Alternatives to an apology because I'm not sorry

I mentally kick myself each time I catch myself apologising for no reason.

I mentally kick myself each time I catch myself apologising for no reason.

OPINION: Last week, when writing an email to a colleague, I began by typing "I'm sorry" because I hadn't replied as promptly as I typically might. 

Then I caught myself. No, I wasn't sorry. Instead, "thank you for your patience" was a more appropriate opening line. 

The days following I became mindful of how often I apologise and I was shocked to discover just how regularly sorry snuck its way into my speech.

I constantly apologised for silly, insignificant things like brushing past someone in the hall, or interrupting someone by mistake. 

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But I'm not alone. A heightened awareness quickly pricked my ears to others saying sorry for little to no reason at all. 

I'm willing to bet we've all said sorry out of context at some point and probably didn't even realise it.

These two little words hold a powerful meaning, but they're overused and wasted. We've diminished the impact of an apology by using it in the wrong context. 

So, why do we say sorry so much?

Like me, it might be a subconscious habit picked up through osmosis.

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For others it's a word tacked onto the start of a sentence to soften the statement that follows. I get it, I'm guilty of this myself. 

Particularly in the workplace we're scared of being overly aggressive or assertive to superiors. So we'll say: "I'm sorry, can I ask a question? Instead of 'here's my question."

And for some it can be a deeper issue like feelings of shyness or nervousness manifesting itself in their speech.

Whatever the reason it makes us look like we lack self-confidence. 

I've now banned myself from these two little words, unless I'm genuinely seeking forgiveness. Chasing someone up for something they haven't done no longer makes the cut. 

But it's not easy breaking a habit held for a lifetime. I've fallen back into my old sorry-seeking ways more than once and I mentally kick myself each time. 

ALTERNATIVES TO SORRY 

* If you bump into someone walking out of the elevator say: Excuse me.

* If you're slow to return a call or an email say: Thank you for your patience.

* If you need to ask a question just ask it! Or you could say: Can I ask a question.

* If you're reaching past someone to grab something say: Pardon me.

* If you disagree with someones opinion or don't like something say: That's not my personal preference.

 - Stuff

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