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Tosin Akingboye: Thank You…Please…I’m Sorry



Thank you…
I’m sorry…

I have learnt several times that these 3 phrases can go a long way.

I won’t act like a saint and say I haven’t erred some times but most times, I make sure that these phrases are not far away from my lips whenever necessary.
You know how it is difficult for some people to say “I’m sorry”? Mba! Ko jo rara! Emi Oluwatomisin ko! {No, not me, Oluwatomisin}

I find it very easy to apologize, which has helped me a lot. When others are still there talking and arguing and trying to find their way out of their offence, I will quickly say “I’m sorry” and let it end. One of the things I detest is confrontation; so anybody who knows me well, knows that once you let me know what I’ve done wrong, before I even try to explain, I will first of all say I’m sorry – even if the person is a junior to me (age-wise or professionally).

My former COO used to ask me “so why are you saying sorry? Why didn’t you do the task when I asked you to?”, I would just look at her and say, “I am sorry. I have no excuse whatsoever, even though I was preoccupied with other things but still I am sorry. I sincerely apologize” and then she would laugh and that would be it.

I have realized that my ability to accept blame (when due to me) and apologize has gotten me out of situations that might have been bad if I had insisted on arguing. This is not to mean I do not defend myself when I am right o. Heck no! I am that stubborn, that is when the Ondo lady in me comes out; I will argue and defend myself. I don’t apologize when I’m right, I’d rather keep quiet. Please it is important to note that there are times that just I’m sorry is not enough!

The magic word…Please! I have so ingrained the use of this word in myself that I cannot even ask my youngest sister (who is 7 years younger than I am) to do something for me without adding it at least twice! At work, whenever I need an office assistant to help me run an errand, the numbers of pleases that I will say ehn, no be for here. I have come to realize that the only reason some people find it difficult to use this word is the feeling of entitlement. Yes! Entitlement not pride!

I have heard things like “why should I say please? Is he not my younger brother?” “she is my subordinate, she is supposed to do whatever I ask her” “but she is already going to the kitchenette, telling her to bring a cup of water for me is not a big deal” etc. I was so shocked one day that I had to tell a former colleague “yes! She is your junior (an office assistant) but that doesn’t give you the right to ask her to bring water for you in such a condescending manner!” In fact, that day, I asked the particular office assistant not to do it (as her line manager).

I have this so bad that even when I’m ordering food at a fast food joint, I’m always like “please, I want fries and chicken. Can you add a bottle of water, please?”. Some of my friends have made jest of me a lot of times. One day, a friend said, “it is his job to take your order, why are you saying please?” and I responded, “the please that I just said didn’t reduce the size of my brain so what’s the big deal? And that ‘please’ may just stop him from spitting inside my food”.

Note: some service providers can still be silly no matter the number of times you say please.
I have also noticed that these service providers reciprocate the politeness they get from me. This even got me extra portions at the cafeterias when I was in Bowen University.

The last but not the least…Thank You. I perfected the art of saying this when I was still collecting stuff from my father. While my siblings would be complaining about what had been given to them and my father would be angry, I would just thank him and he would smile at me. Guess whom he would attend to first the next time, moi! My siblings learnt this and they learnt well.
I know the way I say “thank you” sometimes can be annoying; you know those people that say “thanks for yesterday”, “thanks for the other day”, “please help me thank Tola, she gave me a dress last week”? yep! I’m one of those people.

I once gave my younger sisters a lecture:

When you enter into any office, greet the gateman “good morning/day” and smile. Go into the reception; greet the receptionist with a smile. Say, “Please I’m here to see Lagbaja”. When you are done with your meeting and you are about to leave, smile at the receptionist and say “thank you”. And when the gateman opens the gate/door for you to exit the building, smile at him and say “thank you”.

Jokes apart, courtesy doesn’t diminish one’s size/intelligence/status. It is nothing but pure courtesy! Nobody is asking you to develop friendship with them but be polite!

Yeah, it is almost payday *winks*, so even as you are turning up, be courteous.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sdeva 

I am not a professional writer but I love expressing myself through words. I have an insane love for Mathematics & Chemistry (Organic Chemistry especially). My hobbies; reading romantic novels, cooking, gisting, watching movies & sleeping….lol! And oh! I LOVE ice cream.


  1. Abena

    June 26, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Article is just on point!Your P’s &Q’s must always be at your opens doors and gets you favors…
    BTW its your bio that caught my attention:” I have an insane love for Mathematics & Chemistry (Organic Chemistry especially”)..You love maths?!!!!!huh!are you a normal human being?Shiiesshh. My feelings for maths is indescribable…It not even love/hate.ITS HATE HATE

    • Tomisin Magz

      June 26, 2015 at 11:30 am


      Loool @ your feelings for mathematics. I assure you i am normal tho i can be abnormal sometimes…!
      I just love mathematics, i can’t explain my love for it. Maybe it’s genetic. But really tho, mathematics can be very interesting

    • Ms_dee

      June 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      I love mathematics too, even now that i don’t need it, i still love solving questions. My friends think i’m abnormal.

    • Tomisin Magz

      June 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      @Ms_Dee don’t mind them o. We are very normal o

    • Ibukunoluwa

      June 27, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Abena, don’t mind her oh, I know her very well, she is not normal! LOL. Like who on earth loves Mathematics??!
      Magz don’t even try to defend this one, ehen!

    • Tomisin Magz

      June 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Damilola! Please shut up! I am very normal 😀

  2. BB

    June 26, 2015 at 11:12 am

    True talk. I used to do that alot like ALOT but now working class, it has reduced. Thanks for the reminder, I am picking up again!

  3. Moyo

    June 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Simple and short, wise words

  4. Taipan

    June 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Beautiful lady with a sensible character…tell them ooo, not like some Vlogers ……..anyways common sense is not common

  5. Shopperoflife

    June 26, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I am of the opinion that saying thank you and apologizing is an art and it can only make you a better person. In my younger days when l was still back home, l would say thank you to the taxi driver after paying my fare while alighting. When l started working, l would say my greetings and thank you(s) a thousand times. It became so ingrained in me that l do it unconsciously. My rep’ went through the roof and colleagues at work, both Snr and subordinates would queue to make things happen for me. All l had to do was ask. My colleague was at my house for lunch one day and as my cook served, l unconsciously kept saying thank you. She asked that l stop saying thank you, after all she is your cook! My brain refused to accept that sense of entitlement. Now l live in the UK and all that luxury of house help, cook, driver Nigerian style etc is no longer there. You cannot command and ask people to jump but please and thank you does it. The lady that braids my hair bends backwards to fit me in last minute.. Her reason is ‘you are so polite’ . It is always a pleasure making your hair. For me, it is down to breeding. You can come from money and be mannerless and you can also come from nothing and still be mannerless. One thing l know for sure is that what goes round, comes round. Do unto others as you would wish done to you.

  6. Anonymous

    June 26, 2015 at 11:56 am

    And that ‘please’ may just stop him from spitting inside my food

  7. Oyindee

    June 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    You are so very right,these three words can get one out of a bad suitation,but then some people abuse this words,e.g i share an office with this very troublesome woman,she’s always complaining of everything,in the mrn her back aches,afternoon its her knee,evening na her head,to all this these i keep sorry and when i don’t say it she starts quarelling me ,i just realized that she is abusing the sorry,so i have decided to ration the use of sorry,i only say it when its absolutely

  8. lahmeet

    June 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I love this article. Thank you Tomisin 🙂

  9. Nana-aisha

    June 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Biko which cafeteria in Bowen University? Munchies abi Kemi bee? You are lucky oh. Apart from me i know so many people that say please and they give you that scornful look. Just give them hundred naira… o pari! That’s after you have paid for food oh. I love this article anyway. Great Bowenites!

    • Tomisin Magz

      June 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      All the cafeterias o……lol! Great Bowenites!

  10. honest one

    June 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you so much for pointing this out. I learnt the P’s & Q’s from my dad, and it irritates me when people skip it. I don’t know why but i get really upset when people ask me for something without using ‘please’, then they say…’shebi am asking you, do i have to say please??’ aaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh, how does that even work. #breathes
    So..ummm..yeah….. please use your Ps & Qs, its just common courtesy. Thanks

  11. Mz Socially Awkward...

    June 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Re the lecture you gave your younger sister (which I endorse, by the way), I just thought of something which happened to me at a certain well-known company that I interviewed at in Lagos…

    … was on holiday in Naija and had the happy coincidence of being invited to come in for a discussion about a role. So, I arrived at their reception, with my ready smiles and cheery greetings but, omo, the stony looks from the receptionists no be here oh. It wasn’t a problem, though and I proceeded dutifully into the waiting area to take a seat until the HR officer could come get me. And then said HR officer arrived in reception and walked up to me, asking if I was “Miss X”; as she did so, I stood up with a smile on my face and my hand held out in greeting as I acknowledged that yes indeed, I was “Miss X”. Her own response was even colder than what I met at the reception as she ignored my hand and returned my smile with a straight face. *Deep sigh* so I had to dial the warmth back a notch and let things get a little crispier… it’s just a job interview, for goodness’ sake, not a application to get into Heaven.

    Some people that you have to interact with in certain environments (whether they be offices, fast food joints, etc.) can be hard work, sha and I think that even in being polite, you should always retain a level of firmness so that you don’t become a pushover for rude customer service assistants or co-workers. Even “Please” can be backed up with some level of authority – such as when parents tell their children to put toys away or when I have to instruct a work subordinate to carry out a task. On the second illustration, I’ve watched a certain manager’s subservient attitude in delegating tasks to his team and some of their reactions just don’t indicate that they consider him to be their boss in the real sense of things.

    By all means, let those words remain a constant part of your daily discussions with the people around you but always keeping the context of particular occasions in mind so that doing so doesn’t undermine your own worth.

  12. whocares

    June 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Oh! Thank you for this. I am going to forward it to certain people and just sit back and watch. lol. Please, thank you and I am sorry are so important. Whenever I got to a store and I receive bad service, I refrain from thanking them (even though I almost have to bite my lips) as that is my form of punishment. In my head, I have dealt them a serious blow by not saying “thank you”. lool. That is how important I think these acts of politeness are, and they do open doors. A smile and a thank you for deeds done, you do not argue back if at work, or if you are in the wrong, a sincere one lined “i am sorry” should do the trick and why would you never say please if you need someone’s help? As Ms. S.A wrote, its about the context. Whenever I have to write a letter and I see an office template that reads “please do not hesitate to contact us”; I remove the please and rephrase it to “if you require further information, do not hesitate to contact us..” what are we pleasing you for again? Or if I have to edit certain letters and the word “please” is bandied about the page, I start to delete, delete, delete. There is a limit and a context for everything.

  13. larz

    June 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Only in Nigeria would people look like you like you have ten heads for saying please, thank you or sorry for those they believe as beneath you.

    As a child, I don’t recall my dad or teachers apologizing to us, the best you get is “you shouldn’t have done that” or you should have explained better or you shouldn’t have provoked them to misbehaving

  14. danny

    June 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I love this article so much because it expresses how i feel ! So many people have forgotten the essence of being courteous,saying please,thank you or sorry doesn’t cost you a thing !!!You will still live,lool . People need to learn this and treat others with respect,that’s how we can have a peaceful environment.
    Thank you so much for this article.

  15. Mowtorlarnie

    June 26, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Christ help me!
    Sum people just have this invisible ‘DONT BE NICE TO ME’ sticker in front of their billboard sized heads.
    **taking in a very DEEP breathe**
    From now on, am’a be much nicer to EVERYONE?
    So help me God ?

    Thanks Oluwatomisin??

  16. KeepingitReal

    June 27, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Are you me?

    I can’t get service (even if I am paying for it) without saying Please and Thank You. Even moving to the United States years ago i still feel very uncomfortable calling senior colleagues or my boss by their first name. The whites at a former job were intrigued and perplexed as to why I would always put a title before their names when addressing them.
    For me it’s “Mr” “Ms” “Ma’am” . If a colleague was way older like 50s or more I felt very uncomfortable calling them by first names even when they insisted. Even my boss is addressed with Sir when he calls me. Lol.
    My friends call me “Old Woman” and even “prudish” because I am very big on courtesy and will not tolerate discourtesy since I don’t act that way”.
    I have no problem saying Thank You to a child I send on an errand because even little children deserve courtesy.
    No human being is above anybody!

    Nigerians can be quite arrogant especially when the feel they are “better” than the next person or because they are providing support in some form. Sadly even our parents are guilty of this. To say please or sorry is hard for them lmao.

    As for me I can beg my pikin if I am wrong. Arrogance no go carry you go anywhere.


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