Example Letter #1
Jane, this is the hardest letter I have ever written. I feel terrible that I let John know you were planning to leave the firm. We were discussing pending changes, and I foolishly mentioned the possibility without remembering your concern. I didn't say it would happen, but I obviously said too much.
I don't blame you for being very upset with me. I can only ask your forgiveness and try to make it up to you somehow. I value your friendship very much and hope it can continue in spite of my stupidity.
Example Letter #2
John, please forgive me. I had no right to tell anyone about your thoughts of resigning. I can only imagine the shock and disappointment you felt towards me. This incident has been a harsh teacher of the importance of keeping personal information confidential. I only hope I can regain your trust by assuring you such carelessness will never happen again. Friends like you are hard to find, and I very much want to continue our rewarding association.
Example Letter #3
I apologize for the distress I have caused you. I promised that I would keep your plans for next year confidential. At the party last night we were discussing prospects for the new year, and I heard myself revealing your plans. This was a terrible breach of confidence. Please forgive me. I value your friendship and will work hard to regain your trust.
Example Letter #4
I want you to know how terribly sorry I am for my poor judgment in accepting a date with your former fiancee, John. When he asked me to go to the concert with him I was excited because the show was sold out and I really wanted to go. But, I didn't think enough about how you would feel about my going with John where you had planned to go.
I hope you can forgive me for being so insensitive. Our friendship is too important to me to jeopardize it. I am truly sorry for hurting you this way.
Example Letter #5
I apologize for writing a personal check on the club account. I was in a hurry and inadvertently pulled the wrong checkbook out of my purse when I paid for groceries. I didn't realize what I had done until the next bank statement arrived.
As the treasurer, I am aware of the position of trust in which I have been placed, and have always been very careful up till now to fulfill my responsibilities with integrity. I paid the money back as soon as I realized what had happened, and assure you that I will be more careful in future, but if you feel it necessary to replace me, I will understand.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Begin with a straightforward apology.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- Jane, I am so sorry that I gave your phone number to John. It totally slipped my mind that you told me that you did not want him to have it.
- I am sorry I told Jane about your illness. I feel so ashamed. It came out in conversation before I realized my error. I completely forgot that it was a confidential matter.
- I am so sorry that I did not show up for our dinner date last night.
- Dad, I am so sorry about taking your car without asking permission, but I am even sorrier that I might have lost your trust.
- I am sorry that I misspent money from the family business. I realize my actions have caused the whole family hardship.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- a confidential matter
- before I realized my error
- came out in conversation
- completely forgot that
- devastated that my actions have caused
- didn't stop to think that
- didn't think that
- feel so ashamed
- feel terrible that I failed to
- forgive me for the thoughtless disclosure
- nothing more I can say than
- sorry that I did not
- sorry that I gave your
- sorry that I damaged our relationship
- sorry about
- thoughtless disclosure
- told me that you did not want
- totally slipped my mind that
- truly sorry I told Jane about
- was not supposed to
- wish there was a way to
2 Acknowledge the reader's frustration.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- Thank you for the way you handled the incident at the time. I am sure that my actions must have caused you great distress.
- I know you must think me stupid to do something like this. I don't know what I was thinking. I gave him your number before I realized what I had done.
- I can imagine that all sorts of things went through your mind. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
- I know you must be extremely disappointed in me, and I don't blame you if you are furious.
- I know it must be awful to have your best friend violate your trust in this way.
- I know nothing disappoints a father more than a son who violates his trust.
- I can imagine how angry you must have been. I am grateful for the patience you demonstrated after the incident.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- before I realized what I had done
- can only imagine how you feel
- can imagine how angry you must have been
- caused you great distress
- damaged our relationship
- don't blame you if
- don't know what I was thinking
- for me to do something like this
- grateful for the patience you showed
- have your best friend violate your trust
- know I can't remove the hurt I have caused, but
- must be extremely disappointed in me
- must be awful to have
- must think me stupid to
- nothing disappoints a father more than
- sincerely apologize for making you
- violated your trust
- what I did must have angered you
3 Express remorse about what you did, ask for forgiveness and, if appropriate, mention any action you will take to remedy the situation.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- I deeply regret my actions and know I violated your trust. I hope that in time you will be able to forgive me.
- Please forgive me for this mistake. I did not intend to cause you any distress. Although I mentioned your illness to Jane, she seemed to understand the importance of keeping the matter confidential.
- I am so sorry about the time you spent waiting for me. I was called in to work unexpectedly, and forgot about our date until it was too late to call you. I don't know how I can regain your trust, but please let me try.
- I have put the duplicate family car keys that you gave me for my birthday in this envelope. They are a token of trust that I do not feel that I deserve at this moment. I ask your forgiveness, but I realize it may take some time. I intend to pay the insurance deductible for the repairs from money I have saved from my job.
- I was sure the investment was sound, but realize now that I have a lot to learn. I fully expect to repay the family account from the wages I earn at the store and promise this will not happen again.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- a token of trust that I do not feel that I deserve
- broke a promise to you by mentioning your illness
- did not intend to cause you any distress
- don't know how I can regain your trust
- so sorry about the time you spent waiting for
- feel especially bad about
- feel very ashamed of what I did
- forgive me for this mistake
- fully expect to repay the family account
- have put the copies of the family car keys that
- intend to pay the insurance deductible
- nothing worse for a son than knowing that he willfully
- prove myself to you so you can forgive me
- realize now that I have a lot to learn
4 End with a positive statement, if appropriate.
Sample Sentences for Step 4
- I feel especially bad about this mistake since you have always been such a true and loyal friend. I hope I can prove myself worthy of your friendship once more.
- Please let me try to make amends by taking you out to dinner on Friday. This time I guarantee business affairs will not disrupt our evening.
- I am so glad to have a friend like you. Considering the circumstances, you were much more understanding than I deserved.
- I promise that this will not happen again. I will make sure of it.
- I hope I can regain what I have lost. I appreciate you very much.
- I promise this won't happen again.
Sample Phrases for Step 4
- have always been such a loyal friend
- hope we can still continue our business relationship
- hope I can prove myself worthy of your
- please let me try to make amends by
- promise this won't happen again
- sincerely appreciate your friendship
- so glad to have a friend like you
- were so much more understanding than I deserve
- will be all yours
- will not happen again
- will make sure of it
- try to make amends
- considering the circumstances
- worthy of your friendship