Do your written communications sound confident or apologetic?

Take a moment, and type the word, “sorry” into the search function of your email program’s sent folder. I did, and despite all of my training on how to communicate with confidence, I was astounded by how many times I typed that word in my emails.

We know that women typically apologize more than men, but do we know why? Researcher Karina Schumann conducted a study in which 33 male and female university students, ages 18 to 44, maintained an online diary and noted whether they apologized or did something they believed warranted an apology. The participants also recorded how often they felt they deserved an apology from a friend. Women apologized more and reported committing more offensive acts. Women rated the offenses of others as more severe than men did, and women were also more likely to say the friend deserved an apology. But it’s not that men are hesitant to admit fault; men have a higher threshold for what they think warrants an apology. Women often have a lower threshold for what requires an apology because they are invested in the emotions of others, and they strive to maintain harmony in relationships. 

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