In an article posted on Time.com, author Jessica Bennett questions her own use, or rather over misuse of the word “Sorry” after watching this Pantene commercial.
I started a discussion on Facebook, but this deserves more conversation.
In my experience, when I say what I mean in a direct manner, I have been told on many occasions (by family and in the workplace) that I “come off” as being aggressive or too assertive. I always thought, especially in the workplace, that showing assertiveness is a good thing. It proves you’re a no nonsense person, an efficient worker, and promotions are in your future. Apparently that rule only applies to men. Although I don’t want to get into a male vs. female in the workplace debate.
In no way do I ever mean to display aggression. I’m just trying to be clear and more efficient in communicating my thoughts.The more direct I am, the less my words are left to interpretation and therefore solutions and resolutions can be reached faster.
But it’s apparent people just don’t like that. This manner of speaking leads to stepping on toes, pissing people off, and hurting feelings along the way. In short, instead of being heard clearly I am viewed as being a bitch; behind my back of course.
So to have a more positive outcome in discussing my thoughts and ideas, I have consciously taken the “softer” path. I know I insert “sorries” where they do not belong. I know I start sentences with “I hate to be a pain, Sorry to ask,” etc. This behavior makes me feel like I am showcasing weakness and a submissive personality. That’s not who I am. However using this technique, or crutch as the article points out, makes conversations easier and then I’ve suddenly become more approachable.
Sue of the Anomaly Podcast says she can hear herself adding lines like “if that makes sense” or “but that’s just my opinion.” in conversation. “And every time I hear myself do it, I cringe. And I’m sure I developed it after being told that I seemed to “pushy” or “arrogant” or whatever. And I absolutely hate that I still catch myself doing it.”
Cassandra says “I have tried both ways…if I take the softer way I get walked on… So not gonna do it! I am not going to be a foot wipe for anyone!”
Christina points out “… studies that show that women are considered more likeable and more likely to be responded to in positive ways when polite and ‘softer’, and you have to wonder exactly what drives these responses in oneself. How much is it a response to socialization and positive reinforcement?”
I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on this topic so we can discuss further.