#sorrynotsorry: My Problem With Over Apologizing

There is a real hot-button topic being discussed around the internet lately and it is mainly an issue that is found in women. Now, I want to place a disclaimer here before I go any further. Not ALL who do this are women and not ALL women do this. There are many men who do the same thing and I believe it stems from anxiety, but that’s my belief, I’m not a licensed psychiatrist. Mostly, however, this is a women’s issue and it needs to be addressed. It most definitely is something I struggle with and it drives my loved ones, friends, peers, dating prospects, and colleagues kind of insane.

I apologize constantly. For no reason at all. It’s a habitual reflex.

“Excuse me, I’m sorry, may I have another tea?”

“I’m sorry, but there’s something wrong with this ticket, I didn’t have a 32oz. ribeye.”

“I’m sorry, I’ll move.”

“I’m sorry, I ordered unsweet tea, this is sweet.”

“I’m sorry, let me scoot down.”

“I’m sorry-[fill in the blank]”


Are you annoyed yet? I know I am, and I’m the perpetrator.

It’s so habitual and reactionary that I don’t even realize I’m doing it until called out on it.

“Shelley! Stop apologizing! You’ve got nothing to be sorry for!”


“Don’t freaking say it.”

“Okay…sorry.” I meekly whisper.


The thing is I have done it for SO long and it comes SO naturally that it’s second nature. It seems somewhat polite to me in my screwed up, backwards logic. The problem is, it isn’t. It doesn’t give me opportunity to really apologize when I genuinely need to. When I have done something that merits a true apology, the full remorse behind it and the full weight may not be felt due to my chronic sorries.

“Okay, I get that, Shell, but what makes this a women’s issue again? Is this some popular feminist thing you’re doing with all the other bra burners?”

Let’s take a moment here to clarify a few things:

First of all, I don’t burn my bras. Waaaay too expensive of a hobby. Second, a feminist isn’t someone who seeks out issues against men, nor are they “manhaters”. Let’s correct that misinformation right now. There are those men-hating women who do and are. They are not feminists. They are angry and are looking for someone to blame. Men are an easy target because they have probably been deeply hurt by a man or men. I get it. On the flip side, this is how misogyny is created…plus a male-centric society, but we’re not going there.

*steps off soapbox*

The reason that this currently is seen as a women’s issue is because so many women are struggling with it. My Dad was a serial apologizer, so I know men struggle too. However, since we were little girls, we’ve been told how to act in polite society- this goes double for us in the south. It’s not just your family telling you either, it’s teachers, friends, the scolding eye of someone else’s mama (you don’t want that), churchgoers, characters on tv, television hosts, cartoons, etc., all telling us to act a certain way.

I’m all for a kind, polite society, but I’m not one for regression. Women aren’t to remain silent, sitting pretty, legs crossed while the man does the talking for her. That time is over. Women are equal to men and have intelligent, constructive ideas as well. The reason we apologize the way we do, as Barbie (below) says, is because we don’t want to offend, be impolite, intrude, be labeled as “bossy” or “bitchy”. As a young girl I was told I was being bossy when working in a group. My reaction? Apologize. Should I have been shown good leadership qualities? Yes. Was that our culture at the time? No. It is now and these labels simply have no place in our society anymore.

“Well Shelley, I get it, but God created women to be the weaker and gentler sex. Sometimes, to be polite, you need to apologize. You also just need to deal with the fact that it is the way it is.”

Hahaha! No. If God didn’t want strong women, He wouldn’t equip us with the hammers for us to shatter glass ceilings. He didn’t make us to sit with our intelligence, ideas, talents, and words (that He gifted us with, by the way) locked away. He made us to pave the way so our daughters won’t feel the need to apologize for having original thoughts, so mothers won’t apologize for working when they want to, because having a career and purpose is important but it doesn’t mean the mother doesn’t love their child for having one, so young women won’t apologize for wanting or not wanting something.


It’s time we forgive the unnecessary sorries and exchange them for some other polite niceties that won’t make us feel like a burden for being on the planet.

I am here for a reason, and I’m not sorry for it.

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