Why You Shouldn’t Always Say Sorry, According to Lena Dunham

Whether you accidentally nudge a stranger on the subway or drop your change when paying for your morning Starbucks, it seems that each and every interaction ends with a profuse apology, sincere or not. We’ve entered the dawn of the apology age, in which the mere thought of shouldering your apologies in favor of a more honest proclamation makes you want to say, “I’m sorry!"

Lena Dunham can relate. The Girls creator even embarked on an “apology challenge” as propositioned by her father after enduring one too many frivolous apologies from his actress daughter.

“Apologizing is a modern plague, and I’d be willing to bet (though I have zero scientific research to back this up) that many women utter ‘I’m sorry’ more on a given day than ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re welcome’ combined,” wrote Dunham in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. “But what do you replace sorry with? Well for starters, you can replace it with an actual expression of your needs and desires. And it turns out when you express what you want (without a canned and insincere apology) everyone benefits.”

The anti-apology bandwagon may be one worth jumping on. While nothing can replace a sincere and heartfelt apology when necessary, replacing your reparations with more emotionally pointed statements can improve your communication skills and relationships—especially at work.

“Your employees know what you want from them and can do their jobs with clarity and pride. The dynamic remains healthy and open,” concluded Dunham.

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