In doing some research on another question I bumped into the term "hedge":
A hedge is a mitigating device used to lessen the impact of an utterance. Typically, they are adjectives or adverbs, but can also consist of clauses. It could be regarded as a form of euphemism.
I commonly see "lol" online but recently I have noticed it used as such:
I completely forgot about our meeting... lol.
I am completely embarrassed, lol.
Oh wow I was a complete retard will you forgive me lol
The final example could use some punctuation but these uses seem different than the original use of lol. It seems to signal an embarrassment or defensiveness in an attempt to (a) avoid conflict (b) claim no hard feelings (c) lighten the mood or (d) something else?
In any case, while I am curious about this usage in general I am more specifically asking about its classification. Is this considered a hedge? Or am I not understanding this term correctly?