Unfriended And Happy

, , , , | Working | July 29, 2019

(I have a new coworker who seems nice enough, but then I notice her nice compliments follow a set pattern. Day one: I am wearing a very cute, well-thought-out outfit.)

Coworker: “Good morning, [My Name]! Your outfit looks great today!”

Me: “Oh, thank you! I like you your outfit, as well!”

(Day five: I am tired and wearing an outfit that is boring and only meant to keep me warm rather than cute.)

Coworker: “Good morning, [My Name]! You look so cute today!”

Me: *less convinced, but smiling politely* “Oh, thanks. You look nice, as well.”

(This continues daily; my coworker compliments my outfit, no matter what I am wearing. There are days I show up looking worn out and haggard, and she still compliments me, but always words the compliment in the same way, without citing what she likes about the outfit. Some days, she compliments my outfit before I even take my coat off, which means she isn’t really even looking at the outfit when she gives the compliment. I begin to understand that she is following her own set of social standards in which she has to accompany her morning greeting with a compliment, no matter what. I know she is trying to be nice and/or liked, but I am one of those people who appreciates when compliments are given sparingly, because then it makes me feel like the compliment is genuine. I try to greet her in the same enthusiastic vein, but I get more and more worn out by pretending to be happy about her compliments. Then this happens: I walk in extremely upset and frazzled.)

Coworker: “[My Name], are you okay?”

Me: “No! I was merging into a lane next to me on the interstate, but a car was in my blind spot and I didn’t see them. Because I almost hit them, they swerved out of the way and then spun on some ice. I almost caused them to crash! I pulled over in the hope that I could see that they were okay, but they straightened out and drove off. I guess they are okay, but I almost caused an accident! I feel so bad and I can’t stop shaking!”

Coworker: “Oh.” *gives a sympathetic nod, then straightens up as if a button has been switched on and smiles brightly* “Well, at least you look cute today!”

(Thankfully, HR eventually moved her to a different department because my coworker complained I was being “unfriendly,” and it “hurt her feelings.” Ironically enough, my “unfriendliness” was not so much my efforts to avoid the ritualistic greetings in the morning, but rather her dislike at how I started to confront her more about the constant errors she was doing at the job that were seriously affecting workflow. Apparently, pointing out her mistakes to her, no matter how politely I was wording it, was “unfriendly.” So, now she is in a different department with sunnier people, but still making the exact same mistakes. The good news is that the woman who replaced her is the same brand of “unfriendly” as me, and my department has never been more productive.)

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