I assure you, in my day I have received more than a couple of this type of email (I am a very wanted woman). But those men... amateurs. You've got something to learn from your brother, gentlemen from my past. And since I blogged about our initial breakup (which was so it's-not-you-it's-me that it's obvious Reed didn't even take the time to scan it), I feel like it's fair to speak to Mr. Hasting's letter here. If you want, you can think of it as kind of a tutorial. Who knows when you're really going to screw up with a lady and need to write the perfect "apology". Bookmark it and revisit with frequency. Lets get started, shall we?
I messed up. I owe you an explanation.
That. is. satisfying.
The key here is to begin with a statement that will prove that you've been thinking about what happened and that you've come to some conclusions. Begining with a self-depricating and also inarguably true statement does kind of a switch-around. She's starting your letter feeling fired up, sure. But she's also starting your letter with the words, "you're right" in the forefront of your mind.
Sneaky, sneaky, Letter Writer.
It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes.
What I'm hearing is, "I've been checking out your Facebook wall on the regular and it's obvious to me that the email I sent to you two months ago in which I asked that you would be more giving in our relationship and that I would continue behaving in the manner that I always do--making no changes whatsoever, wasn't cool. The feedback that I'm reading from your friends, family members, co-workers, and that guy you met on a Greyhound back in 2007 and never saw again is indicating to me that our break-up was sort of a douchey move on my part. I didn't handle this appropriately. I get that."
The lesson that you want to take from this is that you want to connect with your reader's feelings. Admit that she has them and then vaguely refer to something that you might have done wrong. In this case, Reed sent an email that said, "You need to change for our relationship to grow and flourish." He recognizes that wasn't the greatest way to harvest change between the two of us.
I wish that he'd mentioned that I heard about our relationship status change from NPR before I'd even heard from him. That was the part that hurt the most...
For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn't make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming ... I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.
Make your reader sympathize with you. By including the phrase, "my greatest fear," Mr. Hastings is bringing himself down to a personal level. No longer am I having this conversation with a large company (or jerky ex-boyfriend who changed the parameters of our relationship without asking). I'm having it with a human being. With hopes and fears. So much so that I almost miss the part at the end where he says, "nothing's going to change, really, but maybe I should have just talked a lot more."
For the next two paragraphs he goes on about how things are not really going to change and that our relationship will remain the way that he laid out for us in that original email.
This is where you, Letter Writer, can maintain some of your charge. Origninally, Reed said, "Hey, I want you to give me $16 a month instead of $10 for the exact same service." Maybe in your case, you want more blowjobs and less cuddle time. Your needs are still your needs and they're not going to change--it's important to let her know. But hopefully you pad it enough with, "I was wrong" and "you're so pretty" that she doesn't totally notice.
For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be similar for many of you.
Remember the good times? Remember the way you felt when you'd open your mailbox to see that bright red envelope? Remember the way she smelled? Remember how you used to take walks every Sunday morning and cut? Those were nice things--things you get used to. But things are going to change and you are willing to accept it. Mention this to your lady and secure yourself as an introspective fellow. The new things will "grow on you over time." But still, it is hard. (TWSS)
[I will] work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.
This is the part where you talk about the actions that you want her to believe that you are taking. "We know it will not be overnight," is a phrase you might borrow when what you really want to say is, "I hope that you stick around long enough to forget that I ever did anything stupid to begin with."
In the end, if your lady gets to the end of the letter, then you probably have some hope. I have no intention of getting involved with Netflix or Quickster whatsoever. The only reason that I got to the end of this letter is because I wanted to share it all with you, frankly.
Oh, and there's a P.S.
p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a video posted on our blog, where you can also post comments.
I clicked the video and it took me to this song:
Anyway. Good luck getting her back.
And stop sending me emails.