I’m Sorry, But Stop Apologizing

“Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done, and let them howl.” - Agnes Macphail

We all know that person who says, “Sorry,” when you run into a table leg or the coffee goes cold.  It’s kind of cute, right? Maybe those who love them find it endearing, but scientific research on the power of apology explains why we should NEVER apologize for random or illegitimate transgressions. While you may believe it ingratiates you to others, it actually cripples your credibility, makes you seem weak, and generally prompts people think less of you.

This is because apologizing, as it turns out, is a transfer of personal power. This study, published in Behavioral Science and The Law, looks at the role of apologizing within the criminal justice system. Researchers found that it’s vital for victims of crimes, and their families, to experience that transfer of power, from offender to offended, that happens when someone apologizes in the courtroom.  

Tyler Okimoto and colleagues at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia delved deeper into the world of apology and found that not apologizing, even when you’re legitimately wrong, has distinct benefits. As Dr. Okimoto told Smithsonian Magazine, “When you refuse to apologize, it actually makes you feel more empowered,” he said. “That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.”

Does this mean it’s time to stop being a compassionate human when you mess up? Not necessarily. In fact, Okimoto found that those who apologized did also feel better about themselves as long as they had genuine intention.

What these studies DO tell us, however, is that we should never apologize because we feel insecure, hope to gain sympathy or are just randomly compelled by a subconscious hum of guilt.

Here are 7 common apologies that you need to stop making… immediately:

  • Saying No - Amazing things happen when you learn to say, “No.” No one is entitled to your time except you and you should give it intentionally. When you don’t want to give it, then don’t, but don’t apologize. Just say you don’t have time or the inclination.
  • Valuing your Time - Similar to the above, but again, spending time on you and what you value, your goals and priorities is never an offense.  You may be disappointing people by taking your time from them, but again, it’s your time. Don’t apologize for spending it on your life.
  • Shutting out Toxic People - Minimizing your relations to toxic people is better for you and everyone around you. People need to learn how you expect to be treated and, if they cannot respect you or treat you with respect, at least, then you don’t need to apologize for eliminating them from your life. Even if they’re related.
  • Your Appearance - You are who your are and it’s no longer Jr. High. Love yourself. And if you don’t love your appearance than work to change it or accept it. Either way, no apologies required.
  • Asking Questions - You don’t have to know everything and look smart all the time. It’s better to be curious, so learn things and ask things without apology.  
  • Failing to Achieve - Failure is an essential part of life. You either tried and failed, which makes you brave, or you decided not to bother practicing and cultivating skills. Either way, there’s no need to apologize for not being a good cook, not knowing how to dance, not having a green thumb or being unable to fix a computer.  The world takes all types. Own your skills and don’t apologize for the ones you have not practiced.
  • Truthfulness - Telling the truth is a complicated pursuit. While honesty may not always be the best policy, if you choose to be honest, than own what you say. Because if what you say is hurtful, you can’t shield yourself or the other person from that with an apology. Don’t apologize for speaking up or speaking the truth.

If you’re the type that can’t stop saying they’re sorry for random events, it’s time to stop that. All of us need to go forth and live with intention and without apology. Besides, if you save your apologies for when you truly screw up, they’ll be genuine and hold more value.





Rocky Lewis
Rocky Lewis