How To Respond To “Sorry” Professionally

Mistakes and conflict are two very common occurrences in any professional workplace. If you want to preserve your relationships at work, it might be necessary to apologize for actions or mistakes. This is necessary for workers, but bosses often need to apologize as well. How do you respond to “sorry” professionally?

If you want to respond to an apology professionally, you can react blandly, such as “That’s OK,” “No problem,” “It happens,” “Don’t worry about it,” or “I forgive you.” Other acceptable ways to respond would include “I hear your apology,” “I appreciate the apology, or “I accept your apology.”

In this article, we will explain the different ways how you can respond to an apology from your boss, accept an apology gracefully, and respond to a late reply. Apologizing and accepting apologies are essential for your relationships and maintaining a healthy atmosphere in your workplace. Read on to find out!

How Do You Respond When A Boss Says Sorry?

When a boss says sorry, you can respond by acknowledging the apology, appreciating the sincere apology, or just acknowledging the apology.

When it comes to apologizing, your boss will usually take time, effort, and courage to create a message with a friendly tone.

And hence, if you recognize these small things would be the best way to start thinking about how you want to respond.

It will convey a sense of professionalism towards your boss and work in your favor. You can acknowledge your boss’ apology by using the following examples of statements.

“Thank You For Taking Your Time And Effort To Apologize To Me.”

This is another way of saying “It’s OK” in a more professional manner. This conveys much more emotion than just saying that it’s OK, which will give your boss the impression that you were upset, but you appreciate their efforts to apologize.

“I Acknowledge Your Apology Message.”

Acknowledge means that you recognize your boss’ apology. If this is the route you prefer to go, using “acknowledge instead of “accepted” will completely change the tone of the message into a message that becomes impersonal.

When using this detached tone, you are implying to your boss that you are only willing to recognize their apology instead of accepting it.

This could be used in the case where a mistake has been made repeatedly and may need some more serious action or a proper discussion when the time is right.

“I Appreciate Your Apology Sincerely.”

The best time to use this verbiage would be when you really feel your boss’ apology has been made sincerely and if you wholeheartedly accept it. If you want to set a friendly yet serious tone while maintaining a sense of professionalism in your message, this would be the best response.

How Do You Accept An Apology Gracefully?

After receiving an apology, it is up to you to either accept it or decline it. If you decide to accept an apology, you need to accept it respectfully. This takes three critical steps, and by following each of them, you are sure to accept the apology given as gracefully as possible.

Move Past The Problem

After you have recognized the apology, you need to reassure the recipient that you are willing to move n from the issue, as this creates a sense of security.

You can make some changes to your message and turn it into something more applicable or personal, but below are some examples you can use in typical situations:

  • “I wish it hadn’t come to this, but I understand.”
  • “I wish this did not happen, but it is all right.”
  • “I appreciate your apology, and we can place the issue aside for the time being.”

Express Your Desire For Better Communication And Behavior

Since you have gotten your well-deserved apology, the ball is in your court, which means you have the opportunity to call out the issue and suggest a solution. By doing this, you can express your willingness to move past the issue and help to prevent a similar problem in the future.

Below is an example of how you can express a solution to the situation that has occurred:

  • “I understand that there are things beyond your control, but I also believe we could work harder towards available solutions to this matter to avoid problems like these in the future.”

Always End On A Positive Note

Once you have made your desire for improvement clear and have stated that you accepted the apology, it is advised to always end your discussion or message on a positive note.

In doing this, you will motivate the receiving party to improve their behavior or communication, as your optimism gives them the impression that you are understanding.

Also, conveying a message with a negative connotation could make matters worse and worsen the relationship between you and somebody you need to be in contact with daily.

You can end your discussion or message on a positive note by keeping the following examples of statements in mind:

  • “Thank you in advance for preventing problems like this in the future.”
  • “Thank you in advance for improving your service.”
  • “Thank you for considering my suggestion moving forward.”

How To Respond To “Sorry For The Late Reply”?

It is reasonable to become annoyed, but in this case, it would be best to let it go. If late replies aren’t a reoccurring problem, it is normal for people to forget to respond or have something come up that may steal their attention.

If late replies are a regular occurrence, you may prefer to address them, and it could be done in the right ways while remaining professional. It is rude and unacceptable not to respond in a specific timeframe, but it is also not the worst mistake in the world.

If the person is a little apologetic, and it is a rare thing, you can play it cool and take note of the following acceptable replies:

  • “Not the end of the world.” (This is a smooth response that will still make the person realize they did something wrong, but you understand.)
  • “It’s alright, I understand.” (This could hint that you are slightly annoyed at the late response, but you are willing to move past the problem without any form of discussion.)
  • “It’s OK.” (This is a good response if you don’t want to indicate any emotion and if you want to avoid any form of conflict.)


Knowing how to respond professionally in the workplace will only work in your favor. Mistakes are human, and all of us make them occasionally. You must know when you need to be apologized to and when you have apologizing to do.

Always remain professional and try your best to revive any relationships in the workplace in good spirit!