Sorry. You Say 'Sorry' Too Much.

You know it’s true. We say ‘sorry’ way too much and in circumstances where we may be causing ourselves even more challenges and pain by doing so.

Here’s the circumstance.

A Volunteer calls to complain about …(name it, you know you have dozens of examples)

Our first inclination is to say ‘Oh, I’m Sorry’. Screeeeeech! I’m going to stop you right there.

Here are the 2 circumstances in which you will use, and very sincerely, I may add, the phrase ‘I’m sorry’.

1. When you or your organization are truly at fault. Website was down? You didn’t provide a communication or service as previously agreed? You (or someone in your organization) didn’t communicate effectively about just about anything – hey, our Volunteers (who are also our customers, by the way, aren’t crazy about ‘surprises’).

2. When you are ‘sorry to hear’ about a circumstance. Yes, that is sincere but you are not apologizing. ‘I’m so sorry to hear of that experience.’ ‘I’m sorry that happened to you’. That’s being empathetic and human.

What happens when we use 'sorry' outside of these two? Well, now you may have created a situation in which it appears that you are in agreement with the person who is bringing the issue to you. And, agreeing can cause you a world of hurt in that the Volunteer or customer now believes that you not only agree with them (and you are wrong), but they will want restitution for that wrong that was put upon them…even if the wrongdoing was theirs and theirs alone.

So, my challenge to you is to watch yourself and when you say ‘sorry’. Then go back to asking yourself if it fit into our two scenarios.

If not? Sorry.