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So, you need to apologize.

Don’t feel bad. In recent years, more and more public figures like you have had to do the same. As scandals surface—be they the use of a derogatory term, misuse of government funds, mistreatment of people, or, of course, the mistress—it seems like everyone is doing the whole public apology thing.

Whatever brought you here, we don’t judge.

Scandals like yours are basically as American as apple pie. Remember Founding Father and architect of our economy Alexander Hamilton? He had an affair and, in order to prevent being blackmailed by his political competitors, wrote a 95-page pamphlet to explain it to his fellow Americans. And what happened to him? He’s now the focus of a hit Broadway show. Who knows? This, too, could be you if done right.

Now, we’re not expecting 95 pages out of you. We’re not even expecting you to mean it. We know you’re most likely only saying you’re sorry because you were caught, and the public is swarming your home with torches, or inundating your Twitter feed with nasty memes. That’s okay. No need to beat yourself up for it.

While “sorry” is the hardest word, we’ve actually made it quite easy.

Whatever led you to this, our personally-tailored apology statement is sure to fit and show the public you’re acknowledging the wrong, but still would like to continue on doing whatever you’re doing. All you need to do is fill in the blanks below, step up to the podium, and read.

Recently, it has come to light that I (Name your wrongdoing in a concise fashion. If you used an inflammatory word, do not repeat it, but instead call it “an offensive, repulsive remark or phrase.” If you had an affair, don’t go into detail of what you did. Please.)

Unfortunately, these allegations are indeed true and for my actions, I am deeply sorry.

(Pause to clear throat in emotion. Even if you intend to do it again, be genuine in the moment.)

This behavior does not represent my values, or who I truly am, or who I strive to be, but instead captures a (select man, woman, or person) at one of (select his/her/their) lowest points, a human being who has made a mistake and now must face the consequences.

(Be sure to strike a tone of humility. Even if this is part of who you are, you don’t want it to seem like it is.)

To my family (be specific with husband or wife if there was an affair), my co-workers (if relevant), my (select constituents/supporters/fans), I am sorry for the pain I have caused you, and the trust I have made you lose.

(If a family member is with you on stage, now is the time to look to them and hold eye contact, but first make sure they are on board with it and will not be staring back at you angrily. If they will or you do not have a family member, look down at the podium and wipe your eyes to imitate crying).

I understand my actions will not easily forgiven, and I will work to regain your trust, rebuild bridges I have burned, mend wounds I have caused, and be the person you look to me to be. One day, I hope to achieve it.

(If you will be seeking marriage counseling, cultural sensitivity training, repaying funds for your private flights to a resort each weekend, etc.,please add to this section)

Thank you. I look forward to regaining your trust and getting back to the important work of (indicate your role).

Sarah Razner

Sarah Razner is a reporter of real-life Wisconsin by day, and a writer of fictional lives throughout the world by night.

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