It’s no revelation that women apologize more readily than men. Women need to talk a lot more in public spheres and should not be worried about upsetting people and saying things in a ‘nice’ way.
Women apologize a lot, no second thoughts about that. I realized this first, few weeks into college. Instead of simply asking questions and inquiring about things I had no idea about, there I was, saying sorry unnecessarily. I misunderstood politeness with apologizing. Women know what I’m talking about. Men might find it difficult to relate to this.
The apologies women make, if you observe are often knee-jerk reactions. They say sorry even when they are clearly not at fault. Saying sorry for asking questions in class, saying sorry when presenting ideas before a group of people, saying sorry when asking someone to stop doing something that’s making them uncomfortable, the list is endless. Eventually, it ends up being an ice-breaker and a great conversation starter. You lose count after a point of time. It becomes so normalized that one inculcates it as a habit which refuses to leave.
Right from their childhood, women are expected to be polite. They are viewed as the more responsible gender, the gender which diffuses tension in unwarranted situations. They, very easily feel guilty. They usually put themselves under a lot of pressure to not upset anyone and be a people pleaser. According to a 2010 Canadian study in the journal Psychological Science, women have a lower threshold for what requires an apology because they are more concerned with the emotional experiences of others and in promoting harmony in relationships. The word ‘sorry’ is used to soften the blow and to confront people in unavoidable situations. “Women believe that they are making people mad when they’re speaking up”, says Radhika Nair, a second year student from Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences. “I sometimes think that we are expected to be very grateful for whatever opportunities we are bestowed with”, says Annmary Alex Thomas, an Ambedkar University student.
It is often seen that women tend to say sorry more for feeling a certain way, for not coming across as a woman who’s ‘difficult’ or ‘emotional’. Indian women, who are financially dependent on their family or husband, believe that they have no right whatsoever to express their opinions during family discussions given that they do not earn.
Ladies, listen up. Do not say sorry when someone encroaches upon your private space. Do not say sorry for your choices, indulgences, views and opinions. Your over-apologizing shows your lack of confidence in yourself. Instead, challenge the status quo and break free from the realms of conformity. Start checking the number of times you say sorry in personal conversations, over the email. You might have been conditioned to internalize this attitude but it’s in your hands to shift this attitude. Be unapologetically you!
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