Apology Letters

   Apologizing When You Don't Mean It


"Sorry I'm Not Sorry": Apologizing When You Don't Mean It

Why should you have to apologize when you feel no regret or sincerity when issuing the apology? This may seem like an unimportant question in a written statement of apology, but an insincere apology is quite as bad as no apology at all. If you say you're sorry when you're feeling mutinous, obligated or unrepentant, your recipient is likely to take offense at your tone and dishonesty.

The problem with this attitude is that there are plenty of times when you will have to apologize, even when you don't mean it. In order to keep a relationship strong you may have to swallow your pride and compromise, even when you know that you're right and your partner is wrong (obviously!) In your career you may have to take responsibility for delays, mistakes and disruptions that you feel are outside of your control if you want to keep your job.

So how do you make it convincing?

If you are required to write an apology for behavior or circumstances for which you have no regret, don't force insincerely apologetic words. Instead of lying about how you feel, look at the situation and find something for which you are genuinely sorry. Think about how your actions contributed to hurt feelings, missed opportunities, damages or loss. Try to think about the situation from the perspective of your recipient and understand how they might be feeling.

Even if you're not the sole agent of a bad situation, it is often possible to evaluate your actions and say, "I could have done this differently and now I wish I had." Translate that feeling into the apology and it will always be sincere.

Finally, don't apologize when you're feeling too angry and scapegoated to think straight. Write your apology when your head is clear and you're able to evaluate the situation objectively.

Index of letter of apology templates