Trying to deal with a rude co-worker - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-04-2008, 10:48 PM
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I work in a day spa. We are all massage therapists. One of my co-workers is one of the rudest people I have ever met. She eats junk food all day, I never comment. She has something to say about the way I eat, tells me I am nuts for being vegan, all sorts of craziness.Tells me I am crazy for jogging and doing yoga, that I am obsessed. I am far from obsessed, I believe in taking care of myself, and enjoy living. She has trouble minding her business, and loves to spread negativity. We have been working together for 3 yrs, and I have held back from telling her off, I am coming close to blowing up. I don't understand why someone who is so anti-health, anti-kindness etc would even bother going into the field of massage therapy. She is very hyper, and says nasty things about everyone, clients especially. The more I try to avoid her, the more she strikes up converstions. My father in law has been very ill for about 8 months now, he is not going to be "ok" ever again, yet she asks every single day in a rude way "How's the old man?" He is 82, I told her please call him John, yet she doesn't listen. SHe knows that it is a touchy subject, that my family is having a tough time, that it isn't easy being a care giver, yet she brings him up without fail. Some of the other therpists think it is because she likes to upset people. She likes to talk about people's husbands getting laid off, and all sorts of bad stuff, and is envious of happy things, and success. I am a very timid person, I pray and do my best to get through my days that I work with her. I focus on the greatness of my profession, aside from her it is a great place to work.I would appriciate any comments!
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#2 Old 09-04-2008, 11:09 PM
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Has nobody ever mentioned this to whoever is in charge, or the most 'HR' type person there? Where I work [although it's in hospitality/catering which is totally different] we frequently have to attend meetings relating to being professional, customer service/customer relations, and most recently something called "Emotional Intelligence". Basically about being understanding and perceptive of others feelings and behaviours. Sounds like this woman could do with a good kick in the pants. I can imagine her report card "...does not play well with the other children and must be dominant at all times" I don't want to judge someone I don't know though. Sounds like she has behavioural issues...and might not have many friends. [Though it's clear why]

Props to you though, it sounds like you're definitely going through a hard time...this woman has issues, hassling someone who tries to lead a healthy active lifestyle whilst having personal issues outside of work. If you've tried pulling her aside and having a quiet word about it [as you seem to have done, with the 'hows the old man' stuff], maybe you might need to talk to someone else at work about it. She's way out of line. Good luck getting it sorted out.
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#3 Old 09-04-2008, 11:53 PM
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That's sad. I don't really have much advice, but just wanted to say I'm sorry that you have to deal with that kind of negativity in your place of employment. Maybe there is someone (a manager? HR?) that you can talk to anonymously about her professionalism? In regards to commenting about clients and such.

I hope your dad feels comfortable and loved.. and keep up the healthy living
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#4 Old 09-05-2008, 12:31 AM
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When people are like this I assume that something really bad is going on in their lives or something really bad happened in the past. I think it's great that you have so much good going on in your life (healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, good coworkers besides this woman). You have a number of options here. I can think of two:

1. Tell her honestly that you feel hurt (or however you feel) when she brings up the topic of your dad and doesn't refer to him by his name. Tell her honestly how you feel about her comments about your healthy life choices. Be prepared, though, so that you don't get sucked into an argument with her. She probably won't take it well but if you can say what you want to say, let her react, then walk away, she can think about what you said.

2. Focus with a prayer (you mentioned you pray) before you go to work. Pray for light and peace and healing to be with this woman. Then pray that you can accept her comments without being affected negatively by them. See what happens.

You sound like a wonderful person.
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#5 Old 09-05-2008, 01:13 AM
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The comments about the health of your family can certainly be construed as bullying. Find a local or online bullying support information source and talk to them about what you can do.

Take notebook and a pencil to work with you everyday and everytime she says somethng that bothers you, make a note of it in the notebook along with the date, time and content of what she said/did. Keep doing this over the course of 2 or 3 weeks and then bring it to your boss. Keep a copy for yourself, too.
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#6 Old 09-05-2008, 03:24 AM
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I have to say, I know a bit, or suspect I know, how your coworker feels; I'm a bit like that too, though in a non-intrusive way, sometimes you get sucked into a state of only being able to feed off negative stuff- I don't really know why, but the one thing that someone in that state of mind hates is hearing about positive stuff, like someone won the lottery, or someone just got a degree and a good job- My suggestion is to make it quite clear, subtly that the more she tries to feed of negativity around, and about you, the more she is going to hear about some one's success, someone you know, or even something off the TV.

It's for her own good in the end any way; if she can get out of that cycle.

Or maybe I don't really know.

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#7 Old 09-05-2008, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbabe View Post

One of my co-workers is one of the rudest people I have ever met. She eats junk food all day, I never comment.

Maybe it's time you started to.
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#8 Old 09-05-2008, 08:29 AM
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Go up to her politely and say you need to speak with her outside.

Hold the door open, and as she walks by, punch her in the back of the head.

Stomp her a couple of times to make sure she stays down.

Grab her by the hair, and tell her that if she talks mess about you again, she'll get the remix edition.

She'll learn. She'll learn.
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#9 Old 09-05-2008, 09:10 AM
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In some cases, simply talking will not be enough or will not do the job. I like the suggestion of keeping a log/journal/note pad of what she says and what day and time she says it. You will need to keep a record of something to bring to HR. I suggest going to HR before you do blow up. Although talking does do some good in some cases, it doesn't seem like it will be good enough in this case. You may be egging her on by talking to her about what she says to you and how it's hurting you and all. Remember, misery loves company. And if she knows that she is making you miserable (and even after you talk to her) it may work more in her favor instead of yours. I suggest going to HR about it and giving them a chance to deal with her behaviour. She is making the working environment stressful for you, your co-workers and for the clients and that's not good long-term business retention. I hope that you can find (between you and HR hopefully) a decent solution to this problem.
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#10 Old 09-05-2008, 03:30 PM
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I'm with all the people who have suggested talking to a supervisor/manager/HR type about her. Start there and see if it helps. Then start taking notes as suggested above, so if it continues, you can go back to HR a few weeks later with specifics.


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#11 Old 09-06-2008, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Fromper View Post

I'm with all the people who have suggested talking to a supervisor/manager/HR type about her. Start there and see if it helps. Then start taking notes as suggested above, so if it continues, you can go back to HR a few weeks later with specifics.


I totally agree. This lady definetly has issues. Personally I'd be able to blow off the comments about a healthy diet/lifestyle as just jealousy but the comments about your dad, her clients and the overall way she treats anyone is downright disgusting and disrespectful. Have her clients and other coworkers ever made complaints about her?
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#12 Old 09-08-2008, 09:20 AM
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First and foremost, taking good care of yourself and enjoying living is exceedingly important-- especially if you're a massage therapist and a caregiver. I know, as I used to be a massage therapist before I was an artist. I am so glad that you recognize that. As far as your co-worker is concerned, it doesn't sound like she's too happy. In fact, she sounds downright miserable and even a little jealous of the light and love that you emit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is very common in the world and so sad.

I know you said that you're very timid, but when she does say one of her off-putting comments, take a moment to look her in the eyes for a beat or two, and then walk away as if you've got better things to do (because you're a therapist). Sometimes, just looking at someone deep in their eyes and recognizing the unhappiness in them, and then turning from it without spending YOUR valuable energy on it with words, is enough.

It's very good advice to keep a log of what she says and does to you and your co-workers. Oh, and- don't get caught up in talking about her with co-workers. Sometimes that can backfire. Hold your ground on this, and maintain your grace and dignity.

She WANTS you to blow up. You've established that you are a peaceful, beautiful vegan who has enough positive presence with YOURSELF because you do yoga, you exercise, and you treat yourself like the jewel that you are. You have enough wisdom to know that you do this so that you may successfully impart a little of that to the people on your massage table. She really wants to make a crack in that jewel so that you won't seem so perfect. Don't. Let. Her.
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#13 Old 09-08-2008, 09:15 PM
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Great post ^^^^ !

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavanto

'May everyone everywhere be happy
May the whole world be joyous'
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#14 Old 09-10-2008, 10:58 AM
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She sounds horribly jealous because you're healthy and eat right and she doesn't. What are you waiting for? Tell her off.
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#15 Old 09-10-2008, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Elanor View Post

Sometimes, just looking at someone deep in their eyes and recognizing the unhappiness in them, and then turning from it without spending YOUR valuable energy on it with words, is enough.

The new-age love and light approach might bring the OP some satisfaction by doing it, but I doubt that a person with such an over-bearing and screwed up personality is going to be too intimidated by it.

It'll probably be business as usual the next time she sees her again.
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#16 Old 09-10-2008, 09:23 PM
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Next time she says something blatantly rude, ask her if she feels better now. If she asks what you mean, tell her she obviously did not make that comment for your benefit, so she must have made it for herself

...okay I'm not sure if that's a great suggestion, but it will catch her off guard for sure.

It's not in what you say, it's in what you do (Oasis)

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#17 Old 09-15-2008, 11:32 PM
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Pixelle-- the "new age love and light approach," if that's what you want to call it, is more of what the world needs. Actually, looking at somebody without using words can make them a lot more uncomfortable than a verbal showdown because it's completely unexpected and it's REAL!!

Also, if you read the original post, you would've noticed that she doesn't dig having major confrontations with people.
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#18 Old 09-17-2008, 01:42 AM
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One day during a management shakeup in comes one of the worst managers I have ever had to deal with, and believe me I have had some horrid managers in my time (and I'm thinking I'm going to have to add another to the list now, but that's unrelated). She was abusive and power tripped like you wouldn't believe. She would not hesitate to call you out on any perceived mistake no matter how minor, even during the middle of our rush (which were insane at that place), and in fact generally did so during rush. That might have been bearable if it wasn't for the fact that she made us listen to broadway musicals and, I kid you not, Disney singalongs with high-pitched chipmunks and elves and whatever during said rushes (I hold back my obscenities). She made the knife-wielding coked up alcoholics that were there before her look sane by comparison (they really were). And unfortunately there was little one could do because she could always pull seniority.

How did I deal with her? Basically, I just started criticizing her back, and subsequently ignoring her and her power attitude. She would tell me I was doing X wrong in the most passive-aggressive manner you could imagine, so I would then go ahead and tell her how to do something in that same soft toned, fake smiling, passive-aggressive manner. She would start commanding me to do things, and I would tell her I couldn't, had other things to do, too bad, or just flat out ignore her - never responding with anything other than a "yeah, whatever" attitude. She was my manager, and in the end I didn't care. She had little authority over me because I gave her little authority. She got no deference from me and ignored me from there on out effectively.

I quickly realized that I was the one that gave her the ability to abuse me. Had I just sat there and taken it, I would have spent months possibly dealing with her abuse and hating it all while she smiled and enjoyed herself twisting her knives around in me. Instead I turned it around on her, showed her I wasn't one to be easily messed with, despite my quiet temperament, wasn't one to care about her petty games, and she backed off and spent her energy on the easier targets that would respond "better". Some people will take advantage of those that let them, but they have their limits. That manager didn't want to deal with someone that was going to talk back and give her his own criticisms and not play into her games. I watched over the weeks as other coworkers were forced to deal with her unrelenting bs. They weren't willing to tell her off, they were scared of her in some sense, maybe for their jobs, got riled up and upset, and she used that leverage to push them around. The people that were willing to just give her a bit of what she gave them didn't have to put up with much at all by comparison.

So, my point is that, yes you should talk with your manager, but sometimes being a little more assertive can help. Sitting back and taking it and then getting upset over it is the worst response to such people, to anything. Maybe you can be nice in return, but first you have to get over her, don't give her one inch of leverage on you. It's hard to be truly nice to someone when you're feeling them dig into you like that.

You define your relationships with other people as much as they do. That doesn't excuse her actions and behavior, but does partially explain why she feels she can do it. I doubt she would act that way around everyone. She obviously doesn't respect you, and there are many routes to change that, but you're not taking any right now, and it's that lack of action that is perpetuating her lack of respect. Simply ignoring her is a form of action and sign of self-respect, and the easiest. Just don't respond, don't even pay attention, to what she says. If you must, just blow her off in the most stale way possible. Your time is too valuable for her pettiness, her words mean nothing to you. She means nothing to you, and that's the last thing she wants to feel.

But there's a lot of momentum, it will take a while with such an approach, there are years of history, and it will take a lot of effort by you. Just remember, one day you might look back and laugh at, or feel sorry for, her. But either way she won't have that power over you again.
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#19 Old 09-17-2008, 01:06 PM
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^^^That's a good post, too.

I'm wondering, whatever happened to the OP of this board?
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#20 Old 09-19-2008, 08:02 PM
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I agree that DNK's post is a good post also.

I would suggest that you get together with the other coworkers who she pissed off and the approach the HR/manager with them. That way, they'll morely see that her attitude is affecting everybody in a negative way and it's not just some petty squabbling between the two of you. The best thing for you to do is to keep quiet about your personal details from her from now on so at least she wouldn't have anymore to work with against you other than the same old same old.
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#21 Old 09-26-2008, 04:49 PM
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Sorry that you have to go through this..and I agree I would talk to your other co-workers and see how they feel and talk to a supervisor.
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#22 Old 09-26-2008, 08:33 PM
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Thank you Everyone for all the comments. My computer had a virus, and was in the shop for a few days. Well, about a week ago I sat down with Liz and told her how I feel. How I don't appriciate alot of the things she says. She agreed that she tends to run her mouth alittle too much (with me and others), and that it often gets her in trouble. I told her that I want to have a peaceful work environment, and maybe we should just avoid each other for a while. She got defensive, and apologized, so... time will tell. If the comments should start creaping up again, I will go to the manager. Thanks again for all the support!
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#23 Old 09-28-2008, 11:49 AM
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Way to go veganbabe!

You can never know what kind of insecurity is behind the surface when people pick on you like that. I often think that your mere presence as a vegan makes her realize how many bad, unhealthy choices she may be making. By throwing darts at you, she may actually be trying to "break the mirror" so she won't have to look into it (you). You never know...she may deep down wish she had the fortitude to become a vegan herself.

Either way, you've put her on notice!
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