Dec 3, 2014

don't apologize

There is a work-related mantra that I try to strive for both in my professional and personal life.

That mantra is, "don't apologize."

Let me explain.

See, I am not saying don't ever apologize when you clearly do something wrong or hurt someone. Because you should absolutely apologize, and actually mean it. Nothing pisses me off more than a half-hearted apology. As stubborn as I am, when I know I'm wrong....I know I need to apologize. And most of the time, in the heat of the moment, even if you do apologize, it sounds like horse shit.
It is always better to walk away and cool off and realize how shitty you were, then go back with THAT feeling to apologize. But getting back to the original mantra...

As women, I find that we tend to start phrases or emails or blog posts with, "I'm sorry but..."
The issue with this is it automatically "lessens" you in a male dominated world.
Putting us women "back in our place" in society by not being the strong women that we are.
Always lightly stepping on toes instead of just taking the reins from time to time and saying what you actually mean. Trust me, it is a delicate balance.
One that has taken me years to somewhat perfect, and I still find myself slipping here and there.
You don't want to come off as too much of a bitch or pompous, but yet, you always don't want to look like you don't have a spine and act cowardly.

One of the older men at my office simply told me, "don't apologize for what you want in life."
And it struck a cord with me.
Why should I apologize? Why should I act sheepish when asking for a raise or needing time off at work? You know damn well there is some asshole at your office (probably a dude) demanding the same stuff and taking no prisoners in the process.
But you, as a lady, can do so more tactfully.
I have found that women are more respected if they simply say what they mean. Men, mostly, will come around. Women, for whatever asinine reason, haven't got on board yet.
You are still a bitch to them.
Fuck em.
This is your life and you will live it how you see fit.
That doesn't mean act like a total dip wad and run around shouting from the rooftops about "WHAT YOU DESERVE" and how you have been wronged (unless you may, perhaps, been screwed out of the opportunity of a life time...then by all means...scream away).
But it does mean that we, as women, shouldn't have to dumb ourselves down to state what we need, even in the simplest of terms.
You think something isn't fair? Say it isn't fair, just don't preface it with, "I'm sorry but, I think this isn't fair."  That's another one. "I think..." is almost as dangerous.
You don't know.
You know it's bullshit and isn't fair, so just find a tactful way to say it with grace and be done.

You don't feel like going to that Christmas party or pub crawl or other fancy shindig? Then don't go. You have two choices to break the news; lie, or tell the truth.
"We already have other plans (lie)" or "I need a break from the holidays, maybe next time. (truth)"
Either way, you're out and you still have your spine. Bravo.

Maybe this does make me more a bitch. I (shockingly) won't apologize for it.
I just know that there is a time and a place for apologies, and asking a question or giving a response should not include one.

You would be surprised how many email drafts I go to write that include those two phrases, and how many times I have to go back and delete them. It's almost as if I can see my spine sliding down the page and into my lap.

Don't be that woman. I don't know why most of us were raised that way, but it's not a good look.
The world is a harsh place and people will kick you when you're down, so starting off on a shaky foot with a apology will get you nowhere.

So try it out. Try to focus on how often you try to "soften the blow" by using these phrases.
Think seriously about how you can change it by simply not saying or writing them.
It's completely liberating.


  1. preach sista! I'm in a helping field and frequently give people bad news, so I never start it with I'm sorry. I'm sorry isn't a problem solving approach. So instead it's the facts and what can we do to make change happen? It seems to go over so much better.

  2. I am SO guilty of the apology thing. I need to be more straightforward with people and just say what's on my mind without apologizing for it. Thank you!

  3. I've found since entering my 30's I've been MUCH better with this. Not perfect by any means, but much better about choosing decisions in my life and not apologizing for them.

  4. Love, love, love this. Not apologizing has really helped me at work and in life lately; you should never feel ashamed to ask for what you want and need. Really needed to see this today! Great post.

  5. I'm sorry, but I just love this post. Sorry, I didn't mean to say sorry. lol--couldn't resist! Happy almost weekend boo!!!

  6. Haha I'm not guilty of doing this; I tend to start things with 'I feel _______' or 'In my opinion _________' I think it's more objective that way without being too pushy or imposing my thoughts/opinions on others. I only apologize if I slip the ball and we're humans so it is what it is. You're right you have to be cautious of wording in the workplace; I'm the only female on my team and I don't take that lightly. Good post Tia! Have a great one -Iva

  7. God I needed to hear this. In my current situation I feel all I ever do is apologize for what I want. I hide it because I don't want to be judged... like the who does she think she is attitude. But then I am also like fuck it... I am not going to get another life to live. Right now in my job search I am struggling with the salary range question. I need more money than maybe the average "person" because I am a single Mom with a deadbeat dad. But I bet a guy of my age and experience would be asking for more than my top range... ugh.