated and he points out a flaw and that’s like a childhood thing I don’t want him to be tuning into. But I am happy that he is comfortable enough with me to point out things that I’m doing because it’s not always just him that I’m doing it to. I could be doing it to my brother, my dad, my best friend, my kids. I don’t want to just be doing it to everyone and if it’s something that’s not a good trait, not like he’s trying to fix me, but like I said, if you’re apologizing for someone else, like a situation that happened to them, you could be doing it because you want the focus to be back on you again.
[00:43:22] KC: Yeah, you’re redirecting the attention and that’s not helpful. I mean, if any of my loved ones or friends, and family is listening to this, if I come and vent to you about a bad day I’m having, or I’m not feeling good, or someone did something that really sucked to me. You don’t need to say I’m sorry if you didn’t do it. All you need to say is, “Ugh! That’s the worst. Do you want to go get tacos?” and I will immediately be better.
[00:43:45] MB: [Inaudible 00:43:45] sometime just let it out. You’re not really expecting the person to fix it ever, unless that’s their job or unless that’s what you go to them for. But yeah, if that’s it – it’s person to person too. Sometimes people want people to like hear their problems and like, [inaudible 00:44:01] or tell them what to do. You’re not one of them. You just need people to hear and let you do your thing.
[00:44:05] KC: No. I’m a hyper-capable person, so I don’t need anybody to fix it for me, but I mean, if you want to get tacos, that always helps.
[00:44:14] MB: Right. I know. Let me feel comfortable enough to tell you what’s going on, but don’t feel like you need to like go fix it. Yes. There’s probably a bunch of reasons why people are using the words I’m sorry out of like when you’re –
[00:44:29] KC: Reflex, yeah.
[00:44:30] MB: Yeah. It could be like we said, [inaudible 00:44:32]. It could be a nervous habit. Just be aware and find –
[00:44:37] KC: I think we should give our listeners some homework this week. I think it would be great if everybody could just kind of pay a little bit closer attention over the next few days to see how often you kind of reflect – why can’t I say that word? Reflexively. Is that a word?
[00:44:55] MB: I don’t know.
[00:44:57] KC: It sounds weird coming out of my mouth.
[00:44:59] MB: Sometimes when words sound weird, they’re not words. But you know what, that happens when I spell things and I look at it, and I go, “That’s not right,” but it is right.
[00:45:06] KC: Yeah. It is right, yeah.
[00:45:06] MB: What would be a word that means that but isn’t that? Because like, it doesn’t sound right.
[00:45:11] KC: It doesn’t sound right, but else would it be? I don’t know. Moving on.
[00:45:15] MB: Whatever. You know what it means. When you’re doing it subconsciously out of nervous – it’s a nervous tick, it’s a reflex out of some sort of action, after immediately out of an action without even being mentally like in control.
[00:45:27] KC: That’s what I meant. Yes. I want everyone to pay attention to how many times they apologize over the next few days when it’s not – they don’t sincerely mean that they are sorry or have regret.
[00:45:38] MB: We’re not talking about sitting and reflecting for 20 minutes or going back and talk – we mean when we’re just talking.
[00:45:43] KC: When we’re just talking. I want you to also pay attention to how the person you’re speaking to reacts to that unnecessary apology. Whether it’s a redirect of attention or it’s a reassurance, a validation, whatever it is. See how people react to it and also kind of absorb that. If over those few days that you noticed that you’re doing it more than you would have thought that you are, or it actually is a problem that maybe you didn’t realize you had. Spend a little time with that and figure out if there’s reasons – if it’s just honestly just a reflex for you, it’s a filler statement, and it’s become that for you or if it’s more deeply rooted in some kind of self-confidence issue, or feeling to blame for thing that are not your fault, you might not want to just spend a little bit of time exploring that.
This is again always something that we can continue the conversation with over on our Facebook discussion group. If you go on Facebook and you look up, She’s A Full On Monet, our page has an attached discussion group. We always love to see you guys talking in there or commenting on the article about this subject. Just what your own experiences have been and I’m sure there’s a lot of our listeners out there who have great tips or other phrases you can use to kind of get yourself out of this habit. I would love to hear them. So please, either comment in the article or on your video, or show notes, or whatever and share with us what works for you. If you used to be an over apologizer and you learn how to kick the habit, I would love to hear your advice.
[00:47:10] MB: I agree. I think a lot of it, working on that direct homework, but also working on – I think the more confident and whole with ourselves we are, the less apologetic for even the smallest things. Like as I’ve aged and becoming my 30s, I am what I am and I am not apologetic about it really at all. If we start the day with like good affirmations, good like uplifting talk, working on ourselves and becoming more self-confident, I think that will also go away.
[00:47:40] KC: Agreed. Yeah. Okay, guys. Well, thank you again for joining us. I appreciate each and every one of you. I appreciate that you guys are growing with us and coming back week after week. I just want to thank everybody who joins us. I hope you guys are getting something out of this. I am for sure, and I think it helps that we’re adding value.
[00:47:59] MB: Of course.
[00:48:00] KC: Yep. We’ll see you guys next week.
[00:48:01] MB: Bye.
[00:48:02] KC: Bye.
[00:48:07] ANNOUNCER: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to bookmark our site, shesafullonmonet.com. Subscribe to our newsletter. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. If you’re enjoying this podcast, it helps us a lot if you can follow, rate, and review. See you all next week.