Have you wronged someone? Did you hurt someone on purpose? Was it unintentional? Either way you owe them an apology. I am going to help you to write a sincere letter to ask forgiveness. If you follow these clear steps you should gain the person’s attention and respect. This will put you in a good place to make amends.
How to Write a Sincere Letter of Apology
1.) State the Problem
You must state the problem without judgement.
DO: “I know that you heard that I was talking bad about your new hairstyle.”
DON’T: “I heard that you were talking behind my back to Chris and she told you that I was spreading gossip about your hairdo.”
2.) Acknowledge the Person’s Feelings
DO: “I can guess that when you heard this you felt betrayed or threatened or sad.”
DON’T: “I heard that you got all mad and told everyone that I was a jerk.”
3.) State Without Excuses Why You Let This Happen
DO: “I did say that I thought it was cut very short. I like you with longer hair but that is my personal preference. I still think you are beautiful and I respect you as a friend.”
DON’T: ” Yeah, told Chris that your hair was cut too short but you can do whatever you want. I like you either way and Chris shouldn’t be gossiping about us.”
4.) Explain How You Feel and What You Want to Happen Next
DO: “I really want to talk to you in person about this and I hope that you will accept my apology. I don’t want us to argue. I want you to trust me.I care about you and feel sad that I hurt you”
DON’T: “I want to get together and fix this if you will stop being mad because I am mad too that people are talking about us.”
5.) Explain Your Plan for Preventing This from Reoccurring in the Future
DO: “I will be more careful when I talk about you to other people. I want you to know that when I talk about you it is not to belittle you and I would say the same as if you were listening because I care about you.”
DON’T: “I will stop talking to other people forever I guess so that they don’t twist my words around and lie about me. I wish you would not question our friendship because you should know me better than that.”
DO: “I am very sorry that what I said made you feel upset and caused a problem between us. I am asking for you to forgive me so that we can be friends again and grow from this misunderstanding.”
DON’T: “I am sorry, you know because this is just not like me to do this to people no matter what other people say that is wrong about me and you. I hope you forgive me soon so that we can be friends.”
Do you see the trend in the “DO” sections? Is is best to approach the apology letter with humility; meaning don’t come off as defensive and don’t pass the blame. Even if the issue is a misunderstanding, it is still your responsibility to show respect and remorse.
You can see these suggestions in action on this Spoof post about a son writing his dad and apology letter.