I put my foot in my mouth at work and said something insensitive to a colleague of mine. Since then I have:

  1. Had a one-to-one with my colleague that I upset where I apologised and we patched things up (this was the day after the incident and was initiated by me)
  2. Discussed the issue with my line manager in our one-to-one, where we agreed that the relationship had been patched up and that my verbal slip was not systemic, i.e. just a one-off slip-up
  3. Lastly, and oddly, had a one-to-one with a peer who is a friend of the colleague I upset. Although I felt the peer's involvement was unnecessary, I handled that meeting by summarising points 1 and 2

My question is, when a peer gives feedback about an issue that does not involve them and has been resolved, what is the best way to handle that?

If it helps, I'm based in the UK, and what I said was not discriminatory in anyway (e.g. sexist etc.)

  • Were you asked by your employer to have the one-to-one with the peer, or did they just approach you over the issue?
    – Dustybin80
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:36
  • 2
    "What is the best way to handle that?" Explain that it's resolved, which you did? I'm not really seeing a problem or actual question here. (Close vote)
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:36
  • @Dustybin80: we initiated the conversation ourselves (no prompting from employer)
    – user27483
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:41
  • Did the peer overhear your insensitive remark? In my opinion, anyone within earshot, or heard about it second-hand is involved and should be looped in that everything has been patched up to keep it from unnecessarily continuing to be an issue. You really want to make sure that people who know about the first part also know that you took steps to fix it and that you aren't a jerk.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:41
  • @ColleenV: I don't know whether my other colleague overheard at the time or whether her friend told her about it. Either way, still a good point to let people know that action was taken to resolve the issue
    – user27483
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


I would try and find out of the colleague that was upset asked their friend (your peer) to have a word with you. If this is the case, I would just follow up with that colleague and ask "is everything now OK with us, I felt getting X involved was a little unnecessary". Be prepared to listen to their answer though as it may be that they just want to have someone else involved in the detail as safety in numbers/a problem shared is often an approach people take

If the colleague did not ask their friend and they initiated this with you without prompting, I would also have a quick word with the upset colleague to make them aware you had a conversation with your peer

Either way, the best thing to do is just make sure you can make it clear to the colleague that as far as you are concerned, the matter is dealt with and a line drawn under it. If other people bring this up/request meetings with you to discuss, you need to get your employer involved and aware as this could linger and start to re-awaken, plus it is presumably taking up some of your work time


Personally I think I would just say, as far as I'm concerned the problem between myself and X is resolved. We had a discussion between ourselves and I've spoken to Y(my manager) and I believe the matter is closed.

It's essentially none of the 3rd persons business and you can choose to tell them whatever you like.

  • +1 - posted just after my answer. The absolute key here is to make sure everyone is of the opinion that the line has been drawn and the matter is closed
    – Mike
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:48
  • Agreed, didn't see your answer when I started writing but +1, the matter needs to be closed.
    – Dustybin80
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 13:56

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