Inevitably, there will be a time when you are in the wrong and you will have to write an apology letter. What is an apology letter? An apology letter is a formal letter or informal way of expressing regret for past actions.
It is a way of verbalizing your feelings and of taking the next step to change your actions in the future.
Tips for Writing an Apology Letter
- Make sure to accurately represent your feelings. There is no use in writing one of these if you are not legitimately sorry for your actions.
- Begin and end with your apology. The first apology will make it clear what the letter it about and the last apology reinforces your regret and helps you to appear genuine.
- Dictate the letter to yourself. This helps you to convey the tone of sincerity that you are trying to express.
- Send your letter as quickly as possible. By sending this letter quickly, you are addressing your recipient with the respect they need with this kind of letter.
- Keep your letter short and to the point. This ensures that you don’t waste your time or the time of your recipient.
- Keep in mind who the letter is for. This letter is not about you, but about making amends to the recipient.
What To Include In An Apology Letter
- Say you’re sorry. There should be no excuses. Acknowledge and accept responsibility for your actions.
- Accept full responsibility for the mistake. Show the person who you have wronged that you acknowledge your mistake.
- Describe what happened. This helps the person to see your side of the disagreement and, also, allows them to see that you understand why what happened was hurtful.
- Have a plan. Let your recipient know that you intend to fix the problem and how.
- Ask for forgiveness. While this makes you appear vulnerable, that is a good thing. This will help in proving that you mean what you say.
Sample Apology Letters
Formal Apology Letter
Dear Mr. Johnson,
Please accept my sincere apology for arguing with you in class on Monday.
It was wrong of me to do this and I am truly sorry.
I can appreciate how angry and disappointed you are in my actions and I have accepted the consequences that have come from it. (If the infraction was serious, feel free to elaborate here in greater detail.)
I take full responsibility. It was wrong of me to behave as I did. There is no excuse for this type of behavior in class.
Please be assured that I am taking the necessary steps to make sure that I can correct this mistake in the future. (If you have tangible steps as to how you are moving forward, you may list them here, as well!)
I deeply regret this ever happening and I am willing to do whatever it takes to correct the situation. I plan on making it up to you by assisting you at recess for the next week so that I can better understand how difficult the position of a teacher is.
Once again, I am truly sorry and humbly ask for your forgiveness.
Informal Apology Letter/E-mail Example
I know it was wrong of me to go through your phone. I feel awful that the only thing I can do is say, “I’m sorry.” I will apologize as much as I have to in order to make this situation right.
I’m very sorry that I upset you. I promise that I will never do this again. After thinking long and hard, I have seen how my actions have affected not only you, but others, as well. I will think much more clearly about my actions in the future and I believe that this will help me to make better judgments before I act.
I know it is selfish of me to ask your forgiveness, but, I hope that you believe in my sincerity and accept my apology.
Types of Apology Letter
- Apology Letter to a Boss: These are written if you feel that you have performed your duties at work incorrectly or if you feel that you have slighted your employer in some way. These letters should be formal and are often included as part of a disciplinary file.
- Apology Letter to a Customer: You would write an apology letter to a customer if you behaved in an unprofessional way or if you feel that you did not perform your duties in a way that was most helpful to them. For instance, if you were unable to do a return for a customer due to a lack of knowledge and you would like to apologize, you would write one of these letters to the customer. This could be an informal e-mail.
- Apology Letter to a Teacher/Principal: As a student, you may be required to write one of these letters to a teacher or a principal when you have behaved in a manner that is inappropriate in the school environment. While your teacher may not require you to write one, you can also take the initiative and write an apology letter if you feel that you are regretful of your actions.
- Apology Letter to a Significant Other: Mostly an informal letter, this letter would be written to express your feelings, perhaps after an argument or a disagreement. This can be used to make sure that you get your thoughts onto paper without messing them up in a heated conversation.
No matter the reason for writing a letter, you will need to know the ins and outs of doing so.