Learn about what makes a good farewell letter, whether for a friend, co-worker, or someone else.
So, you need to write a farewell letter, either to a former romantic partner, to a former employee or employer, or anyone else in your life. Just what makes a good farewell letter?
An appropriate tone. Humor, when called for, can be an incredibly effective way of lessening the blow of a farewell. In general, goodbyes are sad. But when they are on good terms, it's okay to make your farewell letter a little funny. This is suggested more for personal farewell letters than those in the business world, but even with certain businesses, you will do well if you can strike the right balance of humor and seriousness.
Details. For the most part, people to whom you are writing will probably already know that you are leaving, as well as the reasons for the departure. But a few details never hurt anyone. If you're leaving a relationship on good terms, you can write details about the history of the relationship, making sure to include some stories and inside jokes. In a business goodbye, details about your tenure at the company, including the accomplishments you had there, are a nice way to let people know that you were a big part of the goings-on at the company. You want them to remember you for the positives, so be sure to include them. Just try to avoid sounding as though you're bragging too much.
Honesty. No matter the circumstances under which you are leaving the relationship or the business, it's important to be honest. Don't sugarcoat it if things are less than friendly, and don't play down the emotion if this will be a tough goodbye. People appreciate honesty, and they'll see right through it if you're being disingenuous in a letter that will very likely be the last time they hear from you.
Only you can know exactly what you need to write in a farewell letter, since each letter has to be suited to an individual situation. But if you recognize that all good farewell letters have the same basic components, and then build your own circumstance around that framework, you'll have a gem of a letter, and you'll leave the other person shaking his/her head. Whether that's due to disbelief, awe or raw emotion is up to you.