If you say “sorry” for these 7 things, you might be a serial apologizer

Have you ever noticed how often you apologize?

I mean, really thought about it?

You might be taken aback by how frequently “sorry” slips from your lips. And I’m not talking about the necessary apologies – like when you’ve accidentally bumped someone or said something hurtful.

No, I’m referring to those unnecessary, almost reflexive “sorries” we tend to sprinkle throughout our day. You know, when you apologize for asking a question, for expressing an opinion, or even for simply existing in a shared space.

Well, I’ve got news for you.

Apologizing for these things isn’t just unnecessary; it might be suggesting something about your self-perception and confidence levels. You could just be a serial apologizer.

So if you’re wondering whether this is you, let’s dive into those 7 things that if you’re apologizing for, might just make you part of the “I’m sorry” club.

1) Apologizing for your own feelings

Ever found yourself saying “sorry” when expressing your own emotions?

This is a common one. You might apologize for feeling upset, anxious, or even excited. It’s as if you’re asking for permission to feel the way you do.

Your feelings are yours. They’re valid, and you have every right to experience them without apologizing.

Remember, it’s not about suppressing your emotions but about acknowledging them without guilt or regret.

Next time you find yourself about to apologize for your feelings, take a deep breath and remind yourself – it’s okay to feel.

2) Saying “sorry” when someone else bumps into you

Now, this one always gets me.

Just last week, I was at the supermarket, minding my own business, when a man accidentally bumped into me. And guess what? Out of nowhere, I heard myself apologizing.

But why was I apologizing?

I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was standing still. He was the one who bumped into me. Yet, my instinctive response was to say “sorry.”

It’s a reflex that many of us have ingrained in us – this need to apologize, even when we’re not at fault. But it’s a habit that we need to break.

3) Over-apologizing when you’re late

Here’s another one that hit home for me.

A while back, I was meeting a friend for coffee and got caught in the worst traffic. Naturally, I was late. When I finally arrived, I was so flustered and apologetic, you’d think I’d committed a serious crime.

When I stopped to think about it, was it really such a big deal?

Sure, being late isn’t ideal and a sincere apology was necessary. But the repeated “sorry” made it seem like I had done something terrible.

Instead of getting caught up in the guilt spiral, it would have been more productive to apologize once sincerely and then move on to enjoy the catch-up.

While it’s important to acknowledge your slip-ups, don’t let them overshadow the rest of your interactions. You’re human and sometimes, life happens.

4) Apologizing for asking questions

Do you ever preface your questions with a “sorry”?

This is something I’ve noticed many of us do, especially in learning or working environments. It’s as if we’re apologizing for not knowing something or for taking up someone’s time.

Should we really be apologizing for wanting to learn or for seeking clarification?

Absolutely not.

Asking questions is how we grow. It’s how we engage with the world around us and deepen our understanding. So, there’s no need to apologize for it.

5) Saying “sorry” for needing help

Here’s a fascinating bit of information – according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people are twice as likely to help you if you ask than if you don’t. It’s a testament to our inherent willingness to assist others.

Yet, we often feel the need to apologize when we seek help, as if it’s some form of imposition or admission of weakness.

Needing help is not a weakness. It’s a part of being human. We all need assistance at times, and there’s absolutely no reason to apologize for it.

6) Apologizing for setting boundaries

This one is close to my heart.

I used to feel guilty about setting boundaries, as though I was being selfish or rude. Every time I had to decline an invitation or request due to prior commitments or the need for some ‘me’ time, I’d apologize profusely.

Over time, I’ve learned that setting boundaries is a vital part of self-care.

It’s okay to say ‘no’ when you need to. Your well-being is important, and anyone who respects you will understand that.

7) Apologizing for your existence

This is important, so listen up.

If you find yourself saying “sorry” for simply being in a space or expressing your thoughts, it’s time for a change.

You have every right to be here, to express your opinions, and to occupy space. Your voice matters. Your thoughts are valuable. And you most definitely don’t need to apologize for your existence.


The journey towards breaking this habit starts with awareness. Pay attention to the moments when you say “sorry” unnecessarily. Reflect on why you felt the need to apologize.

It’s not about never saying “sorry,” but rather learning when an apology is truly warranted. For instance, when you’ve genuinely hurt someone or made a mistake.

Try swapping out those unnecessary “sorries” with expressions of gratitude instead. So instead of saying “Sorry I’m late,” try “Thank you for waiting.” This small shift can make a huge difference in how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.

It won’t be an overnight transformation, but each step counts. And remember, you have every right to take up space, express your feelings, and be unapologetically you.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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