Are You Cursed With the Habit of Over Apologizing? Monitor it to Mend it.

This habit taught me why I needed to change

Justine McGrath


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

It stopped me in my tracks. I had just apologized to someone for something that was not remotely my fault. Not even in the ballpark.

Why on earth was I taking the blame for something that wasn’t anything to do with me?

I had no idea, but bringing it into my awareness was the first step to change. When I began to look at it in more detail, I realized I do it all the time. I say sorry when I don’t need to.

When I looked more closely at why I do this, I came up with a few possible reasons. I was brought up to be polite and I have always valued manners, maybe I am just a bit overzealous?

Or maybe I don’t want people to think badly of me so I apologize — just in case.

Or maybe it’s just easier to take the blame.

The problem with this is it isn’t great for your self-esteem. Constantly being sorry affects your psyche after a while. It erodes self-belief and makes you feel worse about yourself.

What’s even worse is that it can lead to resentment. You find yourself angrily thinking ‘what the hell am I apologizing for?’

It also makes genuine apologies less heartfelt. I am sure if I genuinely apologize to someone for something they may not even take it on board because I apologize for everything anyway.

But I wanted to know more, so I turned to the psychologists to see what they had to say on the matter.

The general view is that over apologizing is related to fear of what others may think of you, and fear of conflict. It can start in childhood when someone is afraid of rejection or criticism.

Well, that opened a whole can of worms for me! I won’t go into it, but it’s definitely worth looking back at your childhood for some clues if you over apologize.

So, what’s the solution?

As with all good things to do with the self, awareness is key. Once I became aware of the habit and I started to monitor it, I was able to start reigning it…



Justine McGrath

ICF certified Executive Coach. Specialist in EI. Author ‘Conversations with my Father — Jack Kyle,’ and ‘The Elephant Crossing.’