Why I Vow to Stop Apologizing

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It had been a long day.

I was absolutely exhausted, starving and on my last strain of patience. I needed a nap or an IV drip of energy drinks, but neither of these options were accessible, so I settled for patience. While waiting for my coffee, a man came up to me and asked me if I heard the new statistic.

“The what?” I questioned, crinkling my eyebrows.

“The new statistic about dogs,” he explained, “90% of puppies are born out of wedlock.”

That joke still doesn’t make sense to me and as an opening line, it dumbfounds me. I was baffled by what he was saying and why he was saying it to me especially after a long day when my mind was absolutely fried from stress and exhaustion.

Although I was annoyed, I forced the most pleasant giggle I could possibly muster because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to be pleasant. I’m supposed to be sweet. Even though it was a long day and the last thing I wanted to do was chat with a man about puppies born out of wedlock, whatever that even means.

After that joke and my forced giggle, he asked me out in the rudest and most disrespectful way ever. It’s so crude it’s not worth repeating. I stared at him for a solid thirty seconds, wondering how someone could possibly be that clueless to think a disrespectful line like that would work.

I should have told him how rude he was and how disrespectful it was to make comments about my body when I was just standing there waiting for my coffee.

I should have done something but instead I smiled and said, “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend.”

I apologized.

As if having a boyfriend and being uninterested is something to feel sorry for. As if this creepy guy who is being disrespectful is someone that I should apologize to.

The thing is: I’m not sorry. I wholly reserve the right to be uninterested. I am allowed to decline advances. So why do I feel the need to be so apologetic, as though I have something to feel bad about? As if I’ve somehow mistreated him? Why does that annoying word “sorry” constantly leak out of my lips to people who don’t deserve it and situations where it is unwarranted?

I’m a chronic apologizer and I vow to stop now. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

I rarely ever truly mean it. It’s a word I say, a placeholder.

Sorry I interrupted you.

Sorry I disagreed with your opinion.

Sorry I don’t want to go on a date with you.

Sorry I can’t come to your party tonight.

It infuriates me how often I apologize for things I have no need to feel sorry for.

Women are expected to be apologetic, cooperate and quiet. If we speak up in a meeting, we preface or end our opinion with “sorry,” especially if we’re disagreeing with someone else. If we are turning down a rude guy, we say “sorry.” If we don’t feel like going to a party, we say “sorry” for being tired. We’re taught to value cooperation over conflict, to placate, to smooth ruffled feathers and cause as less waves as possible. Be sweet. Be a nice girl. Apologize when you in any way, shape or form step out of line with what the person you’re talking to thinks you should be.

Of course, apologies are warranted when you’ve intentionally hurt another person. But most of the things we apologize for are things that we are, things that we say, things that we want, things that we don’t want and things we think. Things that are ALLOWED to be.

I’m allowed to say what I think.

I’m allowed to decline a rude guy’s advances.

I’m allowed to turn down an invitation.

I’m not apologizing anymore, and I’m not sorry about it

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  • KE L LY

    What a good read! Hope to hear more from this author!