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Are apologies by email acceptable?

Are email apologies enough?

“Is it O.K. to send an apology by email, or should you pick up the phone, or should it be handwritten?”

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Apologies are never easy. Apologizing means you are admitting a fault, wrong decision, mistake, or lack of proper judgment. 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 effort you should make to offer a sincere and genuine apology. The gravity of the situation guides you on what actions need to be taken to reflect your apology is sincere.

And, you know what those are… But the question for many is, are you up to that challenge?

Nowadays, we take the easy way out and use email 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.

Offering a Sincere Apology

Apologies are serious things and should never be trivialized. If the apology is for a minor flub, that’s one thing, and an email apology may suffice. For example, if you have an email misunderstanding with an online-only contact, that would be when an email apology could 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 emails we have received where you’ve thought, “they wouldn’t say that to my face!” The same goes for apologies. Some onliners are more comfortable apologizing and expressing their feelings in writing than being face to face.

However, if you think about it, an apology by its very nature should not be comfortable.

Character Matters

If you cannot bear to talk to the person or meet with them and feel you are better able to communicate your true feelings and regret in writing, then why not send a nice handwritten note? Your handwritten apology will show the character behind your apology.

Then, depending on what the apology is for, consider backing up that note with a meeting or phone call. 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 approach for you.

As is usually the case when it comes to apologies, the right thing to do tends to be the least comfortable — and the most humbling coincidentally.

Bottom line? How you say you are sorry shows how sorry you really are.

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