Last week I had a hospital appointment. They hospital uses an electronic booking in service, a machine that then gives you a receipt. Only last week it didn’t. There was no one at the reception desk so, assuming I was checked in we just sat down and waited. And waited. When we had been waiting for an hour past the appointment time I went to the desk. It turned out that because I hadn’t been to the dest, even though I had booked in via the machine I was assumed not to be there.
Thankfully I got to see the doctor who apologised and complained at the stupidity of the system. The nurse also apologised. But, do you know what I found myself saying how sorry I was that I hadn’t realised and how sorry I was I hadn’t gone to the desk. They, of course, told me to stop apologising.
The trouble is I often can’t help apologising for things that aren’t actually my fault. For some unknown reason the word sorry slips out of my mouth too often. I don’t mean when I’ve done or said something wrong and need to apologise. But when someone else has done something to me – walked into me, stood on my foot or accused me of something I haven’t actually done.
I’ve been wondering if any of this has to do with my naturally submissive personality. My desire to please to make people happy? And, I think it might. No one has told me I should apologise more, but plenty of people have told me to stop.
I’d say that since I’ve been putting myself and us first, it has happened less. I do still say sorry to my mum when I can’t visit as much as sh wants. But other than that there is no one close to me that I need to apologise to. That means that when I find myself saying sorry to someone who has wronged me, they are likely to be unimportant in my life. Not to say that seeing the doctor last week wasn’t something that needed to happen. There is something about those kinds of situations that can make us feel socially inferior. However I have been to that clinic and seen that doctor a few times. What’s more I have been in professional meetings with him (though he doesn’t remember me). So it really isn’t that.
Writing this post has caused me to reflect on my propensity to apologise and I am going to try to do it less. To reserve my apologies for times when I really do need to say sorry.