Nearly every woman has been there: You’re on a crowded train, a narrow hallway, or just walking down the street when a man brusquely bumps into you, and before you realize what you’re doing, the word ‘sorry’ comes out of your mouth. It feels bad to waste an apology on an undeserving man, so why not follow it up with an apology to yourself for apologizing to a man? Follow these tips to learn how to apologize to yourself after saying sorry to the man who bumped into you.
Don’t make excuses.
When you apologize to a man for something that he did wrong, it’s easy to write it off as a product of your gendered socialization. While it’s important to understand that as a woman you’ve been trained to feel guilty for the space you take up and to always neutralize conflict immediately, you also can’t let yourself off the hook. You are owed an apology from you, and if it’s not sincere you’ll know immediately, so put your heart into it!
Think toward the future.
What good is an apology if it doesn’t lead to changed behavior? Promise yourself this won’t happen again, then take some time to commit to not automatically saying sorry to the men who inconvenience you. Get comfortable with silence after a man invades your space. Just because you stop apologizing doesn’t mean men are going to start! And don’t worry, you’ll fully accept your own apology once you see yourself getting bumped into left and right in proud silence.
Don’t expect immediate forgiveness.
You may feel some instant relief upon apologizing, but you can’t expect to be forgiven right away. It will take time to process, and that’s okay! While you apologize, you might bring up the time you said, “Oh, my god, I’m so sorry” to the dude who spilled his whole coffee on your shirt because he was looking at his phone and walked right into you, but try not to get defensive. Hear yourself out. Wow, this apology is emotionally taxing for you, as it should be, cause ultimately you were wrong!
Buy yourself a present.
If none of these verbal tactics are doing the trick, buy yourself something comforting like a fancy latte, or a good book, or a punching bag with a man’s face on it, or maybe a punching bag with your face on it because you’re so mad at yourself for apologizing to that guy! You deserve to get punched, by yourself!
Try out any of these tips next time a terrible man comes barreling into you. Or save yourself the trouble and demand an apology from him? No, that doesn’t make any sense!