What Is The Best Reply For “Sorry”?


The best reply for sorry depends on the situation and your relationship with that person. If they continue to engage in behavior you don’t accept, the apology may mean nothing at all. In other situations, it isn’t a big deal, and you can reply: “No problem, I understand it happens”.

Express how you feel and communicate when someone tells you they are sorry. It can help you accept the situation for what it is.

Someone is Late

Running late is common, people get busy. There are traffic delays, sometimes with children and getting out the door, or even working late.

If someone is late now and then but not excessively late don’t hold a grudge.

Of course, this is different than someone who is chronically late as it shows they don’t value your time.

What to Say:

“No problem, I understand it happens. I got us a table and ordered your favorite drink.”

“Next time please call to tell me you will be late, I was worried.”

“You tend to be late often when we meet up and I am concerned about that.”

“You missed the previews, but the movie hasn’t started yet.”

“Get here safely, I will see you in a bit.”

Someone Forgot Plans with you

It can be heartbreaking when someone forgets they had plans with you. Try not to be upset about it. That individual may have plenty on their mind to distract them. They may have put it on a wrong day in their calendar.

If they apologize and they really didn’t mean to miss the event with you forgive them.

We all make mistakes from time to time.

What to Say:

“I was really looking forward to our time together, but I understand it happens. Let’s try to get together in the next few weeks to do something.”

“You missed a wonderful play, and I was worried the whole time because I didn’t hear from you. I am glad you are okay and accept your apology for forgetting we had tickets to this.”

“Thank you for apologizing, I was hurt when you didn’t show up and I didn’t hear from you. Thanks for explaining what happened.”

“You can make it up to me by buying me dessert when we have dinner together next week!”

I am glad nothing had happened to you, and I accept your apology.”

Someone Canceled Last Minute

Unexpected issues come up and may result in someone canceling last minute. They should apologize to you for doing so.

They should explain what happened so you know they didn’t just blow you off.

Sometimes, there are pressing circumstances beyond someone’s control and it is best to accept such an apology from them.

What to Say:

“I am sorry to hear your child got sick, is he feeling better now?”

“I know you are disappointed missing it since your sitter canceled on you last minute. I know a few great sitters I can refer to you if you like?”

“I understand work deadlines and understand you had to stay late and finish the project. Thanks for letting me know and we can do something together another time.”

“It doesn’t always work out to hang out with friends, and I understand that. Thanks for the apology and don’t worry about it.”

“I am sorry too that you can’t make it and hope everything works out well for you.”

A Co-Worker Dropped the Ball

It is upsetting and frustrating when a co-worker drops the ball on something. They may have missed several days of work. Perhaps they didn’t complete their part of a project by the deadline.

You have to evaluate such issues on a case-by-case basis. If it is rare for them to drop the ball, give them the benefit of the doubt that they truly are sorry.

It if happens often though you need to get a supervisor involved.

What to Say:

“You have a lot on your plate right now, and I don’t mind helping out more on this project to support you.”

“Are you feeling better? I understand it is impossible to come to work when you are so ill. We all picked up parts of your responsibilities on the project so it could get done on time.”

“I am sorry this was such a struggle for you and accept your apology.”

“It isn’t acceptable to just not get the work done. If you had circumstances that prevented it communicating with me beforehand would have been a better solution.”

“This seems to happen a lot, and I will need to report any further issues to our supervisor because I can’t keep picking up the slack for you.”

You had a Fight with Someone

Fights happen over various issues. Some of them are small but can leave an elephant in the room. Others are significant and it is harder to see eye to eye on certain topics.

If you have a fight with someone and they come to you to say they are sorry, you have to decide how you will convey to them your stand on it.

Agreeing to disagree doesn’t always come easy.

What to Say:

“I understand you were upset, but yelling and calling me names isn’t acceptable. Please don’t act that way towards me again.”

“I am sorry too, our discussion got heated and we both said things that we regret. Would you like to meet for coffee to sit down and talk about it?”

“Can we agree to disagree on that topic and not discuss it? I have my opinion about it and I heard yours. We may not agree on it but that doesn’t mean I don’t value you or value our relationship. I don’t want a fight over that one topic to get in the way.”

“I understand it was a stressful day for you and you lashed out. Thank you for apologizing, we are all human.”

“I was deeply hurt by our fight, and appreciate you saying you are sorry. I want to heal from it and move forward.”

Your Partner Engaged in Behavior you don’t Like

Forgiveness is a huge part of a successful long-term relationship with a partner.

When your partner tells you they are sorry for engaging in behavior you don’t like, it should be an opportunity for you to grow closer as a couple.

Sharing your life with someone isn’t always easy.

What to Say:

“It makes me very upset when you behave like that, please don’t continue to do so. There are better solutions we can explore together.”

“Your apology means a lot to me, I want our relationship to work.”

“I need some time to get past my feelings about this, but you saying you are sorry is a step in the right direction for that to happen.”

“I understand you aren’t happy with my decision but you didn’t give me a chance to share with you why I did what I did before you got upset. We need to sit down and discuss this and both of us need to listen to the other.”

“Your apology isn’t worth much right now; I need to see a change in your behavior. This isn’t the first time you have done this and you already know it crosses a line and hurts our relationship.”

An Issue with a Stranger

From time to time, issues with a stranger can occur. It may catch you off guard when they are rude or they do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Sometimes, it is a small situation such as them accidentally bumping you when you walk by.

Other times, it is someone being hateful at a business you work at because they are an upset customer.

What to Say:

“No problem at all, have a good day.”

“I understand you were upset and I didn’t take it personally.”

“Accidents happen, don’t worry about it.”

“Your behavior wasn’t acceptable, and I am glad you are apologizing for it.”

“We all have a bad day now and then, it is okay.”

Social Media

While social media plays a vital role in most people’s lives, it can also be a platform for differences of opinion. People can be hateful, difficult, or challenge you. This can be hard to handle and depends on your relationship with them.

If they take the time to apologize, it is worth listening to.

What to Say:

“Thank you for apologizing. I respect differences of opinion, but I also need you to respect my opinion about that too.”

“Please remove your remarks from my social media page. In the future, if you don’t like what I post you can bypass it or you can talk to me directly instead.”

“Social media can be a great place for discussions, but not for argumentative statements.”

“The subject evoked various emotions from people. I appreciate you saying you are sorry for what you said.”

“I forgive you; social media can sometimes be a hindrance rather than valuable.”

You are Mad or Deeply Hurt

There are times when someone telling you they are sorry simply isn’t enough.

You aren’t being difficult, but you have to set boundaries.

You can’t let them continue to get away with bad behavior.

What to Say:

“I am mad about this; you have done this too many times. You can’t just say you are sorry but continue to repeat the behavior. It isn’t acceptable.”

“Your actions hurt me, and I need time to think about how I feel about all of this.”

“You are important to me, but your behaviors and actions have consequences.”

“It is going to take me time to work through my own feelings about it. I need some space.”

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