Are you one of those people that apologises for everything you do? You're grabbing something off a shelf at a supermarket and notice someone is standing behind you, hoping to get to where you're stood. "Oh sorry!" you exclaim, not wanting to upset them with your regular shopping routine.
Why are you sorry? You're going about your business, you were there first, and it's not going to ruin their life if they have to wait a couple of moments to get to the shelf in front of them. It's OK to slightly inconvenience somebody else for your own gain.
Then you get to the till to pay, and you're handing all of the coins over to the cashier who proceeds to drop a couple. "Oh sorry!" No! You shouldn't be sorry! You didn't drop the cash, they did! You didn't make a single mistake!
I'm a culprit of this myself. I've even found myself saying 'sorry' when someone's held the door open for me and I've not reached it within a millisecond. It's absolutely ridiculous. And though sometimes it does pay off to be polite, when you're going to these extremes it's not good for anybody.
See, as you're apologising you're then pushing a potential, fictional blame onto the person you're apologising to. They know you've done nothing wrong and so wonder what they've done that warrants an apology from you. They start to second guess themself - perhaps they offended you and you were being sarcastic? It's a vicious cycle of niceness.
This being said, it's a big no-no to apologise to someone and then take it back when you've realised your mistake. There's always the chance you actually have annoyed them, at which point it's fine to smile and just walk away. You can smell these people a mile off. You apologise and they either:
A) Stare at you blankly
B) Give you a half-assed attempt at a smile
C) Push past you. At which point it's fine to give them a verbal beat-down. Verbal only.
It's nice to be polite. It's just not healthy to be an obsessive apologiser. So go out there and stop being so bloody nice to everybody you meet. Because one thing's for sure - not everybody is going to be absolutely lovely to you.
Tagged in Women's Issues