I've noticed, after working with a coworker for about 18 months now, that he is pretty self-deprecating and apologises all the time for trivial things.
Initially he was pretty new to the workforce (joined the company straight out of university) so I just put it down as him being a beginner. Now it's a year and a half later and he still is writing emails to myself and our superior that make me cringe. He regularly says he has no idea what he's talking about and he apologises profusely for trivial things, even things that are coincidental, or for not knowing what he isn't expected to know.
In my opinion this is unprofessional. I have no problem with admitting I'm wrong or that I don't know something, but to see it done as regularly and profusely as he does makes me cringe. Additionally, if one apologises for everything, then a legitimate apology seems insincere.
To some extent, this is none of my business. How he conducts himself as an employee is not really any of my concern, and to a large extent his apologies and self-deprecation are things that i can ignore. However, I would like to tell him that this behavior can reflect badly on him (in my opinion), but I don't know if this is appropriate at all.
So my question: Is it appropriate to tell my coworker to go easy on the apologies and self-deprecation, or is it none of my business? Any advice on how to have such a conversation would be also appreciated.
The business is located in the USA, since culture is certain to be a factor here. I'm South African and, as far as i know, he is American.