8 Alternative Responses to Apologise Besides ‘I’m Sorry’

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In the workplace, how many times did you say “I’m sorry” as a form of apology? You might think that just saying these two words can be deference, respect or accommodation. The truth is, it makes you feel less confident in your professional capabilities. It’s better to take a different alternative to express your apology, so here are 8 better responses than saying “I’m sorry.”


1.Let’s figure this out together.

No matter how competent you are in your job or how passionate you are about what you do, you can expect to have a conflict in the workplace. How you deal with the challenges speaks volumes about your capabilities and how flexible you are in the heat of a discussion. It’s unreasonable to think everyone will see the same point of view about everything on every single project. Saying “Let’s figure this out” is a confident statement that helps to diffuse tension and open up for further discussions. 


2.We should bring in other resources.

Perhaps the project you are involved is too much for you to handle on your own or you realise that you are not able to get it completed in time. Whatever the circumstances, there is no harm to admitting and requesting for an extra hand or other experts. Instead of feeling apologetic about not being able to complete a task or a project, find a solution to the problem and be open to asking for help.


3.Can you please clarify what you mean?

If you do not comprehend a job, a project, an instruction or even an idea, ask for further clarification. The outcome would be more rewarding if you just asked for more information so that you can make a better contribution to your work.


4.Thank you for your patience.

In circumstances where either you are late for a meeting, or you have not responded promptly to an email due to urgent issues. You don’t have to apologise but rather, acknowledge the other party had to wait for you. Initiate your sentence with “Thank you for your patience…” and proceed with the meeting or your current engagements.


5.Can you give me feedback on how I can do this differently?

What’s a better way to consider a more emotionally intelligent approach? Constructive feedback can be your stepping stone to success and raising your self-confidence. Focus on what you need to bring about the desired outcome, not what you want. Your superiors and colleagues will be pleased to see that you want to improve and trust their opinions.


6.That did not go as well as planned, but I got this. Give me the chance to fix it.

Instead of apologising that things didn’t go as intended, respond confidently by stating “That did not go as well as planned, but I got this. Give me the chance to fix it.” This demonstrates that you have recognised the mistake and that you are responding in kind to get things sorted out.


7.That sounds like it was really challenging for you.

If you’ve ever been in a scenario where your colleague shares a challenging issue, express your compassion for his cause instead of apologising. Saying sorry rarely helps a person to feel heard, valued or better in his/her current situation.


8.Is now a good time for a quick question?

We tend to say “sorry” when trying to interject an opinion or asking a question during a meeting or discussion. The better alternative would be to speak your mind simply and kindly when the other person has taken a brief pause in the conversation.  You don’t have to apologise for having an opinion or question that you would like to express if it relates to your job.


What is your own take when it come to apologising at work? Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.

You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

Reach me at youjing@jobstore.com

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