Ask any woman and it’s pretty likely she’ll tell you that she has a problem with saying ‘sorry’. The problem is that we’re saying it too much! I don’t want to rehash this, because the case of over-apologising has been well-documented by people far more intelligent than me.
It will come as no surprise that I also have a problem with saying ‘sorry’ when it’s not my fault. But I’ve found that, actually, I have a bigger challenge on my hands.
My problem stems from the over-apologising — I think, at the core, they come from the same urge. This urge to never be an inconvenience. To make yourself small and easily adaptable in the eyes of others. I want to be seen as flexible and easy-going, not as obstinate. I don’t want to stand in your way. Anyone’s way.
So when someone lets me down, wrongs me, frustrates me or just wastes my time, I say (you say it too): “No worries!”
Always with the exclamation mark. I can never let anyone think I’m anything but jovial.
I say it to everyone, all the time. In the last two weeks in particular I’ve had my time wasted over and over again in a myriad of ways. When they apologise (often half-heartedly, because they never realise the inconvenience, do they?) my auto-responder says ‘no worries’.
But there are some worries, man. There are some worries. Despite the fact that I suffer from severe anxiety and I’ll already be worrying, it’s wrong to pretend that you haven’t inconvenienced me when you have. Of course, there are some times when you just have to choose your battles and that’s okay, but it’s not okay to have this as your auto-response.
When I’ve reorganised my day to fit meeting with you in and you cancel last minute, there are some worries. When I spend my money buying something for you that you don’t have time to get and you never pay me back, there are some worries. When you offer to help me out but then never show up with no explanation, there are some worries. When you ask me to head up a project and then leave me out of the loop, there are some worries.
Things happen, I get it, I wouldn’t be writing this if it happened once or twice. Once in the past two weeks, all of those examples and MORE happened to me in just one day.
I’m out of pocket, out of time, out of energy and full of worries.
Would be interesting to see if anyone has managed to find the line between being polite and being a pushover. Because I certainly can’t seem to find it.
Follow through on what you say you’ll do, turn up on time and pay people back. And if you’re like me, stop saying ‘no worries’ or ‘it’s all good’. It’s not all good. Your time is worth something, your energy is worth something and you shouldn’t have to stretch yourself in every sense until you break over the tiniest thing and everyone thinks you’re a maniac. It’s not worth it.
I’m yet to work out what I can say instead of ‘no worries’ and I think, in person, I’ll struggle with it for a long time yet. But starting small is what it’s all about so for now, I’m attempting to not say anything when I don’t have to. Emails and texts? I’m not saying those words if they’re not true. No one will notice their absence in the digital world, so that’s where I’m starting.
(As a quick end-note, I find it appalling that there’s no GIF out there of Vaughn saying “There are some worries, man”, in Community. Just know I tried to find it, you have to settle for this vague reference instead.)