Dear Pillow Talk,
A co-worker and I are very close (mainly because of the amount of time we spend together through work), and we’re open about everything in our lives. Sometimes we joke about hooking up, but I never thought anything of it. However, he recently made serious advances toward me when we were drunk.
Although he apologized for being “creepy” and it hasn’t been awkward, I still want to know where those advances came from, and if it’ll happen again. Do I approach the situation again? I don’t want to ruin our friendship!
— Working on the Weekends
Although I’m glad your co-worker apologized for being “creepy” toward you and you don’t feel awkward, it’s a bummer that he took your jokes as an invitation to act in such a manner — drunk or not.
I can’t say why your co-worker acted this way, but I’m willing to bet he either read into the jokes much further than you did or experienced an alcohol-induced lapse of judgment.
Unfortunately, some people have a difficult time reading jokes or are of the mentality that there’s a little bit of truth in every joke, making it easy for humor to be misconstrued — sex humor being no exception.
However, I think it’s fair to say that most people who drink have the occasional nights of too much drinking that result in unfavorable actions, even if they have no ill intentions. It’s possible that your co-worker was having one of those nights and is genuinely embarrassed about the way he behaved.
If you haven’t done so already, stop making any sexual jokes to your co-worker — especially at work. Pay attention to your co-worker’s behavior after you stop making jokes; if he follows your lead and also quits joking, don’t worry about it.
If he continues making jokes and you begin to feel uncomfortable or makes more drunken advances toward you, you’ll need to speak up and tell him it’s not OK. If he values your friendship (and his job), he’ll respect your wishes.
Mallory Long is a senior studying journalism and women’s studies. Ask her your questions about sex and love in the culture section of thepost.ohiou.edu, at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Pillow Talk on Twitter at @post_pillowtalk.