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Other Ways to Say “Sorry for Bothering You”

Michele Stills


I decided to write this article after a recent embarrassing moment when I realized I was bothering someone without meaning to.

As I was passionately describing my latest DIY project to my friend, I noticed her eyes glazing over. She was clearly not interested in what I had to say.

Mortified, I quickly wrapped up my monologue, but I struggled with how to acknowledge my oblivious rambling. The lame “Sorry for bothering you” seemed insufficient.

There had to be better ways to express regret for wasting someone’s time and attention. Thus, this article was born! I hope it helps save others from awkward “foot in mouth” scenarios.

What are 15 Alternative Ways to say “Sorry for Bothering You”?

We’ve all been on both sides of this interaction. When we realize we’ve trapped someone into listening to us ramble on, finding the right words to apologize can be tricky.

Here are 15 alternative options to the clunky “Sorry for bothering you”:

  • apologize for talking your ear off
  • I didn’t mean to be so long-winded
  • Please excuse my self-centered chatter
  • I’m embarrassed I held you captive to my story
  • realize now I was monopolizing the conversation
  • I’m sorry for going on and on
  • I didn’t intend to carry on for so long
  • regret not noticing I’d lost you long ago
  • Please forgive me for prattling away
  • feel bad realizing I lost you back there
  • apologize for being so caught up in my own world
  • I’m mortified I bored you with too many details
  • I’m kicking myself for rambling past your endurance
  • I’m so sorry for droning on like that
  • clearly got carried away with my train of thought

I don’t know about you, but I have a couple new go-to phrases for the next time I catch myself overstaying my conversational welcome!

Key Takeaways

  • Pay attention to signs of disinterest from the listener
  • Notice when you’ve monopolized the dialogue
  • Have some polite apologies ready for when you’ve overshared

5 Editor’s Choice Ways

feel bad realizing I lost you back there

This injects some humility and admitting you were self-centered. It also acknowledges you were aware enough to notice you’d bored them, even if too late.

I’m kicking myself for rambling past your endurance

A colorful expression stating you regret not shutting up sooner when their tolerance limit was reached. Displays regret for time wasted.

apologize for talking your ear off

A folksy way of directly owning up to excessive chatter at their expense. Succinctly gets across the apology.

realize now I was monopolizing the conversation

Fesses up to dominating the exchange by acknowledging their input was lacking due to your own verbal onslaught.

I didn’t mean to be so long-winded

Candidly admits you were long-winded instead of keeping it short and sweet. First step to avoiding repeat performances!

Formal Way

sincerely apologize for the extensive monologue

When speaking to bosses, clients, elders and other VIPs in formal settings, flowery and obsequious apologies may feel more appropriate.

For example:

I sincerely apologize for the extensive monologue about my son’s college applications earlier. I allowed my parental anxieties to dominate the conversation in a most self-centered manner. Please forgive me for occupying so much of our discussion with my own concerns. Moving forward I will be more aware of sharing the dialogue and responding to your insights as well.”

Other formal alternatives could include:

  • Please accept my apology for lecturing you at such great length.”
  • “I regret my protracted commentary on recent political events.”

Informal Way

Hey, my bad for talking your ear off just now

During casual chats with friends, chatty strangers or younger relatives, relaxed and informal phrasing can ease awkwardness.

For example:

Hey, my bad for talking your ear off about my vacation drama with Megan. I didn’t even realize I’d been venting for 20 minutes straight! I’m totally the worst – next round’s on me.”

Some other informal options:

  • “Whoops, got a little carried away with cat video reactions just now, huh?”
  • My mistake – didn’t mean to get so preachy about my juice cleanse.”

Is It Correct to Say “Sorry for Bothering You”?

The statement “Sorry for bothering you” is not inherently incorrect when expressing regret for imposing on someone’s time or attention. However, there are some issues worth examining:

Firstly, “bothering” suggests the listener was actively irritated or impatient. Using more neutral language recognizes you were unconsciously oblivious instead of intentionally disruptive.

Secondly, plainly saying “sorry” can seem absentmindedly habitual instead of genuinely remorseful. Better to acknowledge specifics like rambling, interrupting, oversharing, etc.

Lastly, the nondescript phrase fails to capture shades of meaning – were you insensitive, careless, self-focused, tedious or thoughtless? More colorful language illustrates the sincerity of your apology.

In summary, while “Sorry for bothering you” isn’t wrong per se, it seems lackluster compared to more tailored, vivid alternatives that address faults considerately.


We all stick our conversational foot in our mouths sometimes. But having the right apologetic phrases can rescue the situation with humility and humor. Memorize a few that suit your relationships and don’t be afraid to use them liberally!

Michele Stills

I'm an evidence-based coach helping clients with their communication, leadership skills, anxiety, public speaking and interpersonal relationship skills.

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