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Is it just office banter?

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Question - (9 October 2018) 4 Answers - (Newest, 10 October 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I am in my late 40s and work in an office with a group of men who liven the day up with their banter and occasional innuendo.

Would you still count these as general banter and fun from one person 'a male work colleague shutting the door on you and pretending its stuck', teasing you in private by pretending to mouth a word and when you say it out loud he then takes the mickey and says that's naughty to say that and when he sees you in the street keeps calling your name and waving at you in the hopes you will notice him (embarrassingly I didn't notice him) and also asks me about my sons football every week as both our children played against each other.

We get on well but we need to keep it friendly so want to enjoy the banter but not encourage him just in case there is a flicker there from him as that has embarrassingly happened to me before and I would hate to encourage it beyond just having fun at work with it.

He is slightly younger than me.

View related questions: at work, teasing

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (10 October 2018):

You use your words when things go too far. Just say: "I have a sense of humor, but that's just a little more than I might feel proper at work!" "Come on guys, we're at work!" Don't repeat bad language aloud. Frown, don't encourage it! He's testing the limits, under the guise of having fun with you!

Set the rules and guidelines on what you think is cool and what you don't. If it's all in fun, nobody should have a problem with that. I run the show; so I guess my response would be based my opinion as the boss. I don't mind people being lively and playful; as long as the work gets done, and no one gets offended. I trust educated adults to behave like educated adults on company-time!

Everyone's sense of humor has its limits; that includes your coworkers. The line is drawn when it comes to interaction between female-workers and male-workers. What's funny or playful isn't always taken in the same way. The responses differ. There are certain things that border on harassment, or are deemed inappropriate. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, is inappropriate; therefore, you should say so!

If you don't like foul-language, say so. If you don't like a joke, say so. Things do get out-of-hand. Once everyone knows the rules of game, everyone plays fair. Flirtation is not tolerated in the workplace; because it leads to an employee's discomfort, and/or to sexual-harassment lawsuits. You should feel comfortable at work, regardless of your gender, or sexual-orientation. If you have to remind the men you're a lady, you have every right to do so.

I personally like banter and will engage in it; but with dignity and respect. I have to set an example; because I help run the place. If you feel uneasy, call a timeout! If they are respectful, you'll have no problem. The atmosphere remains jovial, and the fun continues without ill-will.

If you feel uneasy about answering certain questions; ignore them. Just smile and wave a finger! Questions about your son or personal-life should be off-limits. If he doesn't know that, it's up to you to teach him. Why be afraid to? You're all adults!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 October 2018):

Honeypie agony auntSounds like banter.

I would just nip ANYTHING that has sexual undertones in the bud and stick to fun without the sexual undertones.

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A female reader, Ivyblue Australia + , writes (10 October 2018):

Ivyblue agony auntAh the ol' office banter. personally I love it-makes my day for those who know and respect the boundaries. If and when anything inappropriate happens nip it in the bud asap. Simply say look ( insert name) I enjoy a bit of banter just as much as the next person but comments like that will see us both in trouble and neither of us can afford for that to happen.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (10 October 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntI too work in an office where there is a lot of banter and, to be honest, all you have mentioned sounds exactly like the banter which goes on in OUR office. To be honest, I have played the "locked door" trick myself on colleagues when we are pretending to argue.

I can fully understand your worry that this man will somehow misinterpret your good humoured behaviour as more (been there, got the t-shirt) but nothing you have described would ring alarm bells with me (yet). If alarm bells do start to ring with you, I am sure you will be able to shut down any "expectations" he may have quickly and cleanly.

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