Apologizing to someone in person often conveys more sincerity, there are times when a formal, written apology might be your only option or could otherwise be the preferred method.
Most people wonder how to write an apology letter, they often get stuck right in the opening lines. It’s hard to know where to begin and how to apologize without sounding desperate or trite.
The good thing is that when you put your apology in writing, you have the luxury of polishing and editing your thoughts so that he/she knows precisely what you mean to convey.
Below are tips on how to write an acceptable apology letter, as well as what materials to include when writing.
What is An Apology Letter?
An apology letter or letter of apology is a way of expressing regret towards a past action or occurrence. It is a means of putting down in words how you are feeling and trying to make a positive change from a negative action.
Why Do You Need An Apology Letter?
You need apology letters, typically because sometimes apologizing in-person is not easy due to inflated egos or when both parties are guilty; here a written apology can break the ice between two parties. Sometimes we don’t have apt communication skills to apologize in person; In cases like this, Apology letters can become an indirect effort of approaching thus easing your job.
What Is Included In An Apology Letter?
An apology letter needs a sincere expression of what you did wrong. There’s no beating around the bush or saying something backhanded like, “I’m sorry you felt hurt.” A sincere apology clearly highlights your wrongdoing and then expresses remorse for the misstep.
Beyond this, an apology letter doesn’t require groveling. After all, there’s no human walking this earth that’s immune to mistakes. We all make them. That’s why there’s no shame in calling attention to your mistake and offering a sincere apology.
- Say you’re sorry. Not, “I’m sorry, but . . .” Just plain ol’ “I’m sorry.”
- Own the mistake. It’s important to show the wronged person that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.
- Describe what happened. The wronged person needs to know that you understand what happened and why it was hurtful to them. Make sure you remain focused on your role rather than deflecting the blame.
- Have a plan. Let the wronged person know how you intend to fix the situation.
- Admit you were wrong. It takes a big person to own up to being wrong. But you’ve already reminded yourself that you’re a big person. You’ve got this.
- Ask for forgiveness. A little vulnerability goes a long way toward proving that you mean what you say.
Tips on Writing A Sincere Apology Letter
Whether you’re drafting an informal apology letter, e-mail, or text to a friend or family member, or a formal apology letter to a colleague, there’s a basic format you can follow. Consider this as the basis for your outline:
Express your remorse; it’s best to start with your remorse. You can literally begin with “I’m sorry…” or “I apologize for…” If you’re not feeling sincerely sorry for your actions, then this entire exercise is in vain. It will reek of insincerity. You have to be authentic and true in your desire to convey remorse, especially in the opening lines.
Take responsibility; Taking responsibility for your actions doesn’t mean making excuses. quite the opposite. You shouldn’t bother with excuses because the person who was offended won’t want to hear it. Taking responsibility means admitting what you did wrong. Empathize with the person, showing that you can clearly understand why your actions or words were offensive or hurtful.
When you offer amends, see what you can do to make the situation right. If you can offer an olive branch as a way of making things right, now’s the time to do it. In the samples below, you’ll note that after the writer offers amends, they always offer some sort of an olive branch.
Finally, assure the other party that this mistake won’t happen again. Whenever we offend someone, we create a tiny crack in their trust. he/she worry if you’ll be able to hurt them again. This is why it’s important to make reassurances in your closing.
Offer amends; E.g “I wonder if you’ll join us for New Year’s Eve. I’d love to have you back at the house again when I’m in better spirits and behaving better”.
Vow you won’t make the same mistake twice; E.g You can rest assured that I’m going to be working on my anger management and bad manners in the future. You won’t have to endure my lashing out ever again.
Apology Letter Writing Format
Length: An apology letter should not be more than two paragraphs. However, you want to keep the letter concise and focus on a few key points, so avoid writing more than one page.
Edit: Be sure to read through your letter before sending it.
Apology Letter Samples
You can use these apology letter templates as an example.
Personal Apology Letter
I wanted to apologize for what I said to Scott at dinner. I spoke without thinking and didn’t take his feelings into consideration. There’s no arguing that what I said was lousy, and I want to make sure you know that I recognize that and feel horrible about it.
When you chose me to be Scott’s godfather 17 years ago, you knew I’d always be there to encourage him and steer him in the right direction. When he announced at dinner the other night that he’d chosen to major in Communications, I couldn’t help thinking of myself as a confused freshman in college—especially how I had chosen Communications and suffered for it when it came time to look for a job.
That was a foolish comparison to make, and I shouldn’t have told Scott that it was a useless major to have. Scott is far more determined and driven than I ever was at that age. I should have known that his choice of major wasn’t frivolous. I should have known that he would be very excited to tell us, and I should have known how let down he would be to get such a discouraging response from me.
There are plenty of things I should have said, but I didn’t. As Scott’s father and my best friend, I can only imagine how upsetting the whole situation was. I spoke with him myself and, while he says it’s no big deal, I understand just how strongly my words affected him. I can promise you with all my heart that I will never discourage his endeavors ever again, and I hope that I can build up your trust in me again. I want you to feel confident that I will be a good role model and friend for Scott. I won’t say a word in the future without really thinking it over first and keeping Scott’s best interests and feelings in mind.
We’ve been through a lot together, and I want to continue sharing my life and my family’s life with you and yours. My reaction was completely inappropriate—a huge lapse in judgment on my part—and for that, I extend to you and the whole family my sincerest of apologies.
Business Apology Letter
Dear Ms. Jones,
On behalf of ABC Office Equipment, I extend our sincerest apologies for the bad experience you had with our sales associate, James. I understand that James made unprofessional remarks when you visited our storefront to inquire about a new copier. You came to us in search of information, and instead were subjected to a pushy salesperson.
At ABC, it’s our goal to help you make an informed purchase decision without having to deal with aggressive sales tactics. James is a new employee that I’ve been training. I take full responsibility for his behavior. He has received a written reprimand and will be shadowing one of our senior sales associates until he has a better understanding of the ABC Office Equipment approach to customer service.
I’m grateful that you brought this issue to my attention and I ask your forgiveness. We’d love to earn your business. I’ve included a voucher for 20 percent off your next purchase in our store as a thank-you, should you decide to give us a second chance. We hope to see you again soon!
Jennifer Smith Equipment Sales Manager
Mass Apology Letter
I owe you all an apology. When I planned my costume for our annual company Halloween bash, I clearly wasn’t thinking. I now realize that what I wore was offensive to some of you, as well as to your families.
It was never my intention to cause anyone distress. Looking back, however, I can clearly see that I didn’t think things through before I decided on what to wear. Next time, I’ll be sure to weigh my warped sense of humor against my sense of propriety and choose something that isn’t controversial.
I hope you’ll forgive me for making you uncomfortable. Please accept the cupcakes in the breakroom as a sincere peace offering.
All the best,