I had a captain in the USAF tell me, "That's private and I don't wish to share that with you." right after telling me she'd had a personal epiphany which was life-altering and I'd asked what it was. IF SHE HAD WANTED ME TO KNOW SHE WOULD HAVE DISCLOSED IT, RIGHT?
This contrasts greatly to the co-worker who told me they had contracted a life-altering disease then thought I didn't care because I didn't ask them what it was. IF I CARED I WOULD HAVE ASKED, RIGHT?
Work is a wonderful melting pot of personalities. I swung by one co-worker's cube and announced that a group of us were going to lunch and asked if she'd like to join. She replied, "No thank you." When I returned I found she felt slighted because I hadn't tried to talk her into going. Assuming she was an adult and could make her own decisions, I didn't understand it was a personality thing until several years later when a co-worker told me several of them were going for burgers for lunch and asked if I wanted to go. I replied, "No thank you." This was the conversation which transpired:
"Why not? You need money? I'll cover your lunch, c'mon it'll be fun! You don't want burgers? We can go someplace else, screw those other guys! You brought lunch? Me too! Put it in the fridge, it'll keep! Oh you're working on something timely? No worries, I'll work with you to knock it out quick when we get back!"
The best solution that I've found so far is to just not be offended by anything, no matter what. Automatically assume that the other person - no matter how rude you think they're being - doesn't mean to be rude, that they just have a completely different perspective on things like this. One brand-new co-worker I was paired with on a 14-month project damn near interrogated me for an hour when we first met. I thought it was just me until I saw him do the same thing to the new guy we hired six months later. I was all like, "Oh! That's just his way."
There are a small subset of people who believe if they tell you they have emotional triggers, that its your responsibility to be aware of it and endeavor to work around it. Wrong! Compensation is the responsibility of the person with the shortcoming - not everyone else walking on eggshells because triggers have been disclosed. That's how it works. "Triggers" are only YOUR problem - not everyone else's. If we all focus on not being personally offended, that frees us to not worry about who's triggers are whom's as we navigate life. The inverse would be disastrous!
So it is with me and forgiveness. I forgive very easily and do not hold grudges. I learned long ago that harmed no one but me. I don't have a vengeful heart - I just let it go. Even if someone doesn't ask me to forgive them, I assume no malcontent and go on with life - a move I have found to be very rewarding. Nonetheless, when its my turn to ask for forgiveness, just like the different personalities above, some wouldn't mind a generic overall statement, "Please forgive me." That right there shows that I admit culpability and and saddened by the turn of events. Based on my own personality, however, and perhaps a few people I may have apologized to without knowing exactly why they were pissed at me, I no longer apologize unless I know exactly what I am apologizing for. Due to how different personalities perceive generic versus specific apologies - and given some things take me years to untangle, I can see where it might be confusing as to why it took me so long to apologize. For me, it would be insincere to do otherwise. Personally, I dislike insincerity and have to work at not viewing with suspicion, those who apologize without understanding what has transpired, their own sincerity notwithstanding.
As for my lack of a timely apology, I can only say, "I'm sorry."