Should apologies ever start with "I’m sorry ... but wanna hear a joke?"
Only if what you are apologizing for isn’t that heavy, say experts. Take Mario Batali, for someone with so sophisticated a palate, the guy penned a pretty tasteless apology letter after he was accused of repeated sexual harassment.
ICYMI, the celeb chef — facing allegations that he touched women inappropriately — did acknowledge his "many mistakes" and said sorry to “my friends, my family, my fans and my team,” but he ruined the entire sentiment with a recipe … yes, an actual recipe with a photo, included at the end of his message. Yikes, there’s bad press and then there’s just really bad press.
We're not sure on what planet someone would be so out of touch to include a recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls in a statement of remorse?! No one told him, "Hey Mario, put the dough roller down, this is not OK?”
His postscript caused outrage online, with many retweeting his social media message asking WTF he was thinking.
Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman is a pro when it comes to writing a proper apology. She says it’s not the time to joke if you are truly coming from your heart.
“An apology letter requires thought and a heartfelt sentiment. It’s not the time to be cheeky or flippant,” she tells Personal Space. “Emotions are involved and hurt feelings do not respond well to silly gimmicks.”
Gottsman says the words you write “need to come across as remorseful and sincere.” It should not include any excuses either, she adds.
“Dear Sarah, I deeply regret breaching your confidence. You trusted me and I betrayed your trust. Please know I am sincerely sorry and have learned a lesson, unfortunately, at your expense. I hope you will forgive me and allow me the opportunity to mend our friendship. Sincerely, Joan.”
Gottsman says to also let the recipient sit with the letter for a bit, as “it will take time and hard work to build back confidence and trust.”
For those who lack verbal or writing skills and just cannot get their point across or simply don’t trust themselves not to mess it up, there are literally even samples of apology letters you can copy online.
Live Career gives great advice when it comes to how to construct your apology letter.
Keep it to one page of text.
“If you say too much, the most important details may be lost; conversely, if you write too little, your apology may not seem sincere. Think before you write and choose your words carefully.”
Get to the point
“Make sure your most important statement ‘I want to apologize for…’ occurs within the first or second sentence.
“Don’t weasel-word your way out of taking responsibility. Watch out for passive voice ‘The vase was smashed’ instead of ‘I smashed the vase’
“There’s a time and a place for casual language, text-speak, and silly jokes…this is not that time.
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