One of the hardest things to do is to admit when you are wrong and to say, "I'm sorry." Nobody likes to admit when they've made a mistake. It is, however, a skill that you must master. If you never admit when you are wrong and apologise, you do not seem sincere and you will not keep friends. No one wants a friend who never makes a mistake and is never wrong. Many people find it easier to apologise in a letter. That way, you can take plenty of time to think about what you want to say and speak from the heart without being interrupted.
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Address the person you are writing the letter to by the name they are most commonly called. Do not use pet names or names that only you call the person because you may not seem sincere. If you call the person that name all the time, an exception can be made.
Mention the event surrounding the mishap. You do not want to go into a great amount of detail because you don't want to make the person angrier than they already are, but it's important to make sure that you are both thinking about the same event.
Tell the person that you are sorry and directly mention what you did that you are sorry about. Sometimes a person is mad at you but because of a completely different reason than you think. If you mention what you are sorry about, it may clear up any misunderstanding between the two of you, particularly if you are both upset for different reasons.
Give your point of view of a situation. Why did what you did seem right at the time? What did you intend to say that came out wrong? Mention that you misunderstood the situation or that you were unaware of their feelings; whatever fits the bill in your particular situation. If you were plain out wrong, say it. It might mean putting yourself on the spot a little, but it will be worth it if it means salvaging a friendship.
Write how much the person's friendship or love means to you and that you don't want to jeopardise or lose that. You have to be honest; if you come across as being phoney you are only going to make things worse.
Complete your letter by saying that you will do whatever it takes to make it up to them or from now on you will do things differently. If you have specific things that you would do according to your situation, mention them. Finish your letter off by signing your name. Once again, do not use pet names; they are not appropriate in this situation.
Tips and warnings
- Unless your handwriting is completely illegible, handwrite your apology letter. Something written in your own handwriting comes across as being much more personal and honest.
- Customise your letter to fit your situation. The advice on this page is not meant to be a blueprint for everyone but merely assistance to help you write the best apology you can.
- Do not expect your apology letter to perform miracles. Depending on what has transpired, sometimes even the best apology letter is not going to smooth things over. Sometimes it takes time and patience.