"I apologize for the unintended distress"These are examples of not-pologies. Notice the lack of any active agent. There is "unintended distress". On whom? Caused by whom or what? "if there were any hurt feelings". Whose feelings? How were they hurt?
"I'm sorry if there were any hurt feelings"
"I regret any pain you might have felt"
Nobody in these not-pologies is taking any responsibility for having *caused* distress, hurt, or pain. There isn't even any acknowledgement of *a cause* for the distress, hurt, or pain, as if the recipient's feelings just magically, spontaneously erupted in a vacuum, not related to anything at all.
"I am sorry for hurting you" - acknowledges an active agent. "I" actively hurt "you".
"I was wrong because..." - lays out exactly why "my" actions were wrong & shows understanding of the wrongdoing.
"In the future, I will..." - accepts accountability by offering reparations and a correction to behaviour to prevent the harm from happening again.
Without these 3 elements, it is not a real apology and the words "I'm sorry" are meaningless. Take responsibility as the agent of harm, show understanding of what that harm was, and make changes to behaviour to repair the harm and prevent its repetition.
"I'm sorry" doesn't mean anything without this behind it. Otherwise, it's just a way to say "your pain is your fault, because I didn't have anything to do with it, your pain just happened, but I feel uncomfortable that your bad feelings are directed at me."
A Better Way To Say Sorry: http://www.cuppacocoa.com/a-better-way-
Mistakes Were Made: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Non-Apology Apology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-