Sorry for…vs…Sorry about

Posted on March 3, 2021 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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I’m sorry is not just for apologies. Sometimes it can be used to empathize and value another person’s feelings, even when you aren’t responsible for what happened.

Sorry about is for empathizing and validating another person’s feelings.

  • “I’m sorry about your loss.”
  • “I’m sorry about how difficult this has been for you.”
  • “I’m sorry about all the pain Covid has caused your family.”

Sorry for is for showing accountability around your own behavior that caused harm.

  • “I’m sorry for disregarding your feelings yesterday in the meeting.”
  • “I’m sorry for leaving without you.”
  • “I’m sorry for losing my cool at the basketball game.”

Here’s a template for making a better apology.

Validating another person’s feelings, and owning up when you’ve done harm, are both acts of compassion. Both are critical competencies for leaders who want to build more trusting work cultures. These are two of the nine Compassionate Accountability strategies we teach in our Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama programs. Which one is right for you? Contact us today, or try out one of our virtual courses.


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