Example Letter #1
I feel I owe you a personal apology for my insensitive comment at the meeting yesterday. I know these days since John's funeral have been very difficult for you, and I was clearly out of order in making reference to "merry widows." I'm sorry you had to suffer from my foolishness.
I hope you will be able to forgive me. I have tremendous respect for you and your abilities, and I hope we can continue to work well together. I'm terribly sorry.
Example Letter #2
I'm sorry I spoke so sharply to you on the phone last night. As you know, I am a morning person and I had been asleep for about fifteen minutes when you called. I'm not sure I was completely awake.
You are a dear friend, and I would not intentionally hurt your feelings. Please accept my apology and let me make it up to you by taking you to lunch Friday. It's been a while since we had a good talk.
Example Letter #3
I am so sorry for the way I spoke about you in the interview. My comments were very insensitive and I know they must have hurt you. I hope you will forgive me and try to understand how something like this might happen when I open my big mouth. The trouble is, I tend to speak sarcastically even when my audience might be apt to take me literally. I hope you will believe what you hear me say instead of what you read. Our relationship is very valuable to me. I hope you will allow me to make this up to you.
Example Letter #4
I want you to know how sorry I am for the misunderstanding over who was going to pay for Jane's birthday lunch. I assumed we would each pay an equal share, but I must have given you the impression that the lunch was my treat. I am really embarrassed about the breakdown in communication. I will be sure in the future that I make the arrangements clear ahead of time. Anyway, I am happy we could get together; we don't see each other often enough. I am glad our friendship can survive misunderstandings like these.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Begin with a straightforward apology. Do not rehash the incident, but be specific enough that your reader will know that you acknowledge your error.
Acknowledge the reader's pain, if appropriate.
Ask for forgiveness and indicate that you value your relationship with the reader.
Explain your behavior if appropriate, but do not excuse it in any way.
End with a positive statement.