I Refuse to Say Sorry

I am a strong, independent woman. I work hard and do not back away from controversy. I speak up for myself and never allow anyone to place me into an inferior role. I am smart and I feel like I carry myself with authority.

Yet, I find myself apologizing for everything. You bump into me, “sorry.” I interrupt a conversation, “sorry.” I don’t have an answer to a question, “sorry.” I smile and laugh nervously, then I freaking apologize. For what? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense.

And it took a damn commercial for Pantene (no affiliation) to get me thinking about why I am always so sorry. Watch this video and please tell me if you see yourself in any of these women? Then notice what it looks like when you stop apologizing.

The difference is measurable. Men don’t apologize before speaking, so why should we? I was raised to be polite and perhaps I am over-compensating by constantly deferring to others. Or maybe it’s because I am naturally introverted. Or maybe I think it makes me sweet and approachable and I fear being seen as rude or abrupt. I do not fully understand it, but I am making a change. I am misusing the word and hiding behind it more often than anyone should. Here is my commitment to myself.

I refuse to say sorry in excess and be seen as less than.

I refuse to say sorry when it’s uncalled for and inappropriate.

I refuse to say sorry when I should simply speak up.

I refuse to say sorry when I should say excuse me or simply I don’t know.

I refuse to say sorry because I want to set a better example for my children, but especially for my daughters.

Most importantly, I refuse to say sorry when I am not actually sorry.

Refuse to say sorry

Are you guilty of apologizing frequently? Have you ever noticed what it sounds like? What advice would you give to someone who is constantly apologizing?



Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. Great post Nicole. As you pointed out, many of us use the word ‘sorry’ to convey many meanings like excuse me and i don’t know rather than an actual apology. I used to do this quite a lot until my husband asked why I apologized all the time. Which was weird to me because not once did I feel responsible for whatever I was saying sorry for, it was just the word I used out of habit.

    But it made me stop and think about all of the times I use it and started training myself to not use the word. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s made me more aware of how others can hear what we say but derive a different meaning from our intention. Thanks for the reminder to focus on this 🙂

    The only advice I can think of is to enlist your husband or close friend to help break the cycle. I didn’t get defensive when my husband said that to me, instead I asked him for substitute words for some situations. For example, when I’d say sorry if he had a bad day he said he’s prefer me to just say “that sucks!” instead lol.
    Lisa recently posted…Build Your Business and Relationships with Email MarketingMy Profile

  2. My husband actually does this a lot. It’s kind of extreme. For example, if I spill my coffee he will apologize even if he wasn’t even remotely responsible. It is kind of interesting and I don’t know where it comes from, but I have some theories. Being aware of it is a huge step. I know I have caught myself doing it at times too. Now that I am working from home it happens less because I am not out in the world with strangers as much. I think I do it because I don’t like conflict. I’ll take responsibility to make the other person more comfortable, especially in a traditional work setting. This is a great post and has given me something to think about!
    Lillian Connelly recently posted…Bathroom Selfie Or BustMy Profile

  3. I did the same thing: saying sorry for everything I did not need to say sorry for. And men don’t do this at all (unless they want to sell you something) which just annoys me. Why do parents teach their daughters to say sorry at every whim?

    A while back I decided enough was enough: I was not going to say sorry anymore. It took some real practice, but it has definitely paid off. Every now and then I still say sorry, but it’s a habit I had since my childhood , so not easy to shake off.
    Judy recently posted…How To Get back Into Dating After A Self-Imposed HiatusMy Profile


  1. […] Nicole writes a great post about refusing to say sorry. […]