How To Apologize To A Coworker – 10-Steps Guide

Written By Aleena

Apologizing at work is something that everyone should know how to do. It is often hard to figure out how to apologize to a coworker?

A coworker will be someone who you work with regularly. It might be your boss, manager, or another person you work with.

10 Steps On How To Apologize To A Coworker

When you are trying to find ways to apologize, there are a few things that you should consider. Here are ten steps to follow to apologize to a coworker:

1. Identify The Action That You Did:

First, take a step back and think about what has happened and why the coworker is mad at you.

How To Apologize To A Coworker

If you can figure out why they are mad at you, it will help determine how to apologize to someone at work. Different reasons to apologize can be:

– Bosses talk

– Arguments on projects

– Something Done In The Past

– Misconduct cases, etc.

2. Think About What Went Wrong:

Once you have identified why the coworker feels a certain way, think about what went wrong:

– How did you offend your coworker?

– Was it something that you could have done differently?

– If so, how can you apologize to a coworker?

– If not, how can you apologize to a coworker?

3. How To Apologize To A Coworker – Talk To Your Coworker And Find Out Their Feelings:

If you still feel unsure of whether there is a problem between you, talk to them and find out their feelings.

You should also ask if they have had an opportunity to speak with anyone else about what happened. Sometimes people may not even know that they are upset with you!

They may not know how to approach you when this happens, but they are still mad at you for something. So if this is happening with your coworker, be sure to apologize!

4. Apologize To Your Coworker:

Once you have asked your coworker what the problem might be and how to apologize, it’s time to do so. A good way is acknowledging that the behavior was wrong.

Recognize that it affected their ability to do their job or some other area of their life. It shows that you are taking responsibility for what happened.

regret over motive

It allows an opportunity for closure. Saying sorry is necessary when you have done something against another person intentionally.

An apology can show the other person that you care about them and the situation.

5. Reiterate What You’ve Said And Apologize Again:

Repeat what you have said, making sure that it is sincere. Saying sorry can be tricky so take your time with this step to apologize to a coworker.

Make sure to mention all the different ways that you will avoid making similar mistakes in the future. It will help to improve how you communicate with them.

If there is something specific that they need from you, tell them this. The best way how to apologize is by trying again.

Take feedback for what went wrong and use it not to happen again in the future! Also, avoid doing anything that might hurt someone else’s feelings or thoughts.

6. How To Apologize To A Coworker – Agree On The Solution:

Once you have given your apology, ask them what they want from you. What is it that would help to fix the situation?

If you can do this for them, then, by all means, do so! It might be something as simple as avoiding them when they are talking.

It can be waiting for them before speaking to yourself. Whatever it may be, agree with them on a solution to improve your relationship.

7. Follow Through With Your Apology:

The best way how to apologize is by doing it! It means avoiding saying sorry again and again. After you’ve apologized once, don’t make any excuses or try to justify what you did.

Also, don’t bring up the situation again! If the other person is still not happy with you, apologize once more and leave it at that.

They are trying their best to forgive you too. Show them some understanding by apologizing.

8. Don’t Bring It Up Again:

Once you have apologized for something once, avoid talking about it again. Even if your coworker seems mad at first, staying silent might help them cool down in time.

Also, don’t tell your friends about what happened. They may tease you about apologizing, which will only make things worse!


So take feedback from people around yourself and follow through with an apology.

9. How To Apologize To A Coworker – If The Situation Doesn’t Seem Fixable:

If, after all of this, it still seems impossible for things to get better between the two of you, then it’s time for a new job! Not everyone is going to get along with their coworkers.

Taking the initiative to apologize and asking them how they feel about the situation is a good start.

Also, you should try to ask them if they can help you learn from this mistake and apologize.

10. The Best Way On How To Apologize:

If you’ve done all of this and they still seem mad, then avoid making the same mistake again. The best way to apologize is to take your time with each step so you won’t have to do it again.

If someone tells you that you hurt them, ask what would help them feel better about apologizing. It shows sincerity and helps to improve communication.

It can solve many other problems along the way! And follow through with an apology on how to apologize to a coworker!

Templates & Samples To Apologize To A Coworker

Here are several template samples to guide yourself on how to apologize to a coworker:

Email Sample 1:

“Dear (Name),

I want to apologize for my actions on (date). It was not acceptable, and I hope to put this behind us. I am working on some new communication techniques.

They will help me better understand when you need space and when you would like to talk about something.

Also, if there is anything else that you need from me, please let me know because I value our friendship!”

Email Sample 2:

“Dear (Name),

I am writing today to apologize for acting in such a way towards you at the office. It seems as though my words and actions were both unprofessional and offensive.

I want to take full responsibility for what occurred. If anything that occurred or will occur in the future that you need me to apologize for, please let me know. Again, I am sorry, and it will never happen again.”

Email Sample 3:

“Dear (Name),

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter of apology. Not only do my actions disappoint me, but they have disappointed you as well.

I wish there were more that I could say than “I’m sorry,” but words don’t seem to be enough at the moment.

All I can hope for now is your forgiveness so we can once again resume our friendship.”

Email Sample 4:

“Dear (Name),

I am sorry for how I acted on the past few occasions when we have been together. Being a friend means being honest, and being simple means being open to criticism.

You have every right to give me some constructive criticism about my behavior. The things said were out of line and uncalled for.”

Approaching a Coworker Via In Person:

If an email doesn’t feel like enough, try saying it in person! It will help make sure they understand your sincerity. Keep in mind your environment before trying out how to apologize to a coworker.

In-person Sample 1:

“Hi (Name),

I know that things have been a bit tense between us since (event/interaction), and I wanted to tell you that I am sorry. My actions were not acceptable, and I hope we can move past this.”

In-person Sample 2:

“Hi (Name),

First of all, thanks for taking the time out of your day to meet with me. That means a lot. So about what happened the other day:

It wasn’t okay, and I apologize if my words made you uncomfortable or offended. If anything else has happened in the past few days where I hurt your feelings, please let me know.

I want this to stop. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t come and talk to me about things.”

In-person Sample 3:

“Hi (Name),

I know we haven’t talked since (event), and I hope you are doing well! I wanted to apologize for my actions during our last conversation.

It was completely unprofessional of me and very unfair towards you. There were some issues I had with what happened.

However, the way it came across you was not right to apologize. If there is anything elsewhere I have offended or hurt your feelings, please let me know.”

Guidelines On How To Apologize To A Coworker

Now that you have all these apology samples to choose from, here are some guidelines to be better at it:

1. Be Sincere & Take Responsibility:

Remember that the other person is only human and can recognize insincerity. So if you don’t mean it, don’t say it!

How To Apologize To A Coworker (2)

Take full responsibility for what you did, and don’t make excuses. If you do, this will only lead to more problems once they realize that your apology was fake.

2. How To Apologize To A Coworker – You Don’t Have To Start With “Sorry”:

Sometimes starting with an ‘excuse’ can be a much-needed comfort for some people when they apologize.

The term “sorry” is a difficult word to work around. So if you know that saying sorry is going to be hard, start by keeping it simple.

Then move into the actual apology part of apologizing to a coworker.

3. Give Them A Time Frame:

If you say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that, then there’s a good chance that your apology is vague and not taken too seriously.

So you’ll want to give them a time frame of when you are sorry about what happened.

This way, they know that you’re not regretful in the moment but rather sad for what happened that day or week, etc.

4. How To Apologize To A Coworker – Don’t Be Too Vague:

If more than one person was involved, it’s important to mention who else was there. They must not misinterpret your words as an act of sharing responsibility.

Instead, they should interpret it as you taking full responsibility. And if there were many people involved, don’t only apologize to the person closest to you.

It may cause more problems. They may feel like you did nothing wrong, and in fact, there might be others that share the same feelings as well.

5. Don’t Make Excuses:

If you make excuses, then the chances are that they won’t take your apology seriously. It will become an extra problem when trying to figure out how to apologize to a coworker.


So try your best not to make any excuses by thinking of reasons such as:

– “I was having a bad day.”

– “My dog died,” etc

These things should never excuse someone’s actions when they know how to behave at work. Instead, apologize and take full responsibility for what happened!

6. How To Apologize To A Coworker – Don’t Minimize Their Feelings:

You may want to minimize how much it hurt them. Don’t do that because this will only make your coworker feel like you don’t care and that your apology was fake.

So apologize for what happened and avoid trying to minimize their feelings. When they realize that you don’t take this seriously, it’ll only make it difficult.

7. Be Specific:

If there is any particular behavior in which you have done something wrong, be specific about it. Your coworker should know exactly where you stand with apologizing on how to apologize to a coworker.

For example, if multiple issues cause the problem at hand, break each case down. Split them one by one to see a clear picture of how to apologize.

Final Word:

When you hurt a coworker, you don’t want to worsen the situation by not telling them how sorry you are.

So take time to think about what you did wrong and work on how to apologize in a way that they will believe it!

Start with “I’m sorry” and go from there! After all, if you care about your relationship with your coworker, then it’s important.

Take responsibility for what happened and work on how to apologize. They might feel like you don’t see the seriousness in what you’ve done.

It might lead them to think that it didn’t matter to you at all.

Last Updated on 2 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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