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Misunderstanding letter sample

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Misunderstanding letter sample
November 30, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 1 comment

example of professional letter about misunderstanding - trp Yahoo Image Search professional apology letter 17 free word pdf format Letter Example, Letters.

Ever since our ancestors uttered their first grunts, miscommunication has been a part of our daily lives.

A customer misreads a policy; a colleague misinterprets a to-do; a couple clashes over a misunderstanding of who was supposed to pick up the kid.

One would have thought that miscommunication would drop with the advancement of technology. Alas, this hasn't been the case. We're more connected than ever, yet we seem to stray only further from mutual understanding.

The first step is to understand where things are going wrong. Here are eight common causes of miscommunication and misunderstanding.


Implicit vs explicit communication

Sometimes we mean exactly what we say. "Hand me a cookie, please." But sometimes our explicit message doesn't fully concur with our intention. "Could you pass me that cookie?""Yes, I could," my sister replies, as she grabs and eats it herself.

Simple messages can be stuffed with implicitness. "Enjoy that cookie" could be a neutral message. But I could also say it in a way that makes my sister feel guilty, or makes her wonder whether this particular cookie has a special ingredient she didn't know about.

Miscommunication often stems from a misalignment of explicit and implicit meaning between the sender and receiver. Some people are straightforward; others expect you to read between the lines.

Phrasing your messages in an explicit manner prevents miscommunication. This is especially recommended in high-stake circumstances or when you don't know the other person well. If you're a service rep dealing with a new customer, for example, you'd better err on the side of explicitness.

There's a tension between politeness and directness here. To make questions or commands more polite, we wrap them in indirectness. "Give me your phone number" , turns into, "would you mind giving me your phone number?" .

You couldn't skip this process entirely, but it helps to be aware of its implications.


Written vs verbal

The carrier of the message, or the channel, is another common cause of miscommunication. Verbal channels like phone or voice mail are better carriers for implicit meaning, while written channels like email or live chat are better for explicit communication.

There's an infinite number of ways to pronounce the word "no." In written communication the interpretation is fully left to the receiver, making miscommunication easier.

The advantages of written communication, then, are its search- and storability. You rely less on the focus and working memory of your listener, as he can simply read back on what's been said.

So writing is prone to implicit, and voice prone to explicit miscommunication.

Emoji are one tool to limit the risk of missing the mark when writing. Emily Triplett Lentz from Help Scout wrote a post about how emoji and exclamation marks can make your emails more friendly.


Competitive conversation forms

Many of our conversations take on counterproductive forms in which each side is merely out to seek status. In "12 Rules for Life" , Jordan B. Peterson discusses a few of such forms he encountered in his career as a psychologist and which you’ll be sure to recognize.

  • The stronger story. One person tells a good story. Instead of simply appreciating it, the other person only tries to top it. If the original storyteller returns the favor, such dialogues can quickly spin out of control to increasingly improbable storylines.
  • Waiting to make your point. Instead of listening fully to what the other person is saying, you’re just thinking about how you can jump in to make your own point.
  • Victory for the point of view.Most discussions develop into this one. Instead of discussing to learn something new, people discuss with the sole purpose of claiming victory of the other person’s point of view.

The downside of conversational forms like these ones is that they prevent us from getting closer to understanding . If your ego is invested in your argument, you’re not able to change your mind without losing your face.


Negativity bias

This is our mind's tendency to interpret ambiguity as negative.

When you walk into a dark room, you don't imagine bumping into a pot of gold; you imagine a killer clown lurking under the bed.

The negativity bias is a major cause of miscommunication as well. With multiple possible interpretations, we orient towards the negative. Your boyfriend's "seen" your last message but hasn't replied yet? Probably he's too busy cheating on you.

The negativity bias is especially pervasive in written channels because the receiver has to do the implicit interpretation. In his tips on working remotely – which often involves heavy reliance on chat – Gregory Ciotti recommends to always assume miscommunication over malice .

When you're the sender, keep the negativity bias in mind and include a positive emoji in messages that could be interpreted the wrong way. For more tips on how to conquer the negativity bias, take a look at our video below.


Poor listening skills

In his Ted talk, Julian Treasure argues that we're rapidly losing our listening skills. Our apps have thrown us in a constant state of distraction; our headphones lock us in a private bubble.

Indeed, plenty of today's miscommunication can be blamed on the receiver's inability to focus. If you want to sharpen your listening skills, Treasure offers a few exercises:


Poor speaking skills

Similarly, oftentimes miscommunication can be blamed on poor speaking skills. Some people express themselves so incoherently that they're near impossible to follow.

One powerful communication tip is to speak with structure – for example by using a what - so what - now what approach. Start talking about the what. Then about why it's relevant. Then what the next steps should be.

That’s Timoor. He’s a big basketball fan like you. Let me introduce you to him.

In another talk, Julian Treasure shares some tips on how to speak so others will want to listen:

Also check out his book, "How to be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening" .


Misaligned lingo

Another common cause of miscommunication. To increase efficiency, people within a close group develop their own ways of speaking–through jargon, acronyms, buzzwords, etc.

"Legalese" is another culprit. It's the formal and technical language that often makes government documents sound overly complex, forcing people into hiring lawyers for their legal issues.

These verbal phenomena aren't problematic as long as you stay within your circle. When interacting with outsiders, however, you'll need to adjust.


Mental models

The above causes of miscommunication are about an actual misinterpretation of the explicit/implicit meaning of the message. But a larger type of miscommunication exists – one in which people are actually talking about the same things, but differ on what these things mean .

Such misunderstanding derives from differing mental models.

It'd be nice if we'd all see the world the same way. But we don't. In "What? Did you really say what I think I heard?" , Sharon Morgen explains that our brains delete, misconstrue and misinterpret according to filters–biases, triggers, assumptions, beliefs, habits and mental models.

There's actually an ongoing epistemological debate between intelligent people over whether objective reality even exists. We won't reach a conclusion here, but that fact alone underlines the weight of mental models.

7 Discussion Techniques to Get Closer to Truth and Understanding

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A few types of mental models and reinforcing mental biases only add to the miscommunication of our world:

(Sub-)Cultures . Humans create cultures to make sense of reality. Everyone is part of various cultures and subcultures, all influencing the way we look at things and the paradigms we live in.

Someone with a socialist mindset may have a more pessimistic view regarding the intentions of businesses than someone with a belief in the market's invisible hand.

What's more, what sounds nice in one language sounds rude in another. The standard speaking style in Spanish, for example, is more direct than English. "Give me the key" sounds bossy in English without a "please" accompanying it, but in Spanish "dame la llave" is perfectly polite.

Déformation Professionnell. Or as Mark Twain put it: "If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will be nails." Most of us are specialists, with our areas of expertise based on our studies or job description.

Each specialism functions as a lens through which we interpret the world–whether that's economics, sociology or feminism. That makes it hard to talk about issues from the same perspective.

The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations (...) generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.

Adam Smith

A hammer and a screwdriver will have a hard time arguing over how to open a wine bottle. For more understanding, we need Swiss army knives.

Confirmation & disconfirmation bias. This bias is responsible for our tendency to only focus on and accept what concurs with our existing worldview.

We’re especially likely to accept a statement as true when it’s wrapped in a nice, emotion-loaded story that concurs with our worldview – a phenomenon called story bias .

As brilliantly illustrated by The Oatmeal , the Backfire Effect is an extreme form of the confirmation bias. It occurs when evidence that contradicts a person's belief actually makes it stronger . This happens because many of our opinions aren't based on reason, but on emotion.

Tribalism. The internet has made slipping into groupthink easier than ever. We only interact with the news and online friends that share our opinions. Digital echo chambers provide the space to air your opinions and find instant reinforcement, feeding a trend of modern tribalism.

Mixed in with the negativity effect, people from one tribe assume only negative intent from people from the other tribe. Instead of reacting on what people are actually saying, they engage in a sort of mental telepathy and respond on what they think they are really after.

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Say Bob makes a stand against immigration based on various, non-racial arguments. This topic is so toxic due to the absence of daylight between the different tribes that people from the other side will inevitable assume that Bob’s real reasons are, in fact, racist.

And they might be, of course. But assuming that they are only ensures an ever growing distance.

The fixes to differing mental models are less straightforward, but here is a start:

Awareness. When you encounter someone with strongly differing opinions than you, try to objectively uncover the areas in which your mental models differ, and where they overlap.

Frame it as a cooperation. Most discussions spin towards the question of who is right , instead of what's the truth . Reframe the discussion as a mutually benefitting clash of minds that will get both of you closer to the truth.

Talk in terms of the other person. As Olga Khazan from The Atlantic suggests in the video below, we often try to convince people with arguments that appeal to our values, not theirs.

Steel-manning. This communication technique is the opposite of straw-manning , the practice of summarizing the argument of your opponent in a way that makes it look worse. With steel-manning you summarize the other person's argument as favorable as possible – perhaps more favorable than your conversation partner did.

Expand your mental models. Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet's business partner, consciously expanded the number of mental models during his lifetime – from accounting, architecture, biology, economics, to philosophy, physics and more. Expanding your mental models will allow you to reason about issues from multiple angles.

Mental Models are how Charlie refers to the key ideas in each discipline. Each idea is a concept (or model) about how the world really works that can be used to understand and solve real problems and predict real outcomes.

Andrew McVagh

We can't all be like Charlie. But we can dedicate some time to study different paradigms, to become more like Swiss army knives.

Leave your intellectual comfort zone. It doesn't feel nice to encounter information that clashes with your worldview. Feel the urge to reject this cognitive dissonance, accept the discomfort and move forward.

Be aware of common logical fallacies. Everyone falls for them, all the time. If you care about getting closer to the truth, study common logical fallacies that often manifest in discussions – like the "false cause," "appeal to emotion" and "tu quoque."

Stop identifying with your ideas. We're inclined to see our ideas as an extension of ourselves. If our ideas are criticized, we defend them with passion. This makes it hard to let go, hard to learn. Detach yourself from your ideas.

Give people time. Even if you don't identify with your ideas anymore, others will. So don't expect to change their minds in a day. Allow time for ideas to settle in and for people to discover the logic in an argument.


Letter of Clarification to Employer Sample. Just one misunderstanding created a rift in our relationship. Misunderstanding can ruin a relation. The letter should be .

Apology Letter For Misunderstanding

misunderstanding letter sample

Here is a classic P.G. Wodehouse quote that so illustrates this misplaced focus of posturing to forge relationships: “It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”

In business writing, this is not true!

We often feel that an apology means we are taking responsibility for situations not caused by us. No! A good apology means we care. It shows we are responsible. It proves we value people and can be trusted.

Business Apology Example of No Error

I just learned from Tom that the rescheduling of our annual meeting affected your vacation plans.  We have four new products launching next year, and these will be presented at the meeting. I’m sure the scheduling was a disappointment for you, but I know the information will be very useful for you, and we need your expertise in the field next year.

I am sorry the reconstruction requires your department to share printing and copying resources for the next two months. It will cause delays for you during construction, so please accommodate this in your planning. Once the construction is complete, we’ll have 40% capacity increase, so the inconvenience is well worth it.

Business Apology Example of Need to Admit Liability

Dear Suki:
I am sorry I missed your meeting this morning. I know I was scheduled to provide the staffing costs of your proposal, and I’m sorry I let you down.

As I mentioned when I called, my babysitter was ill and could not work, and my husband is out of town. I had to wait until my sister could arrive to babysit before I could leave for work.

I have emailed my staffing cost analysis to everyone in the meeting and explained my absence and how this data supports your proposal. If there is anything else I can do to make up for my absence at your proposal, please let me know.

Please accept my apology.


We all want to avoid unpleasant situations, but sending a note or email indicates you take the liability seriously, and are truly sorry. It conveys a sincerity that a simple phone call does not.



When You Overstep and Say Things You Regret

Dear Ashok:
I am sorry I overreacted yesterday to the news of my project team’s restructuring. I apologize for making inappropriate assumptions about your decision.

I realize since we talked that I depend on Caroline’s participation, and don’t want to lose her enthusiasm and expertise on my team. You are correct that she is ready for larger company projects.

I regret my comments, and you have my promise to support the team restructure fully. Please accept my apology.



I’ve heard executives say they never want to document any errors in writing, but I disagree. Instead, this documents Kara’s realization and apology, in addition to enhancing her business relationship with Ashok.

Tip: note that letter format is different than memo format. 

Some Guidelines:

  • Overtly state you are sorry.  “I apologize.” “I’m sorry.” “I regret.”
  • Ask the reader to accept your apology.
  • Summarize what happened, to reflect your understanding.
  • Offer remedies, if this is needed.
  • Address only the apology in your note. Keep it to this one subject.
  • Don’t infer your reader was also to blame. Not: “I only wish you had been more clear my attendance was needed.” Address only your own actions.
  • Don’t blame anyone else. Not: “My team leader was unclear with his instructions, so I thought I was to present next week, not this week.”
  • Don’t globalize the issue. Apologize for this situation, at this time. Not: “I’m sorry I was late, but you rarely start meetings on time. I thought I would arrive before the meeting started.”
  • Most importantly, don’t use the common “sorry, but” formula. It’s insincere and makes you look angry. Not: “I’m sorry I overreacted, but you were not clear about your instructions.”

The Right Words Heal and Help Business

In many business writing courses, I hear from clients they worry an apology intimates they are weak or error-prone. Don’t fall into this insincere power-broking writing formula. Good business communication fosters connection and relationships, not a false power dance.

Words are powerful, and a thoughtful, honest, un-obsequious apology respects both you and the recipient. It will always enhance your career.



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Apology letter for a Misunderstanding

misunderstanding letter sample

Why, how and when to offer a sincere apology

Knowing how to say sorry and apologise sincerely and gracefully…

… saves relationships,
… builds trust,
… preserves your energy by stopping needless worrying,
… maintains and improves your self-esteem.

Apologising is not a sign of weakness and incompetence – quite the opposite! Knowing how to offer a genuine apology is an essential, positive social skill.

(By the way, I spell apologise with an ‘s’ – it’s a British thing, but of course, if you write in American English, you’ll want to spell it with a ‘z’.)

And, before we move on, you may want to find a solution for the underlying problem that led you to have to apologise…

You may also want to read…

If you’re feeling guilty (just in case)

When you’re already dealing with the guilt because of the damage your words or actions have caused, what have you got to lose by making a meaningful and sincere apology?

If you know you’ve been wrong, have made a mistake or you’ve let people down, it’s best to forget about ‘saving face’.

Other people are likely to know or sense that things don’t stack up, even if you’re trying your hardest to deny your wrong-doing. You may get away with it for now, but there’s always the chance that the skeleton will fall out of the cupboard at some point in the future.

However, you wouldn’t have landed on this page if you hadn’t acknowledged on some level that you’ve made a mistake.

That is – unless you’re trying to find a sneaky way out of a ‘situation’. If so, don’t even bother to read on… this page is only for the genuinely sorry.

However rough you’re feeling right now and however confused you are about where to start, don’t worry!

Saying sorry is a skill that can be learned. It’s a noble thing to do, and an essential part of general communication skills.

Why apologise?

Most importantly, knowing how to genuinely and sincerely apologise in a meaningful way helps to build and maintain healthy relationships (see also: Healthy relationship tips and advice).

Saying sorry deepens a relationship in several ways:


  1. A heartfelt apology builds trust.
  2. It prevents the potential deterioration of relationship problems.
  3. It can kick start a renewal of your relationship.
  4. It removes awkwardness between the parties – you know… that horrible feeling of not knowing what to say to the other person, resulting in you doing all you can to avoid them.
  5. In an indirect way, it opens up a way for the other person to admit to their mistakes (if they’re so inclined!)
  6. It allows your partner to love you with all your flaws and imperfections.

And the benefits don’t stop there!

What is the potential outcome of saying sorry?

Well… there may, of course, be negative consequences to your admission of guilt.

You may end up being punished, having to deal with the fall-out in your relationship, and having to ‘pay’ for it in some way emotionally, mentally, physically (know what to do when your partner physically hurts you) or financially.

However, if you’re truly guilty, then mostly it’s best to take whatever comes your way on the chin (except abuse!). I know, it may cause you a few sleepless nights, but believe me when I say: “Today’s drama is tomorrows binliner!”

In any case, you best prepare yourself for having to deal with criticism.

I suspect you’ll have considered at least some of that already.

Having a tough time dealing with guilty feelings (above and beyond the expected)?

But I mentioned earlier other benefits of a genuine, heartfelt apology, and these include:

1. Better relationships
– with your colleagues, friends or family, or with your partner (unless you’re admitting to infidelity – see links further down for other articles).

2. A clear conscience,
which potentially reduces anxiety, improves sleep and restores your self-respect.

3. Improved ‘spare capacity’
to deal with other dramas, projects, people or opportunities. Worrying about being found out to have done something wrong, and guilt about having caused hurt takes energy that you can put to much better use.

4. Improved self-esteem
You can be chuffed with yourself for having taken some positive action.

5. Prevention of awkwardness
due to unfinished business.

Are feelings of guilt stopping you from taking action?

The secret to dealing with those feelings is to use self-hypnosis to help you process them. Discover how effective, affordable and user-friendly hypnosis downloads are on at my page: Frequently asked questions and downloads.

9 misdemeanours that probably require a sincere apology

Here are some examples of what may have caused distress to others, to a greater or lesser extent.

You may want to offer an apology for any of the following (and there are no judgements about seriousness here):

  • There was a misunderstanding because you were ignorant of the facts.
  • You made assumptions and you omitted to check them out.
  • You deliberately hurt your partner or someone else to ‘get your own back’.
  • You’ve been plain selfish.
  • You’ve broken a promise.
  • You acted on hearsay. Gossip hurts other people and undermines your self-respect.
  • You’ve let your partner or other people down – at home, at work or at play.
  • Something happened through neglect or omission with unfortunate or even dreadful consequences.
  • You were so emotional or angry that you completely lost it and blurted out things that hurt others in the process. (Read also my articles on anger management techniques and anger management counselling.)

It could, of course, have been a combination of any these, or something different entirely! Whatever it was, you can use the above to help you structure your apology letter.

Another reason you may have disappointed or hurt others is that you possibly just haven’t ‘felt yourself’ lately. This can’t ever be an excuse, but it can be an explanation for your insensitivity to the feelings of others.

When you’re feeling exhausted, depressed and stressed, your capacity to consider others may be diminished. In that case, you may well benefit from talking to a professional.

This doesn’t absolve you of responsibility or remove the need to apologise though.

3 Step plan for a successful apology

You may be feeling pretty ‘sheepish’ right now, assuming that you’re here for genuine reasons.

If not – a gentle word of warning: disingenuousness will ‘leak out’ in your general demeanour, including your voice, choice of words and body language.  

Someone else will pick it up either consciously or unconsciously. The penny will drop for them at some point – if not immediately.

First of all, it’s always best to say sorry as soon as possible, but only after some careful thought. Once you’ve really thought the situation through, here’s a plan to help you with your perfect apology:


Try to really understand what your mistake has meant to your partner or any other wronged party. You may need to do a bit of ‘research’ – only by imagining yourself in their shoes will you get a sense of how they may be feeling.


Decide how you’re going to apologise: by telephone? Email? Text? Letter? In-person?


Decide when you’re going to do it.

How to apologise: written apology or personal appearance?

There is a place for both, so let’s look at this in more detail together. I really want you to be as successful as you can be in improving your relationship, reputation and self-respect.

“Sorry” by text

Forget it! The only time you can use a text message is if you need to say sorry in advance for arriving later than expected!

Do visit my article on how to write a really effective Valentine’s day card messages even if Valentine’s day is way off. You can use the advice there at the time you want to profess your love more appropriately – particularly if there’s been a need for you to apologise!

Saying sorry by email

Consider apologising in this way only if you don’t know the other party personally. For example, if there’s been a minor misunderstanding with a supplier.

Offering an apology by card or letter

Yep – apology letters are potentially a reasonable way to say sorry.

(I’ll sometimes advise a client to write a letter to their partner, especially if they’re unlikely to be given a chance to say their piece face-to-face.)

It is even more attentive if you accompany your letter with a bouquet of flowers or another thoughtful gift.

Writing a letter is also a good idea if, for example, you want to make a public apology to a group of people.

Let your words incubate for a couple of days, reread your letter or card several times, and imagine the receiver in different moods: angry, sad or happy.

Before you send or give a letter, let a trusted person read it first to eliminate any blind spots and prevent unintended consequences as much as possible.

Below is a sample letter of apology. If you’re apologising to your partner or spouse, you may also want some more loving ideas in which case I have you’re back too with 40 love quotes and thank you notes.

Do be careful to only use my sample words as a guide, and adapt the sentences to your needs and your own style. It’s essential that your letter sounds genuine, and not like something you’ve copied!

Try to strike a balance between showing that you’ve worked really hard to get it right and not overusing words you’re unfamiliar with.

To help you find the right words for how you feel, have a look at my list of emotions and feelings.

Sample sincere apology letter

Dear …

I am writing to express my sincere / sincerest apologies for my insensitive actions / behaviour / words / disregard / blunder / my failure to…

I very quickly realised / On reflection I realise that I was very wrong to assume / lash out / ignore / find fault with / accuse/blame…

(I have, of course, no excuse. I can only say that was feeling overwhelmed/tired/confused or I had had a long day/I clearly and regrettably had too much to drink.

These are the actions I have undertaken to address that problem / those problems, so as to prevent …. happening again.


I realise that my behaviour / oversight / omission was totally inappropriate, inexcusable and disrespectful.

I can only imagine the hurt / distress / embarrassment / awkwardness I have caused to… and the damage that it has done to our relationship / your reputation / your chances of… / your trust in me (be careful not to talk about yourself here!).

I hope that you will allow me the opportunity to express my apology again in person.


I would appreciate the opportunity to put right my wrongs and prove to you that I have learned from my mistake.

I will, of course, accept that I may have caused (irreparable) damage and may no longer be…


I appreciate I may no longer… / I understand if you need some more time before…

Yours sincerely,

Expressing your remorse by telephone

This is only suitable if you live too far away to offer an apology in person within a reasonable time of the mistake.

The best way to start making amends

The best kind of apology is one that you deliver in person.


  1. Pluck up the courage by reminding yourself of how you’ve ‘survived’ other difficult conversations (whether or not they were a success!) and how you’ve dealt with difficult situations in the past.
  2. Offer your apology in person – ideally. Your words will mean the most to the other person – but a token gesture (like a bunch of flowers or tickets to a concert etc.) will add to the impact. A published letter of apology may possibly help with this too (see further down).
  3. Make sure your timing is right.
  4. Spend some time talking about what your understanding is of the impact of your wrongdoing on your partner, colleague, friend or whoever else it might be (remember your research?).
  5. Take full responsibility for your role in the situation.
  6. Apologise unreservedly by saying something like: “I now know / I can see that my actions caused [what you have observed or heard], I am truly sorry for that. I know that by saying/doing that [specify your action or words], I have damaged [your reputation, our relationship, your trust, etc].
  7. Ask what you can do to help your partner or another party/person repair whatever was damaged.
  8. Make it up with flowers, tickets to a gig, concert or experience, chocolates, a bottle of wine and a card… but only as an addition – your words and actions are by far the most important factors.
  9. Truly make amends by taking whatever action is necessary for you to address the underlying problem that led to your mistake. This is THE most important point, as ‘just’ saying sorry – without some real soul searching – may lead to you falling into the same trap again. So, you may have to address that addiction, depression, nervous breakdown or repeated infidelity.
  10. Having said how sorry you are from the heart you now need to accept the other person’s reaction without judgement. He or she:
    – may need time to process everything that’s happened.
    – may not be able to accept your apology.
    – may only be able to meet you halfway.
    – may take the opportunity to express their anger and hurt.

Watch the video to learn how you could start that difficult conversation…

How to express your regret without creating an argument

Here are the things you should avoid at all costs when you’re apologising in person!

Do not have any expectations of the wronged person. Accept that they do not need to do or say anything in return for your apology. Following on from that …

Do not burden the other person with your guilt – only you are responsible for overcoming your guilty feelings

Do not start blaming the other party – apologising unreservedly means that you take full responsibility for your part of the problem. It may well be that others were also to blame, but now is not the time to point the finger. For further information on how to get that conversation right, see my article on how to stop arguing in a relationship.

Is it really your fault?

I’m only addressing this very briefly because the focus of this article is really on how to say sorry.

However, some people feel guilty all too quickly – they almost apologise for being alive. This is invariably linked to poor self-esteem and you may even benefit from learning how to deal with toxic shame.

If your self-esteem is in your boots and you have a tendency to apologise for just about anything, then please read my articles about building your self-esteem. I would so love you to feel better about yourself.

Also, if you have a controlling partner, you’re possibly at risk of at least emotional abuse (see my article on emotional abuse signs). This isn’t necessarily the case, of course, but if this rings a bell with you then it’s worth considering.

Your partner may be manipulating situations so that you end up saying sorry for something that wasn’t your fault or didn’t require an apology. Under these circumstances, you may start to suffer from excessive guilt. No wonder!

However, if an apology is in order and you really do need to say “Sorry, I was wrong.”.

There can be consequences you haven’t taken into account

When you’ve majorly ‘screwed up’, I suspect you’re in an emotional turmoil.

Do consider, therefore, connecting with a professional – online – licensed therapist. He or she can support and guide you. They can help you figure out not only how best to apologise, but also how to limit the damage. For further information see my page: Online relationship advice.

The Simple Question that Can Repair a Broken Relationship | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

How to get immediate help from a licensed counsellor

Your problem is never too small or too big, too silly, too embarrassing or too complicated to get personal advice (anonymous if you want) from a licensed therapist. They’ll be happy to help.

  • Click the image below and answer a few questions about yourself and your situation (it takes just a few minutes).
  • Choose how you want to pay (it’s safe and secure).
  • Write down what’s troubling you to start (chat, text, email, video-chat)…

We have advice on writing letters of apology plus sample letters for personal, school, and business situations. A big collection of best sorry letters, apology letters.

Write a Personal Apology

misunderstanding letter sample

Apology Letter To Boss

Writing an apology letter to a boss or employer is not uncommon. We spend most of our time at work and being human, we will inevitably make a mistake of some kind and need to say sorry for it.


Whether the infraction was beyond our control or not, apologizing to your superior will go a long way in making things right again.

Obviously, some infractions are more serious than others, especially when it comes to business, but taking the time to craft a sincere apology letter to your boss is an important first step.

Common Reasons For Saying Sorry To Your Boss

We've found that the most common reasons for these types of mea culpas range from making a simple mistake, absence from work, unprofessional conduct, unprofessional behavior, poor performance, misconduct, insubordination, being late or not showing up at all.

Template Letter For Apologizing to Your Superior

The table below includes a sample apology along with notes so that you can tailor your letter to your particular situation.

  Notes      Example: Apology Letter To A Boss

If you're on a first name basis with your boss then it's appropriate to use their first name. If not address them as Mr. or Ms.

Dear _______________,

Apologize with a detailed account of the situation with specifics.

Start with a general term for the infraction along with time and place specifics e.g.mistake, unprofessional behavior, insubordination, tardiness etc..

Please accept my sincere apology for not showing up for the presentation with Acme on Friday afternoon. I know how important the meeting was for the company and it was unprofessional of me to be absent and not advise anyone. I am truly sorry.

Acknowledge the hurt, damage done and implications on the business.

I know I let you and the company down and understand your disappointment.

I can only imagine how awkward the meeting was and how this all must have looked to our customers. I appreciate the inconvenience this must have caused you and the delay in closing the deal as a result.

Take full responsibility and make it very clear that you were at fault.

I take full responsibility for my absence and understand that my behavior did not meet the standards you and this company expect (or deserve) from their employees. It was wrong of me not to show up and I was at fault again for not advising anyone that I would be absent prior to the meeting.

Recognize your role in the situation with a detailed account of what happened without making excuses.

A personal situation came up that took me across town and that I needed to address however that is my issue and not the company's or yours.

Promise that it won't happen again and why it's important that it doesn't.

I can promise you that this will never happen again and that I've taken all the necessary measures to ensure that it doesn't. It's important to me that you continue to trust me implicitly and know that I always honor my commitments.

Include a statement of regret.

I let myself down, but more importantly I let you, my boss, and the company down. I regret the whole incident and I am deeply embarrassed to have put us in this situation.

Provide some way of easing the pain caused.

I've sent a letter of apology to Acme, spoken with Bob and John personally, and have rescheduled the presentation for tomorrow morning.

End with a willingness to do whatever is necessary to correct the situation.

This apology letter to a boss shows how the employee understands that what he's written may not be enough and is willing to do anything to get back in his boss's good graces.

If there is anything else that I can do to fix things and regain your trust, please let me know.



Variations: Workplace Apologies to A Boss / Superior

These short additions can be used in conjunction with the letter above to further help tailor your letter. They cover some of the most common issues at work for which one needs to apologize.

Apology For a Mistake at Work

... I would never intentionally hurt the company or those around me who have shown nothing but support and encouragement since I first began working here. I am deeply saddened, and even devastated, by the consequences of my actions. I regret putting the company (or boss) in this awkward situation.

Please accept my sincere apology. I was distracted and my lack of attention to detail caused this situation.

I make no excuse, take full responsibility and promise you that this will never happen again. I only ask that you consider my overall performance and view this as the aberration which I believe it to be...

Apology Letter to Boss for Poor Performance

... I could never have imagined myself demonstrating such a clear lack of respect towards you (or the company, department, group etc...) when I have been shown nothing but support and encouragement during my time here.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where I find myself today—in a situation that I created and for which I am solely responsible.

I want to personally apologize to you for my poor performance recently. I have been late for work and while here have not performed to my best abilities. For this I am deeply sorry and appreciate the patience you have shown towards me.

I will not make any excuses. I promise you that this will never happen again, that I've taken the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn't, and finally that I will only do my best work from this point on. ...

Apology Letter For Not Coming to Work

... I am disappointed in myself for being absent from work on __________ and not advising you beforehand. It was disrespectful and unprofessional.

I know that my absence caused all sorts of issues that were only exarcerbated by my failing to advise you. I have let you down and I have let the company down, and for that I am truly sorry.

I will not make any excuses. I was wrong not to call ahead.

I promise you that next time I will advise you as soon as possible and help you find someone to cover my duties for the day. I feel very grateful to work in such a warm, supportive environment and can assure you that the lack of judgment I've demonstrated here will never happen again...

Notes For Tailoring Your Own Apology Letter

By including a breakdown with notes in the main apology letter to a boss, you can see how easily it can modified to any situation.

Use the 'Notes' to guide you while writing your own letter and replace the specifics with your own situation, or some of the variations of workplace apologies that we highlight.

The order of the statements is not important. What is important is that your boss understands that you sincerely regret what happened, took responsibility and apologized, and that you are determined that it will not happen again.


Next step to consider: Your apology letter format. It plays a role in how effective a letter can be and how open the recipient will be to accepting your apology.



WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Letters of Support and Affidavits of Support for Immigration

After the sample population was selected, a letter was sent to participants, soliciting their cooperation. Approximately two weeks later the questionnaires were.

misunderstanding letter sample
Written by Tetaxe
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