How Do You Write an Apology Letter for Bad Behavior?

In addition to a conventional letter opening or salutation and sign-off, an apology letter for bad behavior should include a description of the bad behavior being apologized for, an admission of guilt and responsibility and an expressed desire to meet in person. Apologizing by letter might seem formal, but it is far more likely to be accepted than an apology by email or especially by text, according to professional counselor Elly Prior.

Apology letters should be heartfelt and written in the sender's own words, as opposed to simply copied verbatim from online templates, according to Elly Prior. Follow the steps below to write an apology letter for bad behavior.

  1. Open the letter
  2. Address the reader directly, opening with "Dear" followed by their name. Then introduce the purpose of the letter, for instance with "I am writing to express my sincere apologies for my behavior." Clarify an admission of guilt with specifics, such as "I have realized I was wrong to..." followed by the actual incident.

  3. Demonstrate understanding of consequences
  4. Express an understanding of how the bad behavior might have impacted the other person or people concerned. Be careful not to assume too much awareness of the consequences, instead writing something like "I can only imagine how much hurt my behavior caused you."

  5. Tentatively suggest a possible meeting
  6. Make an implicit invitation to discuss the bad behavior in person. "I would appreciate an opportunity to prove my remorse in person."

  7. Close the letter and sign off
  8. Finish by assuring the recipient that no response is necessarily expected. Something like "I understand if you would prefer not to speak to me for a while. Please take as much time as you need." is appropriate. A suitable way to sign off is with "Yours sincerely."