Author Topic: Jokes gradually turning uncomfortable  (Read 3017 times)

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Melle

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Jokes gradually turning uncomfortable
« on: March 06, 2012, 05:04:13 AM »
I had to really bean-dip one of our maintenance staff last week. He actually struck me as a cheerful and nice kind of guy when he first walked in to change a few lightbulbs; we bad-mouthed the ever-faulty computer systems a bit and exchanged a few jokes and puns that were kind of "facepalm-y" but clever and harmless.
...and then he gradually drifted off into racial slurs...
Granted, it was a mild sort of ribbing that's actually mutual between two otherwise friendly groups of people, but I still thought it was inappropriate. I just don't like that sort of humor.
So my smile kind of froze and I said something like "Well, almost opening time, gotta get ready for the customers."
He returned to my reference desk with a few more jokes afterwards - the harmless kind again, so I'd like to think he got the hint and tried to clear the air that way.

Anybody have similar experiences? How did you deal with it?

SleepyKitty

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Re: Jokes gradually turning uncomfortable
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 09:19:41 AM »
It depends on how offensive the jokes were to you and how comfortable you are being direct. I would start off by just responding with body language - when he makes a racist joke or a joke you're not comfortable with, don't smile or respond positively. Just raise an eyebrow and give him a look that conveys: "Really? You just said that?". Then change the subject or make a harmless joke.

If he persists, and doesn't pick up on your cues, you might say something like, "That's really not appropriate for work." If he really crosses the line and won't stop, then you pull out the big guns and be very direct, "That's racist, offensive, and completely inappropriate. Do not speak like that around me. The next time I will go to HR (or the boss or whomever)."

But it sounds like that kind of directness won't be necessary, and the guy has gotten the hint already. Some people just don't know their audience, and I bet all you'll need to do is just not laugh at the jokes you don't find funny.