When are you sorry?
Pay attention to when you’re most likely to say ‘I’m sorry’ and identify any patterns that occur. It may be when you’re under stress, in the company of a particular person or when you need to ask someone for help. Once you’re aware of when you over-apologise, you can start to address the core issue.
Consider what you’re asking for
‘When you apologise, you’re asking for someone’s forgiveness,’ says Jennifer Thomas, co-author of 'The Five Languages Of Apology’. ‘Forgiving someone takes emotional effort, so it’s asking a lot from someone if you want to be forgiven for every tiny mistake you make.’ Is it worth asking someone to spend that emotional energy?
Let others build bridges
Women tend to be peacemakers and mediators, and often apologise to avoid conflict. ‘By taking responsibility for things that aren’t your fault, you reinforce the idea that when things go wrong, you’re always to blame,’ says psychologist Dr Linda Sapadin. Holding back, rather than apologising, creates room for the other person to say sorry, which will help balance your relationship. You may think they’ll never apologise, but how do you know if you never allow them to do so?
Try different ways of apologising
The word sorry can lose meaning when said too often. Try saying ‘I was wrong’, ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘What can I do to make up for this?’, advises Thomas. Sometimes a non-verbal apology can be equally effective. If you find yourself about to apologise for something small, is there something you could do, rather than say, to make amends?