Every day, for myriad reasons, women are apologizing to me: for opening a door I am about to enter; for reaching over me at the salad bar; for standing in front of the open refrigerator and gazing at the variety of chilled milks. It's the same thing every time: A well-spoken, confident women will notice that we happen to be sharing the same space, cast her eyes downward, and mutter a quick and meaningless, “sorry.” Most of the time, I say it back. It's nothing more than a ritual, a salutation, a paper-thin pleasantry. But she's not sorry. And I'm not sorry. So why are we saying that we are?
-Justine Harman via ELLE
It was odd to see a link to this article pop up on my Twitter feed. A few months ago I suddenly noticed how often I was apologizing for stupid things that I was not even remotely sorry for..
When I accidentally bump into someone. Or if I am in someone's way, even though I just need to grab some peanut butter off the shelf, and then I'll be on my way in the grocery store. I say it when I'm working and go to place a coffee on the table and the customer moves her/his arm for no reason. I apologize in the morning when my little sister is hogging the bathroom mirror above the sink and I need to brush my teeth. It's ridiculous.
“Sorry” seems to suddenly mean the same thing as “Excuse me.”
And it bothers me that the two phrases had become interchangeable.
I am not trying to say that apologies are wrong or bad in any way. I am all for apologies and being courteous and polite, but most of the time I don't even feel apologetic in these instances. By saying “sorry” rather than “excuse me,” it takes away from the real meaning of the word, and real apologies.
A co-worker (hi, Sara) and I have begun to correct each other when we say “sorry” rather than “excuse me.” I am determined to be rid of this habit, because what am I apologizing for, r e a l l y? Taking up space?
Sorry. Not sorry.