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  • Tate Anagnos

The Detrimental Effect of Being Too Apologetic.

I was walking to work the other day and was almost run over. The truck was stopped at a red light trying to turn right. The driver moved me about 4 feet until he slammed on his brakes. I looked back and said "my bad". It was completely his fault and yet I am the one who apologized without hesitation.


It made me realize I apologize for myself way too much. During that following shift, I noticed many people do the same thing. We use it as a defense tactic. It's supposed to defend what we did wrong but it usually doesn't make a difference. Saying "sorry" defends our image; someone says "it rained my whole way to work and I fell in a pothole". People don't really care, they're just saying that to make themselves look like they care. It's a conversational norm.


There are plenty of times where apologizing is appropriate. It can go the distance when feelings are involved. Like in a personal setting. In the professional world, over apologizing makes us look less responsible; as in "sorry" is the only thing we can regularly produce.


I suggest this activity. Count the number of redundant apologies you make/hear in a day, especially at work. This helps be aware of how common it is and crack down on it. Over-apologizing makes us less accountable and less results driven. If there is a failure, the immediate focus should be a solution. Managers don't want to hear "sorry", they want to hear what's good, what's bad, what you're doing to make it better.



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