A closed mouth gathers no foot.

Today was one of those days when, hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have taken this statement to heart. I won’t go in to details (suffice it to say that in the grand scheme of things, the background story is not important)…

I take a lot of pride in my sense of humor – I’m not light on my feet, but I’m usually quick witted. And I said something “witty” that landed like a steaming turd. My coworker’s reaction was swift. Cobra-like, in fact. “Stop. Just stop! It’s not funny anymore. I should never have said anything in the first place…” Shocked by the about-face in the ability to joke about this particular topic, I immediately stammered, “I’m… I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to upset you…” An uncomfortable tension existed for the next few minutes as we made our way to the cafeteria. To her credit, my coworker recognized her reaction as being, um, extreme, and put her arm around me and said, “I’m sorry, too. I over-reacted. I’m just embarrassed… and don’t want to joke about it anymore.” I again offered an apology. Despite the break in tension, I was still mortified that I had initially hurt her feelings… My personal philosophy is “do no harm” and I felt like I had broken that trust. I retreated to my cubicle with my lunch and cried.