Saying I'm sorry is easy when you know how to apologize. The
an apology covered what elements should be included in a perfect apology,
while three basic questions on how to apologize helped you decide on the
right approach for your situation. So now lets look at one of those
Verbal Apologies 101:
Saying I'm Sorry.
One of the major differences between offering a verbal rather than a written apology is that you are NOT giving the recipient time to think about
their response. Therefore, you need to plan out how you
will respond to your recipients reaction, whether it is positive or
negative. If you are not comfortable with doing so, then maybe a written
apology is the best approach for you.
A verbal apology will often be sufficient, but it may also lead to
confrontationdepending on the seriousness of the infraction, the amount of
pain it has caused, and the recipient's personality and character.
apologies can be much easier than written apologies to craft and deliver,
because they require no more than the words "I'm sorry for..." But there
are a few costs and benefits to consider.
Perfect verbal apologies, like their written counterparts also
depend on certain surrounding conditions that help to determine the best
approach for delivery.
At the most basic level, verbal apologies can be delivered in person or
by phoneagain, both the circumstances and the recipient's personality
should be considered.
The table below provides you with some basic guidelines for saying Im sorry
a verbal apology.
||When to use
sorry in person is a great approach to resolving an issue. It
shows integrity, humility and a willingness to accept responsibility
all while looking a person in the eye.
When the relationship is more formal and/or more distantoften in a business setting.
Letting a person know that you want to meet with
them face-to-face for the simple purpose of saying I'm sorry is a
respectful and courteous way of mending fences.
When the relationship is close and the mistake is not
Inviting the person out for a coffee has the same
benefit as a scheduled meeting with the added element of an
activity shared by friends.
When this is part of your normal routine with the
recipient or when you feel the gesture of a lunch invitation would
Usually appropriate when the mistake is a little
more significant, or in cases where the recipient considers the
mistake serious enough to be very hurt, insulted or angry.
A lunch invitation lets the recipient know that a
more lengthy discussion is in order, and that YOU think YOUR mistake
is serious enough to warrant the additional time.
feel that a more lengthy discussion is likely. The gesture of the
invitation itself also becomes part of the apology.
When the relationship is intimate.
When the friendship is strong.
When a long discussion is necessary to convey the
many reasons why your apology is important.
Emotions can run high depending on the situation and
infraction. A restaurant invitation will provide added protection
from the negative effects of a very emotional reaction to your
If the recipient deserves the right
to react emotionally (or tends to resolve issues more effectively
through emotions) then the invitation should be for a home cooked
|Saying I'm sorry by
phone rather than in person can be appropriate for people
who are not comfortable with confrontationwhether that person be
apologizing or the recipient of the apology.
When the relationship is more formal or not a personal
(e.g. parent/teacher, fellow club member etc...)
Picking up the phone and saying I'm sorry in a timely
manner is often the best way to make things right again.
When the relationship is close.
When you want to let the recipient know that you're willing to take extra
effort to make things right.
Receiving a long distance call as opposed to an email
tells the recipient that you respect them enough, and are
sufficiently worried about the effects of your mistake, to incur
additional costs to resolve the issue.
Finally, there is one other option that allows you to enjoy the benefits
of saying I'm sorry through both a written and verbal apologya
hand delivered written apology.
Giving the recipient the time to absorb the contents of your
letter will provide a better foundation for constructive dialogue and
Learn about Written Apologies.
Or return from
Saying I'm Sorry to How to Apologize