Friday, October 5, 2018

Better Ways To Say "I'm Sorry" Via Tabula Rosa Systems

October is breast cancer awareness month, give to your favorite charity!

Buy the books at

How to stop saying 'I'm sorry' all the time — and what to say instead
If you say 'I'm sorry, but..." more often than you should, try these tactics to kick the habit. (There's even an app for that. )
by Vivian Manning-Schaffel / Oct.05.2018 / 12:55 PM EDT

A University of Waterloo, Canada study found that women likely tend to apologize more often because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive.
A few years ago, a sketch on“Inside Amy Schumer” so aptly depicted a propensity for errant and extraneous apologies among women, it sparked an ongoing conversation that asked why and begged to change the narrative.
Not naming gender (but including a female anecdote), a male writer for Tonic asked whether the compulsion to apologize is less about remorse and more a sign of anxiety. Meanwhile, female writer Sloane Crosley penned an op-ed about women and their tendency to apologize for the New York Times that takes a totally different tone, saying “sorry” can also serve as “a poor translation for a string of expletives.”
“It’s a Trojan horse for genuine annoyance, a tactic left over from centuries of having to couch basic demands in palatable packages in order to get what we want,” writes Crosley. “All that exhausting maneuvering is the etiquette equivalent of a vestigial tail.”
Is the need to over-apologize really more a female thing? And regardless of who does it more, why are we doing it?
Maja Jovanovic, Ph.D., sociology professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and author of “Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing and Other Career Mistakes Women Make,” says women do, in fact, have a tendency to apologize more and do it for different reasons than men.
“We know intuitively that women apologize more than men, but now we actually have the research to back it up,” says Jovanovic, referring to a University of Waterloo, Canada study that found that women likely tend to apologize more often because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive. “If men deem an infraction egregious enough, they apologize. The problem is they find very few infractions deserving of an apology, and women are apologizing for just about everything,” she says. This seems to fall in line with Crosley’s line of thinking.
Like Crosley, Jovanovic attributes a woman’s tendency to apologize to being “socialized into a passive mindset” and “people pleasing behavior” from an early age. “Apologies have become our de-facto way of communicating, a way of filling the silence and keeping the peace when interacting with others,” she says. She also attributes a fear (the driver of anxiety, mind you) of not being liked and being seen as offensive, to excessive apologies. “We preempt what we think people are thinking about us with an apology as if to say, ‘I already know what you’re thinking … and I’m sorry,’” she explains.
Apologizing when we have done something wrong is a real strength, but compulsive apologizing presents as a weakness at work and in personal relationships.
Without assigning gender, Tara Swart, neuroscientist, medical doctor, leadership coach and author of the upcoming book “The Source: Change your mind, change your life” says serial apologists mostly do so out of habit, possibly stemming from a childhood where one was made to feel wrong or fearful of punishment (and thus, perhaps anxious). “It may be that the normal human need to belong has been compromised, creating a shame response that’s meant to induce forgiveness and reacceptance,” she explains. “Apologizing when we have done something wrong is a real strength, but compulsive apologizing presents as a weakness at work and in personal relationships,” Swart says.
What’s more, if you’re apologizing for fear of socially rejecting someone, your words might fall on deaf ears anyway. After examining three sets of studies, researchers from Dartmouth College and University of Texas, Austin found “apologies increased hurt feelings and the need to express forgiveness but did not increase feelings of forgiveness.”
In this vein, Swart says both giving and receiving apologies can sometimes elicit what she describes as “survival emotions,” such as fear, anger, disgust, shame or sadness, which pump the stress hormone cortisol into our brains.
Flip the script
From a neuroscientific perspective, Swart says curbing the constant need to apologize requires the same strategy as kicking any other habit, and thus “building a strong new pathway in the brain” through:
  • An awareness that you want to change
  • Attention to each time you apologize excessively
  • Accountability — have a friend or partner alert you each time you do it
  • Mindfully swapping out apologies for other phrases
Instead of reverting to apologies, Jovanovic offers these options:
Instead of saying “I’m sorry,” say:
  • “excuse me.”
  • “pardon me”
  • “go ahead”
  • “after you”
  • “your turn”

  • Instead of saying “sorry to interrupt you,” say:
  • “ I’d like to add…”
  • “I have an idea….”
  • “I’d like to expand on that…”
Instead of saying “sorry to complain,” switch it to:
  • “Thank you for listening…”
Instead of apologizing in an email, consider saying:
  • “Thank you for catching that….”
  • “I appreciate you bringing this error to my attention….”
  • “Thanks for flagging this issue for me…”
If you’re running a little late, instead of saying sorry, consider:
  • “Thank you for waiting for me…”
Whatever your reason for developing this habit, like with any habit, you can nip it in the bud with a little effort. There’s even a plug-in for that; Jovanovic recommends a Google Chrome plug-in called “Just Not Sorry” to alert you to words that undermine your message in emails.
Good Netiquette And A Green Internet To All!  =====================================================================Tabula Rosa Systems - Tabula Rosa Systems (TRS) is dedicated to providing Best of Breed Technology and Best of Class Professional Services to our Clients. We have a portfolio of products which we have selected for their capabilities, viability and value. TRS provides product, design, implementation and support services on all products that we represent. Additionally, TRS provides expertise in Network Analysis, eBusiness Application Profiling, ePolicy and eBusiness Troubleshooting

We can be contacted at:  or 609 818 1802.
In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

Anyone who would like to review the book and have it posted on my blog or website, please contact me

In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.

Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services.  Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology market.

No comments:

Post a Comment