It’s a funny thing. Humans are not perfect beings and are subject to mistakes. Many have a hard time admitting that they have wronged another. Likewise, too many view forgiveness as a weakness.
Twenty years ago, I became a certified community dispute mediator. One of the goals is to free up the municipal court judge’s calendar. Another is to bring closure to matters that might be resolved between the affected individuals. Parties have the opportunity to sit before me and hammer out their troubles. Cases range from neighborhood noise complaints, to disputes involving children, and disagreements about misplaced property. I am trained to help the prospective litigants find a solution between themselves.
Generally speaking, I find mediation cases get resolved in one of two ways. Sometimes, the damage is irreparable and it seems best that the individuals agree to stay away from each other. Candidly, I do not like matters that end in this fashion. My biggest joy comes from the disputes that are mended with an apology. I have witnessed people go from screaming to hugging after regrets are acknowledged and accepted.
Three words. “I am sorry.” They are nearly as important as my favorite three words. “I love you.” They rival only with “I forgive you.” Yet, so many find it hard to put this easy phrase into action. I venture to say that I believe in these words so much that I would assist someone with an apology letter at no cost.
Here are :
- It does not hurt to start your note with your intention. This is not a time to keep your reader in suspense. Make it simple. “I am sorry…” or “I would like to apologize…” are perfect introductions.
- Do NOT further instigate the situation with excuses or claims that you were provoked. Your goal is to mend matters, not make them worse.
- Be sincere.
- Be honest.
- Be humble.
- Be convincing.
- Consider your audience and how your disagreement impacts your life and theirs. Choose your words appropriately. If your note might prospectively involve a lawsuit, check with your attorney before sending the missive. An apology may be considered an admission in a court of law.
- Express your hopes for a successful resolution.
- Suggest that you will avoid a repeat of your actions or misdeeds.
- It is never too late to apologize. Have no regrets.
After you have presented your missive, it is up to the other party to make the decision to forgive you. The extent of their hurt may determine their reaction.