If London had a national word, it would be sorry.
“Sorry!” you say as someone else steps on your foot. “Sorry?” because your colleague shares the voice volume of a mouse, or “Scuse’ me Sorry”, trying not to elbow people as you squeeze yourself out the jubilee line, at Canary Wharf station.
A survey of over 1,000 Brits found that the average person apologise eight times a day. That’s 4380 times a year. Having only existed in London my entire life, am I surprised? Not really. Will it ever stop? Not a chance. And what more could one expect? Saying sorry is just the polite, often patronising way of avoiding confrontation, from people you really couldn’t care about. But is it going too far?
More and more often, I find my fellow ladies apologising for things we sure as heck shouldn’t be apologising for. Things completely out of our control. Dare I say, things we should be receiving apologies for. Below are just a few situations where people have felt compelled to say “sorry”, in circumstances that required nothing as such.
Poor mental health days
Mental health is just as important as physical health. There, I said it! They play hand in hand. Poor body leads to a poor soul. A poor soul leads to an unhealthy body. So, why is calling in sick to work or school for said reason, seen as inadequate? Nay, laughable? Nonsense.
I once called in sick for this very reason, and I could hear them BREATHING judgement down the phone line. Next time, replace your “I’m so sorry I can’t come in. I’m having a bad mental health day”, with “Hey, I’m calling to let you know I won’t be coming in today. I’m having a bad mental health day and need to rest at home. Thank you for understanding.” You’re polite, and you’ve succeeded.
Calling in sick due to period pains
If I kicked you in the stomach and pulled out your intestines, you’d cry too. Or maybe you wouldn’t and your pain tolerance is just that high. Either way, people suffer with different medical conditions that alter their experience with menstrual pain symptoms. Some are lucky enough to get through 1-2 pads a day, whilst others need a whole pack and are fighting against Noah’s Ark. So, don’t tell me “it’s not that bad” and “getting kicked in the balls is worse” because we’ll make you feel worse, okay?
Not responding immediately
Just because you’re free right now, doesn’t mean they are too. And even if they were, maybe it’s their first break after an 8-hour shift, they’ve just finished an assignment, or finally put the kids down. Unless it’s an emergency, your free time is your free time.
If you don’t have the mental capacity to socialise right now, don’t. And don’t feel bad about it either. You’re busy. You need a break or else you’ll burn out, (read my previous post “Doing nothing is also productive”). And let’s be real. Some days human interaction is just overrated. Who needs to socialise when you could be alone in your pyjamas, eating something fried and watching Netflix?
Cancelling plans because you need YOU time
Meeting people on days where you just can’t hold yourself together or feel like the whole world is crashing down on you, is shit both for you and your guest. Trust me, you’d both rather spend time together once you’re feeling more composed. But, cancelling on plans can be a little frustrating when it’s lastminute.com or you’ve been trying to meet for a while.
Before you make plans, think ahead to what you’d be doing that day and whether adding a motive is something you’re prepared to do. However, if you’ve already made plans, then just explain your situation and reassure them that once you feel better, you’d happily meet up. If you can, give them another date you know you can work with!
For just feeling. Literally
The universe gave us emotions for a reason. Why would we repress them? To implode?
Put your hands up if when trying to explain a crappy situation to someone, you’ve stopped and said, “sorry you must think I look/sound/appear..” insert negative comment here. If the person you were baring your soul too felt this way, they probably wouldn’t be sitting there, listening in the first place. It’s healthy to talk about your emotions! Feel them, name them, state them and heal! The universe gave us emotions for a reason. Why would we repress them? To implode?
Reach out to someone close and let them know how you’re feeling. Just speaking your feelings out loud would take a huge emotional load off your shoulders. It could even open up your friend’s eyes to understanding changes in your behaviour, that they couldn’t previously comprehend, putting them in a better position to guide you.
If there’s any examples I’ve missed out where people can’t help but apologise, simply for things that make us who we are, feel free to comment or let me know!