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How to Apologize via Email – Your Professional Guide to Saying Sorry

Taking a step back and apologizing can be crucial when our actions or words go wrong. But how do you craft the perfect apology email that not only communicates your regret but also helps fix the relationship? Learn the skill to articulate sincere apologies over email like never before.
by Chris Allmer | Aug 10 2023

I remember the first time I had to write an apology email. My hands were shaky, my mind was racing, and the words just didn’t seem to flow. I had made a mistake, and I knew I needed to own up to it, but how? It’s a situation many of us have found ourselves in. Mistakes happen, but it’s the way we handle them that really sets our character

Whether you’re apologizing to a colleague, your boss, or a friend, knowing how to craft the perfect apology email can make all the difference.

So, if you’re grappling with the question of “how to apologize in an email,” you’ve come to the right place. This guide is filled with insights, tips, Blinks, and examples to help you master the art of email apologies.

5 Tips on How to Apologize in an Email

A formal apology is more than a plain ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s about taking ownership, expressing genuine remorse, and making amends. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse”. So, let’s learn how you can express regret formally:

1. Address the Person Respectfully

Use a formal greeting to address the person you’re apologizing to.

2. State Your Mistake Clearly

Explain what you did wrong without making excuses. Clarity is key.

3. Show Genuine Remorse

Use heartfelt words to express your regret.

4. Offer a Solution if Possible

Propose how you’ll rectify the mistake. This shows commitment.

5. End Politely

Wrap up your email with a respectful sign-off.

Remember, the goal of an apology is to show respect and humility.

How to Write a Sincere Apology?

Do you also want to mean it? Authenticity is key in an apology. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Here’s how to make your apology heartfelt:

Be Honest: Acknowledge your mistake without sugarcoating it.

Show Empathy: Convey understanding of how your actions affected them.

Express Remorse: Let them know you genuinely regret your actions.

In “The Apology Impulse” by Cary Cooper and Sean O’Meara, they reveal how apologies have been cheapened and why sincerity is crucial. These days, apologies are issued to customers for any perceived slight, with the sheer quantity making them meaningless. At the same time, corporations offer weak, jargon-filled fauxpologies in situations where real apologies are required.

What is the Best Apology Message?

The best apology message is genuine, specific, and personalized. Tailor your words to the situation and the individual. Remember the words of Randy Pausch:

“A good apology is like an antibiotic, a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.”

While learning how to apologize is essential, it’s equally important to recognize when an apology is not needed. Rachel Hollis’s “Girl, Stop Apologizing” serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t apologize for pursuing our dreams or wanting more out of life. In this Blink, Hollis encourages us to stand firm in our convictions and not feel compelled to apologize when it’s our authenticity and ambition at play.

Rachel Hollis insights can be a guide in crafting sincere apologies when necessary and holding back when they’re not.

3 Expanded Examples of Apology Emails

Example 1: Apology Email To a Colleague

Subject: Apology for the Oversight on Project XYZ 

Dear [Colleague’s Name], I am writing this email to express my sincere apologies for the oversight regarding [specific detail] in Project XYZ. I realize that this mistake has caused a delay and may have increased your workload. Here’s how I plan to rectify this: [Detailed solution]. I assure you that this will not recur in the future. Once again, I deeply regret any inconvenience caused. Best Regards, [Your Name]

Example 2: Apology Email To Your Boss

Subject: Apology for [Specific Mistake] 

Dear [Boss’s Title and Last Name], I wish to express my sincere apologies for [specific mistake]. I fully understand the negative implications this has had on our team’s progress, and I take complete responsibility. To rectify this, I propose [detailed solution]. I am committed to ensuring that such a situation does not arise again. Sincerely, [Your Name]

Struggling with the right way to apologize to your boss for a workplace mistake? Don’t worry, there’s an excellent resource that’s got you covered. The article titled “How to Apologize to Your Boss: Tips for Professional Apologies” acts as your personal guide through the process. It details the optimal timing for an apology, explains why it’s crucial, and provides effective strategies with real-world scenarios.


Example 3: Apology Email To a Friend

Subject: My Sincere Apologies, [Friend’s Name] 

Hey [Friend’s Name], I am truly sorry for [specific mistake]. I understand that my actions might have hurt you, and for that, I am deeply sorry. To make it up to you, I was thinking we could [solution]. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Warm Regards, [Your Name]

And if you’ve ever found yourself in a tricky spot at work where you needed to apologize for a mistake, we got another handy guide that’s just right for you. “How to Apologize for a Mistake Professionally at Work (With Examples)” is a great read that shows you the best way to say sorry at work. It’s packed with real-life examples and tips that make saying sorry feel less daunting and more genuine.

Learning how to apologize in an email can really change how you communicate with others. This simple skill can help build stronger relationships at work and in your personal life. But don’t stop there, to really grow, you need to keep learning.

And that’s where Blinkist can help. It gives you quick and easy access to a world of knowledge, even on topics like “how to apologize in an email”. Imagine getting a whole bunch of useful tips and tricks, all in just 15 minutes. So, why put it off? Start learning with Blinkist today!

Remember, growing is all about learning something new every day. And with Blinkist, that new knowledge is just a click away. This is your chance to take the power of growth into your own hands!

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