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How to Write an Apology Letter for Being Disrespectful

How to Write an Apology Letter for Being Disrespectful

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Everyone makes mistakes. The likelihood of making a mistake goes up when your emotions get involved, and if you are fearful, sad or upset in some other way, you might lash out at the nearest person.

This could result in being disrespectful to another individual.

Sometimes, they might be the source of your negative emotions, but other times, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when you were upset about an unrelated incident.

When you have been disrespectful toward another person, a letter of apology can go a long way toward repairing the relationship.


Why write an apology letter for being disrespectful?

There are several different scenarios in which you might need to write an apology letter for being disrespectful.

In some cases, you may be required to do so.

An example where this might be the case is if you have had a conflict at work with a colleague, and you have gone to mediation to try to work out the issue.

As part of the resolution that you reach with your colleague, you may agree to write an apology letter for being disrespectful.

In other situations, you may be prompted by your own conscience to write such a letter.

Maybe you were rude to the wait staff at a restaurant that you like to go to because you were having a bad day, or perhaps you had a fight with your sister.

Why write a letter in these types of cases instead of simply apologizing in person? You can do both, but there is something about a letter that really shows that you have made the extra effort.

A letter can be a good way to demonstrate how sincerely sorry you are for what happened.


How do you write an apology letter for being disrespectful?

Any good apology needs to have a few elements.

You should name the thing that you did that you are apologizing for, and you should take responsibility.

For some apologies, an explanation can be helpful, but if you have been disrespectful to someone, this can be tricky.

Because there is never really a good reason to treat another person with disrespect, this can come off sounding like you are making excuses.

Therefore, if you do offer an explanation, be sure that you immediately follow it up with an acknowledgment that this is not an acceptable excuse for your behavior.

If there is something that you can do to mitigate any harm caused, you should offer it. This won’t always apply to being disrespectful since the harm may largely be the other person’s feelings.

However, if you did something like shout at a retail worker while their manager was nearby, you might go back and speak to the manager and apologize as well in case your behavior had bad repercussions for the person at work.

You can ask for the person’s forgiveness, but keep in mind that it might not be forthcoming, at least not immediately.



How formal should your tone be in a letter like this?

You need to tread a careful line between being too casual and too formal.

If you are too casual, the letter will come off sounding as though you think what happened isn’t really a big deal.

However, too much formality can backfire as well. There is actually a way of being overly polite and formal that comes off as insincere and indicates that are not taking what you say seriously.

Here’s an example to help you see the difference.

Let’s say you have just thrown a ball and broken the neighbor’s window. There are a few things you could say by way of apology:

Sorry, dude, didn’t mean to break your window! (too casual)

Sir, I apologize profusely for my inexcusable error, and I will take steps to see that it never happens again. (too formal)

Here’s a sincere apology that is reasonably formal in tone without tipping over into exaggeration:

I’m really sorry that I broke your window. That was careless of me, and I should have looked where I was throwing the ball. Please let me know what the cost will be to get it fixed, and I’ll cover that.


Examples of apology letters for being disrespectful

Sample apology letters may vary a little based on who you are writing to and the situation. The samples below can give you some ideas of how to write one of your own.


Apology to a boss

You might be disrespectful to your boss by shouting at them in a meeting or being sarcastic to them in front of clients.

Here’s what your letter might say in the former situation:


Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to apologize for my behavior at the meeting on June 24. It was disrespectful of me to shout at you when I disagreed with your conclusions.

I am passionate about the project that we are working on and I don’t want to see it abandoned, but that is no excuse for how I acted. In the future, I will always take care to raise any objections in a more professional manner and to defer to your final decision.

With your approval, I would like to speak with the rest of the team as well, apologize to them and assure them that I support whatever decision you make as we go forward.

I hope you can forgive me for my poor judgment and that we can move ahead from here.


Max Blowhard


Notice that this apology does a few things:

1. It is specific, naming the action and when it happened.
2. It offers an explanation but reiterates that this is not an excuse.
3. It explains how the person will change their behavior in the future.
4. It offers a remedy.
4. It asks for forgiveness.


Apology to a friend, family member or partner for being disrespectful

If you are writing an apology letter to someone you have a personal relationship with, it should still have all the elements of a good apology.

However, it should also be a little warmer than a letter you would write to a boss, a professor or a colleague.

Here’s how a letter like that might read:


Dear Sarah,

I’m so sorry that I hurt your feelings and spoke so disrespectfully to you last Sunday when we were having brunch.

As you know, I’ve been dealing with a lot in my own personal life lately, but that’s no excuse, and I should not have taken it out on you. The things I said were unfair and didn’t reflect my true feelings.

The next time that I feel that way, I’ll just be honest with you that I’m not feeling well and I’m preoccupied with my own issues.

I hope you’ll forgive me, and I’d like to try to make it up to you. Let me take you out to dinner next week, and I promise I’ll be my old self again!



Notice that this letter takes a similar approach of acknowledging the specific action, explaining without excusing, outlining a plan for changing behavior, asking for forgiveness and offering a remedy.

However, the tone is warmer, more familiar and more casual throughout, which is appropriate between friends or family members.

If you need to write an apology letter for being disrespectful to someone, be sure to include all of the important elements for an apology and adjust the letter based on who you are writing to.