We constantly apologise for things. And when we say we, we mean one of us in particular … we shall call her Claire (because that’s her name). In fact, when she rings people on the phone she’s even been known to say, “Hello, sorry!” and when she needs to address something at work, or when she’s giving someone great news or when, you know, it’s raining, the first thing out of her mouth is quite often an apology. Walking down the street and bump into someone? Sorry! Calling someone at work to sort out a meeting? Sorry! Need to finalise details? Sorry!
And while she’s really, well, irritating about it, you won’t be surprised to know that Claire is not alone. Women in general are mad for it. We just love saying sorry. Gah! We asked psychologist Noosha Anzab and corporate coach Amanda Blesing to talk to us about women and the phenomenon of over-apologizing. “There are loads of reasons why both men and women practice the habit of over-apologizing, however, women do tend to be more apologetic in their actions than men,” Anzab confirmed. Yep.
“From the time we were girls, women have been programmed this way. We were to be smart, but apologetic if we were too smart (or intimidating); we were to be driven and ambitious but then taught that being too successful is a Bad Thing; that we should apologize simply because we are considerate or understanding or empathetic because that’s what a woman is meant to be. Ample research shows that girls are rewarded when they sit with other people’s feelings and are compassionate and understanding, whereas boys are rewarded when they are strong or dominating their space,” Anzab says.
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