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9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry

9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry

Hundreds and thousands of years into perfecting communication to better express ourselves, and we are still far from mastering it. Saying something and meaning it often stand miles apart from each other. Why? Well, that has something to do with our evolving social structure, convincing us to use words out of context that were clearly designed to serve other purposes. Or maybe this change is psychological as Psychologist Andrew Howell at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton explains.

For example, the word ‘sorry’ should be hard for anyone to use in a conversation. It was supposed to make you humble, somewhat vulnerable, and not at all a fun experience. But, even such a strong word is now being used as an icebreaker. ‘Sorry, are you Nathanial?’ ‘Sorry, but it is my leg you are stepping on!’, ‘Sorry, but you are being incredibly rude.’ Sounds familiar?

If you look at these instances, you will see that using the word ‘sorry’ in some cases is downright ludicrous. Are we blind to this? Of course not! But, we keep disregarding the original value of the word sorry and keep using it because we think maybe it makes us more acceptable to the world.

But, what we do not realize is each needless ‘sorry’ robs us of our inherent nature. And believe it or not that involves losing good bits of our character that make us a unique human being. What are we losing by saying sorry too many times? Surprisingly, a lot.

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1. Confidence

Say, you are planning a presentation for your office. And, although you have given your 100 percent to it, you feel it is not enough. That is understandable because our inherent nature pushes us to do better than the last time. But, if you start the presentation with an apology, you will lose your confidence and fail to navigate the presentation as you have planned thus losing clients, and maybe your job, in the process. Making mistakes doesn’t have to be this costly for you, only if you keep a lid on the frequent use of the word sorry.

2. Insurance

At the scene of a car accident, approaching the authorities or possible witnesses with a ‘sorry’ can take that big fat insurance payout away from your table. Even if you think you are at fault in the accident, you need to understand that there are multiple variables at work here, that decide the reason behind the accident and who is at fault.

So, if you are not a professional, it is best to leave that can of worms to the experts. And if you know you are not at fault, saying ‘sorry’ might make you look like you are at fault, canceling further investigation and leaving you to pay for damages, on top of your own medical bills, of course.

3. Credibility

Saying sorry too often and to every one might make you lose your credibility. With a habit like that, you will surely be taking a lot of heat from the office and society. A true apology can be relieving. But, needless use of this word as your favorite conversation starter can put you in a bind. People will expect more from you thinking you are to blame for everything, and that is not something you want to live with.

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4. Respect

As the word sorry implies submission, needlessly using it would eat away at your self-respect and distort how others see you. Say, you are standing in a queue and there comes a (not so gentle) man taking the spot in front of you. His excuse, he is on a tight schedule. Now the right thing to do would be to tell him to go at the end of the line like he is supposed to. But, starting your conversation with a sorry will defeat the whole purpose and cost you your respect.

And not to mention it won’t make you the guy who stands up for his right (spot in this case), but the guy who uses apology to request his spot in the world (queue). If you never saw it that way, it is better that you start now, to protect how people see you.

5. Value/Self Esteem

Although we now use the word ‘sorry’ very often, we do know what it stands for. So, misusing it can taint your consciousness with guilt of losing value by apologizing for nothing at all! For example, two drunks bump and spill drinks on you in a party. It is clearly their fault, but you saying sorry, just makes things confusing. You surely didn’t mean to apologize! You just used sorry as everyone else does. But, the people in the party laugh at you, which can hurt your self esteem.

6. Companionship

Your overuse of the word ‘sorry’ might make your relationships overly complex. They say, communication is the key to a successful relationship. But, when you are accustomed to using strong words (like sorry) without meaning them, what else can you expect other than arguments? For example, you might use sorry as the means to avoid discussion, and in an attempt to bury certain issues. But that’s not the way to handle things. Burying issues and not resolving them might only breed more problems. And we all know how that ends.

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7. Identity

Yes, you can lose your identity a bit every time you utter the word ‘sorry’ unnecessarily. How? Well, what makes you unique is your thoughts and viewpoints. But, using the word sorry unnecessarily may take away your confidence. And, with your confidence gone, you won’t find the required push to run with your own fascinating ideas, but favor others’ viewpoints. That is potentially character assassination, and can eat away your individuality piece by piece.

8. Appeal

Your charm and personality trait that attracts others hinges on how you express yourself. Adding sorry in your conversation kills the magic and makes you look unsure. Want a more vivid image of that? Well, let us say, you are in a bar and you find someone interesting. You walk up to that person and ask, ‘Sorry can I buy you a drink?’

The person you are addressing will simply think that you either lost a bet and have to buy a drink for him or her or you are apologizing because you do not believe you are worth even a second of the person’s time. Just adding one sorry could really end your conversation, or worse, make the other person ask you why you are apologizing. Either way it ends with you embarrassed and alone.

9. Impression

The first impression is the last impression! We literally get vibes from people  the first time we meet them. It helps us decide whether we will be friends or not. Since we are big on social structure, making friends is something we consider important. However, saying sorry too many times can seriously damage that legendary first impression. When you are meeting with someone and start by saying sorry, the person in front of you tries to look for flaws in your sleeves that you are asking him or her to look past. And that is not very helpful.

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Yes! It is serious, but not that you have to go to a rehab to get back what you have lost. All you need is confidence and control over using strong words (like sorry) in conversations. Just a day or two into this process, and you will start to feel empowered, more confident, and a bit aggressive (in a healthy way). Why not take the first step towards making a clear point every time you speak and avoid putting sorry where it doesn’t belong?

Featured photo credit: http://www.careergasm.com/ via careergasm.com

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9 Surprising Things You Lose When You Say Sorry

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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