My boss is very nice to me. Often he will apologize when he is unable to make time for me because he is too busy with other work. Additionally he will usually apologize the next time he communicates with me. How should I respond when my boss says sorry?
I believe you are definitely overthinking this. I expect your workplace isn't super formal (because most workplaces aren't, these days), so there are many ways of responding to this in a laid-back manner, but retaining common courtesy. Often times, these can include basic phrases like
- It's OK
- No problem
- Don't worry about it
but can be succeeded by adding onto it why it's actually OK.
- It's OK, I can do task X in the meantime
- Don't worry about it. We can discuss some other issues until you arrive
- No problem! I was hoping to finish what I was doing before you came in anyway
This will hopefully relieve your boss' worries, as well as let him know that you're still performing your duties even though he's having some minor issues of his own.
I don't know if this applies to your boss, but there are occasions when people say 'sorry' when it's clearly not necessary as a sort of passive-aggressive way of expressing disapproval, as if they're saying "You've put me in a position where I'm now uncomfortable, and it's actually your fault, and I'm going to communicate this by giving an unnecessary apology to make you feel awkward".
If this is the case here (and it may very well not be) he's really saying that he doesn't need to be consulted on this occasion. You can take the hint if you like, but he is, of course, using an unclear and unassertive way to tell you.