Many of us tend to offer apologies too frequently, even when unnecessary. Occasionally, we find ourselves saying “sorry” for circumstances beyond our control, such as unfavorable weather during an event we’re hosting. At times, we extend apologies for personal life decisions that are well within our rights, like switching jobs or ending a relationship.
Furthermore, we might apologize due to our heightened sensitivity to others’ emotions, in hopes that we didn’t accidentally upset them. It’s great to apologize when we’ve genuinely messed up or think we might have hurt someone without meaning to. But there are some choices we should just own and not feel the need to apologize for.
According to a report by Forbes, excessive apologizing often occurs in individuals who struggle with low self-esteem, a fear of conflict, and a concern about others’ opinions. They say this tendency is closely linked to having weak personal boundaries, which can lead to taking responsibility for situations we have no involvement in or no control over. As a result, we quickly experience guilt, as if everything is our fault.
In a study published in The European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers found that with each apology, individuals may experience a decrease in their confidence, potentially influencing their self-image. On the other hand, participants who refrained from expressing remorse in these situations showed signs of higher self-esteem, an increased sense of control, and an enhanced sense of integrity, as per the research findings.
When things get rocky with a partner, friend, family member, or coworker, saying a heartfelt “I’m sorry” can be the way to patch things up. Ideally, both sides would do some soul-searching and own up to any wrongdoing. If you’re wondering whether you should apologize for something, just take a peek at situations where there may be no need to apologize.