Sorry not sorry: A social experiment


Scene: There I was, sitting by myself in the alcove of chairs in the corner of Jordan Hall. I just came from lunch and was trying to finish a paper before my next class.  I had my laptop, notes, books and pens spread around me and the small table in front of me.

Enter: blonde, baseball-cap wearing, cargo-shorts-in-January, boy.

He sat down next to me, right on top of my notes and pens.

I shouted, “Sorry,” and I hurriedly tried to gather my things, stuffing papers and books into my backpack without a second thought.

Later, I wondered something very important: Why the heck did I apologize?

I don’t think it’s a secret that women tend to apologize more. From asking, “Sorry, is this seat taken,” to apologizing for having a question, this cloud of uncertainty isn’t necessary.

I think this need to to alleviate blame comes from our desire, as women, to avoid conflict.  We would rather take the full responsibility for an issue that isn’t our fault than make someone upset.

Author Rachel Simmons said that she thinks women apologize more because it makes them likable.

“Apologizing is one way to make yourself more accessible and less threatening,” she said.

Let’s bring it back to cargo shorts boy.

He sat down next to mewhere I was clearly studyingand disrupted my area.  I should not be saying “sorry” to him and trying to make myself less conspicuous.

Ever since that day, I have been conscious of how many times I apologized.

I noticed myself saying sorry when somebody held the door open for me, when someone else and I both reached for the same paper in class, and when I accidentally dropped my phone in the hallway.

This little social experiment really made me aware of all the unnecessary things I was apologizing for. I mean, Justin Bieber taught me that it’s not too late to say sorry but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to.