January 26


Women: We Need to Stop Apologizing

By Celeste DeCamps

January 26, 2022

#NotSorry, breathe, communication, confidence, empathy, mindfulness, self improvement, Self worth, self-esteem

"Don't Use the Words 'I'm sorry' to Express Anger or Disappointment; That's What Curse Words Are For."

I'm watching the series And Just Like That, the reboot of Sex in the City. In the last episode, Charlotte knocks her husband, Harry, down while playing tennis and doesn't apologize to him. When he asks her about it, she says, "I refuse to say 'I'm sorry' when playing a game." For the rest of the show, Harry starts to count how many times Charlotte says 'I'm sorry" to other people. For example, he tells her, "You just said sorry to a woman who bumped into you. Why can't you apologize to me?" Finally, Charlotte gets upset and explains that she is constantly asking forgiveness, and the one place she will not give in, is when she's playing tennis. 

Studies have shown that women do apologize more than men. There are a few reasons why this happens. For example, women tend to empathize more than men and are acutely aware of others' feelings. Saying 'I'm sorry' is a way of being more diplomatic and softening their approach with family and co-workers. Women will look for forgiveness, even if they're not at fault, to keep the peace and diffuse any tension. It's a passive-aggressive way to deflect any confrontation. 

Yesterday, I called my friend, who is also my hairdresser, if I could change my appointment to another day. I prefaced the request with 'not a big deal if you can't.' Immediately, she said, "I'm so sorry, but I'm all booked up." I told her it wasn't a problem and I would keep my original time. She again apologized, and I said she had nothing to apologize for, which made her apologize again. It's funny but sad at the same time. The last thing I wanted was for my friend to feel bad about not accomodating me. I wouldn't have thought anything about it if she simply said, "I won't be able to change your appointment." Unfortunately, she feels that she's letting me down; when I'm trying to tell her, she's not. 

The problem with over apologizing is it weakens our confidence, not only for ourselves but the impression we're giving to other people. It makes us look and feel insecure. Saying 'I'm sorry' too much throughout the day leaves us with a sense of failure that's not warranted. I don't have a problem admitting fault when I'm wrong. (Of course, my husband will argue that one.) I do try to be more mindful of my words and try to catch myself when I'm about to say 'sorry' instead of 'excuse me.' I'm learning to be more direct in what I want and don't want. I'll only apologize when I've said or done something wrong. I'm not perfect, but I won't use the words 'I'm sorry' to express anger or disappointment; that's what curse words are for. 

As for not saying 'I'm sorry' after knocking her husband down, Charlotte is wrong. It hurt Harry's feelings, and he deserved an apology. She should look at herself and understand why she feels the need to say 'I'm sorry' so many times when it's not necessary. I know what the writers of the show wanted to express, but I thought the context could've been better represented. Sorry, it's just the way I feel. 

About the author

Celeste DeCamps has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Miami. She worked in radio and television, was a professional belly dancer, drummer, percussionist, nightclub owner, and a sales rep for Southern Wine and Spirits for 12 years. Throughout her different career moves, speaking to and teaching women how to be more confident is Celeste's most fulfilling job.

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