I Tried It: No 'Sorries' for a Week

i am sorry written on paper

If you know me, I have said "Sorry" to you. If you have bumped into me on the street, interrupted me while I was talking, or cut me in the grocery store checkout lane, trust me. I've apologized for YOUR mistake.


I am a chronic apologizer.

So, of course, I eagerly accepted an assignment to go cold turkey on apologies for an entire week. However, I am very sorry to report, I just. Couldn't. Do. It.

And instead of this being a piece about how empowering it was for me to give up the "Sorries" once and for all, it has become a rumination on why the f*** I can't.

Really can't. It's like I need a patch or something.

Here's my short list of possible reasons why I am addicted to the S-word.

1. It's a verbal tic. Maybe "sorry" is my filler word? You know, just like other people say, "uh," or "alright alright alright," or ... "you know."

2. Saying "sorry" is a knee-jerk reaction. You turn the crank, a jack jumps out of a box. Someone jostles my world and I blurt out, "I'm sorry!"

3. I'm apologizing for what I'm really thinking when you bump into me with your coffee. Because trust me, it's unpleasant.

4. It's my way of keeping the status quo. I don't want trouble. Who wants trouble?

5. I am an exceptionally nice person. Which is why I feel so guilty for inwardly cursing you. (Sorry, was that too mean?)

More from CafeMom: 10 Ways to Stop Saying 'Sorry' All the Time (GIFS)

Which of these reasons applies to me? Maybe a little bit of all of them. But saying "I'm sorry" is so ingrained in my identity, my daily vernacular and how I communicate to people, that trying to take it away felt like moving through my day with my mouth taped shut.

Especially because I saw so many reasons to truly apologize.

Snapping at my kids.

Finally responding to a friend's email after two-plus weeks.

Leaving my husband to clean up after we had guests for dinner and our kitchen looked like a bomb hit it.

Only taking my dog on a short walk one morning, and not even to her beloved dog park.

(Hey, dogs have feelings, too.)

More from CafeMom: Step 1 in 'Nice Girl' Recovery: Start Being Mean Girl

I realized, over that week of trying -- and failing -- to NOT apologize, that I've come to rely on that one little word. And not like a crutch, but as a proxy for all the things I want to say but which would be overwhelming to do so (or hear) on an everyday basis.

I wish I was a perfect mom all the time.

I know you're looking at the kitchen and thinking, "Jesus Christ, one person did ALL this?"

It's embarrassing that I sometimes get so caught up in my own crap that I don't prioritize your problems.

I know you want to go to the park and catch a slobbery ball in your mouth for HOURS and I wish I had the time to take you.

I've come to the conclusion that "Sorry" isn't the cop-out we think it is. Like the Eskimo have fifty words for snow, here's the one word that has a zillion meanings.

And if an extra "Sorry" slips from my mouth here and there over the course of the day, that's okay. It's not hurting anyone. And trust me, I've got plenty more where those came from.



Image via anaken2012/Shutterstock

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