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Actually... I'm Not Sorry.

"I'm sorry" can be the right thing to say when that's what you mean. There's a time, a place, and an appropriate audience. You broke a commitment, you broke their favourite coffee press, you forgot something important. It can also be used to soften the blow: I'm sorry, but we're not able to make it for Christmas. I think that if you care about the people you're conversing with and sorry is what you really mean, then go for it! It's lovingly Canadian of you. ( I smile every time I bump into someone and we both say "Sorry!" It's kind of a nice cultural trait.)

That being said, I'm cracking down on my use of the word "sorry" when I don't really mean it. I find myself reviewing emails. Completely rewriting paragraphs, taking it down from a long-winded explanation to a direct sentence. And I have to tell you, there's a sweet little girl residing in my brain that really wants to keep the long explanation. I think demonstrates how much I like to keep the peace. I feel that saying, "Thanks for including me in your ideas; they sound very interesting. I'm so excited for you! I've had some difficult situations in the past with selling like this, so, I'm so sorry, but I think I'm going to pass on this one. I don't mean to let you down." clearly shows what a nice person I am and hopefully no feelings are hurt.

But in this case, this isn't someone you care about. And my experience with an acquaintance asking you to get involved in setting up referrals, and sales pitches is that there going to take your response and say, "Nikki I totally appreciate where you're coming from. I've been there too. But this is completely different. And it's easy! Why don't we set up a meeting and I'll show you." Noooo! Crap! And then do you decline with similar polite structure? I'm thinking that with each back and forth you get a little bolder and those paragraphs become increasingly curt. So, what I'm wondering these days is: why not just get to the point and save precious energy?

I did just this with an acquaintance today. I thought I was direct in the beginning, I'm sure I politely said no, but somehow still got suckered into a demo. There's been back and forth and I've politely shown no interest. Now, a month later, I receive a long email about all the glorious things coming my way if I set up referrals for the product.

I opened the Reply window and hesitated. I wrote that I was not interested in being involved in the sales of the product. It was one line. A fairly short line. It looked like it needed cushioning. Doesn't it need cushioning? Without cushioning wouldn't it seem like a sting when she read it? I fretted and looked at the line. Then I remembered that I am not in control of how other people take things. And, frankly, why do I care about being so nice? There are some very direct ladies who just get sh*t done. And they'd laugh at the fact that this was even a problem for someone! Sometimes I think about those ladies and give myself permission to be a little more like them. You don't see anyone pushing them around.

The written word is a great place to start this "actually...I'm not sorry" monitoring. When you're done writing whatever it is that you're working on, read it through. Do you sound like a go-getter with things to do? Or do you sound like a polite door mat, ready to be walked all over? And pleeeeease don't open up and look up different words for "sorry". Just think it over and say what you mean.

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