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weeveeship's avatar

How to deal with someone who has a grudge against you?

Asked by weeveeship (3962 points ) March 25th, 2011

My best friend made a joke about dogs at his workplace a couple months ago. He did not tell me the exact joke, but it was not directed towards anyone or anyone’s pet in particular.

One of his acquaintances, another friend of mine, overheard the joke (this acquaintance was from a different department but happened to be passing by on an errand). This “acquaintance” (let’s call him Joe) was notorious for posting pictures of his two dogs all over his cubicle and for occassionally sending pictures of them to his colleagues (including my best friend). Joe was immediately offended by the joke, glared at my best friend while passing by, and stopped talking to my friend altogether.

Now, my best friend’s department and Joe’s department started working on a project together. So far, Joe has given my best friend a cold shoulder, responding to his greetings with simple grunts or sometimes total silence. Joe has so far not voiced any displeasure regarding the joke and is known to be a sensitive individual (so maybe he was upset about something else).

Would it be a good idea for my best friend to address the joke with Joe and perhaps apologize? My best friend’s joke was not directed at Joe and he in fact did not even know that Joe was around until it was too late. On one hand, my friend wants to put the past behind him but on the other hand, my friend fears that addressing the joke issue might spark an argument.

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16 Answers

cookieman's avatar

I completely ignore them. As if they cease to exist.

If someone doesn’t have the guts to confront me directly and work out whatever their problem is, I have no interest in knowing them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would ask Joe directly what his problem is.Throw him a bone,ya know what I mean?
If he continues to pout or uh…whine,I would do exactly what @cprevite says.
No need to jerk his chain ;)

Bellatrix's avatar

The advice here from @cprevite and @lucillelucillelucille is spot on. Ask him what the problem is and deal with the response and then if the person continues to behave like a child, treat it as you would a child throwing a tantrum, ignore it. If it starts to affect your friend’s ability to do their work, then you may have to take it further though.

boffin's avatar

Introduce “Joe” to Michael Vick….

cockswain's avatar

Joe sounds like a pretty serious weenie. I’d just ask him if he’s upset about the dog joke he heard me tell, and then explain he misinterpreted it and here’s what I really meant. If he’s remotely cool, I’d grab a beer with him.

lbwhite89's avatar

I think ignoring him wouldn’t be the best bet if your friend wants to put this situation behind him and be cordial to this Joe person. I agree with @lucillelucillelucille here; he should ask Joe what his issue is and why he’s been so rude and/or standoffish lately. See what he says and go from there. If he says it was due to the joke, your friend can explain that the joke wasn’t about Joe. If Joe doesn’t believe it and is still mad, then your friend should forget about it and move on. If this dude is going to get all worked up over a generic dog joke, then he’s got other issues. Who gets mad over a stupid joke anyways? He needs to get over it. The whole thing just sounds silly to me.

12Oaks's avatar

I was never the one who likes to socialize much at work. I hardly have a word to say to anyone else up there at the plant. However, if someone is holding a grudge against me, it’s them carrying it and I figure once the load gets too heavy, he’ll just drop the grudge. Of course, I never know if anyone at work ever grudges against me and frankly don’t care.

bkcunningham's avatar

I want to know the joke. @lucillelucillelucille too funny. I’d just act normal. He’d be barking up the wrong tree thinking it bothered me that he was pouting. I wouldn’t feel like I was in the dog house over a silly joke. I’d purposely talk and include him directly, throw him a bone so to speak, and give him a chance to start acting like a grownup.

ramblemutt's avatar

Sounds to me like the combination of a poor joke and a thin skin. This has been going on since man first opened his mouth. I would look as this as an excellent learning experience. Your friend should consider telling Joe that he told a bad joke and it wasn’t meant to offend anyone. Maybe Joe’s skin will thicken a little and your friend will think about the consequences when he tells a joke. For some reason our society finds a great deal of humor when someone makes fun of someone else. Just watch any prime time sitcom.

BarnacleBill's avatar

An apology for giving thoughtless offense never hurts.

mazingerz88's avatar

Your friend it seems has to approach and tell the guy the joke was not about him. It might be a little difficult since he is notoriously known for his joy of dogs and right now there is no room in his brain to see that the joke was not about him. It would take polite stance and sincere words to maybe convince this guy. if he does not bite ( ha,ha ) then its off to the doghouse?
No, seriously if he refuses to patch things up with your friend, he’s not worth it. I just hope time will heal this rift ( in dog years of course so it’ll be shorter )

buster's avatar

I would make really crude offensive dog jokes in his presence just to make him feel even grudgier.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Offer a sincere apology for having inadvertently offending him. If he is a mature adult, that should be sufficient to resolve the hurt feelings. If he persists in being difficult, proceed to ignore him whenever possible.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

If your friend wants to clear the air, he should offer up a statement that puts Joe on the offensive, not the defensive. “Joe, since we’ve been working on this project together, I get the feeling that I’ve offended you in some way.” Then wait to see what he has to say.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Im with @cprevite if you dont have the balls to say what your problem is with me to my face your really not worth my time. If its something that really bothered you and you bring it up to my like “hey look i found that joke really offensive because of x” then ill make an effort not to offend again in the future. The whole just imma be mad at you and hold a grudge now shit is just immature.

Jeruba's avatar

I think I would be careful to avoid making assumptions and would instead seek Joe out privately at a time when he’s not worked up about something. I’d say “I sense there’s kind of a strained atmosphere between us. Since we’re working together in this project, it would be best to clear the air. Is there something that needs to be put right?” Depending on the answer, be ready to apologize for having inadvertently given offense and say you hope you can both put it behind you.

If Joe says there’s nothing, then “That’s great! I must have been misinterpreting your manner, thinking something was wrong when there was no problem. I’m glad there’s nothing that needs fixing.”

I would also go out of my way to be cordial and very professional with Joe, giving him no occasion whatsoever to find fault with my behavior or performance.

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