Have you ever met someone who kept apologising for every question or favour they asked? Perhaps you are that person and you can hear yourself saying "sorry" over and over again for basic and normal requests which really don't need an apology. It is annoying for everyone involved and usually, the person apologising is just in such a habit of doing it that a gentle "No need to apologise" or even "Please stop apologising" won't actually lead to any change.
I heard a great tip a few years ago which could help you escape this annoying habit, and lead to better relationships with colleagues, friends, and superiors. This tip helps avoid a weird power dynamic where you put yourself in the position of someone begging or being needy, and changes it into a collaborative, positive space. In my opinion, it not only helps others respect you more, but leads to you respecting yourself more.
We know that replacing bad habits is easier than removing them completely, so every time you feel the urge to apologise for something unnecessarily, try to rephrase it as a thank you. This puts you in a better headspace, but people also feel a lot more comfortable accepting thanks than accepting unnecessary apologies. As said, it also turns a generally negative feeling and frames it positively. You're still showing gratitude without begging forgiveness for an everyday request.
Anna "Apero" McDougall 🏳️🌈Needless and constant apologising can be frustrating for all involved, and can lead to weird power dynamics. Asking someone to "stop saying sorry" is usually ineffective.
Here's the tip that helped me break this habit and never look back:
Turn "sorry" into "thank you"!12:02 PM - 10 Aug 2020
Here are some examples:
|Sorry for the inconvenience||Thank you for your time|
|Sorry you had to wait so long||Thank you for your patience|
|Sorry to ask, but...||Thanks for seeing me, would you mind telling me...|
|You helped me so much, sorry||Thank you for helping me so much|
These are just a few examples. For me, "thank you for your time" was the most valuable and easy to implement in a variety of situations.
If you try to utilise this technique in your everyday life, you'll see that not only do people respond a lot better to your requests and explanations, but you'll also walk away feeling more like you collaborated, rather than grovelled.
Disclaimer: This advice does not apply for when you truly should apologise. If you hurt someone (even accidentally) or do someone wrong, you should apologise. The above is only applicable when you are in the unfortunate habit of apologising for normal requests.