My current situation is that. I got annual feedback during December which I joined few months ago. They were more than impressed with my coding skills, but they were not so much with my soft skills.

Two of the feedback I got were:

1) I was too demanding when I joined the job because I asked them several time to hurry about the laptop so I can work. It was a small company. They usually mac but we had talked about Windows laptop before I joined. But still they didn't arranged it causing me to be next to no productive and mostly unassigned for first 2-3 weeks. That's why I asked them several times to hurry because I just wanted to work. Now I think about it, I personally feel wrong too. Even I feel I was bit too demanding and want to apologize for it.

2) I am not very social. I don't talk much at work. Some of my coworker says that they don't even know me properly. I am introvert and I always suffered from social anxiety from years but I suffer from some mental health issues from a year now, which makes it really hard to do anything. Truth is I feel very lonely all the time and I wish I had peoples to talk to, but still I fail most of the time. But I really try hard.

So this is related to work. I am wondering about both cases. Work and general life. If I do something wrong which is not completely my mistake, should I try to explain the truth or should I just sincerely apologize without any explanation.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to the site! I think your question is a bit broad / opinion-based at the moment - we can't tell you what to do, but we can help with how to do it. Plus the answer for "general life", it really depends on what the situation is. So it's best to focus on just one at a time here - you could edit to just focus if/how to appropriately apologize in response to the work feedback, for example. – Em C Jan 29 '18 at 1:19
  • @EmC I am more used to Stack Overflow. They prefer generic questions targeting a larger audience. My bad! :p – WantsToBePerfect Feb 15 '18 at 19:46

NO. Very seldom is there a reason to explain or offer excuses. Admit what you did, and only what you did, and apologize for it. Accept your mistake and even is someone else had a role, acknowledge your mistake and your actions and leave any other person out of it.

Generally explanations in an apology are seen as making excuses, making what is called a "non-apology". It's seen as trying to shift accountability for your actions, which will come off as insincere. Also, never apologize for someone else. Such things as "I'm sorry you're offended" may be permissible for politicians, but in interpersonal skills that's pretty rude.

Making an apology is actually quite simple. Be sincere and honest. "Bob, I did [x]. I realize that wasn't the right thing to do, and I'm sorry I did it/things came out the way they did." Then say nothing more and let the other person respond. If they say anything other than to accept your apology, don't argue the point or get snippy about it. You're apologizing for your deeds and not anything else. They may be angry; let them be angry and say what they need to say. Then merely say "Thank you for your time" and move on.

If the other person asks for an explanation, then provide one based solely on facts. Do not offer supposition, blame others, or state your theory. "I saw this, and thought it required me to do this. That was my mistake." "When John said [x], which both you and I heard, I thought he meant something completely different. What I thought it meant doesn't really matter; I don't want to say anything about John that could be misinterpreted."


For a simple apology, usually not.

However, if it is a point that you would like to work together to improve in the future, then explaining something like social anxiety prevents you from being social and extrovertive (adjust to your actual experience), but you feel like you would like to be closer with the team. This explanation isn't so much meant to excuse your previous behavior, but explain why you aren't interacting with the team. It isn't because you don't like them and don't want to interact, it is because you can't bring yourself and don't know the proper way to do so, but would like to if it were something you could do more easily.

As stated in the first paragraph, if it is simply apologizing for that incident, and not something you'd like to work as a group to improve upon, an explanation is often seen as you're just trying to excuse yourself, so it is best to leave it out -- unless there was really a huge misunderstanding, but it doesn't seem to be the case in this instance.

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