So. Christmas dinner office party. Drank way too much too fast. Told a coworker he reminded me of a cow, but I didn't mean anything bad by it. He has this sort of "cow looking at the cars from behind the barb wire" energy that I think it's pretty cool. A very relaxed/relaxing demeanor. It obviously didn't come out that way (not even sure there's a good way to communicate that tbh). The rest of my coworkers laughed it off but now, sober, I'm mortified thinking about it.

I (thankfully) don't spend that many hours at work with this person, two hours a day at most (he works mornings, I work afternoons). Should I apologize? Try to explain what I meant? Or just pretend it didn't happen at all?

EDIT: edited out the mildly in the title since yeah, it was straight offensive. I did try to explain myself at the moment but I don't remember it going great.

  • You might consider sending him a link to this question with a brief explanation that you posted it. – Keith Thompson Jan 1 '19 at 21:52
  • Can someone please explain sort of "cow looking at the cars from behind the barb wire" energy ?? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Jan 2 '19 at 7:33
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    Welcome new user. Actually this is a great question, and timely after new years :) – Fattie Jan 2 '19 at 12:16
  • I think it's silly that this is voted closed. Why? – Fattie Jan 2 '19 at 12:17
  • Mawg: I think it means “I drank much too much in a very short time and the effect hasn’t quite gone yet”. – gnasher729 Jan 2 '19 at 17:11

Just quickly, quietly, and privately speak to the coworker.

hey Bob, I know i got a bit brash at the party. If i was rude to you, i just want to apologize.

Leave it at that

The less of a deal you make of it, the better.

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    Yes. There's really no need to over-egg an apology here - it looks as though it was laughed off in this instance, so no one seemed to take huge offense at this. – user44108 Jan 2 '19 at 9:56
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    I'm not a fan of the conditional apology. "If I was rude to you" isn't as bad as the "I'm sorry if anyone took offence" non-apology, but still implies you don't know if you were being rude. "I'm sorry I was rude to you" would be better and more direct. – Laconic Droid Jan 2 '19 at 13:34
  • @LaconicDroid that's not the conditional apology. The conditional apology is "If You were offended by what I said, I apologize". The way I phrased it is appropriate because the OP seems unsure. – Old_Lamplighter Jan 2 '19 at 13:49
  • @RichardU If/Then couldn't be more conditional . Nothing says "I'm sorry" better than plain old "I'm sorry". No ifs, ands or buts. – Laconic Droid Jan 3 '19 at 1:59

Hey Bob, I want to apologize.
I love your very relaxed, cool demeanor and wanted to give you a compliment.
Somehow my totally drunk mind went to cows looking at the distant.
I have no idea where that came from.
I hope I didn't offend you badly.

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    I'd change the last line to a simple "I'm sorry." – thursdaysgeek Jan 2 '19 at 21:12

It's not "mildly offensive" if you just compared him to a cow unless you corrected yourself immediately and explained what you meant.

I assume here you didn't. Your remark was simply offensive then. Comparing people to animals such as cows, monkeys and similar is considered very offensive.

You should ask him to grab a coffee together or similar and explain what you wrote here.

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    The author could also just apologize, the relationship has already been damaged, I personally wouldn't want anything to do with somebody who called me a "cow". – Donald Jan 2 '19 at 1:13
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    I don't know that you can explain away being called a cow. If OP explained it the way he did in his post I would still be insulted. – user85135 Jan 2 '19 at 2:26
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    I was called a cow in the past. And then the person explained I had most beautiful eyes, just like a cow. It helped a bit :) – BigMadAndy Jan 2 '19 at 11:25

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