Tag Archives: savvy business woman

“Excuse me”/“I’m sorry”

Cheryl offers:  I consider myself a pretty savvy business woman. I’ve read a lot of books, have an EMBA from SMU, had a great career at IBM, on and on. I have lots of reasons to tell myself so. And yet, with all the information I’ve read and know about women in the workplace, I find myself committing some of the very behaviors I advocate women release to make themselves more powerful. Take yesterday for example. I am in downtown Dallas at a busy street corner during lunch. As I approach the corner and start to cross the street, a young man approaches from a different direction and wants to cross to a different corner than I do. We do the imaginary “dance” of positioning to sort out our intentions without really speaking. As we “dance” he says “Excuse me” and I respond with “I’m sorry,” Whoa! I realize a few seconds later I’ve just committed one of those behaviors Gail Evans warns all women about in her book Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. Evans claims women’s apologizing with “I’m sorry” is a “female addiction”; that sorry is a sorry word for us to use. Women need to drop all the apologies because in a business environment, a man hearing them infers a mistake has been made and it’s the woman’s because she apologized. This is one of those subtle ways we undermine our power and future opportunities.  I’m beginning to think she’s right and I’m working on retraining my brain and tongue. Oh, I’m sorry, did I offend anyone?