Apology Email Etiquette: Do I reply to a reply?
May 29, 2016 11:01 PM   Subscribe

I felt the need to apologize to a semi-notable person (if that matters) whom I have never met and doesn't know me. I emailed them a well written apology and a day later recieved a very gracious reply. Great. However now I don't know if I should reply back and if so, with what? I don't want to seem like I am using the apology as a foot in the door to strike up a conversation. But I also don't want it to seem like their gracious response wasn't appreciated by me, because it was.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do I reply to a reply?

I'm unaware of any scenario where replying here would be appropriate, regardless of the notability of the person in question.
posted by saeculorum at 11:03 PM on May 29, 2016 [6 favorites]

Don't reply. If in the future you have reason to speak about or to this person, bring up how gracious they were and how much you appreciated that at the time. If that takes the form of some kind of public comment that they might come across when googling themselves (if they might be the type) then all the better. You acted well, they acted well, you're even and square. But you can tell other people that they were gracious, if it's relevant.
posted by Mizu at 11:08 PM on May 29, 2016 [8 favorites]

Just keep your response to a sentence and don't invite any further conversation. Try something like,
Thank you for your very gracious reply, it's a huge weight off my shoulders.

Very sincerely yours,
posted by books for weapons at 11:12 PM on May 29, 2016 [97 favorites]

I'm not a notable person per se, but as a professor and an academic it's not unusual for me to have people I don't know emailing me out of the blue for various things. I could imagine circumstances someone might want to apologise for something. If I were to bother to type out a gracious reply to them (i.e., it was something obviously more time-intensive than "don't worry about it, cheers, F" or something) then I'd probably appreciate the response suggested by books for weapons. Key is it is short and makes it absolutely clear they don't need me to reply to it!
posted by forza at 11:46 PM on May 29, 2016 [6 favorites]

Do not reply.
posted by pintapicasso at 4:25 AM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

i'd go with no, but if you must then yes a minimal one liner to make it clear that's it.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:14 AM on May 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

Acknowledging a response letter (as opposed to a dashed off response) is fine, so long as it's not trying for a conversation. Something short.
posted by zennie at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2016

i favor the minimal one liner.
posted by nadawi at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2016

In cases like this I've sometimes put a very short "thanks for your acknowledgment" message in the subject line, and then in parentheses "(no further text)" so the recipient knows they don't even have to open the email.
posted by Soliloquy at 7:53 AM on May 30, 2016

Like others, I'd reply with - Thank you so much for your kind reply. It's greatly appreciated.

posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 11:38 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

A single line to acknowledge their graciousness (after all, they didn't have to accept your apology) but no more.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:57 AM on May 30, 2016

You should DEFINITELY reply to thank them for being gracious.
But don't strike up any further conversation.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like books for weapons' suggestion, though to my ear "huge weight off my shoulders" comes across a touch dramatic and self-oriented, at least given the limited details we have about your situation. I'd probably replace that bit with something like "It's much appreciated".
posted by threeants at 2:41 PM on May 30, 2016

Personally, I wouldn't.

You reply to their reply. They don't reply back. The fact that you emailed somebody you don't even know to apologise for something (which is a peculiar circumstance in itself) suggests that they mean more to you than you do to them. Since they are apparently "semi-notable", and you apparently are not, this means that they have already forgotten about you and you are still thinking about them. If you respond to their response then chances are they won't respond a second time, which will get you to thinking and worrying, and you'll be tempted to respond again, and that's when you turn into a weirdo.

So, don't.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:21 PM on May 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

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