"Why do people apologize like it's not okay to say no?"
Despite what my natural disposition portrays, I have a hard time saying "no" more times than not, so this question resonated with me. In my experience, most who have this issue do not prioritize self-care.
Currently, I am doing a 7-Day devotional called "Pouring Into Others When You Feel Empty". Yesterday's content was "Taking Time To Rest". Needless to say yesterday's content hit like a bag of nickels with a note reading "Shawty, you should've had a V8!" It's something about when the Word convicts you. Scripture tells us to rest. I implore you to do this devotional or at least look up Scripture to help you find the need to rest and take care of the body God gave you, but I digress. Sometimes people are apprehensive to saying no when all they have to do is rest because they don't recognize how crucial it is. In the long run self-care doesn't just benefit the individual but also all those dependent upon the said individual. Don't believe me? Go ask a wife and mom how important self-care is. Shucks, or a minister, child-care professional, or anyone else who helps others directly or indirectly. That should cover literally everyone and if not you have some deeper self-evaluation to do.
Another reason why people apologize for saying no is because they just don't want to do it, but they also struggle because they don't want to be the jerk. Not wanting to do something is okay. Of course sometimes we do what we don't want to for various reasons, but everything is not our obligation. Plus, doing something grudgingly isn't beneficial to you nor other parties involved really. It also can put you in a position to be taken advantage of which is a tough cycle to end. If someone asks you on a date and you don't want to go, you reserve the right to say NO without any explanations! You don't have to be a cuss word about it either, but that's another story.
People, namely those who are lacking in the self-care department, feel guilty when they use that no word but that same no could save them from killing themselves. It's sad to say but many of those people they struggle for are nowhere to be found when they are run down and out for the count. When folks learn that self-care isn't utterly selfish, they will stop apologizing so much knowing that it is okay to say no. And even if it is a bit selfish that is okay! Take time for yourself, you only get one you. I'm trying to learn, I hope you are too.
If no one has shown you, I love you but God loves you better!