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Boorish Bullies

I work at a place where young female staff are greatly outnumbered by male staff. We stick together pretty closely and all get along very well, despite differences in religion and political beliefs. We try to get together at least once a term to have a nice dinner together and to avoid shop-talk for at least one night.

We planned an event at a restaurant in your ‘trendy’ part of town – very progressive, left-wing, GLBTQ friendly. A colleague we are friendly with tells us she has invited a friend of hers – a former colleague at her old workplace. This was all fine and we make a booking for the restaurant.

We arrive at the restaurant to meet this woman, “Jackie”, whose first words out of her mouth included the choice phrase, “So, we were just talking about how lesbians are less hot than straight women”. That was her greeting to me, having never met me. Given that she appeared to have no intimate knowledge with the concept of an ‘indoors voice’, the buzz of the room hushed a little in response to that. I bean-dipped politely, and we sat down to order our meals.

I have never been so ashamed to be part of a party of diners as I did that night. Throughout the meal, my friends and I shot each other meaningful and pained glances every time this awful woman and the colleague who brought her along opened their mouths. Amongst the catalogue of faux pas included a loud ranking system of the sexual prowess of every known race or cultural group, which she could do because she was “not a racist”, a point she felt she needed to clarify at various times during the night, loudly commenting on any plans we were discussing for our upcoming weddings (“Why bother to even do it if you’re going to be a total feminazi?”, was said in response to me saying I didn’t know whether I was changing my name after marriage), and even loudly proclaiming that she was looking forward to coming to all of our hen’s nights! Eventually the bean-dipping reached the stage where every inch of our clothing was metaphorically covered in it, and the awful woman still didn’t get the hint! She sexually harassed the poor Scottish waiter we had at our table, and called another waiter “ching-chong” when he did not see her flag him down the first time.

It reached a high-note when, upon finding out the race of my own fiance, she asked if we’d slept together before marriage. I couldn’t really speak out of shock, and someone else volunteered that we owned a home together and had been with each other for some time. Her response to this was that, “I must like them small”.

I couldn’t hide the look of anger and insult on my face, and the table went silent as I just stared at her. After a while, the colleague who invited her said to me, “You should laugh, just to be polite”.  I merely turned to her, fixed her with the same look, and visibly turned my chair away from the two of them for the rest of the evening. It was such a horrible experience that it felt like something out of an awful sitcom.

I am certain that their horrible behaviour ruined the night of staff and other patrons, and certainly contributed to our bill being much higher than we calculated. (I left an extra tip out of sympathy for our poor waiter.) Rather than going out dancing with my friends after, I bid them an early good-night at eight thirty and left steaming. We now carefully limit the invitations to our dinners out to ensure that this horrific boor of a woman is not there, nor the colleague who invited her. The only thing my friends and I regret is not having the backbone to simply stand and leave the restaurant as soon as the first signs of her complete cretinousness became apparent.

Bullies and boors will implore you to be a “good sport” in response to their grossly inappropriate comments that, in this case, are meant to throw people off balance from the sheer audacity.  Having manners doesn’t mean we have to facilitate, endorse, condone or even tolerate outrageous behavior.   “Polite laughing” is merely a reward.   One has to determine one’s own “line in the sand” and once it’s crossed, it’s time to remove oneself from the situation with as little dramatic hysterics as possible.  Rise from your seat, folding your napkin and placing it by your plate at the same time and announce to your fellow diners, “I’m afraid I no longer have an appetite for the conversation and I bid you all good night.”

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Just Laura June 21, 2012, 10:49 am

    I understand why the OP didn’t immediately leave, but instead turned her chair away. Perhaps she didn’t want to ditch her other colleagues/friends. I probably would have done the same. In fact, I think that her choice to remain silent and show indignation on her face, then obviously ignoring the boor was a great course of action. Why let those sorts of people dictate our evening? I imagine she went on to have a nice conversation with other less vulgar friends in the group.

    I may not be understanding something, but why was the bill higher than anticipated? Staff disliking a patron gives them no legal right to charge extra. Did OP mean that due to the increased tip the bill was higher?

  • Lisa June 21, 2012, 10:52 am

    What a truly horrible woman. I probably would have done the same thing the LW did since I’m still a bit weak in the spine, but I don’t understand how your bill could have been higher than what you calculated. I cannot imagine the waiter adding on items that were not ordered, regardless of what this twit said.

  • AMC June 21, 2012, 10:52 am

    WOW. I was going to say that I don’t understand why people like this *horrible* woman think it’s acceptable to behave and treat others this way, but I do know. They do it because they get away with it. No one stands up to them. No one refuses them service. No one leaves the restaurant or tells them that what they’ve said is hurtful and inappropriate. No one has made them face consequences for their behavior. And so she learns that she can treat people like the get away with it.

  • Cat June 21, 2012, 10:54 am

    A perfect time for the frosty lady stare. You look at the offending party with a look of total shock/horror and then, after an extended period of time has passed, you intone, “I beg your pardon?” Use the same frosty tone. and draw each word out slowly.
    If told you should laugh out of politeness, you give the same stare and inquire,”At what?” Repeat the frosty lady stare.

    To depart,you have my permission to use my line. The wife of a friend made an incredibly rude comment to me in public. After my stare, I said, “You will have to excuse me. I hear my mother calling me.” Mother died in 1972, and this was 1989, but I was sure I heard her call me away from that rude person.

  • Leah D June 21, 2012, 11:01 am

    “…of every known race or cultural group, which she could do because she was “not a racist”, a point she felt she needed to clarify at various times during the night…”

    Me thinks the lady doth protest too much! What a piece of work. I hope that colleague who brought this “woman” has an idea of why she is no longer a part of your dinner outings and doesn’t just think that it’s because she brought an outsider into a work clique.

  • KHR June 21, 2012, 11:05 am

    Dame put it perfectly, and much more polite than I would have. I would have placed the money for my portion on the table, turned off without another word, and left, out of fear that opening my mouth would result in me telling the boor what I really thought of her.

  • Elizabeth June 21, 2012, 11:06 am

    It is a pity that you and others didn’t remove yourselve earlier. By not objecting you become complicit.

    My husband and I attended his high school reunion and a classmate casually made a racist comment about another fellow classmate (a classmate that has far excelled him in educational and professional accomplishment FWIW). I looked at my husband and back at the offender, said ‘excuse me’ and immediately walked away – my husband did the same in under a minute. We were in complete agreement that by remaining in the offender’s presence as were ‘accepting’ his statement and communicating to those around us that we agreed with such racist rubbish. We avoided him for the rest of the evening.

  • LeeLee88 June 21, 2012, 11:23 am

    I usually try to pay for my meals in cash whenever possible, and I see now that my tendency to do this would have a use, because I would have been able to pull out the appropriate amount with tip, and left that experience in the dust. My husband and I have also had the unfortunate experience of meeting new people who turn out to be awful that a friend or a friend of a friend brought along with them, and we’ve fortunately had the good grace to simply get up and leave after one nasty comment too many. It’s the only instance I’ve had so far where I can honestly say that if the offending party can’t figure out why we’re upset, then I’m not going to bother to explain.

  • Ashley June 21, 2012, 11:29 am

    Oh goodness I would have up and left quite early in the evening, and apologized to as many waiters and members of management as I could on the way out.

  • ferretrick June 21, 2012, 11:35 am

    Been there, done that, and, yes you wish you had just walked out afterwords. At a former job, I had to endure such an incredible racist, sexist boor who was our insurance agent. At the time I was being groomed to take over, and I was always taken along to lunch with the agent and the boss I was eventually to replace. Walking out wasn’t an option as it was an employment obligation and I did not have my own car on these excursions. I don’t think I ever got through one of these lunches without this guy saying something I found personally offensive including, but not limited to:

    1) The time he asked me where my house was, and told me that I needed to be careful as African Americans (not the term he used) were “taking over” my neighborhood.
    2) The time he proclaimed in his booming loud voice that every table could hear, “The reason we can’t have a woman president is because they can’t control their hormones!”
    3) The time he told me that he played Santa Claus at local hospitals at Christmas (shudder). He showed me the Santa Claus business cards he had, adn told me that he passed them out to women, saying “If Santa Claus doesn’t bring you what you want for Christmas, you should call me.” He thought this made him Mr Smooth with the ladies.

    I took great pleasure in moving our business to another agent as soon as it became my decision to do so.

  • Barb June 21, 2012, 11:50 am

    I would speak to the colleague who brought her, and tell her to NEVER bring that woman again if she wants to continue going to the monthly get-togethers. Maybe do it as a group, let her know you were ALL flabbergasted and embarrassed at the woman’s behaviour.

  • David June 21, 2012, 11:56 am

    OP, I am absolutely mortified on your (and every other person in the restaurant except the two boors) behalf. It’s such a horrible position to be in, seated with someone who is being a cretin or creating a scene.

    Admin is spot on that the best thing is to remove yourself with minimum drama. If enough people leave, the boor no longer has the audience they desire.

  • Calliope June 21, 2012, 12:10 pm

    I cringed so many times reading this. Of course, you were right not to laugh. In fact, you were right to refrain from engaging this woman at all. I would have loved to give her a piece of my mind, and I’m sure you would have, too, but that wouldn’t have accomplished anything.

  • Leigh June 21, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Wow, OP, I think at the point when you turned your chair I would thrown bean dip in their face and left!

  • Kim June 21, 2012, 12:13 pm

    If someone says “I’m not racist but….” they’re racist (or sexist or homophobic, whatever the case may be).

    This is like a farce. Obviously no one has ever told this woman that she must stop and it is NOT okay for her to talk like this.

    I would like to believe I would have gotten up and left if it was me, but hindsight is 20/20 and it’s rather like watching an accident happen. You watch in horrified fascination even as you know it’s wrong to watch.

  • Jay June 21, 2012, 12:48 pm

    “You should be polite, just to be polite”

    And I’m sure everyone here is aware that the only people who need to point out they aren’t racist are the racists.

  • Carol June 21, 2012, 2:22 pm

    In his book, Soft Pretzels With Mustard, comidian David Brenner told a story of a time when he was out with a bunch of people. One of his friend’s date told a really horrible joke about a crippled person. Everyone was horrified, and shortly after David Brenner excused himself to go to the toilet, and as he walked away, he affected a limp, and embarassed the woman into (hopefully) learning better behaviour. (David Brenner’s date wasn’t pleased though, as now he couldn’t dance, or he’d ruin the lesson.)

    I like to think I’d handle a situation like that well, but it’s one of those things that when you are in the middle of it, it’s hard to think in the midst of the shock. I think the OP did well.

    I do want to add my curiousity as to why the bill would’ve been higher, though.

  • Jenny June 21, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Yes, for the love of all things holy, if you begin a statement with “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic/a man-hater/a woman-hater/prejudiced against x political/social group BUT … ” might as well stop talking there.

  • Shalamar June 21, 2012, 2:57 pm

    If it weren’t for the “you should laugh to be polite” comment, I would’ve thought that Colleague was just as embarrassed and uncomfortable as everyone else. Guess not!

    This reminds me of a party I threw a few years ago. I decided to try to “merge” friends from several parts of my life – something which I’ve found doesn’t usually succeed. So, I invited my work friends and my outside-of-work friends. One of the latter, whom I’ll call Shelly, brought her daughter. Daughter happened to be a bit overweight. One of my work friends, whom I’ll call Jerk, got pretty drunk and proceeded to make a lot of cracks about Daughter’s weight. Over and over and over. Daughter was within earshot and must have heard him (the poor kid!). Shelly, who’d brought a sewing project with her (not sure why, but I didn’t mind), completely ignored Jerk and concentrated on her sewing. When Jerk realized that his comments weren’t getting any reaction, he finally gave up.

    To this day, Shelly and I haven’t spoken beyond a “hi, how are you” if we run into each other, and it’s all my fault. I should have told Jerk to apologize to Shelly and her daughter and shut the hell up. The fact that I didn’t – I just sat there in disbelief, hoping that he’d take the hint and STOP TALKING – is a source of everlasting guilt and shame.

    Meanwhile, one of my other outside-of-work friends, whom I’ll call Tara, got on her soapbox and decided to lecture the entire party on how stupid it is to get your children vaccinated. This is one of her favorite topics, and normally she takes the hint when no-one is really responding to her. This time she seemed to take the bewildered silence as interest and blathered non-stop, ignoring any attempt from anyone to change the subject, until she finally ran out of steam.

    That was not one of my better parties!

  • Cat June 21, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I think the bill was larger because they tipped extra to try to apologize in more than words for subjecting their servers to this woman and her horrible comments.
    I did not think the servers charged more because they were upset. The diners paid more because they were upset.

    To borrow a line from the movie, “Blindside”. It was time for her to go home. Too bad there was no one there to take her to the bus.

  • abbey June 21, 2012, 3:50 pm

    The last time I was in a group setting (happened to be a work dinner with people from a few different companies) and someone said “I’m not racist…..” (in that case followed by the common “..but I’ve noticed that people that are x don’t like/do like a, b, or c…”, I immediately, before the offender could say another horrible thing (that was actually racist), blurted out loudly, “If that is true, then you shouldn’t have to quantify what you are about to say – unless it is actually racist and you just don’t want anyone to call you out on being small minded. I don’t start sentences with “I’m not a man, but….” It is explictily obvious what I am or am not. If you don’t want me to think you are a racist, quit saying racists things!” To my surprise, the a few in the group quietely clapped and they all nodded their head. My outburst was not well planned or even polite…….mind you, we’d been listening to a rather close minded bigot for the better part of two hours open every awful sentence with “I”m not a xxxx, but yyyy are really zzzz” and just couldn’t take any more nore could we really leave the area..I don’t talk about race, god, sex, etc etc at work…I keep to very common and polite topics like the weather, the local team, etc.

  • Emmy June 21, 2012, 4:05 pm

    I think at the first comment I would’ve lost my ability to smile polietly. I probably would’ve said something along the lines of “Obviously you haven’t been sleeping with the right lesbians”, but I can be a tad evil.

    And anyone who feels a need to declare they aren’t something (racist, sexist, homophobic) probably are. I’ve never declared my not racist, my actions show that I’m not.

    I’m not sure about leaving though, if I were the OP I’d probably want to stay to see my other friends and not give the boor the pleasure of chasing me off. I probably would’ve said something along the lines of “I feel I must tell you, you aren’t funny. You’re offensive and there is a huge difference. I don’t want to speak for the group, but I for one am having a very difficult time enjoying myself because of your behaviour. I’m going to ask you polietly to stop, if you don’t I will relocate myself to another table and I invite the others who are tired of your behavior to join me” then I would’ve carried on a conversation with someone else. I tend to believe those who behave this way have never had someone correct their behavior. So much the way you would a toddler, I believe in correcting their behavoir.

  • justme June 21, 2012, 4:45 pm

    I feel silly asking, but what is “bean-dipping”?

  • David June 21, 2012, 5:21 pm

    I believe the op addresses the bill being higher than expected with “I left a higher tip”. I expect that everyone who was offended did the same, as the servers were being given a bad time. Although maybe everyone had an extra drink to block out the horror.

  • Dorothy Bruce June 21, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Bean Dipping is trying to change the subject by bringing up something at least 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

    For the OP, did your co-worker ever get the fact that she is no longer wanted in the monthly get-togethers or is she still just as clueless?

    Frankly, I hope someone told that idiot she would never go again if she brought that nitwit.

  • Lerah99 June 21, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Justme, “bean dipping” is changing the converstaion to a new topic.

    For example:
    Person 1: “Tell me all about your surgery while we eat.”
    Person 2: “Oh you know how those things are. Have you tried this bean dip? Sally brought it…”

    It’s a way to redirect the conversation if someone asks you an inappropriate question or if they are discussing a topic that makes people uncomfortable.

    For Example:
    Person 1: “My new religion is awesome. All of you should joint it. My grand-high-pooh-bah says people of are all half-demon…”
    Person 2: “Sorry to interupt, but have you tried the deviled eggs? Richard is trying out a new recipe and they are devine…”

    Then every time person one tries to direct the conversation back to the uncomfortable topic, you “bean-dip” and route it to something more apporpriate. Hopefully after being cut off 2 or 3 times, the person gets the point and drops their topic completely.

  • Hawkwatcher June 21, 2012, 6:08 pm

    Posters use the term “bean-dipping” to describe changing the topic. For example, if a rude person says something awful to you, you might respond with, “You should really try the bean-dip. It is awesome” to distract the person.

    In this case, I don’t think bean-dipping would have worked.

  • Cat Whisperer June 21, 2012, 6:43 pm

    What AMC said, times 100.

    Boors and bullies (and worse) behave the way they do because the vast majority of people give the boors and bullies a “pass.” Not because they agree with what the boors and bullies do or so, but for other reasons:

    Reluctance to make a scene in public.

    Belief that it would be ruder to call the bully/boor out than to silently suffer through their antics.

    Trying to avoid embarrassing family members or friends who are in the bully/boors’ company at the time.

    Just plain shock and that “this can’t really be happening feeling.”

    At some point, there has to be an adverse consequence for the bully/boor. In this particular case, I would also hope that there is an adverse consequence for the individual who brought the boor to the party. OP, please tell me that someone has had the courage to confront this person and tell her that while she’s certainly free to choose her own company, the rest of the people in the group like to associate with people who are not actively malignant.

  • Just Laura June 21, 2012, 6:47 pm

    “Obviously you haven’t been sleeping with the right lesbians”

    Emmy is my new hero. Jenny is a close second. I feel the same way when someone says, “Sorry, but I think….” or “No offense, but…” Neither of those is a useful way to start a sentence because 1) you’re not actually sorry for your next thought, and 2) you are about to offend someone and you know it.

  • Susan Scatena June 21, 2012, 6:50 pm

    What does, “bean dipping” mean? I never heard of it.

  • Leigh June 21, 2012, 6:58 pm

    just me, bean dipping is politely changing the subject by distraction.

  • RedDevil June 21, 2012, 7:07 pm

    I don’t understand the common theme of “get up and leave” that everyone seems to be so fond of.
    If I’ve arranged to go out to dinner with my friends, and some loud-mouth is attempting to stop me enjoying that experience, why should I be the one to leave?

    I like to think that I’d react in a similar way to the OP – showing my clear and utter disgust whilst maintaining poise and class. (To be honest though, I’d probably collapse and comit several faux-pas by being as rude to her as she was to me. I have a sharp bite when I’m cornered).

  • Cat June 21, 2012, 9:22 pm

    Sometimes behavior speaks far louder than words. To leave is a final action to remove oneself from an intolerable situation. I would not enjoy my friends’ company if I had to listen to this bigot all night.
    The loud-mouths of the world will never leave. They cannot retain friends because of their behavior and a captive audience is their delight.
    There is no point in being overtly rude to these people. If you get down on their level, how do we distinguish between you? All that that will accomplish is that we get to listen to two rude people trying to out-do one another in rude behavior.
    As a matter-of-fact, leaving is used at places where honor is held in high esteem. I remember the story of a West Point Cadet who behaved dishonorably and who refused to resign. When he sat down for lunch, every cadet at his table got up and moved to another table. The message was clear and not a rude word was spoken.

  • SJ June 21, 2012, 10:06 pm

    After the fact, when I’m in similar situations, I always wish I’d said, “Wow. What a rude thing to say.”

    My husband is excellent at not responding when people ask personal questions. When she asked if you’d slept with your fiancé, seriously? NOT anyone’s business. I might have been slightly annoyed with the friend for explaining that you own a home together, too. Not her information to share, especially with a woman who is being so lewd.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith June 21, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Outrageous conduct can certainly be met with a removal of the perpetrator from the future planned gatherings. In this case, the conduct was so egregious that direct social pressure should have been applied. No bean dipping. “Madame, I’ll thank you not to insult our group with your gross generalities about various demographics. If you cannot resist the temptation to speak such unseemly words, have the decency to remove yourself, please!” No one should have spoken to her by the time it became necessary to be so direct. “How dare you insult my friends?” would have been equally appropriate. Pressure could have been brought to bear on the co-worker as well. “Sally, we love our little dinners. But as you know, we don’t speak viciously about anyone.” OP’s bully should be made to leave, not OP or her co-workers. The event wasn’t open to all and sundry but was hosted by the group, whose members have the right to enjoy an evening free of excessive drama and outrage. Bean dip, indeed!

  • nk June 21, 2012, 11:44 pm

    I really don’t think anyone should have had to leave. Why should you have to cut your evening short because of one rude woman? Better to (as many other commenters have suggested) meet each inappropriate question with an icy stare and then change the subject to something more polite. Hopefully it would get through to her eventually and then everyone could still enjoy their night out.

  • PM June 22, 2012, 6:14 am

    After years of putting up with embarrassing, upsetting behavior in public and private from a relative who “didn’t mean it that way,” we cut that person off. And so, I really, really hate it when someone tells me I should “smile and laugh, just to be polite” as someone else is doing something that most of the general population knows is unacceptable. So I just stopped doing it.

    Unfortunately, this does turn some of the negative attention on me, and people say I am being rude to “make a scene,” but it’s better than to stand by and let someone think it’s OK to behave that way.

  • Margo June 22, 2012, 6:18 am

    I think OP’s action in turning her chair away and refusing to engage in further conversation was entirely appropriate. It sent a clear message and she wasn’t rude.

    I think walking out is also an option but it can be very difficult, especailly if you are in a large group; I don’t fault Op for not doing so. There is also the element of not wishingto allow someone who is behaving badly to drive you away. Ignoring them and refusing to engage can be just as effective, and does not also ‘punish’ the non-toxic members of the group.

    I share the hope that someone spoke to the co-worker who invited this woman. It’s hard to think on your feet hen you are in this kind of situatin, but I think that a perfect response to the “you should have laughed to be polite” comment would have been “you / your friend should have refrained from making rascist and offensive comments, to be polite” . .

  • Angel June 22, 2012, 7:17 am

    I probably would have turned my chair around after the feminazi comment, I personally can’t stand people who use terms like this. It is difficult to leave when you are in an entire group of people, and I would have tried to confront the person who brought the offender, after the evening was over.

  • Hemi June 22, 2012, 8:37 am

    Wow, OP- I don’t know how you were able to control yourself for so long. Maybe out of shock?

    Also, I agree with other posters- your evening out should not have to be cut short because of a boor. I think Emmy (comment #21) had an excellent idea- move to another table and invite anyone else who is offended to join you.

    Would it have been rude to ask the boor and the friend who brought her to leave?

  • BathBookworm June 22, 2012, 9:02 am

    Reading this story, I thought of how I would react, probably getting up and leaving or telling her straight to stop being inappropriate. Then I remembered that when I had a similar encounter, I didn’t do any such thing. I work in a garage and a couple of years ago we had a joint Christmas party with another nearby dealership in the same group. I was seated at a table with a woman I get on with, our partners, and a salesman I’d only ever spoken to by phone. He told filthy and racist jokes, made lecherous comments about every woman under the age of 30 (he was in his 40s himself), drew an obscene sketch on a napkin and showed it round the table, and worst of all, shouted ‘Love you long time’ when an Asian waitress walked by. We tried to tell him to be quiet, distract him with food, crackers, disposable cameras, telling him to go to talk to other tables, turning our chairs away. He just didn’t seem to get it. On the train on the way home, my boyfriend said ‘How is that man even still alive if he behaves like that everywhere?’ The truth is that he is oblivious to how bad his behaviour is because nobody wants to make a scene. We have not had a joint party since and everyone knows why, except him.

  • Frequent Flyer June 22, 2012, 9:25 am

    The OP could have moved to a different table, inviting those similarly inclined to join her.

  • Smiling Charmer June 22, 2012, 9:35 am

    I think OP behaved very well given the circumstances. Sometimes we`re so appalled we can`t think well and decide what to do.

    I have a doubt/question. Here`s an extract from E-hell Dame comment:

    “Rise from your seat, folding your napkin and placing it by your plate at the same time and announce to your fellow diners,”

    I`m from South America, and in my country it is considered impolite to fold a napkin that has already been used – one may think it`s been unused and use it. In the US, is it expected of a diner to fold back the napkin?


  • Kirsten June 22, 2012, 11:31 am

    I’m a big fan of “I can’t believe you would say something so rude/personal/whatever. You must be so embarrassed!”

  • Calliope June 22, 2012, 11:59 am

    Smiling Charmer, no, it’s not expected to fold a napkin after using it. I think it was suggested here for dramatic effect.

  • Mabel June 22, 2012, 12:06 pm


    OP did not have to bean dip this woman. She should definitely be excluded from future gatherings. There is no reason why the group should have to put up with that sort of behavior. I think someone should explain it in private to the coworker. “From now on, we’re limiting our gatherings to just the group.” If she says anything about her rude friend, they could just say “Well, her remarks made everyone extremely uncomfortable and I think I speak for everyone when I say we would rather not be subjected to that again.” If coworker has a problem with it, let her hang out with Boor by themselves.

  • June June 22, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Moving the chair away is easier than leaving, and it gets the same point across.
    I’ve found in some situations playing dumb works. As in, “Oh, dear! I don’t think you realize how ignorant that sounded!” or “I must have heard you wrong. It sounded like you said xx group always does yy.” Blinking a lot and looking baffled helps with this.
    The nice part about playing dumb is that the person is chastised without getting confrontational.
    And I like the idea of responding to “I’m not a racist but…” with “Really? That sounded pretty racist to me.”

  • Roslyn June 22, 2012, 1:21 pm

    When she said to laugh to “just be polite” you could always give her the “stare” and reply

    “There is nothing funny coming out of that woman’s mouth.”

    and then turn the chair.

  • Lisa June 22, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Count me among those who think the OP shouldn’t have to cut her evening short just because someone is being a donkey. There are plenty of ways to express your displeasure with the comments being made without having to leave. I think the OP did just fine turning her chair away and I would have been very obvious about turning my attention to the people with whom she was trying to enjoy dinner.

  • Smiling Charmer June 22, 2012, 7:31 pm

    @Calliope – thank you!!

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