After thousands of years have passed, giving us plenty of time to master the art of communication, we still can’t seem to get it quite right just yet. One of the primary constraints in preventing us from mastering it is our evolving social structure, which leads us to using words out of context, and thus changing their meaning.
A clear example of this, is the word “sorry”. While the word is intended to show humility and vulnerability when it is uttered in the event of wrongdoing or hurt feelings, it’s now used in a whole range of scenarios, such as an icebreaker when meeting a new person, or as an interjection.
It’s actually gotten to the point where we use the word in situations where it’s completely ludicrous to do so. The funny thing is that we’re all well aware of our misuse of the word, but we continue to use it incorrectly all the same. What we need to realize is that being overly apologetic, using the words in contexts which it was not designed for, robs us of our inherent nature. Here are 9 things you lose when you’re overly apologetic:
It’s never advisable to start something off with an apology. An excellent example of this is when you’re due to give a presentation at work. In spite of all the preparatory effort you have put in to make it the best it can be, you still feel like you have to justify its shortcomings (either real or imagined) by starting off with an apology. All this will lead you to do is lose your confidence, which in turn will probably lead you to making a mess of what you want to say when you do actually begin to give it. The consequences could be lost clients, or even a lost job.
2. An insurance claim
We all dread the possibility of having a car accident, however it’s an unfortunate reality that we might have to deal with on occasion. It’s never a good idea to accept responsibility for what happened by making an apology at the scene of the accident, because this can be interpreted as an admission of guilt by the people you got into the fender bender with, as well as the authorities themselves. Leave it to the experts to decide who’s at fault for what took place. Don’t make things worse for yourself by apologizing for what happened, even if you were really at fault. This could lead to you having to fork out hard-earned money for repairs and medical costs, which you might not otherwise have been liable for.
The importance of exercising reservation when choosing to make an apology can be vital, because if people hear the word “sorry” coming from you too often, then when you do actually mean it, it loses its inherent value. In fact, if you become known for using it repeatedly in both social and professional contexts, people will actually start to believe that you are to blame for everything.
Leading on from the point above, saying sorry implies submission, and thus causes a distortion in others’ perception of you. That’s why you have to be particularly selective when you actually come to saying it. Stand up for yourself and don’t stand for other people walking all over you. You’ll definitely gain a whole lot more respect from others by doing that.
5. Your self-worth
Misusing the word sorry can taint your conscience with guilt, making it lose its inherent value if it isn’t used properly. A good example of this is two people bumping into each other at a party, with the result being that one or more drinks is spilled on you. Your first reaction is to apologize for something you haven’t done to calm the situation and automatically excuse yourself from having any blame put on you. What it actually serves to do is make the situation more awkward and confusing, so again, you need to exercise restraint when you’re saying sorry.
6. A relationship
While your intentions when apologizing in the context of a relationship may be good, actually using the word too much can make the relationship that much more complex. In fact, its overt use can actually lead to more arguing and problems, because you diminish its intrinsic power and value when you use it too often. Furthermore, you may also have a tendency to use the word to bury certain issues and avoid discussing them. This is not the way to handle things correctly. In fact, taking this line of action may only lead to more problems.
7. Your identity
Being overly apologetic will undoubtedly knock your confidence, and this, in turn, may lead to your very identity being diminished. If you lack confidence, you’re likely to refrain from speaking your mind and discussing your ideas – sharing the thoughts that make you who you are with others. Exercising restraint before being apologetic can lead you to keeping your sense of identity intact.
8. Your appeal
The way you express yourself plays a big role in how people perceive you and thus deem how appealing you are. You should never initiate a conversation with someone you have a social or romantic interest in with an apology. It makes you appear as if you’re not worth their time, or it could end the conversation before it has even had a chance to get started.
9. A chance at a good first impression
As unfair as it may be, a good first impression counts for everything. Although many are at odds to admit it, people tend to judge each other very, very quickly. That’s why it isn’t advisable to be overly apologetic during a first meeting with someone. The person you’ve just met will begin to ask him or herself what you’re asking them to overlook (i.e. what you’re apologizing for). That isn’t going to help your cause should you want to appear strong, assertive and confident.
The bottom line to all of the above is that you simply have to be more assertive when using strong words in conversations. You do so by exercising more restraint and control when using them. In turn, this will empower you, and imbue the words themselves with more meaning when you actually do come to speaking them.
Content Source: LifeHack