“Is it O.K. to send an apology by e-mail, should you pick up the phone or should it be handwritten?”
Apologies are never easy. Apologizing means you are admitting a fault, wrong decision, mistake or lack of proper judgement. It takes real character to admit when you are wrong. It takes a heap of integrity to do so in the proper venue.
Depending on what needs apologizing for would dictate the amount of effort?you should make to offer a sincere and genuine apology. That gravity of the situation guides you on what actions you should take to show your sincere apology. And, you know what those are… But the question for many is are you up to that challenge?
All too often now-a-days we take the easy way out and use e-mail when we should really meet in person with the party in question or place that important phone call. Unfortunately, when faced with groveling or apologizing; many let their pride win out and chose to hide behind these screens.
Apologies are serious things and should never be trivialized. If the apology is for a minor flub, about something said or done online or in e-mail with an online-only contact, that would then be the only time an e-mail apology would be acceptably apropos.
Anything more serious, especially when it comes to family or true friends, would dictate you give them a call or meet in person to apologize personally. Show you have a backbone and that you understand the importance of apologizing in person! Now, that’s sincerity!
All of us can think of e-mails we have received where you’ve thought “they wouldn’t say that to my face!” There are onliners who are more comfortable — although an apology by its very nature should not be comfortable — apologizing and expressing their feelings in writing than being face to face.
Taking this personality or character trait into consideration, if you cannot bear to talk to the person or meet with them and feel you’d better able to communicate your true feelings and regret in writing, then a nice handwritten note only when backed up with a meeting or phone call is an option. If you can’t see your way to make that amount of effort, then one can only ask how truly apologetic are you?
When it comes to apologizing, you have to consider what is the appropriate thing to do — not what is the easiest or most comfortable for you. As is usually the case when it comes to apologies, the right thing to do tends to coincidentally be the least comfortable — and the most humbling.