Six things you must stop apologising for

Sorry, not sorry

Six things you must stop apologising for

Over-apologising has come to be seen as a female trait. There are workshops dedicated to helping women stop saying sorry, adverts that want us to stop apologising and even tool to remove the word from your emails.

Now Hillary Clinton, the only woman to get close to becoming President of the United States, has proved she also suffers from the affliction.

In the 64-year history of televised presidential concession speeches, she has become the only candidate to say: ‘I’m sorry.’

 To be more precise, she said: “This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country. “But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together.”

It’s telling that the first presidential candidate to apologise for losing an election is a woman. Many will applaud her for showing such humility and humanity – and Clinton shouldn’t feel bad. But for many women, saying sorry is a symptom of imposter syndrome or feeling pressure to behave in a certain way.

So in the spirit of confidence, here are six things women should never apologise for:

Not wanting sex

A quick poll of my girlfriends suggests this is THE most common apology. They feel guilty saying they’re too tired for sex or just aren’t ‘in the mood’, and always apologise when they simply don’t want to have sex with their boyfriends.

Then there are times you feel you can’t have sex because you have your period. There's no need to say sorry for menstruating – it's not something to feel ashamed over. Indeed, the only time it’s uttered happily is by girls trying to get out of swimming class at school.

Getting ready

It’s an unavoidable fact that most women take longer than men to get ready for a night out – mainly because it’s near impossible to shave our legs, do our hair and layer on make-up in the same time it takes a man to stick some clothes on.

Women are then left with very limited options:  foregoing their beauty regime and sticking it to society in one swift move, or apologising for blow-drying, nail-painting, lashing on the mascara... even if it makes us feel good.

Not looking ‘nice’

A friend tells me she once apologised to the postman for not having any make-up on, because she felt she ‘looked a state’. Aged 17 and wearing last night’s make-up with unwashed hair, I once did the same to my driving instructor. Not once did he ever apologise to me for constantly wearing tracksuit bottoms and manspreading – sitting with his legs so wide apart I once mistook his knee for the gear stick. But that’s another story.

Saying sorry

The truly skilled over-apologiser is so used to being apologetic that she cannot stop. When confronted with a ‘but you don’t need to be sorry,’ she will automatically apologise without thinking. She then typically laughs at herself while crying a little on the inside, at just how far gone she is on the apology scale.

For everyone else

Over-apologisers don’t just feel bad about things they have done – they take responsibility for everyone around them. No guilt is out of bounds for these women, and they can say sorry on behalf of partners, friends, kids and even strangers. Stop apologising for other people’s behaviour.

Letting others down

Hillary Clinton is probably guilty of this – as are many senior women who feel they have to forge a path for younger women by becoming  ‘good role models’. It’s importat, of course,
but the weight of gender equality doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders. Never be sorry for trying to smash glass ceilings.

TIMES When Hillary Clinton owned it

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”

“In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times 7. Well, I want you all to know that I’m keeping a chart.”

“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely — and the right to be heard.”

“You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not secretary of state; I am. If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

“If fighting for women’s healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”

“Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.” (from her concession speech after losing the 2016 US election to Donald Trump)

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