I have recently joined a work place and have tried to be easy to approach and friendly to my coworkers.

However a few of the employees hired after me seem to make a lot of jokes towards me, or at my expense.

I understand that some work environments are more relaxed than others and that some people connect through jokes but I would appreciate if they stay in limit when they joke and don't get to talk about something, in a example a colleague rarely new and too chatty ask me every morning, "what do I know today that I didn't know, yesterday?" Or "if you take drinks to home, your wife will beat you etc.

In a few other situations colleagues will begin talking to me without asking if I am busy or if I have the time to spare which is distracting me from my work and breaking my concentration.

How can I kindly draw a line to stop the jokes and to let people know when I am too busy to chat and meanwhile I will have new people being hired, how can I end the trend of throwing jokes at me, as new people hired will see this person talking or throwing jokes at me and will do same.

I wonder, what do I lack or where did the new guys started talking like that and why? Is it me being helpful or just smiling when they say something. Really don't want that.

  • Hi @Nofel I edited this to try to make it a little clearer and re-titled to make it easier to tell what your question is. Hopefully this is still asking the questions you want answered
    – user5305
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:06
  • @Rhys thanks, I re-edited it as some things were worth going In detail.
    – user15704
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:14
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    "if you take drinks to home, your wife will beat you", "what do I know today that I didn't know, yesterday?" - these are peculiar jokes to encounter, which I assume must have more specific meaning to you. What I'm saying is, it doesn't sound like normal work-place joking and seems more like harassment. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 21:31
  • 2
    I used to have an office near the rest rooms, which resulted in a lot of conversation just outside. I did have a door, and I was willing to resort to headphones... but I also sometimes had to tell people to hold it down or take it elsewhere. I occasionally put up a sign reading "If you have nothing to do, please do it somewhere else."
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 2:09
  • 1
    @DoubleDouble Depending on the culture these may be socially appropriate sorts of jokes between aquaintences or co-workers. Humor varies a lot around the world.
    – Myles
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


Short answer: Call them out - firmly but politely!

A little banter in the workplace can be fine, as long as the participants are willing. However, this sounds like it may be a case of workplace bullying, depending on the nature of the comments. You could say something like:

I like a joke or some banter as much as the next person, but your comments are distracting me and making me uncomfortable. Can you please keep it a little more professional?

If you have no success, then you can look at raising it with your manager (if he or she is not complicit), or take it to your HR department if you have one. Remember, workplace bullying is serious and illegal in many countries. If you feel it is heading to that level, call it what it is. But if you don't mention it to them, they won't know that they have started to cross the line for you.

  • Sometimes it happens that due my easy going nature, this one person throws something at me that is totally out of way like a joke that someone you know for 10 years can do. How do i get about that?
    – user15704
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 19:04
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    @Nofel I think it depends on the reason they would do that. What comes to mind is someone who wants to feel superior to you in front of his new friends by putting you down. Personally, I might not comment about it at the time if other people are involved, but later I might ask them why they felt compelled to make such jokes. The excuse answer is, "I was just joking around." to which you may say, "It's not a joke to me" - if it reaches that level it is harassment and you could contact HR about it if it continues. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 20:40
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    @Nofel "I'm fully aware of what I'm doing. Look, I'm tired of you being on me about this. If theres something about it that bothers you, what is it so I can see if we can work something out. Otherwise, leave me alone about it." - and on the next time, talk to HR because otherwise it's not going to stop. (You could just get away with the first sentence, or alternatively, "Okay, dad." - the point is, he's not telling you anything really, so just blow him off and ignore him if that is a valid option.) Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 1:22
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    It may be helpful, when approaching management or HR, to emphasize that this behaviour is preventing you from being as effective for the company than you want to be, and harming the productivity of the department. Do not allow the issue to be framed in terms of you being the problem. Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 11:06
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    @Nofel That's OK, just stick to exactly the same line. Nothing personal, just that you don't work well in those conditions. It doesn't matter if the other person feels that the comments were harmless jokes that you should not take offence at, and it should not be a matter of the company being asked to agree with that point of view or not. Note that it is very difficult for someone to argue that their work performance would be harmed by being prevented from making jokes at your expense, and it's not a matter of anyone being a "good team member". You just can't work well under those conditions. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 18:21

Don't make it complicated - if you have to get back to work, say that you have to get back to work. Take off to do your own thing, don't give them a chance to argue with you. If you are at lunch or on a break or if they need help from you, you can go back to being easily approachable :)


It seems like you're combining several things here. Being professional doesn't mean you don't joke at work nor does it mean you never interrupt or distract someone who is working. If you accuse them of this, you won't be addressing the real problem: they're offending you.

Tell them you don't think these particular kind of jokes are funny and you want them to stop. If they don't stop, you may be forced to go over their head. Office policy should dictate these types of situations.

They're new and probably not in a position above you. They've bonded by making jokes at your expense. Maybe in another setting, you would just punch them in the face, but this is the workplace, so you have to fit your solutions in that context.

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