Sorry for Saying Sorry

Sorry for Saying Sorry

I don’t know about you, but I am really sorry for being sorry. I recently learned that over-apologizing can be a sign of poor boundaries. It is accepting the blame for things we didn’t do or take responsibility for solving other people’s problems, excusing their behavior as if it’s our own. It is when we say sorry when we have not done anything wrong or it was a problem that we literally have NO control over.

Someone bumps into me. I say I am sorry.

Someone spills their drink. I say I am sorry.

My child bumps their head. I say I am sorry.

I am late for a meeting because my boss kept me over time. I say I am sorry.

It has taken me a lot of reflection to first, realize I am an over apologizer and second, realize it is part of a much larger issue.

I am a chronic people pleaser. I want others to consider me considerate, polite and empathetic, because I am most of the time (we all have our days). I often concern myself with other people’s feelings and try my hardest not to upset or disappoint anyone. This causes me to bury my own emotions and feelings and become rather resentful.

I am a perfectionist. Always have been. My standards are so high for myself and no matter how hard I try, I do not seem to always meet my own needs. I think apologizing unnecessarily helps me to feel good about myself and my contributions to this world. In addition to awkward and embarrassing nervous laughter, I tend to apologize when I am in a nervous or uncomfortable state. In my mind, if I am uncomfortable, the other person must be; therefore, I should apologize so they can feel better and maybe I will, too. Woooo. That was a run on sentence. But my brain is a run on sentence. All day. Everyday.

I am not sure if it is “a woman” thing, but I find myself apologizing on my husband’s behalf, again unnecessarily. My husband runs late (which is rare), I apologize. He interrupts someone speaking, I apologize. But why? He did not do anything wrong that warrants an apology. I get that marriage is a unit, we are one body, we are two souls coming together blah blah, but I am not responsible for his actions, nor is he responsible for mine.

Lastly, it seems to have just become a bad habit. We can break bad habits after 2 weeks of practice though, right? I feel like it truly has become an involuntary response that I don’t even realize I am doing.

I did some research a while back on other things I can say instead of “I’m sorry” – hope these help you! It’s always easier said than done but as much effort as I put into worrying about others, I’ll put that much effort into working on not saying I’m sorry for everything.

Instead of saying:

  1. Sorry I am late. Say: Thank you for waiting for me.
  2. Sorry for being such a mess. Say: Thank you for loving me unconditionally.
  3. Sorry to bother you. Say: Is now a good time for a quick question?
  4. Sorry about that. Say: Thanks for pointing that out, what else is worth knowing here?
  5. Sorry I messed up. Say: That did not go as well as planned, but I got this.
  6. Sorry, but I don’t agree. Say: Let’s look at this from a different angle.
  7. Sorry to break this to you. Say: You are not going to like what I am about to say…
  8. Sorry I let you down. Say: Can you give me feedback on how I can do this differently?
  9. I am sorry. Say: Excuse me…
  10. Sorry, I cannot make it. Say: I will not be able to make it this time.

As always, Be KIND, but also BE CONFIDENT in who you are!

Erika Lockhart
My name is Erika Lockhart and I am married to my husband, Chris. We have two children - Zane (7) and Finnley (2). We also have one 4 – legged child - Nelson a mixed breed rescue and a tarantula named Twitch. I was born and raised in Harvey, LA but now live in Metairie. I am a full time employee for a healthcare consulting company where I lead the Primary Care Provider engagement efforts from my home office here in NOLA. My husband is the owner and director of Clockwork Performance - A strength and performance gym in Kenner, LA. Odd facts about me - I love watching Judge Judy, I want to be on jury duty as much as possible, I have an obsession with mayonnaise and my dream job is to be a private investigator!


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