Not too long ago I ran across an article called 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing. I assumed the first thing on the list would be to stop reading articles telling you what to do.
But alas, the first point advised to stop apologizing.
I mostly thought the whole article was stupid, so I filed it away in the back of my mind and didn’t give it much more thought.
Until I ran across an article called One easy secret to make people like and trust you more.
Their advice? Apologize more.
“People are often afraid to apologize for fear of looking weak,” said study author Alison Wood Brooks, an assistant professor in Harvard Business School’s Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit.
“What we find in this paper is that it doesn’t harm perceptions of power. Instead, apologizing for things that aren’t your fault can show empathic concern, which leads people to trust you more.”
As mentioned in the quote above, the study looked specifically at “superfluous apologies” – saying sorry for bad weather, traffic, or other things that are clearly not your fault.
That may be different from apologizing for inconveniencing someone, but the point is still relevant.
I’m often surprised when I “superfluously” apologize and someone responds, “It’s not your fault.”
I find that confusing. I know it’s not my fault that your basement flooded or your flight was delayed. I was saying sorry cause that kinda sucks and I’m sorry about that. That seems like a perfectly appropriate usage of the word “sorry,” and apparently Harvard professors agree.
I don’t really have a point to this post, so, you know…sorry.