Writing an apology letter is often considered to be a thing of the past. We no longer formulate our ideas on the written page, it seems, and we tend to communicate in entirely new ways. Just a generation ago, letter writing was a main venue for person-to person contact, but that art has been swallowed up by technology. We e-mail or text abbreviated messages rather than writing long, interesting letters, and we pick up the phone to talk, as long-distance phone calls cost no more than calling the house next door. Writing letters is nearly a lost art. In some circumstances, however, writing a letter can convey your feelings more effectively. This is especially true of apology letters. When you need to say, “I’m sorry,” writing an apology letter can be an effective way to smooth over rough waters.
There are times when apology letters are not appropriate. If the issue is a minor misunderstanding, a phone call is usually the best way to clear the air. If the incident has recently occurred, personal contact by phone or in-person discussion is better. Letting things fester serves no purpose. However, if you have inadvertently hurt someone, or if there are long-standing issues that you have finally decided to resolve, then apology letters are a wonderful way to extend the olive branch.
If you have decided the situation you are in requires an apology letter, it is important that you take the time to write the letter properly and use it to convey all of your feelings in the most effective and clear way possible.
Timing is Everything
The most important factor has nothing to do with writing the letter itself and everything to do with the timing of when you send the letter.
If you are composing an apology letter, write it as soon as possible. You do not want to let any situation simmer any longer than you have to, so write while the thoughts are fresh in your mind and while the situation is still in the memory of the letter's recipient. If you write your letter...