Writers are a funny bunch. We have words we absolutely abhor. For me that one word is “sorry”. Apologising is OK, and is a social glue and I do get its place and purpose. The word “sorry” however, sounds like you’re saying you’re a sorry or a pathetic excuse for a human being.

If I know you and I talk to you, then you can bet your bottom dollar you aren’t pitiful. I don’t have the patience or the time for the self-pitying types who beg to be used and abused.

Did you know that saying “sorry’ excessively undermines your authority? Also, imagine feeling sorry most of the time even when you’re not at fault. Simply by uttering or typing the word you’re telling yourself you’re pathetic. I won’t stand for anyone being or feeling “sorry” in my presence.

When I look up this epidemic of peppering “sorries” in their language, there’s a view that it’s more a female thing. There’s also a study that’s kept track of how often women apologise versus men. Though women apologise more often, apparently, we’re also offended more often and see faults in our own actions and react to this by vocalising apologies. That’s neither here nor there however, in the work context. The constant stream of sorries undermine one’s professionalism.

In fact, this over-apologising was perceived as such a problem that now there’s a Chrome extension called Just Not Sorry which outlines any phrases such as “sorry” in e-mails so that the sender isn’t damaging their professional credibility. It’s a tech application inspired by the writings of a woman named Tara Mohr who encourages women to have bigger dreams (and stop apologising for it!).

Even if you’re a man reading this, go ahead take a look at what she’s got to say and dare to have bigger dreams for yourself. The next time you see me and you’re late to a meeting or you can’t make it to a catch-up or we agreed on something and you’re unable to deliver, save your sorries. I don’t want to hear you’re a sorry and pathetic human being.

Just be up front and tell me that you weren’t really that into what we agreed on. Make this an opportunity to talk about your life’s priorities and how saying “yes” to what other people (including me) are wanting you to do is preventing you from daring to have bigger dreams for yourself.

Over to you…

How is saying “yes” to too many people and obligations making you feel “sorry” and what can you do today to stop being “sorry” and say “no” from the get-go?

Hint: I bought a NO button for my desk to remind me that it’s OK to say no. If I’m too chicken to say “no” myself, I push the button and get used to what it feels like to say “no”.

Also if you’re reading this I love you and hence you never need to say sorry to me.