Sorry, Not Sorry

I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and I immediately identified with it. I’ll be honest, it actually made me a little sad.


If you have some criticism with it, well, I do too. I staunchly support good manners. Stealing covers from your unsuspecting partner in their weakened state is a lousy thing to do. Less-than-conscious-Tara might not see any harm in it, but awake-Tara feels that it does, in fact, warrant an apology.

Secondly, I’m not always a huge fan of big companies touting themselves as social justice warriors in an attempt to sell their products through hashtags, bandwagoning, and mock feminism. I’m not saying that’s necessarily what’s going on here, but, you know, just sayin’. Also, don’t tell me what to do, commercials.

Thirdly, I don’t think that over-apologizing is necessarily gender specific. However, in my honest opinion, it IS more common for  females than males.

Now, with that said, I’d like to get back to my point. Obviously – and I say this loosely as there are plenty of mannerless dolts out there – there is a time and a place for apologies. While many of the complaints that I’ve seen and heard about this commercial have been centered on: “What’s the problem? It’s courteous to apologize!” … I think some of those comments miss the point. I definitely fall into the category of women that tend to over apologize. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, because I remember as a kid that my friends’ parents pointed out the frequency of my apologies.

I mean, I apologize A LOT.

This is not to say that I’m unnaturally super-polite, ridiculously self deprecating, or some sort of victim. But there is this innate need to make an excuse for myself, to not cause a big stir, or to offset my sarcasm. Sometimes I even say it when I’m just nervous. What I need to do it to replace that apology with something more appropriate: Pardon me. Excuse me. I desperately need to break this habit. I need to look at what I’m even apologizing for — Have I actually wronged someone? Did I have control over the event or action that I am saying I’m sorry about?

I was once told by someone that I really respected that I should apologize less because it comes off as insincere. Hearing that made me immediately want to apologize again. It stung so badly because it is true.

I hear my daughter apologizing for more stuff than she needs to sometimes. While I champion the use of good manners, I DO NOT want to hear her saying that she’s sorry for every little thing – especially those things that are out of her control. I appreciate her level of empathy and sweetness, but I also want her to know that she is not responsible for everyone’s feelings. She does not need to apologize for simply asking a question. And she certainly doesn’t need an excuse for merely being present. This is a pretty big motivator for me to change my ways and to find more appropriate words and phrases for “I’m sorry”.

6 thoughts on “Sorry, Not Sorry

  1. I have noticed that both of my kids say sorry a lot – and hubby and I have often told them that they should not say sorry unless they are truly sorry or are being rude about something. I think they pick it up from the teachers at school.

    HOWEVER, that being said, I do believe that there is a fine line between the submissive “sorry”, having proper manners, and being truly apologetic. In the clip, when the woman interrupts someone’s meeting, she SHOULD say sorry (which is the American colloquial term for “pardon me for interrupting you…”). I like the general theme of being confident in the commercial but really think they should have thought those scenarios through. These are the scenarios that we really need to teach our kids to be aware of.


    1. Agreed! I thought that maybe that woman who was asking if someone had a minute was opening a door to an office … If it was a meeting though, I agree on the apology! (Sorry 🙂 )


  2. Wow, I’ll be thinking about this for some time, Tara. I admit, I do get irritated with how often my children apologize to me, it makes me feel like a tyrant, lol. Maybe they get it from me? I’ll be sure to notice!


  3. I had never really thought about these gender differences, but this is so true for me! I have really had to train myself at work to be less self deprecating and apologetic. It’s not an easy thing to do when it doesn’t come naturally! And why do I never feel justified in claiming an armrest for myself???


  4. Rock star line: She does not need to apologize for simply asking a question. And she certainly doesn’t need an excuse for merely being present. I think this is where the gender differences come in and I’m so glad you raise it. We do not need to apologize for existing, for wanting an opporunity to use our voice, and to dare to ask it to be heard. That probably is about 75% of our apologies right there (complete hypothetical guess). Thanks!


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