Four Reasons Why You Should Stop Saying ‘Sorry’ at Work

Angry boss with upset face pointing his finger up to female employee making a mistake in business project. Angry boss, frustrated, upset, mistake, fired job concept.
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Sorry is a word used quite often in the American lexicon. But many argue that the adjective has lost its meaning. People often use the word sorry not as an apology but out of an abundance of politeness. Professionals are now advocating for shedding sorry from professional communications.

Here’s some reasons why:  

1. Apologies Give Away Your Power 

Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School, tells The Wall Street Journal that people are usually never satisfied with an apology.  

He says that some people can associate the vulnerability of an apology with weakness in the business world. Pfeffer emphasizes the importance of standing your ground when it comes to taking risks.

2. ‘Sorry’ Can Be Passive Aggressive 

Phrases such as “I’m sorry you feel that way” or apologies when they aren’t necessary can come off as ingenuine.  

3. It Makes Actual Apologies Less Meaningful 

If you’re apologizing for every small thing in the workplace, then it takes away the substance of an apology when the situation warrants it.  

4. Shedding ‘Sorry’ Can Be Empowering

Saying sorry in every other sentence out of politeness can be burdensome. Owning your actions and realizing that you have nothing to apologize for can build self-esteem.  

If something that happens out of your control that could be an inconvenience to your colleagues, there are alternatives.  

Jen Fisher, chief well-being officer for Deloitte tells The Wall Street Journal that in instances of pushing back a meeting she suggests: “I appreciate your flexibility.” Or “I’m grateful for your understanding.” 

Read more about why people are leaning away from the word sorry on The Wall Street Journal.  

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Best-selling author and award-winning podcast host Mel Robbins tells us why we need to stop apologizing.

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