Writing an Apology Letter – Make it About Them

Writing-an-Apology-Letter-–-Make-it-About-ThemWriting an apology letter can be difficult. What do you write? How do you make it meaningful? How do you ensure that you get your point across without sounding negative or forced? It is important to remember that everyone does something they regret at some point or another and simple things can harm a relationship, whether it is personal or business based. At times, it isn’t appropriate to walk up to someone and apologize face to face, so an apology letter is needed to smooth the edges and bring you back to speaking terms.  Here are ten practical tips to ensure that your apology letter brings the results you are after.

Make the Letter about Them

When writing an apology letter, leave out the fluff. This letter is about them and the wrong they feel has been done to them. Talking about you in the letter, other than the fact that you feel bad for the way you treated them or something you said, could make the situation worse, and make the letter feel more forced than open.

Forget about Your Skills

When writing an apology letter, your level of skill in composing a letter is not in question here. It is about what the letter means, and what thoughts you are trying to get through. The letter does not have to be perfect, witty, or clever. It needs to be honest, heartfelt, and clear.

Determine what you are Sorry For

When you are confused about what you are feeling, what the other person is feeling, and what you should be sorry for, this is not a good time to write an apology letter. You should take the time to determine what you are actually sorry for, why you feel bad for doing it, and why the other person feels upset or offended because you did do it. What happened that hurt the other person’s feelings? What can you say to make it better? Did you mean what you said? Chances are you did not mean what you said or did, especially since you are considering writing the letter.

What Were the Repercussions of Your Actions

You may feel the need to apologize for your actions, but rushing to apologize may not be the best idea. It is important to evaluate the situation carefully. Did thing happen in the process that upset other people, or hurt feelings deeper than you realized? Were you hurt by what happened? Are you upset about what went on? If so, make sure to have everything fixed in your mind before you begin writing the apology letter.

No Excuses

When you are telling someone you are sorry, but you follow up with an excuse for your behavior, the apology is not heartfelt. In essence, excuses ruin an apology. The person you are writing to does not want to hear your justification, they want you to confess your actions, and know that you are sorry for your actions.

How Can You Mend the Situation

Even if words are not enough to fix the situation, sometimes, you can do things to help make your apology clearer. For example, if there was money lost in a transaction, or money taken, giving that money back could offer a better resolution to the problem. Think of something you can do to make the situation better. How can your actions fix the situation at hand?

Stay Focused and Keep It Short

The difficult part of writing an apology letter is that it goes against yourself preservation instincts. You have to open yourself up and admit your wrong doing. No one ever feels comfortable admitting a mistake, so it is easy to go off course writing your letter. If this happens, remove everything that is off track. The letter should be on point and should not involve your feelings or any rebuttal you may have.

Own the Blame

An apology letter defeats the purpose if you are going to push the blame onto someone else. This is the case if you are blaming the person receiving the letter or someone who was on the sidelines. Blaming others will water down your apology and the person you are writing too will be able to see through it. If you are not sorry, or you blame someone else, you are wasting your time apologizing.

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Before you sit down to write a letter, make sure you mean what you are going to say. Making an apology just to calm a situation does not benefit anyone, especially if you are still bitter about a situation. This will not accomplish the goal you are trying to reach. Keep the letter to the topics you mean, as these words are the one that you will be held to.

Get it Right

Whether you are hand writing the letter or you are typing it, getting it right is the most important thing you can do. When you begin, jump right to the point and that is, “I’m Sorry…”