Have you ever found yourself apologizing for things that are out of your control, like bad weather at a party you were hosting? While apologies, when warranted, are a sign of empathy, over-apologizing can undermine your authority and more importantly, affect your self-esteem. It’s natural to want to keep your boss and clients happy, so it can be tempting to apologize for everything that goes wrong, even for what is out of your control.

Vijayeta Sinh Ph.D., a psychologist and career expert in NYC explained how the word “sorry” has become a part of our everyday vocabulary when she said, “Although it is important to apologize and take responsibility for things that you may have inadvertently screwed up, some people commonly use the word sorry and insert it into almost every sentence.” While it is admirable to apologize when we’ve made a mistake, there are certain choices we need to own and not apologize for. 

The notion that over-apologizing is becoming a habit in the workplace led me to ask my colleagues their thoughts on the matter. I asked my coworkers at Elliott Browne and Geektastic Hiring NY what they believe they should never have to apologize for in the workplace. Their responses are shared below.  

You never have to apologize for… 

“Never apologize for giving your professional opinion.” - Harjoit Singh

“Taking personal or vacation time for peace of mind, wellness or spending time with loved ones.” - Rhiannon Murphy

“One thing you shouldn't apologize for is giving feedback or critique. Even if it's not the most pleasant thing to hear at the time, honesty will take you and the person who you are critiquing to better places then if you were to just sugar coat it/basically lying to make them feel better" - Brus Palaj

“Never apologize for being YOURSELF. If you’re having a bad day embrace it and support each other, accept the quirks and if you’re not harming any one and doing your day to day just be you and live.” - Melissa Fishler

“I will never apologize for being overly transparent. I believe that being transparent guarantees perfection.” - Kyle Kaifas 

“I shouldn’t have to apologize for asking silly questions that others may already know the answer to.” - Dan Gioe 

“I believe you should never apologize for being vocal in meetings and for asking questions.” - Jess Johnston

“Drinking the last cup of coffee!” - Tyler Martis

“I believe you shouldn’t have to apologize for mistakes made in the workplace. As long as there is a lesson learned from any professional mishap, there should be no reason to apologize for it.” - Andrew Rozon

“Never apologize for being yourself.” - Jason Chacho

“When you’re sharing your opinion – one of our core values is Radical Honesty, if you can’t be honest in a work place and feel that your opinion isn’t valued or can contribute then you’re in the wrong place.” - Dani-Louise Barkley

“You shouldn’t have to apologize for creating a positive work-life balance, as long as you’re taking work seriously.” - Olabanji Shoyombo

“I shouldn’t have to apologize for voicing my opinion in the workplace.” - Shayna Walsh

“Taking time or private moments to maintain Mental Health is so important. You should never have to apologize for taking care of yourself.” - Brian Martinez 

“For speaking the truth! While it may not always be pleasant, it’s always better to be honest.” - Michaela Killick

“Never apologize for asking for help, it's the most important part for self development.” - Tim Heslop

“One thing that you should never have to apologize for in the work place is voicing your opinion, as long as its in a respectful way. If you don't speak up, your voice will never be heard.” - Courtney Casler

“You should never have to apologize for having high standards.” - Katie Harding 

“I believe you should never apologize for being honest and upfront. I'm always unapologetically working towards our vision and getting there means there's going to be tough conversations along the way, but every time they come with absolute care, love and passion.” - Sam Harrison

After speaking with my colleagues, I became inspired to share my answer as well. I believe you should never have to apologize for how you feel. While you may need to apologize for how you act on your feelings, you never need to for being hurt, angry, sad, etc., and expressing how you feel. Self-care is so important in today’s world, it should never be ignored. 

Never apologizing for being yourself and voicing your honest opinion seem to be the common themes among the responses. This exercise is meant to highlight the importance of building confidence in ourselves and our choices. It’s human to struggle, so unless we are hurting other people, there’s no reason to apologize for it. As Melody Wilding, in her article on Forbes wrote, “It’s time to reclaim our confidence and stop using sorry as a crutch.” What’s one thing you have realized you don’t need to apologize for? Have you ever apologized for something on this list? I would love to hear your response below!