3 hours ago
Giving an explanation is not the same thing as making excuses.
Firstly I get that a lot of people do make excuses for things however, I think there is a distinction between doing this and explaining yourself when someone mistakes your intent or is missing context and no one seems to accept this.
"I'm sorry" is cliched, and often insincere or a segue to excuse. Regret is an inadequate response, and can be implied via more meaningful words. Among men, "I'm sorry" should only be directly stated when one's emotions are relevant to the other party, e.g. in a friendship.
The difference between an excuse and an explanation is the removal of moral culpability. To avoid that, propose a solution.
For example: "Being late is unprofessional. Traffic was bad. Next time I'll check route conditions with Google Maps and leave earlier."
The offended party may have useful suggestions at this point.
More often, the offended doesn't care about the details. His goal is to make his displeasure felt. An authority figure may seek a sign of submission. I dislike making guarantees such as, "It won't happen again," because external circumstances can then easily make me a liar. "Being late isn't acceptable," might be enough. The reply may be a concurring rebuke, best answered by a silent nod.