How Long Would You Survive Lena Dunham's Apology Experiment?

Photo: Marion Curtis/Starpix/REX/Shutterstock.
Like many women, Lena Dunham has an apology problem. Meaning: she apologizes all the time — for things she's not really sorry for, things that she has no reason to be sorry for, and sometimes for the very act of apologizing.

But now, she's done with all that. Or, at least, she's trying to be, and to not say "sorry" if she happens to slip up.

Dunham penned a thoughtful essay on LinkedIn this week, detailing an experiment she embarked upon when her dad challenged her to abandon meaningless mea culpas for just one week. "But what do you replace sorry with?" she wondered at the outset. For Dunham, finding the answer means tapping into your real feelings that underly our impulse to atone.

"For starters," she wrote, "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. Your employees know what you want from them and can do their jobs with clarity and pride. The dynamic remains healthy and open. You feel 79% less shame (there's 21% of human shame that's just baseline and incurable, right!?)."

That's a pretty mighty revelation to have within a single day of a "sorry" cleanse. Though, in all fairness to Dunham, we're pretty sure these musings have been baking in her brain for awhile. She's also far from the only woman analyzing the apology plague in her mind: We wrote about it at length earlier this year, and discovered that one Refinery29 employee apologized no fewer than 47 times in the course of a single day.

One of the things that both Dunham and our very own Lindsey Stanberry tapped into while picking apart the way women say sorry? It doesn't feel good to live a life peppered by hollow penitence — so it's worth saving that word for when you actually mean it.

And so now we challenge you: Consider how many times you mumble "sorry" instead of what you really mean over the next couple of days. If you're shocked at how many times it comes out of your mouth, it might be time to try Dunham's experiment for yourself.
Advertisement

More from Pop Culture

If Rob Kardashian needs to get in touch with his little sister, he's going to have to send his message through another Kardashian. Rob has revealed that ...
For any outsider, it seems impossible to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. However, some new details have ...
Let's play a game. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a superhero outfit. Are you wearing a red, white, and blue bodysuit with a gold headband-cum-...
Jeb Bush has been a Florida governor and a presidential candidate. His latest gig? Comedian, apparently. In an opening sketch for the Emmys, Jimmy ...
Some twentysomethings are all about enjoying the single life. Others can't wait to settle down. Nicole Kidman happened to be the latter. The 49-year-old...
Word to the wise: Should you ever become acquainted with any of the Kardashians, don't give out your phone number. Better yet, pretend you're on The Wire ...
Earlier this week, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts announced their separation, ending their 11-year relationship. Their split tears at our freshly mended ...
Nick Jonas has already gone solo musically, but it seems he'd now like to do the same in his personal life. The single JoBro told Los Angeles ...
Justin Bieber's presence is requested in Florida, but, unfortunately for him, not by his fans. According to TMZ, a judge has ordered Bieber to come back...
Another week of Fantasy Football means another week of triumph, or in my case, heartbreak. My team, Good Better Besser, lost again this week. And to add ...
Single? Find yourself a John Legend. The man knows exactly what to say when his wife, model and social media guru Chrissy Teigen is brought up. In his ...
Justin Theroux is one year into his union with Jennifer Aniston, and he's happily married. His secret to success: kindness. The Girl on the Train star ...
Jennifer Garner's most important alias of the past decade has definitely been her role as a mother. The 44-year-old has three children (Violet, 10, ...
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna aren't broken up after all, y'all. They just are a experimenting with living in separate homes until the baby arrives, ...