How To Stop Apologizing - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


How To Stop Apologizing

Sorry to say, but if you’re like me, I bet you apologize a lot more than you realize. Here’s how to stop.


When someone told me I say sorry too much, I decided to count how many times I apologized in a day. I expected a number around five, and I expected that to sound like a lot. So when I hit twelve, I was shocked to say the least. I apologized before I asked a question in lecture. I apologized to a friend when Netflix stopped working. I apologized to some guy on the subway when he stepped on my foot. The worst part is, he didn’t even apologize back.

As it turns out, I’m not alone. A study found that women apologize more than men, and report committing more offenses. It’s not that men are less willing to apologize, but that women find it necessary to apologize more often than men do. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop.

How To Stop Apologizing

Over-apologizing at work can be detrimental to your career

Apologizing is often necessary, and a sincere apology can go a long way in terms of repairing a friendship and forgiving others. But if you pepper sorry into your everyday language, those sincere apologies lose their impact. Plus, over-apologizing negatively impacts your self-esteem and makes you seem smaller to others. Cutting the ever-present sorry from your speech is hard, but these techniques will help erase these unnecessary apologies:

  1. Count Your Apologies

The first step to solving any problem is recognizing you have it. Tomorrow, start counting how many times you apologize. When I did, the number certainly took me by surprise. Notice every time you say sorry throughout the day. If you’re a chronic apologizer, the word has probably infiltrated your speech to the point where you don’t even notice it slipping out.

  1. Pause And Think

Before apologizing, pause to consider whether you really need to say you’re sorry. If you’re about to ask a question, ask an employee for a favor, or smooth over an awkward situation even though you aren’t at fault, don’t apologize. You shouldn’t feel guilty for asserting yourself, so don’t let guilt seep into your language.

  1. Look For A Different Phrase

If you use “sorry” as a filler word where it doesn’t belong, take a second to find another. If you’re asking a question, replace the “sorry” with “I have a question” or “I was wondering.” If you’re trying to smooth over an awkward situation, say “excuse me” and move on. Chronic apologizers pepper “sorry” into their sentences like nervous high schoolers pepper “um” into their class presentations, so it could be that all you need to do is find another filler phrase—one that bolsters your confidence instead of tearing it down.

  1. Realize Your Worth

Over-apologizing can come from low self-esteem, especially if you use ‘sorry’ to preface questions or comments. Remind yourself of your worth and speak with confidence. You should not apologize for your existence or your feelings.

  1. Be Firm

Often, women in positions of authority apologize to soften a request in an attempt to be well-liked. But apologizing in these cases undermines your authority. Remember: you’re not “being bossy” if you’re the boss. Don’t apologize for it.

As someone who uses the word sorry like punctuation, I know how hard it can be to remove it from your everyday vocabulary. But I also know that it means I’m perpetually apologizing for participating in conversations, asking questions, and taking up space. In short, I apologize near-constantly for my existence. With these tips, I became aware it and have managed to avoid apologizing unless I’m actually in the wrong. Use them to show ‘sorry’ the door, and rebuild your speech with confidence.

Do you ever catch yourself apologizing for no reason?

Born in France but raised all over the place, Auriane has wanted to write ever since she was old enough to spell her name. In her spare time she loves reading, hanging out with her best friends (even when they're not in the same time zone), and spontaneous singing with her Broadway-bound roommate.

Reader Discussion: 82 Comments

  1. Arlene Davis

    “Why are women always apologizing?!” Thanks for answering this question 😉

  2. Koda Hansen

    Perfect! Your article makes a lot of sense. And apologizing too often is something we need to work on.

  3. Andrea Jones

    I came to a realization that I’ve been apologizing because I’m trying to get approval or get someone to like me or I’m a bit less confident of myself.

  4. Ofelia Ruley

    Thanks, Hilary! I often use I’m sorry and I have been trying to monitor and control it.

  5. Carmen Griffin

    I would recommend that you cite credible sources for topics like this…

  6. Zoraida Martin

    Well done, I always appreciate your point of view.

  7. Maria Rapier

    You left me thinking. Yeah, I find myself apologizing for things that don’t actually warrant an apology.

  8. Fascinating! Now, I’m observing myself… how many times do I apologize? 🤔

  9. Julean

    I think most women inexorably linked apologies with conception of politeness…

  10. Marjory Brooks

    Interesting article! Can’t stop thinking and wondering if I apologize too much???

  11. Oxi Harger

    Do you ever catch yourself apologizing for no reason? YES!!!

  12. How can you trust a person who’s always apologizing? Are they really sincere? Or they’re just being sorry because they are used to say it? It’s hard, right?

  13. Della Martin

    Apologies are important to every people. Don’t say sorry if you don’t mean it. It will just ruin their trust.

  14. Rosalia Russell

    I know someone who is experiencing this same situation. I will help her to overcome this mannerism. The person is in need of help.

  15. Elizabeth Gonzalez

    There’s a reason why the person is acting like that. The only way to help them is to talk to them and help them.

  16. Karen Abeyta

    This is the firs time I read an article about this type of mannerism. But I think, I’ve encountered a lot of people that has it. It’s not too obvious to notice that they have a mannerism like this.

  17. Connie Schmidt

    Amazing article! My friend will absolutely love this one. I told her to read Urbanette articles, she said she’ll do that. 😀

  18. Doreen Morales

    That is why I’m having a trouble in believing apologies. Apologies nowadays are being used as a normal word. The sincerity on this already fades away.

  19. Maxine Ford

    It’s hard to overcome that mannerism because it has been in your vocabulary. But if you really want to change, then you should be careful in what you are saying.

  20. Esther Devine

    Wow! I salute you, girl. :O

  21. The word Sorry for me has a huge impact. I wish that those sorry that I have been receiving are actually sincere.

  22. Joan Morales

    It’s not true, some men are most likely to apologize than women. My boyfriend is the one who’s always saying sorry whenever I caught him cheating. Lol

  23. Brittany West

    Now that I understand her situation, I will try my best to help my friend.

  24. Lisa Bryson

    Try to change the words that you are using. I think that can really a big help.

  25. Geraldine

    If you’re willing to change, you can do it. I used to be like her, but thank God, I overcome my mannerism because of my eagerness.

  26. Deanna Woods

    Thanks, Urbanette! This article will really help me in my situation. Love lots!

  27. Hachi Komatsu

    I feel bad for people who are suffering this mannerism. Their sorry can be worthless because of that. Hays.

  28. Eloise Ferris

    How can they apologize easily? I’m having a bad time saying sorry, even if it’s my fault. -.-

  29. Genie Mackenzie

    She reminds me of my friend Anna! Lol. Now I fully understand her situation. Thanks, Urbanette. *Winks*

  30. If I were you, I’ll visit my psychiatrist. Maybe they can help you?

  31. April Henry

    I wish men could be more sensitive that us girls. So they will know how to say sorry. *Rolls Eyes*

  32. Veola Sancho

    Now, I’m thinking… And yeah, I’ve noticed that I often pay my apology and I the frequency level was “abnormally” high 😓😱😳😫

  33. Jeweli Prater

    Thanks for sharing such a great information, Auriane! Now it’s time to be awakened.

  34. Thanks, Auriane! You made me feel that unconscious and indiscriminate apologizing can kill my career.

  35. Luthi Sanders

    Fantastic! Excessive apologizing might be perceived as a sign of weakness, lack of confidence and competence, and inability to lead and make difficult decisions.

  36. Kseniya Tomlin

    “My point of view: Women “”over-apologize”” to avoid conflict and to foster peace and harmony. We impulsively say “”I’m sorry’ even when we haven’t done anything wrong. Women are taught and trained to be well-mannered and learn early on that it’s not polite to make others feel uncomfortable or to appear overly aggressive or combative. This overly-polite behavior may send the wrong message in the workplace.

    So, I agree with you, Auriane! STOP APOLOGIZING!”

  37. Jessie Fernande

    Your message resonated with me!!!

  38. Lana Wiliam

    Your article made me conscious of something that can add great value to my personal and professional journey!

  39. Nataliya Smith

    Thanks for the empowering message!

  40. Angelo Henderso

    Thanks for this inspiring article! I believe this will help stop the “confidence” gap! #stop #apologizing

  41. Juli Woods

    I would not equate saying sorry with weakness. But to apologize is somehow showing how a person is apologetic about sharing ideas, or space, or…everything.

  42. Lusi Martin

    I can speak for myself, most of the time “sorry” is used to fill a conversation or as a replacement for a passive aggressive statement.

  43. Honey Smith

    I read a couple of studies showing that women tend to apologize more because of the desire to seem likeable.

  44. Frances Shapiro

    An eye opener! Instead of apologizing, I would say, “pardon me…” Does it make a difference?!

  45. Josephine Murphy

    Thanks for an extensive article that sheds light on being aware of the words we speak.

  46. Jennifer Varner

    I enjoyed reading this!

  47. Mary Beyer

    I would consider this “habit” as a woman’s strength!

  48. Anila William

    This is very good and well-laid out.

  49. Nancy Smith

    I admire your writing! This article is so smart, thorough and clear. You’ve perfectly discussed a lot of what I’ve been thinking and feeling about the “I’m Sorry” dilemma…

  50. Quin Meri

    According to a study published by Psychological Science journal, “women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” so are more likely to see a need for an apology in everyday situations.

  51. Monique Malick

    I guess as we grow older, “sorry” becomes an entry point to basic affirmative sentences.

  52. Norisna

    People must absolutly know what is the meaning of the word SORRY, sorry is implying a “changing of behavior” same for terms like apologize, thanks, please…. people only use those terms “by addiction”, to be “polite” and this is the big mistake. SORRY IS TO SAY Never Again” And this must be learned by children at school. children learn to say “sorry” for their bad behavior but they never learn that these “bad behaviors” must be changed. that is why we continue to say ‘sorry’ all the time. The expression would be” sorry, never again” And must be NEVER AGAIN!!!This is only my opinion.

  53. Eloisa Clay

    In times like this, you should visit a psychiatrist. Maybe you are experiencing some behavioral problem that needs medication. It’s just my opinion.

  54. George Sumanta

    I say sorry too much, but I don’t think I have the mannerism. I think I’m just really clumsy. Lol

  55. Jeweli Prater

    I didn’t know there’s a mannerism like this. Like, saying excessive sorry for a day?

  56. Linda Williams

    Lol. I will tell my friend that she should have a list! Haha! She’s always apologizing, even it is my fault. I thought she’s insane, but then I read this one. I can now understand her situation.

  57. Mildred Davis

    Yes, it’s true. If you always apologize, the impact of your apologies are being lessened, or worse, your apologies are useless because they are used to it.

  58. Monique Malick

    If the people surround you, knows that you’re always apologizing, that can take advantage of you.

  59. Jodi Thil

    IKR! We, women, are the ones who apologizes first. What about men? Urgh! They do nothing!

  60. Candis Melton

    If it has been part of your vocabulary, it is really hard to remove. But, think of this. Apologizing should be sincere, and if you apologize for its part of your language, how can people trust you?

  61. Carol Joyner

    I like the idea of counting how many times you will apologize in a day. This is for you to realize that you’re doing too much.

  62. Carrie Bleau

    Think of this, “I am worth it”. Every time you talk to a person, whether it’s a man or woman, you are worth it. Don’t apologize if you’re not doing something wrong. You’re not under them.

  63. Marina Josef

    I think it’s a psychological problem. It’s not a mannerism. There’s something inside of you that keeps you telling you’re sorry. Have you visited a psychiatrist before?

  64. Marina Bozek

    Thank God, I overcome my mannerism. When I was in my teenage years, I always apologize. The word “Sorry” was my best bud before. I was bullied, maybe that’s the reason why I used that word before.

  65. Jesse Wyss

    Whoa. Really? A person who is apologizing? Can’t believe there’s someone like that. I wish my boyfriend is like that. Lol

  66. My friends and I are having a deal, whenever I say sorry, I’ll give them a dollar. Lol. That’s a good way to stop me from apologizing.

  67. Alena Martin

    Even if you’re not the boss, you’re not required to say sorry every time something bad is happening.

  68. Selli Coaze

    I will share this article with my friend. She’s having the same problem with you. I even counted how many times she’s sorry to every people she talked to, even me. Hmmm… A minimum of 6. Lol

  69. Hena Taylor

    The word “Sorry” shouldn’t sound like a normal word. It is sacred as the ” I love you”. Those words shouldn’t be easily given to one person if you didn’t mean it.

  70. Jessi Agusta

    Yeah! Think before you speak. There’s a lot of words out there, you can find a word to replace the word “sorry”.

  71. Bela Christo

    Is this a serious case or what? I feel sorry for you, my dear, and I’m glad you overcome that.

  72. Cristina Joseff

    The word SORRY must be meaningful. It must come from your heart. It shouldn’t be a normal word to add to your sentence. It has a deep meaning.

  73. Maria Bruce

    If you’re in a relationship, the word “sorry” is actually nonsense. I’m tired of hearing that word, and he still doesn’t change!

  74. Ana Brose

    I have a friend like you! I’m kinda irritated if she’s saying sorry for a nonsense mistake. I mean, nobody’s perfect, saying sorry once is enough. But every time we commit mistakes, she’s the one saying sorry.

  75. You can always be involved in an awkward situation, but you shouldn’t be sorry for that.

  76. Wilma Moore

    I used to be like this. I feel sorry every time something bad happen. But then, I realized that I’m being taken for granted by the people around me. Because they know that whatever wrong doings they did to me, I’m the one who’s apologizing.

  77. Evelyn Harris

    Yes, you shouldn’t be sorry if it is not your fault. Don’t put yourself down, because you used to say sorry to everyone.

  78. That’s the sad part of having this type of mannerism. How can you believe their apologies if in the first place, apologizing is part of their language? How can you believe that their apologies are sincere? Tsk.

  79. Ani Hoker

    This may look funny, but I pity the people who are experiencing this type of mannerism. Apologizing every time they make a move? My apologies are precious, I only apologize if it’s really my fault.

  80. Katherine Donnelly

    A friend of mine is also experiencing the same problem. She’s always sorry even though it isn’t her fault.

  81. Britni Baynes

    Is there something wrong with the person?I mean, do they have a psychological problem if they keep apologizing every time?

  82. Lancy Stanford

    Oh, and there’s a person who doesn’t even know how to say “sorry” even if it’s his fault. Pfft.

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