A New York Times editorial about women’s proclivity for apologizing for things that aren’t their fault has been making the rounds on social media this week. For many of us, the article hit home in a pretty profound way — especially the scene where the author, Sloane Crosley, described saying “sorry” multiple times for a restaurant messing up her order (something over which she had absolutely no control and for which she, in fact, should have been receiving apologies).
I particularly loved reading Crosley’s insights about how the word “sorry,” for women, doesn’t always indicate accountability or even an apology. In cases of obvious rudeness or injustice, we’ve come to use “sorry” as “a prompt for the person who should be apologizing.” She’s right that there’s a ton of nuance in the way many of us preface certain statements with apologies. That being said, there are still some cut-and-dried scenarios where the word “sorry” is never, ever needed — and some where it is. Let’s review them, shall we?
20 Things You Should Never Apologize For:
1. Someone else bumping into you on the street.
2. Asking that a mistake be corrected — whether it’s a huge error your coworker made that you’re being blamed for, or the fact that you were handed the wrong drink at Starbucks.
3. Speaking your mind.
4. Ordering dessert.
5. Returning something that’s defective.
6. Getting up to use the bathroom on a crowded airplane, no matter how dramatically the person in the aisle seat sighs (those aisle-seat people are ALL ABOUT DRAMA).
8. Taking a while to respond to a non-urgent email.
9. Asking that guy on the subway to please remove his entire body weight from your pinkie toe.
10. Someone else’s bad behavior.
11. Asking for help.
12. Not being a dog person.
13. Kindly asking someone to repeat themselves when they’re mumbling.
14. Needing some time alone.
15. Having a messy house.
16. Saying “no.” No explanation or excuse necessary.
17. Spending all your discretionary income on a trip to Vegas to see Britney Spears in concert.
18. Killing it at work.
19. Telling someone the truth, especially if they specifically asked you for it.
20. Taking up space in the world. You deserve to be here.