DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the most appropriate way to grovel? I once stood up a former co-worker for lunch by complete accident -- the first, and hopefully only, time I have ever done so. I called and left a mortified message, and sent a similarly remorseful email. I promised if he would give me another chance, lunch would be my treat, but frankly, this seems insufficient. Should I send him an “apology bouquet”? A bottle of wine? I just feel terrible!
GENTLE READER: Groveling in such a case is entirely appropriate, but you have mastered that. The question is, when to stop groveling?
Miss Manners feels that three apologies are sufficient for your infraction. The first should be verbal -- preferably in-person -- for which we will count your call and voicemail. The second is a handwritten letter, for which your email can be a partial substitute. Rather than seek out an opportunity to make the third apology, await actual contact. After that, you will have done your duty, and can revert to a neutral (not aggrieved) tone in further dealings.