What to do when you’ve heard that you offended someone.

While inspired by John Ringo’s “I’ve never met you so I couldn’t have harassed you, oh wait I did meet you but I didn’t harass you, well, I don’t remember harassing you” excuses in this thread on Facebook, I’m sure many others can use this template. Parts in brackets are a “choose one of the options” kind of thing.

I’m sorry. [ I don’t remember the incident / remember the incident that way ]. Regardless, it [ upset / hurt ] you, and I apologize for that. I’m not sure I understand what I did that [ hurt / upset ] you, but I am working to understand and to be a better person.

Again, I apologize for the hurt I’ve caused you, regardless of my intent.

This is simple. It’s to the point. It acknowledges the hurt and pain you caused – whether you remember it, intended it, or not. And then you move on from there.

Don’t be a sarcastic jerk, only to find out you were factually wrong.

Be like Bill.