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To Apologize or Not Apologize...That Is The Question!

Ask yourself two questions:

1) How comfortable are you with apologizing?

2) Are my apologies sincere?

Rarely is there a scenario when you’ve done something wrong or where someone has done something wrong to you, and it is then followed by a sincere apology. There are those that over-apologize and those that can’t fathom the thought of apologizing. Why is it so difficult to find the sweet spot?

Let’s look at the two extremes:


There are people who apologize about everything, even when they aren’t at fault. This generally occurs as a result of an insecurity that exists. The person doesn’t want to damage a relationship, or they aren’t comfortable with conflict. In an effort to avoid both of these things, there is an automatic apology. But if an apology comes too quickly and without thought, is it really genuine? Probably not. When you sincerely regret what you’ve done or said, it can take some time to process those feelings. Additionally, if you are one that apologizes….immediately…..for everything, it becomes watered down and can fall on deaf ears. Over-apologizing can have a negative impact on your mental health, as it can add pressure to life and erode your self-esteem because essentially, you’re taking the blame for everything, even if the other person was wrong. So, before you apologize assess if you’re genuinely regretful or if you’re just trying to move on from the situation. It’s OK to hold folks accountable!

No Apologizing

In contrast to the over-apologizer, there are those who get physically ill when faced with having to apologize…ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get the picture. People who struggle with apologizing are generally dealing with an issue of pride. The thought of admitting that they were wrong is unfathomable, but no one is right all the time. Having the courage to realize you were wrong in a situation is an extremely attractive trait and guess what?!....your pride will survive! Apologizing to someone isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength because it’s much simpler to walk away from a situation without acknowledging fault. For many it’s easy apologizing to the random person you bumped into at the grocery store or the person on the plane who’s seat you took, but when it comes to loved ones, it seems to be a struggle. The next time you find yourself in conflict or are having an internal battle of wrongdoing, stop, take a breath, and apologize, it gets easier every time. Oh, and by the way, buying a gift is not an apology, saying “I apologize for….”, shows sincerity.

In order to have a level head in the space of apologizing, it’s important to find balance between apologizing too much and being comfortable with apologizing, in general. The ability to assess your own faults and hold others accountable for theirs will bring harmony to multiple areas of your life. It’s not healthy to be on either side of the spectrum, so get yourself to the sweet spot.

Say it with me….”I, apologize!”

Candice N. Crowley, LPC

Phone: 513.599.2676


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