How to write a sorry letter when you can’t find the words

15 Dec 2020

Gifts

Apologising is never easy. Elton John wasn’t wrong when he sang that sorry seems to be the hardest word. This is especially true in person. When face to face with someone you’ve hurt, words tend to go astray or come out a little jumbled, so apologising verbally isn’t always the best way to get your message across.

For some people, the best way to apologise is by saying nothing at all and giving a little gift instead. We make this easier than ever with our vast collection of sorry gifts which features Sleekster boxes, hampers, hot chocolate, and more. Apologising just got a whole lot sweeter.

If you’re looking for another easy solution to help you give a meaningful apology, writing a sorry letter could be for you. By taking the time to write down your feelings and carefully choose exactly the right words, you can demonstrate just how sorry you are.

However, in a world where Whatsapp, social media, and emails have led to the near-extinction of the humble letter, you may not even know where to start. But don’t worry, we’ve created this guide to help you write the perfect heartfelt apology. From helping you begin the letter to helping you choose the perfect type of chocolate to include, we’ve got you covered.

What are you sorry for?

broken plate on the floor

When writing your sorry letter, this is the most important thing to keep in mind.

Maybe you did something minor that caused unintentional upset, like borrowing your sister’s favourite jeans and spilling red wine on them or smashing your colleague’s special mug. Maybe you did something a little less innocent, like hurting someone’s feelings with sharp words or telling a lie. Whatever you’ve done, the fact that you’re reading this suggests that it’s gnawing away at your conscience and that an apology is in order.

However, the length, tone, and content of your sorry letter will largely depend on what exactly you’re sorry for. If you’re apologising for something minor, you can get away with being quite casual and fun but if you’re apologising for something major, you may like to be a little more formal to show how seriously you’re taking their feelings.

How to start a sorry letter

If you’re writing a sorry letter about one of those minor things and are keeping things light, a simple “hi” or “hello” should be fine. However, if you’re keeping it serious, it’s probably best to stick with “dear”.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to bite the bullet and say sorry (it’s never easy but if you’ve done something wrong, it’s necessary). Tell them why you’re writing and include an outright apology. For example: “I’m writing to apologise for what I said last week. I know how much it hurt your feelings and I’m really sorry.” Don’t beat around the bush or deliberate, get straight to the point to immediately earn the recipient’s respect.

Writing a sorry letter to your girlfriend or boyfriend

couple talking over coffee

Upsetting your boyfriend or girlfriend is a horrible feeling. Whether you’ve made a big mistake or a small one, whether it’s your first quarrel or your hundredth, it never gets any less upsetting.

Being able to admit mistakes and apologise when necessary is an important part of any relationship, especially a romantic one. You could very well end up spending the rest of your life with this person, so you need to be able to apologise properly when you upset them and writing sorry letters is a good way to do this.

As well as including a heartfelt apology and validating their feelings, we recommend sprinkling your sorry letter with references to your romantic journey. Mention your first date, your first kiss, or your first holiday together to show them how much your relationship means to you.

Don’t skimp on the emotions and don’t be afraid to gush, if you’ve really upset them, make it better by telling them how wonderful you think they are – they probably deserve it.

Writing a sorry letter for a friend

Falling out with a friend is the worst, isn’t it? They really are the family we choose, so upsetting one always feels terrible. No matter what the apology is for, a close pal is sure to appreciate a sorry letter that shows your love and asks for forgiveness.

We believe that platonic relationships are just as precious as romantic ones, so sorry letters to friends should be just as heartfelt as to sorry letters to boyfriends and girlfriends. Make sure you include anecdotes that will make them smile, inside jokes that only they can understand, and special memories that you made together.

Writing a sorry letter for forgetting a special date

Here at Hotel Chocolat, we take special occasions very seriously. Be it a birthday or an anniversary, we love an excuse to celebrate and like to think that our chocolate helps to make memorable occasions even more magical. We therefore fully understand the upset that forgetting a special date can cause and are here to help you rectify it.

Whilst planning what to include in your sorry letter about forgetting an important occasion, take a look at our collections of anniversary gifts, birthday gifts, and good luck gifts to find the perfect present to make up for your accidental oversight and help them celebrate their occasion all over again in the most delicious way possible.

person writing a sorry letter with a cup of coffee

What not to write in a sorry letter

Carefully deciding what to say in a sorry letter is important. But carefully deciding what not to say is even more important.

Most importantly, don’t try to justify your actions. Steer very clear of the phrase “I’m sorry, but…”. If you’ve made a mistake, the most gracious thing to do is simply admit it and say sorry – trying to justify your actions will just cause more upset.

Even more importantly, don’t try to shift the blame onto them. Yes, maybe they left their best mug in a precarious place, but it was you who broke it. Maybe they were being irritating, but it was you who shouted. If you play the blame game in your sorry letter, you’ll only end up causing an argument and having to apologise all over again (and can you really handle writing another sorry letter?).

Finally, it may be difficult if your emotions are running high, but try not to make it all about yourself. Yes, it’s a good idea to tell them how bad you feel and how sorry you are, but nobody wants a three-page sob story for a sorry letter. Remember to prioritise their emotions – tell them how much they mean to you, why you love them, and – most importantly – make it clear that you understand why they’re upset. Definitely don’t imply that they overreacted or have taken anything too seriously.

Send a gift with your letter

If you feel like words on their own aren’t enough to show your feelings, you may like to include a gift with your letter – apologising with a pen and a purchase is a surefire way to win forgiveness.

With a sorry gift, it really is the thought that counts so don’t worry if you’re on a tight budget. Including a nice candle with one of their favourite scents or an exciting bath bomb would be lovely – the more personal the better so try to choose something that they would really appreciate and actually use. You could even get a photo printed of the two of you together – a delightful token of friendship that’s guaranteed to conjure up good memories and earn forgiveness.

If you want something a little more extravagant, you could go for a nice bottle of their favourite tipple. We all know a gin lover and if you’re apologising to one, look no further than our Cocoa Gin. A distilled London gin infused with cocoa, this will go down even better than your apology. If your recipient is more of a beer person, you may like to go for our Beer and Chocolate Hamper, which includes two beer-infused ales alongside some of our most popular milk chocolates.

If you can’t decide what to get or need something that will slip through their letterbox, a gift card is an excellent option. With a Hotel Chocolat gift card, recipients can buy anything from our UK stores and online, as well as being able to use it to buy tasty treats in our restaurants and cafés.

Sorry chocolates!

Everything Chocolate Hamper to give with your sorry letter
Everything Chocolate Hamper

Everyone loves chocolate, so including some delicious cacao treats with your sorry letter is a failsafe way to win back your recipient’s favour. Just make sure you get something luxurious because a good-quality apology calls for good-quality chocolate – and that’s where we come in.

We have a huge range of chocolate to help your sorry letter go down well. From boxes of chocolates for something small to hampers for larger apologies, we’re guaranteed to have the perfect gift for your needs.

We even have the perfect gift if you’re looking for something that will help the two of you bond – our experiences. Booking a Chocolate Tasting Adventure for you both would allow you to delve deep into the world of chocolate together, gaining inside knowledge about the good stuff, sampling lots of it, and shopping together with a 10% discount (chocolate tastes even better when there’s 10% off).

You could even go for something a little more hands-on and book a Bean to Bar Experience in which guests learn all about chocolate and get to create their very own bars from roasted cocoa beans! Located in London, Cambridge, and Leeds, booking an experience at one of our Schools of Chocolate also gives you an excuse to plan a city break together. Possibly the best apology gift ever.

If you want something a little simpler and more intimate, go for our Mini Chocolate Dipping Adventure for Two – all hurt will soon be forgotten when you’re giggling over melted chocolate mustaches and sharing chocolate-dipped biscuits.

Say sorry with your actions

There’s nothing more disappointing than an empty apology, so make sure you say sorry with your actions too. If you’re apologising for being lazy, make sure you start making lots of effort. If you’re apologising for hurting someone’s feelings with harsh words, make sure you shower them with compliments. Actions can go a lot further than words so changing your behaviour is the best way to make sure that your apology is heard.

We hope that this guide will help you write the perfect sorry letter to win back your loved one’s heart. Whatever you’ve done, we’re pretty sure that some heartfelt words, changed behaviour, and delicious chocolate will help you make amends. Good luck!