Chronic Apologizing:
How it Stands in the Way of Being
Taken Seriously

Stop apologizing at work

Have you ever bumped into the copier and apologized? If you’re apologizing to inanimate objects, it may be time to assess if sorry is being overused as a knee-jerk reaction to everything. Over-apologizing can come across as a sign of weakness and indicates insecurity. Is that really the way you want to be perceived by people?

I'm sorry for everything and more:

The need to be liked often drives over-apologizing. It can hinder our success, especially when apologizing too much and too often for no reason. It also breeds negativity when people are constantly saying: I’m sorry I couldn’t get this done, I’m sorry I’m running late for our meeting or I’m sorry for having to ask a question. Try replacing sorry with:  I’ll get it done right away, thanks for waiting for me, or let’s give this topic some more thought and here are my questions. Make the effort to change how people are reacting to you for the better.

I’m sorry for no reason:

Why do you need to apologize for not being able to take on any more work, or apologize about your schedule not allowing you to meet that day, or apologize because you had some kind of family emergency that pulled you from the office earlier than you expected. There is no apology necessary for things that are out of your control. The next time you can’t meet with a colleague or schedule a meeting at the time they’ve suggested, don’t start your response with sorry. Instead, tell them the date/time doesn’t work with your schedule and provide times you’re available.

I’m sorry I’m worth something:

When you apologize for asking for what you need to provide exceptional service or make a living based on what you deserve (and market requirements), you completely undervalue what’s so great about you or your service. Being confident in yourself and what you provide means you don’t have to apologize because you are 100% worth it.  


Of course, there are times when an apology is the right thing and completely necessary. The best thing to do when faced with a situation where you may need to say sorry is to think about whether you’re really sorry and why you’re apologizing. It may be a case when “sorry, not sorry” is the better choice.

About the Author

Kristin Cameron

Kristin Cameron, Managing Partner

Kristin is a big believer in finding the right fit for clients or no fit at all. On top of the experience and background required for a position, she stresses the importance of making a good personality fit for each client’s culture—a win-win for both the candidate and client. Kristin is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan who loves to golf, mountain bike and snowboard. She is currently waiting for her English Bulldog puppy to be born— the next mascot for the CT office!

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