How to Handle Accidental Spilling

A clumsy spill on someone can really ruin their day. Luckily, Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips for how to properly handle this drippy situation.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #194

This episode comes on the heels of someone spilling my freshly-brewed, large, $3 cup of coffee all over my desk. Oh, and it went onto the floor – which is carpet – too.

The spill is so bad that I think the coffee grounds raced one another to every single part of my desk, trying to cover as much as ground as possible.




Too livid to even crack up at my “ground” word play!>

How to Handle Accidental Spilling

Not only did Mr. Butterfingers spill my coffee and barely cleaned it up (I did most of the work), but he didn’t even offer to buy me a new one. Oh, but don’t worry, his coffee is just fine. In fact, I can see him drinking it only 10 feet away as my office area reeks of coffee for now, but I’m sure in a matter of hours that lovely aroma will turn into a dank, putrid stale milk smell. Did I mention I was livid?

So before you accidently spill something all over someone or their property, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips to correctly handle such a situation:

Tip #1 – Don’t Just Apologize, OVER-Apologize

I’m a pretty easygoing guy. But when someone causes me to be completely inconvenienced, I can’t help but get aggravated. It’s only natural, right? Take the doofus from this morning. He didn’t mean to spill my beloved caffeine all over the place. I know. But he also didn’t really seem to care either. I smiled at it of course, because that’s usually our first reaction, which is awkward. As well, nothing major like my cell phone or laptop got caught in the spill, only some papers. However, the truth is, I expected a bit more compassion. He did apologize but it was more from embarrassment – which seemed to fade away rather quickly – than actual feeling of regret. Yes, we parted ways with a “Well, it happens all the time, I’m sure…” still, he passed my desk twice and hasn’t even stopped by to make sure things were all right. I mean, it’s not like he broke my leg or anything, but I have to admit, I’m still a little annoyed that he did not visibly care.

When you spill something on someone – be it their clothes or property – you better come with all kinds of apologies.  Over-apologize. There’s no need to be ridiculous about it and get on the loud speaker or anything, but just make sure they know that you feel badly. Trust me, no matter how much a person says, “It’s okay, it’s no big deal,” they’re probably just being nice. Who are we kidding? It is a big deal! And this was just my desk, not my clothes or my iPhone! That would have put me over the edge. So, when you spill something, truly take the person into consideration and make them understand how awful you feel. Believe me, they are expecting it.