Saying “Sorry” can be be a difficult one. They usually follow an argument, and they usually are exchanged after a heated discussion and often some hurt feelings. When you are wrong, it’s important to admit that you’re wrong, especially if it’s at the expense of someone else’s feelings.
However, it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to apologise, especially when you aren’t wrong. I’m probably a little bit too fond of an apology. I hate it when people are upset with me or annoyed at me, so when I know I’ve ticked someone off, I tend to apologise to the point of grovelling. Even if it’s not that big a deal. Which most of the time, it genuinely isn’t.
What I’ve been practicing lately, is the art of standing up for myself. It’s never been something that I’ve been overly good at but I’ve definitely been making a better effort to hold my own. So when should you NOT apologise, especially when you’re at work.
When you weren’t wrong – Loads of people just apologise to smooth things over or to stop a fight, when they have absolutely no reason to. If you aren’t wrong and you didn’t hurt anyone then why apologise? If it was assumed you’d do a job that is not in your job description and nobody asked you to, then don’t apologise for not letting yourself be exploited.
When you were being assertive – Being assertive is necessary in most jobs and sometimes, people don’t like it, especially if it has an affect on them and their work load. Perhaps someone really wanted to do a piece of work, but they just aren’t there yet. Saying so should be fine, just make sure you do it delicately. You can apologise for hurting someone’s feelings, but not for constructive criticism.
When someone else was out of line – Some people, myself included at times, bend over backwards to make sure they never rub anyone the wrong way. Rubbing people the wrong way, unfortunately is a part of life, and it’s not something you have to apologise for if it wasn’t intentional. Your success may rub people the wrong way, but again, it’s not something you need to apologise for.
The main reason to prevent yourself over-apologising, even if you think it makes your life easier, is because it kills confidence. If you are constantly laying down under people, you will find it increasingly difficult to stand up and be counted. So stay assertive, and only apologise if you’re wrong.