My friend Teri got mad at me this week because she didn't think I apologized correctly for insulting her.
"I'm sorry we got in a fight," I said.
"That's not an apology," she said.
"Sorry," I said.
She stared at me.
I had made fun of Teri because I thought she had written an overdramatic headline for one of her articles. Teri said the headline was not overdramatic, and she explained why based on the context of the story.
Her explanation made sense, but I still didn't like the headline. I called her a bad writer and she got annoyed.
"I know what hyperbole is," she said, "and this is not example of hyperbole."
"Yes it is," I said, "and maybe you'd know that if you weren't such a bad writer."
Teri is not a bad writer, but I wasn't prepared for her to get annoyed with me for making fun of her headline.
My problem is that I don't mind getting in arguments about anything I care about, only avoiding other people's arguments, which I see as meaningless.
One of the terrible things about being in other people's arguments, for instance, is being asked by either side to participate in that argument.
I have no reason to do this, however, because even if I'm on the winning side of the argument, I gain nothing.
I'm just the person who will join an argument for no reason.
"Hey, am I right?" someone who will want me to join argument will say.
People you wait in line with are the worst about doing this.
"You think they can take a little longer to get my order?" they will say.
Anyway, I eventually got my friend Teri to forgive me by repeating the apology she wanted me to say. I think she subconsciously made a compromise, however, and didn't ask me explicitly to say my criticism was inaccurate.
I don't really care if I have to say I'm wrong, but it's hard to know what the person you're apologizing to will do with that apology.
They might accept your apology or they might make you say more humiliating things because you're already in a submissive position.
Teri, for instance, has brought our argument in front of other people several times since we had it.
That's OK, I guess I can't blame her. It just seems a little overdramatic.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.