Why Do Women Apologize More Often Than Men?
Yesterday a dear work friend and I were out at a remote broadcast. We were getting ready to go, packing things in the KNUE truck, and rushing around like we all tend to do when we're preparing to go somewhere and need to get going quickly. Before we even made into the truck to leave, we noticed that between the two of us, we'd said "I'm sorry" to one another at least ten times. TEN.
What had transpired in those fifteen minutes prior? Had we tripped each other? Perhaps one of us ran over a beloved pet iguana. Or maybe one of us was in a "mood" and offended the other with our bad attitude.
No. Actually none of those things occurred. In fact, she's one of the dearest people I know and everything ran pretty much as smoothly as humanly possible. However we found ourselves apologizing for things like both reaching for the air conditioner knob at the same time. At one point, we apologized to each other because we were both trying to pick up the bags to put in the truck--we apologized for trying to HELP each other.
What's going on there? Does this habit of apologizing for every little thing seem to be more frequent with women? Well, when you look at the research the answer is clearly YES. But why?
Well, let's clear one thing up: It's not because men are necessarily more stubborn. Studies show that there seems to be a difference in what women and men see as "apology-worthy" offenses. A 2010 study published in Psychological Science revealed that when it comes to determining what constitutes an apology, women have a "lower threshold."
The study also revealed that both men and women, when they feel they've done something wrong, apologize about 81% of the time. It's just that women feel like they've done more for which they need to apologize. An example could include apologizing profusely because you failed to return a friend's call quickly enough.
The problem with falling into a habit of over-apologizing is that it can cause a person to start to feel unnecessary " excessive guilt and toxic self-blame," according to Inc.com. That, in turn, can lead to more situations that make you feel like you need to apologize more and the downward spiral continues.
Obviously, that doesn't mean we should give up apologizing altogether, of course. However, it may give us a moment's pause before we apologize to make sure that one is truly warranted.