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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?

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    Are you sure he isn't just joking around as well? – Seth R Dec 20 '18 at 17:45
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    He made it very clear that he was serious – JustSaying Dec 20 '18 at 18:16
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    @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
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    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
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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.

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    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

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