Let’s all be honest here: For most people, when we say “Sorry,” it’s as a polite placeholder, a verbal awkward grimace emoji. However, the conversation around “Sorry” and its appropriate usages tends to revolve around women, turning the real phenomenon of women putting their own ideas down into yet another tricky cultural issue. So, what’s a mindful gal to do when she wants to stop saying sorry but is having trouble shoring up her language? Enter: The Just Not Sorry Chrome extension.

Just Not Sorry was created by Tami Reiss and was born out of her own frustration at, despite choosing and wanting to come across more decisively in emails, failing to actively do so. The extension highlights words like “just” and “sorry” and effectively revises your email communications to make the language more direct and stronger, e.g. “I need this project done by EOD,” versus “Hi, sorry, could you please get this filed by tonight? Would be a great help!” (We have all been the latter. It’s okay.)

The app doesn’t just literally underline problem phrases; it also offers up synonym suggestions and admonishing quotes by other women. (Example: “Using sorry frequently undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership.”) While the extension’s approach is pretty heavy-handed, Weiss explained to Slate, “Sometimes the environment needs to change in order to enable better behavior . . . What if we changed the environment? What if we pinged someone to say, ‘Hey, you’re doing this thing that you probably don’t want to do. The response is going to be unconscious to someone else, but [it’s] going to have a really big impact.”

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to start nixing “sorry” more, then perhaps the extension is for you. (However, it’s only viable for Chrome/Gmail users at the moment.) If nothing else, it provides an interesting thought experiment: What does it take for language to change? And, from whom should this change really begin?

Image courtesy of TK.