Rambam writes in Teshuva 2,9 that one must ask a person for forgiveness when he has wronged him and personal Teshuva is not enough.

I have seen people (and I myself have often done this) asking for forgiveness in case they have done something wrong.

It is all a bit fake but everyone does it and I personally feel that this custom devalues the entire requesting forgiveness process.

I think it is obvious that one doesn't have to go around giving people money in case he once unwittingly damaged him. So what about when there is no money involved? I certainly hear a case of 'why not?' here, but perhaps it can cause embarrassment and reignite dormant feelings...

Is there a source to oblige asking for forgiveness when you don't know if you've done anything bad to this person?

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    I think this question delves into the general concept of Teshuva whether it is for sins done against G-d or man. Clearly, on Yom Kippur we ask G-d to forgive us for a whole list of sins that we are not sure if we have done. If we're asking G-d about a doubt, it seems to me that we should err on the side of caution and ask our friends to forgive us for doubts, as well. I can't see anything wrong with doing that. Also, keep in mind that Teshuva isn't just about for doing things wrong. It's about "missing the mark" and not doing things RIGHT towards your friend! There's nothing fake, here. – DanF Aug 24 '17 at 17:07
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    Also, one can be perceived as having done wrong even though one may not realize it. For example, passing by someone without noticing him may be perceived as having ignored him. Thus, asking mechilah can fix what could have become a problem. – sabbahillel Aug 24 '17 at 17:26
  • Many people recite a prayer before going to sleep that says that you forgive anyone who has hurt you whether intentionally or unintentionally, and all sorts of other "conditions". Here, you're doing the opposite. You've forgiven someone who hasn't even requested forgiveness! But, I would surmise that you may not recall every person who may have hurt you in some way during the day, anyway. So, there's doubt, here, as well. – DanF Aug 24 '17 at 18:03
  • @Moshe I don't understand. You're never obliged to ask forgiveness. You just need to so he forgives you. So are you asking if you must ask forgiveness? No! Are you asking do I need to ask for forgiveness even if I dont know if I did anything wrong? Well it didn't matter if you know you did something wrong, to get full forgiveness he or she must forgive your as well. It's not the asking that forgives you it's his deciding to forgive you. Why would it matter if you know what you did or not? – Orion Aug 3 '18 at 0:23

It seems that a Leader or someone who is in a public position has to account for his actions and apologize publicly, and should someone come forward to proclaim monetary damage or using his position for his own benefit done to or hurt feelings/false accusing that he wrongly caused through misjudgment.

Bamidbar 16,15 says Moshe accounted for his actios saying he did not take any monetary benefit from anyone as Leader:
ויחר למשה מאד ויאמר אל יהוה אל תפן אל מנחתם לא חמור אחד מהם נשאתי

Likewise he did not mistakenly accuse anyone of wrong:
ולא הרעתי את אחד מהם
Bamidbar Rabbah explains 18,10: שלא חייבתי את הזכאי ולא זכיתי את החייב

Bamidbar Rabbah continues that Korach still blamed Moshe for taking advantage of his position
הלך קרח ואמר אני מבקש שתהא הגדולה על כלנו חוזרת שמשה נטל מלכות לעצמו והכהונה גדולה נתן לאחיו

And then it says further in Bamidbar 16,28 that Moshe said it was all from Hashem:
ויאמר משה בזאת תדעון כי ה שלחני לעשות את כל המעשים האלה כי לא מלבי

In Shmuel 1 12, Shmuel also makes a proclamation of innocence. הנני ענו בי נגד ה ונגד משיחו את שור מי לקחתי וחמור מי לקחתי ואת מי עשקתי את מי רצותי ומיד מי לקחתי כפר ואעלים עיני בו ואשיב לכם ד ויאמרו לא עשקתנו ולא רצותנו ולא לקחת מיד איש מאומה

A leader has to deal with everyone, if you know you have nothing to do with someone it seams OCD and over righteous to apologize in public or to people whom you know no history of misdemeanors between yourselves.

However ones wife/parents/brothers/sisters/close friends or any one with whom one sometimes lets down his guard and could act carelessly, then apologize in doubt.

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