When I apologize, I like to explain my behavior so that the other person knows I did not mean to be hurtful.  Is this a good idea to explain or should I only apologize and keep quiet about the reason for my actions?

When you apologize you do have to be careful not to make it sound as if the other person simply misunderstood you. In other words, your explanation might seem like an excuse to the one who was hurt. If you did wrong, you can admit to that. On the other hand, if you truly think you acted morally and the other took offense anyway, you might consider saying something like this: “I am sorry that my actions hurt you.” In this way, you are not saying that you did wrong, but you are acknowledging that what you did led to the other person’s negative reaction.

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