Do you ever just… kind of apologize for no reason? Like, there’ll be a lull in conversation, and you find yourself automatically saying sorry ? Does it add itself to the end of your sentences like some kind of compulsive punctuation, or just pop out of nowhere like you’re being haunted by the ghost of an extremely contrite ventriloquist?
Then of course there’s the timeless classic: “Stop saying sorry so much!” “Sorry…”
I’m trying to unlearn this habit at the moment, and it’s like trying to throw away a boomerang.
Reasoning that understanding it might help defeat it, I decided to trace it back to its origins. What I found was that it was rooted very deeply in my childhood.
Growing up on the autism spectrum, I was constantly breaking social protocol without meaning to, or even realizing I was doing it. As a result, adults were always telling me off for reasons I didn’t understand. I ended up being on edge 24/7, because it seemed like at any moment someone would start yelling at me, no matter how hard I tried to follow the unwritten rules of society. (I suspect this plays a significant role in the anxiety issues that plague me to this day)
After years of this, I started to just automatically assume that I being annoying and rude whenever I said or did anything, and that the safest thing to do was to apologize after every sentence or action, just in case. This habit became so strongly ingrained that even now, at 26 years old, I’m having great difficulty un-graining it.
Those of you who know me in person will probably have noticed this tendency of mine to spout “sorry” like it’s the f-word in a Tarantino movie. Well, now you know why, and I’d like to ask a favour: when I do it, please pull me up on it. I need your help to kick this bloody thing.