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I recently had an opportunity to contact a highly esteemed professional in my field for helping me with a technical post. We met at a conference that we both spoke at. They provided some feedback, to which I responded without proper manners. I didn't show enough respect, and they posted something on their Twitter, essentially saying that manners are very important. I feel horrible, really terrible since I respect and like this person a lot, especially given the free help they gave me.

I want to apologize, but I feel like it would be selfish. I already follow their Twitter, but I don't want it to seem like they can't rant on their Twitter. Right before they posted on Twitter, I had sent them a note with proper manners thanking them for their help, but I feel like one of my emails was very poor form.

How can I phrase the apology? I know that grammar and professionalism are very important. I want to be sure to take 100% of the blame and make no excuses. This is my fault.

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    are you sure - by other means than gut feeling - that (1) lack of manners in your 1st response was really that bad (2) the tweet really referred to your response? You might be massively overthinking this? – michi Feb 5 '18 at 20:59
  • @michi The person specifically mentioned using words like "please" which I did not use in one of my emails. The other two emails contained these words and were better stated. I am probably over-thinking this, because I really do appreciate what this person has done for me. – Professional-oops Feb 5 '18 at 21:01
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You should definitely apologize.

I have never apologized sincerely for something and had it back fire. Occasionally someone has tried to rub my nose in it, but when other people see that it usually makes them sympathize with me instead of the person I was rude to. Most people understand that every one makes mistakes. By showing that you are able to recognize your mistake and try to fix it, you show that you are not just likable but trustable.

Just send them an email saying:

I was thinking about my behavior at the conference and I was feeling bad because I was quite rude. I'm sorry that I took offense at your advice. Please forgive me. I highly value the help you gave me and wish that I had shown you more respect and gratitude. Sincerely (your name)

It doesn't need to be long or rambling.

1) Don't try to explain yourself it will probably just be seen as an excuse.

2) Tell them your sorry for what you did.

3) Ask him to forgive you.

4) Tell him that you are grateful for his help. This last one is nice because basically you saying what you should have said the first time, ie, "thank you." It also lets you end the note on a positive emotion instead of a negative one.

You also mention:

I don't want it to seem like they can't rant on their Twitter.

Just don't mention Twitter. It really has no relevance to your apology. For starters they probably won't realize that you saw their twitter post. If they do for some reason think that your apologizing because of the twitter post then they will probably be pleased that it actually affected you. I can't read this persons mind (and neither can you) so don't worry about it. Just do what you know needs to be done and apologize.

Good luck!

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    Personally, I like when people get "defiantly" and "definitely" mixed up. Otherwise it's good advice; have an upvote! – baldPrussian Feb 5 '18 at 20:50
  • I've written an apology based on this post. Thank you. It expresses the things I was feeling. – Professional-oops Feb 5 '18 at 21:25
  • @Professional-oops did you get any reply after issuing apology? – user13107 Mar 13 '18 at 4:35
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I suggest you apologize to your colleague and reiterate how valuable his/her comments are to you. The shorter your email, the better. Here is an example.

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to apologize for the rudeness of my reply to your comments. I hope you will forgive me and that we will keep exchanging views.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards

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Unless you dropped the f-bomb, then don't apologise.

How can I phrase the apology? I know that grammar and professionalism are very important. I want to be sure to take 100% of the blame and make no excuses. This is my fault.

This is classic social anxiety.

It's precisely the same reason why when you fall over and everyone looks at you... three hours later you're convinced people are still thinking about how ridiculous you looked, because you still are. The thing is, they thought about you for 5 seconds, then moved on. You may be the centre of your world 24/7, but you aren't the centre of everyone else's world 24/7.

I recently had an opportunity to contact a highly esteemed professional in my field for helping me with a technical post. We met at a conference that we both spoke at. They provided some feedback, to

If they're as important as you say they are, then they have forgotten all about you. This is because they're important, and talk to 20 people a day.

Now, if you are "completely and utterly convinced" that you have offended them, then get somebody whose judgement you trust to read the exchange. Ask them: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how rude do you think I was? Would you apologise?"

The best thing to do is get an outside opinion. 90% of the time, it'll be all in your head.

  • I think you're right about the social anxiety. I never knew about that specific type of anxiety. – Professional-oops Feb 7 '18 at 21:41

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