If you have ever looked back at an old e-mail of yours and cringed at submissive it sounded, the new "Just Not Sorry" Gmail plugin checks for when you're undermining yourself in e-mails to prevent it from happening again. We are all of us guilty at one point or another of thoughtlessly typing the words like "I'm sorry" or "I'm pretty sure that" even when we had nothing to be sorry for, or when we were entirely certain of the things we were typing. We use it to smooth things over when we're sending an email about something we might not feel entirely confident about, or when we feel feel an unconscious intimidation for the sender, or even out of habit because we are so used to diminishing ourselves and our ideas to avoid scrutiny for them that it leaks into all of the ways we communicate.
These are the exact behaviors that this plugin will help curb. Created by Tami Reiss, Steve Brudz, and Manish Kakwani of Cyrus Innovation, the plugin is primarily based on the writings of Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big, a book that notes the problematic trend of women keeping their ideas to themselves or diminishing them with the language they use to explain them. The same way the book identifies these types of behaviors and encourages women to own their ideas rather than shirk from them, this plugin nudges its users whenever it detects it occurring in an email. When you use a phrase that the plugin flags, it will underline it to get your attention the same way your words are underlined in spell check. Once you drag your mouse over to it, an explanation will pop up showing you exactly how someone might perceive your words if they were sent.
Of course, every now and then you really do screw up and ought to send an apology, and every now and then you're not entirely sure about something — which is why we have the words "I think" in the first place. Fortunately, the email doesn't reflect any of the suggested changes or stay underlined once it's sent. It merely encourages you to take a second glance at an email to make sure that the words you're using are actually words that you mean.
Getting the Chrome Extension is a super simple process, too. As long as you're using a Chrome browser, all you have to do is visit the "Just Not Sorry" Chrome Extension Plugin page and hit the button "Add To Chrome" in the upper righthand corner. Et voilà! You'll never have to second guess whether or not you look like you're second guessing yourself in an email again.
Images: Just Not Sorry; Giphy; Pexels