While many apologies can be made in person or over the phone, most need to be written, and written right away. Procrastination turns writing an apology into a major task and may mean that we have to apologize twice, once for the infraction and once for the delay.
Now since we all make mistakes, people are usually less annoyed by your errors than you are; write your apology with dignity and self-respect. The following are occasions that call for apologies:
1. Delayed response to a gift, favor, invitation, or major event in someone's life.
2. Business errors: incorrect information given, order mix-ups, contract misunderstandings, merchandise that is defective, dangerous, ineffective, damaged, delayed, or that is missing parts, instructions, or warranties.
3. Children's misbehavior, damage to property or pet.
4. Damage to another's property.
5. Employee problems: rudeness, ineptness, dishonesty, poor service, unsatisfactory work.
6. Failure to keep an appointment, deadline, shipping date, payment schedule, or promise.
7. Insulting or insensitive comments.
8. Personal errors: giving someone's name and phone number to a third party without permission, forgetting to include someone in an invitation, betraying a secret.
9. Pets that bite, bark, damage property, or are otherwise nuisances.
10. Tactless, inappropriate, rude, or drunken behavior.
Apologizing is not as hard as one might think. Simply keep your mind towards the end goal: a satisfying mutually beneficial relationship. While eking out a few words of regret may be discomfitting at first, the apologizer ultimately realizes that everyone is in a win-win situation when someone takes the first step to set things right.
But apologizing doesn't imply grovelling. At all times, maintain a professional decorum as well as a confident poise. This will not only earn you the respect of your peers, it will bolster your own ego, thereby enhancing future dealings with others.