A flirtatious comment or a lewd joke in the office is bound to happen, but if the comments continue or are unusually disturbing, perhaps it’s time to do something about it. For the sake of your performance quality and happiness, it’s important to feel comfortable and safe in your work environment. Savvy Sugar has four tips to maintain professional conduct and set boundaries before things escalate.
First, identify why you feel uncomfortable. Was it the subject matter of what someone said or the way it was approached? Was it your own personal experience on a certain topic that made you upset? If it’s a personal issue, then you may want to choose to move on and ignore the situation as your co-worker may not have known they were touching a sensitive subject.
Next, try to put yourself in their shoes. Why did they choose to open up to you? Discerning their motives behind their actions can help you better deal with the situation. Maybe they are lonely. Perhaps they are simply hoping to create a friendship with you and made an incidental awkward comment.
Don’t be afraid to talk with the co-worker who offended you. They won’t know how you feel about your comment unless you tell them. After you express your concerns, try to take the conversation to a lighter note once you’ve made your point.
If none of these steps work, contact HR. Sometimes a simple discussion won’t fix the situation. If necessary, take the matter to your supervisor or someone in HR so that they know how you feel. Make sure that your report isn’t a rant or gossip. Keep your statement simple and short to explain the situation.