Why do I say 'Sorry' all the time? Experts call it the 'Sorry Syndrome'

I'm sure if you were to count up all the words I say on a daily basis, you would find I say "Sorry" the most. 

If you just look at me sideways, I will automatically think I did something wrong. And I will automatically say, "I'm sorry." I always feel like I need to apologize for who I am. And it drives me crazy — always second-guessing the things I say and do. And I bet it drives other people crazy as well. 

And I don't know why I do it. 

After researching this, I found out that I'm not alone — and experts call it the "Sorry Syndrome." 

Dr. Susan Gaddis of communicationsdoctor.com said, "Women say, ‘I'm sorry’ much more than men because of our nurturing nature and our desire to make everyone happy."

Some of the reasons people excessively use the word "Sorry" are to settle situations, to gain acceptance, to fit in and to make those around him or her feel more comfortable, according to Suite 101.

For me, saying "Sorry" was as natural to me as saying, "Hello" or "Good-bye." If I'm at the grocery store and somebody hits me, I'm the one who says, "Sorry." 

I think it's because I put the heavy weight on my shoulders of trying to make everyone happy. And when someone isn't happy, I accept the blame for it. When I'm hanging out with someone and I can tell he or she isn't having fun, I think that it's my fault. And you can surely predict that I will repeatedly say, "I'm sorry." 

I'm also scared of confrontation. I hate fights with a passion. I always feel like, if I disagree with someone, he or she will leave me. And so, before the confrontation hardly begins, I will quickly say, "I'm sorry."

But I realize that this constant saying of the word makes me depressed. I like to think of myself as independent. But, by saying the word, I am placing blame on myself, and I am forfeiting my power. By saying sorry, it's synonymous to saying, "You're right. I'm wrong. It's my fault." And constantly feeling like I did something wrong and always feeling inadequate is bound to make a person depressed. 

On top of that, Dr. Gaddis says on Suite 101 that saying, "Sorry" too often can affect the way others treat us as well. 

“Saying ‘I'm sorry’ too often, especially when we know that we've done the right thing, can be dangerous. … When others see us taking a submissive role too often, they may think they can take advantage of us," she said. 

So what can you do to change this? Here is some advice from wikihow:

Notice when you're saying "Sorry." Even tally it up if you want to. Are you saying the word every other sentence? If so then, yeah, the apologizing is out of hand. And people will start to not take you seriously.

Ask yourself these questions when you say sorry:
Do you say sorry to preserve the peace?
Do you say sorry to stay out of the way and not get notice?
Are there certain people or situations that make you say sorry more than others?
Is there someone who makes you feel so intimidated that the only way you feel like you can respond is by saying, "I'm sorry?"
Are you so scared of conflict that you try to end it before it can start by saying sorry?

And how does this need to apologize make you feel? In time this will make you feel resentment and you will begin to avoid people. 

Instead, face what the "Sorry syndrome" stems from head-on, which, more often than not, is a lack of self esteem. I know it's easier said than done, but learn to accept yourself and the decisions you make without apologizing for it. And learn to accept the fact that it is impossible to make others happy all the time. 

If you refuse a request to do something, make a conscious decision not to tack on, "I'm sorry" to the end of the sentence. If you're like me, then you're always a Yes-person, always wanting to please others. But it's not wrong to want to please yourself. And you shouldn't feel guilty for this. 

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28 comments

  1. You should never apologize for the woman that you are. Who you are as beautiful and wonderful and that should never change. Someone who truly cares about you would never turn their back on you even if you disagree with them. It should be handled with love and care out of the love they feel for you<3
    MWF

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  2. I wish that people could see that men also have a problem with saying sorry too much. Every website I've looked at and ever person I've asked had alwaus add sure to mention that it's the woman that apologises too much. I'm a man and every other word out of my mouth is I'm Sorry.

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    1. Too true, seeing the statistics that women apologize more than men tends to invalidate the need for some men to do something more than apologize, and validates women who resist the idea of accepting fault, even when it was that woman who needs to take ownership of a mistake rather than accepting blame.

      My teen son is currently resisting the idea of saying 'Yes Dad' or 'yes mom' instead of constantly saying "I'm sorry" every time we try to correct a behaviour or habit ... just today he said that 'yes dad' felt like he would be lying.

      I am out of ideas, and for a teenage boy who says 'I'm sorry' too much, attaching stats of women saying 'sorry' more often than men is even insulting to a boy trying to develop his identity as a man.

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    2. I had the exact same problem. Automatically assuming it's just women.

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    3. It is too true that men have this problem too because my best friend(who is male) and I both have severe self-esteem issues. This causes us to hide behind this "Sorry Syndrome" so we don't hurt anyone. WE Both have and we are from opposite sexes.

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  3. omg this happens to me waaayyy to much

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  4. I do not like to fight. But i will and will resent you later. This feels wrong to me. Is it? COULD someone help please

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  5. Wow! I saw this really great post how does this need to apologize make you feel? In time this will make you feel resentment and you will begin to avoid people. www.Cutethingstosay.net

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  6. I do this all the tume to my partner but she gets angry and tells me to not say sorry, but I cant stop saying sorry otherwise it makes things worse, she doesnt understand why I say sorry a lot but I honestly dont mean to.

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    1. Show her this article and try and make her understand that it's not your fault, and that you'll try to reduce it with the tips written.

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    2. Show her this article and try to make her understand that it's not your fault and that you'll try to reduce it with the tips written above. I hope the best for you :)

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  7. Male here myself, and I definetly notice myself saying sorry a lot in both real life, and even in video games with friends.

    I'm very shy and anxious in general, so I guess this syndrome doesnt help either :/

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    1. It's good to know it's not just girls who have this! You're not alone! I'm in the same boat, for sure.

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  8. I am a male and I apologize all the time. I have been mentally and emotionally abused a good portion of my life. When I was younger I could never do anything right and never do enough, (at least that's how everyone made me feel) even now I feel that way.

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  9. I am a male and I apologize all the time. I have been mentally and emotionally abused a good portion of my life. When I was younger I could never do anything right and never do enough, (at least that's how everyone made me feel) even now I feel that way.

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    1. I'm a woman but the same background. I was abused emotionally and I'm always saying I'm sorry.

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    2. I'm a woman but the same background. I was abused emotionally and I'm always saying I'm sorry.

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  10. Our best personal statements has specific statements. Writing personal statements is a best thesis and writing series. Writing is important as speaking.

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  11. I constantly apologize when I'm hanging out with one particular friend. I don't want to inconvenience her and I want her to be enjoying herself. Whenever I feel like I'm failing at this mission I apologize, which is every few seconds to minutes. It's a very big problem. I care more about everyone else being comfortable and happy than myself.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. I apologize all the time and I know its because I strive to make people happy. With ex boyfriends for example, they cheated or called me fat, and I apologized for not being good enough to keep them happy. With my fiancée now, I tend to get in his personal space when he's decompressing after work and it annoys him. He only requests an hour to himself to eat, shower, and relax for a few minutes, yet I feel like I bother him and sometimes he says I dont care or dont understand his time for his space. Its because I care that I want to be around him but yet I find myself apolgizing because I am in his space and it upsets him. I do it to my family, apologizing for not being good enough. And what's worse is I have Asperger's Syndrome and it makes it even harder with my anxiety, worry, nerves, depression, critical nature over myself- on top of the fact I was made fun of, walked all over, taken advantage of and always put down. My fiancée feels overwhelmed at times because of how its become habitual and cant help but apologize for not being good enough or not keeping him happy. It annoys him futher when I ask constantly if he's happy and feels loved because of being an aspie. I'm not always sure of how someone feels about me or what I'm doing so asking if he loves me and feels loved, well, they go hand in hand with my Sorry Syndrome. I apolgize for needing to hear how he feels since I cant tell as an aspie and them apologize for not knowing what his answer was before I asked. He then thinks I'm questioning him which I apologize for and eventually, I find myself apologizing for talking so much only to apologize again for apologizing so much.

    He even said to me just now "you've apologized too much. Just know I love you".

    Anyway, I definitely have Sorry Syndrome because I want everyone to be happy, even if its at my own expense. I know the negative side of it but I cant change. And then that my Sorry Syndrome is worse because my Asperger's Syndrome. Ugh. I'm horrible. And right now, I'm really down on myself and want to apolgize

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  15. Everything in America is a syndrome

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