Last night we had our year end function at a local restaurant where a couple of tables were arranged to form one big square table. At one stage a colleague who was sitting next to me moved a few chairs away to make space for someone else to be seated between us. At this point I jokingly asked why he is moving and if it is because I smell funny he must please tell me so I can do something about it.

He took great offence to this and insists many other people did too. Today I tried to apologize to him when he confronted me about "the way I treated him". He refuses to accept my apology and straight up told me that I now have an enemy in him.

Do I just leave things be or do I mail everyone who attended the function to apologize if my joke offended them?

  • 5
    Are you sure he isn't just joking around as well? – Seth R Dec 20 '18 at 17:45
  • 1
    He made it very clear that he was serious – JustSaying Dec 20 '18 at 18:16
  • 3
    @SethR I concur. The part that made it sound like a joke is where he said you and him are enemies. That sounds rather silly and I probably would have laughed. – Dan Dec 20 '18 at 19:08
  • 3
    Just to be sure. could you put a country tag on this? Cultural context might be important. – David Thornley Dec 20 '18 at 19:38
  • Do you suppose he thought you said that he smelled funny? – Ernest Friedman-Hill Dec 27 '18 at 4:32

Do I just leave things be or do I mail everyone who attended the function to apologize if my joke offended them?

This situation as described is so trivial, I would not give it a second thought. Some folks like to hold on to silly grudges, and there isn't anything you can do about it.

Short answer: You offended, without intent, and apologized for it in very short order. At this point, move on and put this out of your mind.

  • 1
    It really is trivial. I will say, while I agree with this answer, different cultures have different points of view. So I can't gauge how "not serious" this is. Not to imply that it's VERY serious, but different cultures have different guidelines when it comes to simple things like this and a small thing can absolutely be a big thing long term. So, assuming the culture is similar to my own (Westerner), I think it's trivial. – ShinEmperor Dec 20 '18 at 17:52
  • @ShinEmperor Culture could play a role, but in a situation that literally is this trivial, I highly doubt it. No location tag on the question, so not sure if I can add a culture angle to this answer -- or if it's worth the time. – Mister Positive Dec 20 '18 at 17:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.