Updated: May 24, 2020
After recently relocated to a hot climate and learning a new language, I have noticed how I am over-using the phrase "Lo Siento" (I am sorry). British people are famous for frequently saying "sorry" too much, even when it is not our fault. After discussing this with a number of Spanish, Catalan and English people this is a definite stereotype.
Is apologising too often really that bad?
Yesterday, for example, I apologised at least ten times for not speaking Spanish badly. I apologised in the food market, and once again when I sat down for a coffee. Later on, I didn't understand the conversation in Spanish, I apologised, then someone bumped into me and I apologised. In the evening I ran behind by 10 minutes for a meeting so I overcompensated by over-explaining and reiterating my apology, so much so that the agent had to say 'it's OK please stop apologising'.
Not all British people are the same, but generally, the stereotype is fairly accurate.
Why do we apologise too much?
It stems from our childhood. Manners are the first thing we learn at home so being polite and courteous by saying sorry go hand in hand. However, lots of British people misuse the word. I was an energetic child so I spent my entire childhood saying 'I am sorry." Such habits are hard to shift, even as an adult.
Learn to take a compliment
Many people find it difficult to receive a compliment. People tend to respond to a compliment by over-explaining and being negative about the subject of the compliment.
Here is a few examples:
"Excellent presentation and really useful thank you" Negative recipient: " I could have done better, I missed a but out at the end.
"You look fantastic, have you been on holiday?' Negative recipient: 'Yes, but it's a fake tan.’
'Have you lost weight? You look great!' Negative recipient: ‘I don't, I look awful I still have two stone to shift!’
'Your hair is a beautiful colour'. Negative recipient: 'No, its grey - this is straight from a bottle.’
Next time someone pays you a compliment simply reply positively. It is okay to be positive and reply with self-confidence. For more shopping tips subscribe to my blog here.