Could you not say ‘sorry’ for a week?
Lauren Gross and Madeline Link challenge themselves to an unapologetic week.
Studies have found that women are more likely to apologise than their male peers due to a lack of confidence in inhibiting a traditionally male dominated environment, like the workplace. Lauren and Maddie put themselves to the test with a week ban on that little 5 letter word.
I had turned into one of those people who say sorry all the time. I came to this realisation the other night when I was out for dinner with a group of friends. Sitting at the table and chatting away, the waitress approached our table and began taking our order when she dropped her pen. “Sorry,” I said. I apologised to someone when they dropped a pen even though I was sitting there doing nothing. The dropping of the pen was not my fault at all. It was then that I knew I had a problem. I had morphed into THAT annoying, over-apologising doormat.
After my self-diagnosis as a chronic apologiser, I embarked on a one week ban on the ‘s’ word to become a stronger, more self-assured human.
Monday: It’s before 9am and I’ve already said sorry three times. I apologised to someone when we approached the ICT car park stairs at the same time, I apologised to my tutor for not listening to her and I apologised when someone bumped my leg. Monday was a lost cause.
Tuesday: I shopped at Sportsgirl and took half the store into the change room. Even though I knew I was being a retail worker’s worst nightmare, I didn’t apologise profusely like I normally would.
One of the retail assistants insisted on me trying on a knitted crop top and slapped my hands away and told me ‘not to pull on it’ while I was adjusting it. I apologised to her, but this was a time where I wish I had stuck to the challenge. She was pretty rude and didn’t really deserve my sincerest apologies.
Wednesday: In Sydney for Drake’s concert. My friend and I arrived at the exact moment that Drake came on stage. We had actually missed opener 2 Chainz because we had been taking selfies in the hotel room (I feel like this is something I should apologise for.) People were standing everywhere, cheering and craning to catch a glimpse of their main man. We had to be the two most annoying people in the entire arena and push past everyone to get to our seats. I stared deep into their soul and didn’t say a word. I think I risked getting punched in the face for this challenge.
Thursday: I worked at the bookstore, which, during the first week of semester is filled with every first year student buying their textbooks. I only apologised 528 times so I could make it through the aisles. I tried smiling apologetically at people as I squeezed past, but since I didn’t want to get fired, I quickly gave up.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Working both of my retail jobs. Each day was spent apologising because the customer is always right unless you want to be unemployed.
The moral of the story is to not be an asshole and say sorry when you are truly in the wrong. However, have confidence in your words and in your actions. Don’t apologise before asking a question or for standing up for yourself. In the wise words of Drake in the classic 0 to 100: ‘know yourself, know your worth’.
A mere two hours into the challenge and I’d already apologised more profusely than a Christian desperately seeking penance. The apologies rolled from my tongue as consistently as waves hitting the shore. I was unstoppable. To be fair, the role of waitress doesn’t exactly lend itself to an apology-free week. Luke-warm cappuccinos, a lack of gluten-free bread and the knack my derriere has for side-swiping innocent lunch-goers were just some of the obstacles that stood between myself and the unapologetic woman I was ready to become. I was desperate to stop – with each apology I began berating myself more furiously. I wasn’t mad, I was disappointed. It was now that desperation set in, I began doling out ‘soz’ to customers in lieu of ‘sorry’. I became professionalism embodied. It was around 2pm that reality struck – it was day one and already I had failed.
As the sun rose on a new day and the prospect of redemption, I steeled myself for a day of resilience. I began my morning with a ritual of positive affirmations. “I am a strong, independent woman who apologises for nothing,” I said to my reflection, my hand resting firmly against the glass of the mirror. Another day of living the dream as a waitress. This was going to be tough. I started the day on a high, forgetting an innocent woman’s skim milk with absolutely no apologies. I was ruthless but my victory was short-lived. As my shift came to a close, I’d apologised a total of 15 times. For what? I couldn’t tell you. The week continued in much the same way. It just so happened that the Yak Challenge coincided with more than a few times that I legitimately needed to suck it up and be humble. It was hard, but I swallowed my pride.
As it stands, I’m more conscious about my tendency to over-apologise, but it’s a lot harder than you’d think to embrace the #sorrynotsorry lifestyle. For all the compulsive apologisers out there, give it a go. It doesn’t hurt to check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
Image: p-a-t-r-i-c-k flickr, no changes made