LETTER OF APOLOGY Hora Hedayati
LETTER OF APOLOGY • When you have had difficulty or a conflict with a person, a letter of apology can be effective in setting things right. Apologizing by letter permits the other person to accept your apology, without argument or waffling. It also eliminates your desire to want to retract part of it or argue over the history of the incident. At the same time, do not turn to letters simply to distance yourself from a difficult situation or protect yourself from a situation that may become confrontational. The advantage of letter writing is that you can take your time composing your thoughts, and the recipient can similarly take her time considering your message and deciding how to respond.
Format: Handwritten or typed/word-processed. Personal letterhead. • Style/Tone/Voice: Formal. Active voice. • Structure: (1) Recall the specific incident, (2) Apologize unconditionally, but (3) Let the reader know about any mitigating circumstances, if they exist, (4) Repeat your apology, and (5) Close by saying you look forward to continuing the relationship. • Handy Phrases: Sincere regrets; I’m sorry; I was wrong; I made a mistake.
Sample Letter Dear Steven: My comments about your playing last Thursday had only the best intention. Any suggestions I make are only to make you a better player. You’re already so good, I didn’t think my suggestion would upset you. I am sorry my words upset you. From now on, I’ll think more carefully about how I say things before I say them. My job is to teach and motivate you, and obviously I let you down in the latter. My apologies. Sincerely, Jack
Tips for Writing Letters of Apology • Apologize unconditionally. • Admit you were wrong. Accept the blame even if the other person is not in fact blameless. • Be the bigger person. Don’t be petty or search for ways in which they previously did you wrong as a way of compensating for today’s apology.