Write this brief letter as soon as possible after the incident. Don't apologize unless you plan to take full responsibility. Focus your comments on the actions you are taking to rectify the situation, not on the damage done. A sincere, well-worded apology, coupled with action, goes a long way towards patching up a damaged relationship. Although it is best to apologize face to face for a betrayed trust, or with a handwritten note, these tips will help you organize your thoughts.
1. Begin with a straightforward apology.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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