Knowing how to write an apology letter is essential in your business and personal life. For one thing, no one is perfect. We all say or do things we later regret.
It’s important to own your mistakes and take steps to correct them. The first step is to apologize to anyone who might have been adversely affected by what you said or did.
Purpose of an Apology Letter
After you do something that needs an apology, it’s important to acknowledge your mistake and then to show how sorry you are. Otherwise, you come across as someone who doesn’t care or can’t be trusted. Sending a letter asking forgiveness is the first step in repairing your relationship.
Apology Letter to a Friend or Family Member
In order to maintain a friendship or family relationship, you need to take action as soon as possible after you do something that might jeopardize the bond you share with the other person. Doing nothing isn’t an option if you want to restore trust, either with your pals or at home with the family.
Here are some steps for apologizing to a friend:
- Acknowledge the fact that you messed up and you want to apologize.
- Explain how you plan to rectify the situation.
- Make it clear that you won’t do or say that again—and mean it.
- Come right out and ask for forgiveness.
- Remind your friend that you value the relationship.
How to Apologize in a Professional Setting
When you spend more waking hours at the office, shop, or other place of work, your colleagues and clients are likely to see you at your best and worst. After you make a mistake or say something that should have remained unsaid, it’s good form to confess and apologize verbally and in a follow-up letter.
Keep the note brief but show that you mean the apology. Here’s a basic outline of a professional apology:
- Take responsibility for your mistake and apologize.
- Show how you plan to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Show appreciation for your coworkers and anyone else affected.
Here are some examples of professional letters of apology:
What Not to Say in an Apology Letter
When you want to sincerely ask for people to forgive you, there are some things you should never say. Here are some of them:
- Don’t give excuses. This weakens your apology.
- Don’t blame the other person for your actions or words.
- Don’t bring up something the other person did.
- Don’t try to make your actions seem like they were no big deal.
- Don’t make a joke about what you said or did.
Give It Time
Depending on the offense, the other person or people may need some time to warm up to you again. Accept this and do your best to show that you mean every word in your apology letter. Offer the other person (or people) the personal space they need and be patient. Eventually, most people will come around.