Not long ago I heard an interview with a writer from The New York Times who wrote a piece about the fact that women are too quick to apologize—and should stop. She didn't mean we shouldn't apologize when it's truly warranted. She meant that we should be more clear about our apologies: Do we really need to apologize? Do we mean it, or are we saying it as a passive way of getting the other person to apologize? Do we apologize when we can simply be more direct in what we want or need?
After hearing the interview, I began thinking about the whole idea. Many times, we as women DO apologize too much. It's as though we're sorry we're taking up space; we're trying to make ourselves smaller until we nearly disappear—almost an attitude of "I'm sorry I even exist; I know I'm not worthy." It gets back to that whole self-esteem, self-image issue again.
During the interview, a video clip was shown where a woman apologized for coughing on stage as she was speaking, then apologized as she asked for water, apologizing again when someone brought her a bottle of Coke rather than water—saying she couldn't drink Coke but really wanted water. It really got almost embarrassing to watch the woman continue to apologize when all she needed to do was ask for a glass of water and clearly state that it was water she needed, not Coke.
What do you think? Do you sometimes apologize when you really don't need to do so? I'm checking myself these days to see that I'm as clear and direct in my communication as I can be while still being polite. I firmly believe in apologizing when it's called for. And I also want to continue building a strong self-esteem. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.