Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Don’t Over-Apologize


I am sorry if I am saying something wrong…

I am sorry I couldn’t complete this report in time. 

I am sorry if I am disturbing you…

In every organization, we come across colleagues who needlessly over-apologize at the drop of a hat. People feel the need to say sorry(even if they have not done anything wrong or for trivial matters) because they are unsure of their position or are looking to please others.

Unfortunately, while apologizing for genuine issues is always a sign of strength, when one over-apologizes and says sorry for even the smallest of issues, it undermines personal credibility.

If you ever find yourself rushing to say sorry for small matters, control your instinct and try these alternatives, which start with thanks.

Thanks for flagging the problem. I’ll be careful next time.

Thanks for letting me know; I appreciate it.

Thanks for catching the mistake; let me fix it.

Now, if you are genuinely caught in a situation where the issue is severe enough to warrant an apology, here’s how you can do it professionally, in a manner that enhances your credibility.

  1. Explain what went wrong- I misunderstood the brief and made incorrect assumptions.
  2. Take responsibility- I should have been more careful. 
  3. Apologize sincerely- I am sorry for speaking aggressively; it was inappropriate. I let my emotions get the better of me.
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to improving- In the future, I’ll make sure to proofread the proposal before submitting it. 
  5. End positively- I appreciate your understanding/Thank you for your patience.

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