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Why Over-Apologizing Is a Bad Thing

Why Over-Apologizing Is a Bad Thing

Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline

June 10, 2010

How do we stop being over-apologizers?

Fortunately, over-apologizing is something we can all overcome with effort and patience. Admittance is the first step; once you acknowledge the habit, you can take steps to eliminate it from your life. Engels suggests keeping track of how many times you catch yourself apologizing. If you can’t stop yourself before saying it, make a rule to only say it once and move on.


If you find yourself starting to apologize, think about why that instinct is there. “You need to count to three each time you feel like apologizing,” Engels says. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to apologize? Did I really do anything wrong or am I just apologizing because I’m afraid someone is going to reject me or get angry with me?’” This is similar to what my friend did for me after I begged pardon for my indecisiveness.

Over-apologizers get so caught up in the habit that it becomes second nature; we blurt out apologies without really thinking why. Forcing a reason why—and then struggling to come up with something rational—emphasizes how irrational the behavior really is, and that makes the practice easier to abandon.

Making over-apologizing a thing of the past isn’t easy because you have to address the underlying issues that encourage the habit. Since those issues are often low self-esteem, a history of abuse, or simply how we were raised to think, it’s not a change that happens overnight, or even over a few months. It might take a long time to get rid of the over-apologizer label, but the results make the hard work worthwhile.

Not only will you feel better about yourself when you don’t take responsibility for everything that goes wrong, but others will respect and value you more as well, which in turn gives you a nice self-esteem boost. And this probably goes without saying, but feeling great about yourself and wanting others to recognize your greatness—well, that’s nothing to apologize for.

Originally published on DivineCaroline.

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