Stop Apologizing for Asking Questions

Published: June 15, 2020Updated: March 2, 2022

Dear patients,

We’ve noticed a trend that we can’t help but address: when our patients reach out to ask questions or request changes, they very often start the conversation with “I’m sorry.” We’re a team of 70% women, so we understand how instinctual this is (and many of us find ourselves doing the same), but we’re here to say: enough is enough.

It’s your body, your health, your decision to use birth control—you never have to apologize for trying to better understand how to take care of yourself. At the end of the day, we want you to message us and ask questions about your health. And we don’t want you to ever feel like you have to apologize for doing so!

If you’re thinking, “this is definitely a habit of mine,” you’re not alone. Here’s some background on why women tend to apologize frequently: 

  • According to sociologist Maja Jovanovic, Ph.D., a woman’s tendency to apologize can come from being “socialized into a passive mindset” and “people pleasing behavior” from an early age.
  • In fact, Jovanovic believes that apologizing has become our “our de-facto way of communicating, a way of filling the silence and keeping the peace when interacting with others.”
  • A study done at the University of Waterloo found that women apologized 1.37 times more often than men because they felt they were committing more offenses. This suggests that women apologize more frequently because they have a different definition of what is considered offensive behavior.

In reality, apologizing can cause more harm than good: 

Unnecessarily apologizing can invalidate our thoughts and reinforce feelings of low-self worth. Jovanovic believes these “sorrys” ultimately undercut our confidence by making women appear smaller or more shy than they really are. In a climate where women already struggle to have their voices heard, let’s embrace our questions, emotions, goals, or curiosity rather than shrinking away from them.

It’s hard not to apologize when it’s a learned behavior. Whether we ‘get in the way’, express our emotions, or simply have a question—most of us are guilty of apologizing when it’s not needed. 

So we want to empower you to take control and change this habit, starting with your reproductive health questions! One of our company values is “Patient First” and part of that is making sure that all of our patients feel that they have what they need to feel in control—educating yourself and asking questions is important and necessary.

It’s your health, so ask as many questions as you want. Here at SimpleHealth, we’ll never make you feel bad for doing so. 

Take care,
The SimpleHealth Team

P.S. The next time you want to apologize, here are a few alternatives to consider: 

  • “I have an idea”
  • “I’d like to expand on that”
  • “I was thinking that”
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