Sorry seems to be the hardest word

outdoor steps railing

The other day I got to a venue that had what looked like 50 steps to deal with, I just took one look and was in a state of shock and confusion. How on earth am I going to do all of those stairs? In addition to the steps, quite a few were outdoors and it was raining!

Darted vision began, looking for an accessible entrance followed by an about face to find another way in.  In my search I came across a business man close by. I approached him to ask if he worked nearby and if he could tell me if he knew of an accessible entrance.

His response was polite and helpful. Although he didn’t work in this building, he had a vague memory that there was an accessible entrance. He pulled out his umbrella and said “follow me”.

The first words that came out of my mouth were “Sorry”. I felt terrible to take him out of his way and back out in the rain. My expectation was that he would point me in the right direction and that would be it. Surprisingly he stopped in his tracks when I said this to him, and his response was one that has really made me think.

With a smile on his face, his words were along the lines of – “I was reading an article recently, and it said that women apologize too much and for most of the time – for no real reason. So I won’t accept your apology, however I will make sure you get to your destination safely and dry”.

So why is it that women say sorry more than men? Do we say sorry more than men? Is it just as simple that our perceptions of what is ‘wrong’ are different? A threshold of where what I would consider something that could impact or offend someone else is lower than that of the same scenario for a man?

We are not at fault, and I am personally taking this as an environmental factor from my upbringing and continuing into my workplace. Men have long been the ‘greater’ species, and it has been ingrained for us to naturally apologize as women.

Ladies, let’s be conscious NOT to apologize unless we truly mean it. Least of all to a man!  It is a word where I think we have the power to change the meaning and bring the balance back to where we are no longer to blame.

Even though I avoided the steps, a kind business man led me to my destination safely and dry. And I am not sorry that he did that!

2 thoughts on “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”

  1. Great article, Amanda. I have always found this to be an irksome and humiliating topic that somehow women are expected to apologize in certain situations, and men not. However, let’s take this a step further and start expecting men to apologize when necessary (in addition to women, when necessary). In personal life and business, I find it refreshing when people, regardless of gender, are polite and use apologies, as long as it is necessary, e.g., Apologies for bumping into you, etc. — rather than Sorry for your decision to lend me a hand. I love that the kind stranger wouldn’t accept your apology — he’s right that it wasn’t necessary, and it seems he’s the type to think it was necessary to help. We need more people in this world like that! Just like we need men who are just as polite, where appropriate, as women.


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