My boss is very nice to me. Often he will apologize when he is unable to make time for me because he is too busy with other work. Additionally he will usually apologize the next time he communicates with me. How should I respond when my boss says sorry?

  • 19
    Keep it simple. "No problem!"
    – Jane S
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 5:25
  • As above. Just acknowledge it and move on. Don't make a big deal of it, he isn't after that. He is professional and polite. A simple "No problem!" is all I do. So far, it's worked just fine :)
    – Jane S
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 5:31
  • @JaneS you should post that as an answer. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 5:57
  • If you have the right communication relationship for it, you could also try a half-joking response, something like "I'll forgive you this time, because I know how busy you are. But I expect you to be on time for the next meeting!" Make sure you deliver this in a good-natured way, in a cheerful manner. The purpose of the half-joking delivery is to keep things friendly, but also to make sure the message is out that you actually do need him to be on time for the meetings (at least sometimes).
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 12:54
  • @Brandin That's good idea but i doubt that it will work in my scenario. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


I believe you are definitely overthinking this. I expect your workplace isn't super formal (because most workplaces aren't, these days), so there are many ways of responding to this in a laid-back manner, but retaining common courtesy. Often times, these can include basic phrases like

  • It's OK
  • No problem
  • Don't worry about it

but can be succeeded by adding onto it why it's actually OK.

  • It's OK, I can do task X in the meantime
  • Don't worry about it. We can discuss some other issues until you arrive
  • No problem! I was hoping to finish what I was doing before you came in anyway

This will hopefully relieve your boss' worries, as well as let him know that you're still performing your duties even though he's having some minor issues of his own.


I don't know if this applies to your boss, but there are occasions when people say 'sorry' when it's clearly not necessary as a sort of passive-aggressive way of expressing disapproval, as if they're saying "You've put me in a position where I'm now uncomfortable, and it's actually your fault, and I'm going to communicate this by giving an unnecessary apology to make you feel awkward".

If this is the case here (and it may very well not be) he's really saying that he doesn't need to be consulted on this occasion. You can take the hint if you like, but he is, of course, using an unclear and unassertive way to tell you.

  • Yeah I'm agree with you. This might be the case Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 16:43

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