After an argument or an instance of unacceptable behaviour, there is usually a cooling down period where the parties concerned take some time to think about what’s happened and what their own part in the event was. After that, unfortunately, very often no one wants to say sorry and simply stop talking to each other, at which point the relationship is to all intents and purposes, over. The longer the silence continues the harder it is for either person to break it. My father-in-law fell out with his brother while they were both in their twenties and he didn’t speak to him again right up until he died, by which time everyone in the family had forgotten what the original argument had been about – true story, and what a waste.
Don’t leave your arguments to fester for that long!
Soon after, you have to decide whether the risk/reward scenario is worth it for you to say sorry. The risk is that having said sorry, nothing changes, the reward is that the other person is able to accept your apology and the relationship resumes. Of course sometimes you have to swallow your pride and apologise even if you were both at fault, even if it was the sort of argument where neither of you could ever agree (always keep politics and religion out of relationships!), it may still be worth saying sorry just to keep that person in your life. Alternatively this may be an occasion where the fault is all yours – you behaved badly, you stole something, you were rude or drunk, the list is endless, but the main thing is to acknowledge it and beg for forgiveness.
This is where an old fashioned letter comes in. Being able to think about what you want to say and put it down on paper is so much easier than the perceived risk of speaking face to face when you are unsure of the response you might get. The letter paves the way to meeting up and gives the recipient the time to think about how they want to proceed without any time pressures. And really, who wouldn’t be pleased to receive a hand written, heartfelt, genuine letter of apology? It would take a very hard-hearted person to resist.
I get many searches for ‘apology to a friend,’ ‘apology to an ex wife,’ ‘apology to my Mum’ etc, but really it doesn’t matter who you’re saying sorry to, the content of the letter is completely individual. I recommend you start by saying how much you regret what’s happened, how much you miss the person in your life and finish by saying how much you’d like to start over again if they can forgive you.
I have compiled some basic apology letter samples for you to use as a basis for your own individual apology letter. One of these should help you get started. Do it now though before you get cold feet, after all what have you got to lose?
Apology letter samples