8 Times You Should Not Say “Sorry” and What to Do Instead

Just think about how many times you use the word “sorry” over the course of one day. And how many times was it for a legitimate reason? Sociologists say that needless apologizing has become our habitual way of communicating, but it actually kills our confidence.

We at Bright Side have made a list of situations where you should not apologize, and we’ve explained what you can do instead.

1. When you tell the truth

There is absolutely no need to apologize for telling the truth, because, as psychologists believe, the benefits of being honest are always predominate over trying to not hurt someone’s feelings. Always try to formulate your thoughts without starting with “I am sorry,” but instead use phrases like, “I think” or “In my opinion.” This will make you a person whose advice will always have value.

2. When you are too emotional

“By letting someone know how you feel, you’re helping that person understand you,” says Donna Flagg, author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations. So why should you apologize if that person really means a lot to you? You should also be curious about their feelings.

Moreover, there is no shame in being oversensitive either. However, always make sure you open up in an appropriate place, not a formal meeting, for example.

3. When you look different

It’s your right to look exactly the way you feel the most comfortable, and the last thing you need to do is apologize for that. This is the approach that is recommended by specialists. Unless it’s an occasion, where a specific dress-code is required, you don’t have to rush to look anything like what others consider appropriate. Always be yourself and bring some colorful diversity to our world!

4. When you want to be all by yourself

The desire to be left alone is not always a sign that a person is in a bad mood. Actually, research suggests that spending more “me-time” leads to an increase in our creativity. So never feel sorry for not participating in any social activity, whatever your reasons are, and just listen to your own feelings and needs.

5. When you ask a question

In many cases, we don’t feel comfortable asking questions, because we have a fear of looking silly in someone’s eyes. However, specialists think that this is not the correct attitude to have, if you really want to be successful. Don’t feel sorry for not understanding something and don’t be afraid to ask for more clarification or help. If another person judges you for asking, it speaks to his complexes, not yours.

6. When you don’t respond to something immediately

There will always be certain people that consider their own needs more important than yours. This type of person insistently demands an answer to their e-mails, messages, etc., right away, without even thinking that you may be busy with different things.

Don’t fall into this trap — don’t feel sorry for not managing to fit into someone else’s time frame. If it’s not a question of a real emergency, just let them know that you won’t forget about it, but will reply when it’s possible for you. As Brené Brown mentions in her book, loving yourself more than you love others is the first and most critical step to seeking happiness and fulfillment.

7. When something you can’t control happens

There are so many situations that can get out of control, even if we’ve planned everything perfectly. Whether it’s being late for a meeting because of traffic, receiving the wrong order, or a technical mistake that ruined your presentation — these things always happen and you should not take responsibility for everything in the world.

Instead, it’s better to thank the person (or people), show that this affected you too, and try to find a solution to make everyone happy.

8. When other people behave rudely

Many of us are familiar with the situation where we feel awkward because of someone else’s behavior. This phenomenon is called vicarious embarrassment, and is linked to a high level of empathy in a person. Nevertheless, you don’t have to take the responsibility for something you are not guilty for.

In what situations do you say “sorry” without really being guilty? Share your answers with the Bright Side community in the comment section!

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