Sorry, But Stop Apologizing

March 21, 2019

There’s a running joke that Canadians are always saying “sorry” and while there can be *some* truth to that stereotype, this runs much deeper across all countries and nationalities, especially amongst women.

The research backs this up: women are more likely to apologize than men.  There’s some belief that this could be because women are much more socially attuned to what types of behaviours constitute an apology, whereas men seem to have a higher threshold for what would be deserving of an apology.

Either way, we’re saying sorry a lot more than we likely need to be, and in this episode I’m unpacking some of the problems with this, why we often end up apologizing so often, and what it can mean to our relationships with others, either with loved ones or at work.

One exercise I’m encouraging you to try is to flip the script: would YOU expect an apology for everything that you apologize for?

For example, you go to friends’ house and they immediately apologize for the mess, often when you don’t even see what mess they’re talking about.  There’s no need to apologize, even if the house looks like a train wreck.

We’re all messy and human and imperfect and we shouldn’t be apologizing for showing up exactly as we are.

There is always a time and place for true, meaningful, genuine apologies.  Always.  We all make mistakes, and often apologies are the start of rebuilding relationships or admitting a mistake that we made, learning and growing into better versions of ourselves.

The problem is that when we over-apologize for less important, meaningless “fluff” occurrences or as a habit or reflex, we’re taking away the authenticity behind an authentic apology when there has been a true wrongdoing.  

Learning to quit saying sorry quite so often is a practice, and I’ve got some tips for you that I’ve used in my own life.

How to stop apologizing so much:

  1. PAUSE.
    • This is easier in situations where you don’t have to respond immediately, like email or text, and tougher in person.
    • There’s POWER in the pause
  2. Say thank-you instead
    • Shows gratitude and appreciation, which is much more positive for both parties
  3. Get comfortable with & embrace your imperfections
    • ie. the messy house, the crazy unwashed hair, rushing to catch the elevator before the door closes, being in sweats, spilling coffee on your shirt on the way to work
  4. Know exactly what you’re apologizing for and mean it
    • Don’t take on what isn’t yours.  If there’s something that truly warrants an apology, by all means do it but don’t apologize for the role that others might play in a situation.
  5. Pay attention
    • When you catch yourself apologizing, take mental note/observation
    • Did the situation warrant an apology? Why did you apologize?
    • Is it because of particular people you were around?  Were you especially nervous or stressed?


Tune in to catch the full episode and all the details on apologies (plus lots of real life examples).



NEW this week, there will be a weekly challenge in the Room to Grow Podcast Facebook group  every single Monday.  Something small but meaningful, and things that can give you huge rewards for minimum effort and output.

This week’s challenge is to keep your phone on airplane mode for the first hour of every day.  If you have the willpower, you can simply leave it in another room or choose to ignore it, but I find airplane mode is best because it reduces a lot of the temptation.

No one said it was going to be easy, but the payoff is so worth it.  Not only that, it will make you more aware of the habits you have around your phone, allow you to set the tone of your own day rather than having it dictated by others, and help you ease into your morning with a little less stress.

Join us in the group to check out the challenge and get some accountability, plus there are all kinds of new challenges coming up!



Emily Gough Coaching

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Want to chat more and do a deeper dive into this topic and get access to live videos, exclusive guest appearances and discussions?  The Room to Grow Podcast Facebook group is a judgement-free safe space to open up, and I’d love to welcome you in with the other amazing women in the group.  It’s the best place to go for a little extra support.

Plus, starting TODAY, there will be a weekly mini-challenge posted in the Facebook group every Monday!  The challenge will be something different every week and will involve things like getting to bed a half hour earlier, cleaning out a closet, pushing past a fear, and all kinds of other things that will make your life infinitely better over time.   See you in the group!

You can also email me at, or DM me over on Instagram @emilygoughcoach with any questions, comments, or takeaways!  Plus, I would absolutely love to connect with you and thank you for listening in real life.  It makes me day to see you listening to the podcast and fills me up with pure joy. Seriously.  See you on the ‘gram!

Questions?  Comments?  If Instagram and Facebook aren’t your jam, send me a good old fashioned email!

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