All posts by Emily Hoffman

Crucial Conversations QA

How to Tell Someone You’re Offended

Dear Emily,

Our company was recently acquired and I was asked to be on the transition team to merge the two companies. This project required that I work with several members of the parent company throughout the weekend and late into the night. I was trying my best to be chummy and start the relationship on the right foot, but people from the new company spent much of our time together making crude, sexual jokes and using very foul language. Not only did it really offend me, but it certainly didn’t feel like appropriate workplace humor or decorum. How can I make it known that I don’t appreciate their humor (or lack thereof) without seeming like a prude or threatening my ability to work with them in the future?

Signed,
Cautiously Offended

Dear Cautious,

In Crucial Conversations, we teach a concept we call the Fool’s Choice. It is basically this: when we face a crucial conversation (when the stakes are high, our emotions are in play, and there are differences of opinion), we tend to devolve to binary thinking. We assume we can either be honest or respectful. We can be candid or kind. We can stand up for ourselves or roll over.

What I love about your question is that you are rejecting the Fool’s Choice. Sure, you might not know what the third way is, but you know there must be Finish reading