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The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Take ‘sorry’ out of your vocabulary

Elizabeth 27 Contributing Illustrator

As a new freshman at Marlborough, I constantly try to make good first impressions on every new face I see on campus. Lately, however, I’ve noticed, in attempts to make new friends and exhibit good manners towards teachers, I’ve said sorry an unnecessary amount of times. I say it when I’m late, I say it when I yawn during class and I say it to my swim coach when I’ve added 20 seconds to my time because my goggles fell off.

I realize, now, that I have unconsciously over-apologized in so many circumstances. But I’m not the only one who has been uttering an endless amount of apologies. Classmates apologize to me, their peers, their teachers and even to random bumblebees that drowned in the pool that they failed to save.

Over-apologizing is a trap girls and women fall into, in and out of Marlborough. A study conducted by the University of Waterloo found that women on average  apologize more than men “because women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior.” Thus, women are generally more conscious of their actions.

Additionally, according to the Child Mind Institute, girls and women are more aware of how their behavior affects others, which is why they tend to say “sorry” more often. If you’re a “people pleaser,” over-apologizing can be even more difficult to overcome, and reading about a study that shows women apologize more frequently than men definitely doesn’t help. However, on a certain level, saying sorry too much can be somewhat irritating to other people, especially if there’s nothing to apologize for. But it is comforting to know that I’m not alone and that over-apologizing is a habit that many people struggle with.

We all want to be polite, which is why we say sorry. But when you start a sentence with “Sorry, but,” it gives the connotation that you aren’t confident in what you’re about to say. How can this be fixed? Well, instead of apologizing, you might want to try saying “Thank you.” Instead of “Sorry, I forgot,” try “Thank you for reminding me.” Instead of “Sorry to bother you,” try “Thank you for your time.” I’m not trying to completely eliminate “sorry” from your vocabulary, and obviously these substitutions don’t work in every situation, but it’s important that you use “sorry” only when an apology is actually needed.

It’s good to account for your mistakes, but it is also necessary to realize that not everything is your fault. For example, after I swam the last leg of my relay during my last meet and touched the wall to see that I had lost our lead, I got out of the pool feeling guilty and discouraged. Now, I realize that I did my best and that’s enough. No apology needed.

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Sabrina 27
Sabrina 27, Staff Writer
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