The Habit of Saying “I’m Sorry”

“I’m Sorry.”

How often do you say it?

How often do you hear it?

One of the habits that many insecure people have is saying “I’m sorry” for everything.

Women whom are involved in mentally or abusive relationship, have this habit – as do abused or neglected children. I’ve also met plenty of men that have the “I’m Sorry” habit.  An overcritical parent or significant person in someone’s life – can really make a person feel worthless and at fault for everything.

For some reason people think that everything is their fault – that they somehow created the situation.  I think that people have been conditioned to believe that saying I’m sorry it will ease the situation.

Once time I had an interview with a woman who was involved in a mentally abusive relationship.  While interviewing her, I had to excuse my self because I had forgotten something.  She lowered her head and whispered “I’m sorry.”

I asked her why she was sorry.  I asked her how it could possible be her fault that I forgot.  She just sort of looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.  It took a while for me to help her see that my actions and thoughts in no way shape or form was her fault.

I proceeded to try to get her to fully understand and ACCEPT the fact that NO ONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHERS ACTIONS OR THOUGHTS.

I’m sure we all have known or met somebody that has the “I’m sorry” habit.  Maybe you have or have in the past.  I did.  I would apologize to people because I was sick, heck, I would even apologize because they were sick!

People that are overly apologetic will say they are sorry when they cross paths with some one at the grocery store, they’ll say they’re sorry they want to speak to you, or they’re sorry because … they exist???

People that consistently say they are sorry really don’t even know why they are.  They mean it to an extent – they mean they are sorry for anything they may or may not have done to create a situation or make it worse – even if they didn’t know about it.  They feel that everything even remotely bad or wrong is their fault.

This can be a hard habit to break – even when the person is no longer under the wings of a criticizing spouse or parent.   In time a person could just be saying it – just because they have been saying it for so long.

If you have a loved one or a good friend that says they are sorry all the time, you can try to talk to them.  Ask them why they feel like they have to apologize?  Why do they think they don’t deserve your love and/or friendship?

Depending on how close you are, you may be able to ask them what they are sorry for when they apologize – or ask them how it is their fault.  For example; When I began dating my husband, my “I’m sorry” habit used to drive him nuts! Every time I said “I’m Sorry”, he’d smile and say “Like it’s really your fault … there’s so much traffic” (or whatever).

Stop Apologizing!

1. Become aware of how often you say you’re sorry

2. Are you really sorry? Why are you saying it

3. Find a friend or two that will help you to become more aware

4. Say Loving positive affirmations to yourself, such as …

  • I am worthy
  • I am lovable
  • I am creative
  • I am funny

What helps a lot of people is using a technique called Afformations by Noah St John …

  • “Why am I worthy?”
  • Why am I lovable?”
  • Why am I creative?”
  • Why am I confident?

5. Get some professional help.  It helps to get an unbiased view of who you are and what you are capable of becoming!

6. Recognize that you have a right to be heard, and that your opinions and feelings really do count.

7. Remember each one of us is unique.  We each have our own creativity, strengths and weaknesses.  Learn to focus on your strengths.

Note that I’m not talking about the people who just use “sorry” as an excuse – that’s for a different article.


  1. says

    Hi Cindy,

    This is Noah, the author and discoverer of Afformations.

    Just wanted to say THANKS for the mentions! I truly appreciate it.

    Also wanted you readers to know that if they want to learn more about The Afformations Method, they can get the first 3 chapters of my Afformations book for free at the link you gave them.

    I’m enjoying your posts – well done. Let me know any time I can contribute.

    Talk soon,
    Noah St. John

  2. Shamelle @ says

    Yes, I think some people are trying to be too polite sometimes. It may be a built-in to their character or may be they are just “pretending” to be nice.


  3. says

    It’s funny, they say that as Canadians, we will apologize when we walk into a lamp post. You hear that and you think, yeah right! Then you walk down a busy street in Toronto and watch people do it. It’s creepy, and not a good sign of our mindset.

    I really recognize what you’re saying about when you and your husband first started dating. This drives my family INSANE. Baby starts to cry and I apologize. Kettle breaks, I apologize. It rains? I apologize. Thanks for the gentle kick in the butt.

  4. Carrie says

    hii:) i wanted to tell you i really appriciate people like you that have sites like this.i have always said im sorry.for the very same reasons.i do see a profesional and ladies group.those affirmations are perfect for my situation in my thnk you for taking the time to help others that really need it or may not realize they need help yet:)

  5. Cindy says

    You are very welcome, Carrie. May your life be full of happiness and joy! Learn to be the confident unique person you are. :-)

  6. ken says

    I need to break the habbit of saying sorry. Have done it for so long. But it’s not all bout feeling like something is your fault…for example, a friend of mine had a really soreneck and I said “Oh, I’m sorry!”. They said, what are you sorru for, it’s not your fault. And I said, I know it’s not but I am still sorry you have a sore neck…I know I am NOT at fault but it’s just become an expression…it would help if people gave other expressions to use. Someone said to me, just say, “I’m sorry to hear you have a sore neck” or something if I bump someone in the street, what do you say in a split second? I sometimes just say, “Oooppps!”. They smile and we go our seperate ways. But give me some phrases to use please…repeating, when I say sorry I don’t mean I feel I am at fault or to blame or that I am insecure, I am genuinely ‘sorry’ that such and such has happened…so happy to have other phrases thrown at me, please…