Why women always apologise and how to stop

Photo: Sarah Cooper’s Facebook

We got Sarah Cooper, author of the hilariously snarky How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, to weigh in on being too sorry.

1. Why do you think women overapologise?

I think we all want to be liked, and the fear of being seen as a bitch is overpowering. Most of the time, we don’t even mean it when we say sorry. We’re really just saying: “Please don’t think I’m a bad person, I’m not a bad person I swear, please, please think I’m a nice person!”

I believe this is why women apologise more than men do. Being nice is often seen as a requirement for women just to get in the door. If we don’t at least nail being seen as nice, we don’t move on to the next step in whatever situation it is. I don’t think that is necessarily expected of men – they are often given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their personality, their competence and their niceness, whereas women have to prove it.


Is this a problem?

Why women always apologise and how to stop

Photo: How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings

It’s a problem for both parties involved. The “apologiser” thinks apologising will win them points, but it sometimes makes them look weak, especially when they’re apologising for something that’s not their fault, something they don’t need to apologise for, or something they don’t genuinely feel sorry about.

As for the “apologisee”, it ends up making them feel like they were wronged in some way. Of course, if they do feel wronged and appreciate the apology, that’s fine.

But when we over-apologise at times when it isn’t necessary, it can plant the thought that others have been wronged when they weren’t. Whereas if you didn’t apologise, the other person might not even have noticed anything was wrong.


How do we stop doing this?

Why women always apologise and how to stop


Photo: How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings

When you start an e-mail with an apology, think to yourself: Is there a better way to say this without using the word “sorry”? What if you didn’t apologise at all and just answered the question? And in person, just be more aware of when you say you’re sorry, and you will eventually be able to stop yourself before doing it in a case where it isn’t necessary.

This article first appeared in the February issue of our magazine.