Example Letter #1
I feel I must apologize to you personally for misquoting your comment on the bond issue. I know how frustrating it can be to work hard for a cause and then have it misrepresented to those who will benefit most from it. The misunderstanding came when we transcribed your comments from a damaged tape recording of your talk Thursday evening.
As soon as we realized we had made a mistake, we printed an explanation and clarification of your position and gave each student a copy to take home. We are also printing a retraction in the local newspaper. I apologize for the misunderstanding and wish you success with the bond issue.
Example Letter #2
My comments about your withdrawal from the project were inexcusable. I realize that I do not know all the issues.
Sometimes I am too quick to comment before having all the facts. Had I known about your accident, I surely would have held my tongue.
I promise to be more considerate in the future.
Example Letter #3
I apologize for my most inappropriate behavior at your dinner party. I realize you were counting on a relaxing evening, and my lack of restraint must have taxed you greatly. Please understand that this is not my normal mode of behavior. I hope you will accept these flowers as a token of my apology, and consider joining me for a relaxing dinner party at my home in the near future.
Example Letter #4
Please accept my sincere apology for the disagreement we had yesterday afternoon. I am truly sorry if I offended you. When I feel passionately about an issue, I sometimes express my ideas and feelings too strongly, and I'm afraid that's what happened yesterday. Even though we have different opinions in this area, I want you to know that I respect your point of view and I enjoy discussing issues with you. I hope you will forgive me. I don't want our friendship to be affected negatively by this disagreement.
Example Letter #5
I am so sorry I missed our appointment last Tuesday morning. It must have been very upsetting for you to make all the effort to get to my office on time, only to have me fail to arrive. Unfortunately, my daughter was involved in a car accident, and everything else simply slipped my mind.
Would you prefer to reschedule next time you are in Springfield, or simply speak on the phone? I will be visiting Centerville during the week of June 10, and we could arrange to meet then if you like. In any case, when we do meet, let me take you out to lunch. I look forward to hearing from you.
Example Letter #6
This is very embarrassing for me to have to admit, but I simply cannot find the book you lent me. I have searched everywhere I can think of, but it seems to have disappeared. I'm very sorry, John, particularly as you warned me that it is out of print. I have contacted all the second-hand bookstores in town, and they have agreed to look out for it, and Doe Books also told me about a book search service located in Springfield. I am waiting to hear back from them.
I will keep on trying until I locate another copy in good condition for you, but in the meantime I ask you please to accept my sincere apologies.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Begin with a straightforward apology that refers to the offense.
Acknowledge the reader's frustration.
If applicable, mention any specific steps taken to correct the problem. You may want to explain how the offense happened, but do not blame someone else.
If your apology concerns a problem you were unaware of, thank the reader for bringing it to your attention.
End with a positive statement and offer some form of compensation or restitution, if appropriate.