Apologize For Offensive Behavior - Letters

Example Letter #1

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I owe an apology to all my co-workers and their families for my attempt at being funny at the company picnic last Saturday. I realize now that my costume was offensive to you and your families. I am very sorry.

I know you look forward to the annual picnic as a time for wholesome family activities, and my insensitive garb was not appropriate. I can't undo what I have done, but you have my pledge to help keep the quality of all our activities on a high plane from now on.

Example Letter #2

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I apologize for walking out in the middle of your presentation. I know it was disruptive, and I may have hurt your feelings.

I suddenly was not feeling well and thought it best to leave. I certainly am interested in your work and hope to get a printed copy of your presentation.

Example Letter #3

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I am sorry I took such an offensive tone of voice in speaking with you before your friends. It was not my intention to humiliate you. My own annoyance at another matter clouded my judgment. Please forgive me. I hope this unfortunate misstep will not jeopardize our friendship. You are one of the best friends I have.

Example Letter #4

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I want you to know how truly sorry I am for the joke I told at dinner last night. It was in very poor taste, and I am sorry that it offended you. Looking back on it, I am glad that you let me know how you felt. Please accept my sincere apology for my insensitivity and be assured that I will no longer tell jokes of that type.

Letter-Writing Tips

Write this brief letter as soon as possible after the incident. Often this apology is best expressed with a handwritten note. Even so, these suggestions can help you organize your thoughts.

Step-by-Step Guide

1 Begin with a straightforward apology. Do not rehash the incident, but be specific enough that your reader will know that you acknowledge your error.

Sentences
  • I am sorry for the way I acted at your party last night. I could tell that you had put a lot of work into making sure everyone was having a good time. Everyone was, until my unfortunate outburst.
  • I am sorry for the way I behaved at last night's game. I was in a bad disposition and should have stayed home.
  • I am sorry for my behavior at the office party last night. I had no right to take any liberties with you.
  • Jane, I apologize for the joke that I told at yesterday's meeting. It was offensive and inappropriate. When I first began to write this letter, I thought I might say, "Had I known you were there, I would not have told that kind of joke," but I realize now that sexist jokes are never appropriate.
  • John, I apologize for my bad taste at yesterday's meeting. My attempt at humor was offensive and inappropriate. My wife helped me realize that ethnic jokes are never appropriate.
Phrases
  • apologize for the ethnic remarks I made
  • apologize for the joke that I told at
  • apologize for my behavior that
  • apologize for making your job harder
  • apologize for the sexist joke I made in
  • apologize for the rude comment I made at
  • apologize for letting my personal life get in the way of
  • deeply sorry that I
  • deeply regret my behavior
  • didn't intend my comments to be
  • ethnic jokes are never
  • feel terrible that
  • hope you can forgive me for
  • made a fool of myself
  • my attempt at humor was inappropriate
  • need to respect others' beliefs
  • not sure how I can possibly
  • realize I was insensitive
  • should have been more considerate
  • sorry for the way I acted at your party
  • sorry for what I did to you last night
  • sorry I offended those who
  • sorry for the way I behaved at last night's game
  • there is no excuse for what I did
  • truly regret that
  • was offensive and inappropriate
  • what I said was in bad taste

2 Acknowledge the reader's feelings, if appropriate.

Sentences
  • Thank you for the way you handled the incident at the time. I am sure what I said must have caused you some embarrassment. You showed remarkable restraint in quietly asking me to leave.
  • I know that your job as a referee is hard enough without fans challenging your calls. I respect the job you do and apologize for making it harder.
  • I realize now that it must be painful to listen to jokes like the one I told. I promise you that neither you nor anyone else will ever hear one from me again.
  • You showed remarkable restraint at my offensive act. I can only image how upset you must have been.
  • I can imagine how upset you must have been. I am grateful for the patience you showed me after the incident.
Phrases
  • can only imagine how upset you must have been
  • didn't realize how hurtful such words can be
  • feel terrible that you were subjected to
  • how awful it sounded
  • must be frustrating to have to listen to
  • my remarks must have made you feel
  • my stubborn attitude must have made you feel
  • are kind for being so tolerant of me
  • realize how bad it made you feel
  • sorry that you felt so bad
  • sorry you had to suffer
  • such hurtful comments are
  • thoughtless words must have caused you
  • understand how you must feel
  • what I said must have caused
  • your gracious behavior in the face of hurtful remarks
  • your job is hard enough without

3 Ask for forgiveness and indicate that you value your relationship with the reader.

Sentences
  • Please forgive me. I have enjoyed working with you and hope to continue to do so.
  • Please forgive me for what I said. I realize this gesture cannot erase what I did, but please accept these flowers as a peace offering.
  • Please forgive me. I promise that it will never happen again.
  • I am especially embarrassed about this since I value your friendship so much. Please forgive me.
  • I value you as a colleague and friend. Please forgive me for my tactless behavior.
  • Please accept my apology and assurance that it will not happen again.
  • I hope you can forgive me. I'll do all I can to make amends.
Phrases
  • accept this gift
  • accept these flowers as a peace offering
  • don't want anything to come between
  • have enjoyed working with you at
  • have such high regard for
  • hope to continue to
  • hope you can forgive the
  • important to me that
  • must make things right
  • please forgive my tactless behavior
  • please forgive me for what I said
  • since I value your friendship so much
  • the high esteem in which I hold you and your family
  • value you as a colleague and friend

4 End with a positive statement.

Sentences
  • Thank you for helping me see I have room for improvement.
  • I wish you a good game on Saturday.
  • You are a true friend indeed.
  • I assure you I will not repeat this behavior.
  • I am glad to have you as a co-worker and look forward to getting back to work tomorrow.
  • Friends like you are few and far between.
Phrases
  • assure you that
  • call you next week
  • friends like you are few and far between
  • glad to have you as a co-worker
  • glad we can depend on you for leadership
  • hope this does not hinder future
  • look forward to sharing the
  • look forward to other good times
  • look forward to an opportunity to redeem myself
  • looking forward to getting back to
  • our relationship is special to me
  • sincere thanks for your understanding
  • sincerely appreciate your friendship
  • thank you for helping me see how I can improve
  • thank you for your efforts and friendship
  • thank you for your commitment
  • thanks for your kindness and fairness
  • this incident will not be repeated
  • wish you a good game on
  • you are a true friend indeed

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