Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: lynnetteleigh on March 13, 2013, 02:16:45 PM

Title: "You look tired"
Post by: lynnetteleigh on March 13, 2013, 02:16:45 PM
I have a lighter complexion in addition to having my under eye area be darker than the average person. I think this causes people to think I am tired when I'm actually very well rested.

So just now I'm walking down the hallway at work and had this conversation with a coworker who I rarely see and have had very minimal socializing with.

CW: "You look tired"
Me:"Well I don't feel very tired"
at this point I had turned and started walking away
CW: "Well you look tired"
Then I kind of zoned him out but heard him say something else and another coworker laughing. I'm guessing at the way I reacted to it.

I have had many other say this to me in the past. The most memorable was at the reception for my wedding when a neighbor of mine said it to me. Maybe if it seemed to be more from a place of concern I would be more ok with it. Like "You look tired, have you been sleeping ok?". However when it's just that statement it automatically makes me feel very self conscious of my darker under eyes. Plus in my mind it always just sounds like "You look awful".

Am I wrong in my thinking that this "You look tired" statement is rude? Am I just dragging my own personal issue into this and being too sensitive?

Also what are some good responses to this statement? I'm not really satisfied with my response today.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Yvaine on March 13, 2013, 02:21:46 PM
I've read a number of different articles advising people not to say this--all it does is make the person feel like they look awful, whether they're actually tired or not! I don't know if it's technically rude but it's probably best avoided unless maybe it's a really close relationship. I think your response was fine.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: daen on March 13, 2013, 02:25:20 PM
I'm reminded of a quote from a book (I believe it was The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy), where one character says to another "You look tired," and the other says something to the effect of "That's what you say when you mean 'You look old.'"
I've associated the two ever since reading that, whether or not the speaker means it that way. Sadly, it doesn't always stop me from saying it, but I'm getting better at keeping the phrase in.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: MorgnsGrl on March 13, 2013, 02:33:02 PM
I think it's one of those things best left unsaid! I get a lot of "You've been in the sun!" because I have rosacea and my cheeks appear to be permanently flushed. I HATE people commenting on it. I'm self-conscious enough about it as it is. "You look tired" doesn't really translate into anything positive, so people should keep the thought to themselves.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Bexx27 on March 13, 2013, 02:50:56 PM
I get this a lot, too, for the same reason. I agree it's a rude comment unless it's based on something about the person's behavior, such as yawning, rather than appearance. I think your response was good. I've responded in a variety of ways:

"I'm fine. How are you?"
"No, I actually slept really well last night!"
"Yes, I am. I didn't sleep well because of [cats/child/nightmares/vampire attacks]."
"You look tired, too."  >:D
"No, I always have dark circles under my eyes." (I wouldn't recommend this one. I thought it would shut them up by getting them to realize they're calling me ugly, but some shameless people start asking me about allergies, etc.  ::))
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: TurtleDove on March 13, 2013, 02:54:42 PM
I think it is something that should not be said, and I can see how it would be hurtful.  While I hope this doesn't ever come up again, you could try a response along the lines of a bright, "Thanks!"  Make light of it and try to let it slip off your back.  You aren't likely to change people who say this to you or get through to them, so the best approach I have found to similar situations is to just not let it bother me (even I know I am justified in being bothered).  Make light, and revel in your well-restedness (FWIW, I am jealous of your well restedness)!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 13, 2013, 02:57:48 PM
I've always heard that "You look tired" means "You look old" so I just avoid saying it.   

I used to get someone who always said "You look pale, are you okay?" every single day.  I'm fair skinned so I'd just say "I'm always pale, bean dip?"
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Faerydust on March 13, 2013, 03:07:26 PM
I really hate this because I have dark shadows around and under my eyes due to my bone structure that cannot be disguised with makeup so I forever have a "tired" look. I have people tell me I look tired ALL of the time and it's usually when I'm actually feeling quite well and energetic!

Here's a picture: http://i48.tinypic.com/34pgunt.jpg

I almost want to get plastic surgery some day.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Softly Spoken on March 13, 2013, 04:45:36 PM
I'm reminded of a quote from a book (I believe it was The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy), where one character says to another "You look tired," and the other says something to the effect of "That's what you say when you mean 'You look old.'"
I've associated the two ever since reading that, whether or not the speaker means it that way. Sadly, it doesn't always stop me from saying it, but I'm getting better at keeping the phrase in.

I have to admit the thread title makes me think of the first place I heard it: the movie "The Birdcage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTlpVCksDMM) (35 seconds in)"

Armand: I didn't mean anything by it, I just meant you looked tired.
Albert: "You look tired" means "You look old" and "You look rested" means "You've had collagen."
 ;D

Anyway, I can sympathize OP because I too have pale skin and relentless dark under my eyes.

However, I've never taken "you look tired" as an insult because I interpret it as a show of concern. People who know me have said it occasionally, not as critique on my physical appearance but because they are maybe noticing that I'm not my usual energy level, or slower to respond, or quieter in conversation...etc. I also have no poker face whatsoever. So they are wondering if I had a bad night, since for my personality that is more likely that being up all night partying. ;D

If someone I wasn't as familiar with brought it up in conversation as OP described I would be irked because they were not close enough to me to be entitled to speculate on it.

No one looks good when they are tired, so it's not a good thing to say to someone as a general observation. IMHO pointing out people's seeming shortcomings, or otherwise speculating on aspects of their personal life (like how much sleep they get or what they do at night) without an invitation to do so, is impolite as a general rule. Instead people should stick to broader questions like "How are you?"
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: I'mnotinsane on March 13, 2013, 04:48:06 PM
No advice, just empathy.  A former boss used to tell me that I looked tired....every time I neglected to wear eye makeup.  Gee, thanks!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: oceanus on March 13, 2013, 04:58:25 PM
Okay to say to a spouse, close family member, or sometimes a very close friend........

but not a co-worker.

Best left unsaid: 1)You look tired 2) Have you gaimed weight? 3) What happened to your hair?
All rude, imo.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: MommyPenguin on March 13, 2013, 05:12:34 PM
I resemble pictures of Anne Frank (especially when I was young) and would get that, too.  From my husband it's okay, because he knows what I look like.  From anybody else, I think it's impolite.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: lisastitch on March 13, 2013, 05:12:47 PM
"You look tired" said by a close friend or family member, with concern in his/her voice, is one thing.  To me, it's giving you an opening to say, "I didn't sleep well last night because I was worried about . . .", rather than asking you, "Is everything all right?"  when you didn't sleep well because the cat kept jumping on you. 
I think most of my coworkers and I could say it to one another, but it's a small group, we work closely together, and relationships are good.
However, it's something I'd hesitatel to say to people in general.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Promise on March 13, 2013, 05:28:49 PM
I just respond with, "That's an interesting assumption." Because then what can they say? Will they say, you have dark circles? Will they say, "Your face is droopy?" What will it be? It puts the ball back in their court without you having to defend/reply. If they say, "You have dark circles," then you can just go, "Hmm," and go on your way.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: CrochetFanatic on March 13, 2013, 05:37:17 PM
I think it's kind of rude, too.  I've never been really upset by a generic "You look tired", especially if it's said with some concern, but I do find it to be rather irritating.  I either say "No, I'm fine" or "Maybe a little...bean dip?"

I'm pale as well (I don't tan, I burn), and the dark circles under my own eyes, which never go away, have drawn a lot of comments.  I had someone whom I hadn't known for long mention a foundation that was supposed to be "really great for that".  I think she meant well, but I didn't really appreciate it.

I also got told, "Late night at the bar, huh?" a few times.  Since it was by someone I knew very well, and definitely wasn't meant maliciously, I responded with a smirk and a "Who blabbed?"  >:D
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: bansidhe on March 13, 2013, 06:19:31 PM
I really hate this because I have dark shadows around and under my eyes due to my bone structure that cannot be disguised with makeup so I forever have a "tired" look. I have people tell me I look tired ALL of the time and it's usually when I'm actually feeling quite well and energetic!

Here's a picture: http://i48.tinypic.com/34pgunt.jpg

I almost want to get plastic surgery some day.

You don't look tired. You look mysterious and exotic.  :)

I haven't regarded "You look tired" as a rude comment when it's been said to me; however - and this is a major "however" - multiple people don't say it to me all the time because of some physical trait I have. If that were the case, yes, I'd be annoyed. I get "You look pale. Are you feeling OK?" instead, to which I usually respond "I look pale today and every day, no matter how I'm feeling."

I don't see anything wrong with the way the OP handled the comment and the co-worker was incredibly rude making his followup comment. Actually, the more I think about it the ruder it seems. I would have been hard pressed not to respond with something like "Well, you look like a boor."  >:(

Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Onyx_TKD on March 13, 2013, 07:14:14 PM
I think it's the kind of comment that it's best to avoid. I'm sure it's usually said out of good intentions, as an expression of concern, but can just backfire in multiple ways and there are plenty of other ways to ask how someone is doing. If the speaker is mistaken and the person isn't tired, it can makes them self-conscious about their appearance and get annoying if it happens often. But even if the person is tired, it can backfire. Someone once commented to me on how exhausted I looked. In that case, they were actually correct that I was tired--I was swamped with finals and projects due and I had too little sleep for days. But by the time they commented, that was all finished. I'd gotten to take a nap, had just attended a very pleasant performance of a play (we were chatting afterward), and was feeling great compared to the previous few days. So the comment was just disconcerting and made me wonder if I really looked that bad.  :(
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: KB on March 13, 2013, 07:15:50 PM
I really hate this because I have dark shadows around and under my eyes due to my bone structure that cannot be disguised with makeup so I forever have a "tired" look. I have people tell me I look tired ALL of the time and it's usually when I'm actually feeling quite well and energetic!

Here's a picture: http://i48.tinypic.com/34pgunt.jpg

I almost want to get plastic surgery some day.

Not sure if this will be a consolation (depending on your POV) but your eyes remind me a great deal of Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice, who I think is one of the prettiest brunettes I've ever seen.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 13, 2013, 07:38:03 PM
I had a coworker tell me I looked tired one day.  He was being sweet; it wasn't a dig or anything.

That night just happened to be our Christmas party.  He came with his wife and I managed to work it into the conversation that I'd gone home after work and put on some make-up because coworker told me I looked like s*** earlier.  He had this look on his face and then I laughed.  His wife laughed at him, too, and informed him that you never told a woman that she looked tired.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Emmy on March 13, 2013, 08:41:38 PM
I get that occasionally too.  It is especially deflating if I am feeling fine or better than average.  I find make-up helps me, it disguises the circles and emphasizes the more positive features. 

Somebody actually said I looked tired in a picture.  Of course this same person asked if I was 'as big as a house yet' when I was pregnant with DD so tact isn't his strong suit.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 13, 2013, 09:20:57 PM
I think it's a silly and pointless thing to say.

If the person really IS tired, they'll know full well that they probably look tired.

If the person is NOT tired, they'll feel terrible and self-conscious!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 13, 2013, 09:32:33 PM
I have nearly translucent pale skin, so the veins under my eyes on my forearms and legs show through all the time. I think it is human nature to make inane comments, but I do find it thoughtless, if not rude.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: KenveeB on March 13, 2013, 10:20:27 PM
I ranted about this on FB the other day. I said, "Unless you're about to offer me caffeine or a nap, DON'T tell me I look tired!" It's one of those annoying comments that doesn't achieve anything and just makes the other person feel self-conscious. At least standing alone. It can be okay if it's something like, "You look tired, let me handle this for you"!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Quest_ on March 14, 2013, 01:18:35 AM
Oh, I hate it! I will often get this comment if I've gone to work makeup-free (pale skin + naturally dark under-eye area). It doesn't just annoy me, it can also make me feel quite sad because it feels like I'm only pretty with makeup on.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: perpetua on March 14, 2013, 01:33:35 AM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: ebelie on March 14, 2013, 02:55:56 AM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

I take it as a well meaning show of concern when people tell me I look tired, but that's only because I don't normally have dark circles under my eyes.  I appreciate friends and family noticing when I'm run down and in need of help, or at least some sympathy.

On the other hand, acquaintances are constantly commenting on my shaky hands and asking if I'm okay or if I'm nervous (I'm fine and I'm not, but thanks for making me feel self conscious).  That gets annoying, so I have sympathy for people who naturally have shadows around their eyes. 

In summary, I think it's a comment that should be saved for people that you know quite well, see regularly and you're sure that it's out of the ordinary for them to look like that.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: crella on March 14, 2013, 04:52:23 AM
I too, have natural darkish circles under my eyes. I just cover them up when I go out. I burn easily and so wear sunscreen daily anyway, and I mix in a bit of foundation. People always said 'You look tired' , I got it all the time so figured I'd just avoid it.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on March 14, 2013, 06:28:17 AM
Now I have said to someone "You sound tired" and have had it said to me when I was legitimately tired.  Like a PP, I don't have much of a poker face at all and pretty much wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Heck, my best friend can accurately guess my expressions over the phone by the tone of my voice.  So I'm very expressive, I guess.

About 3 years ago I worked at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and after my first day working there I called my best friend. Now when I'm really tired I have a hard time finishing sentences.  So I was chatting with my friend as I was trying to find my van and was saying things like "Well I just need to find my-my-oh there it is. Van, yeah, found the....van." So yeah, I was tired.

When I went down to Paris Island to see DH when he graduated from boot camp, after the ceremony we were walking along arm in arm and he looked at me and said "You look exhausted." And in all truth, I was. I was so excited to see him that I hadn't slept well in the previous few days. So I wasn't offended. 
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Emmy on March 14, 2013, 06:42:08 AM
Oh, I hate it! I will often get this comment if I've gone to work makeup-free (pale skin + naturally dark under-eye area). It doesn't just annoy me, it can also make me feel quite sad because it feels like I'm only pretty with makeup on.

I have a job that I usually go make-up free, but will wear make-up for meeting and conferences.  I've had somebody actually say "you are attractive with make-up, you look like a different person".  Seriously.  Great to know that I am ugly without it.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: KenveeB on March 14, 2013, 07:19:48 AM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

I definitely know it's a statement of concern, but the person is only concerned because you look bad. I don't take it as an insult, but it's annoying when you're not tired and an extra kick when you are and are trying to work through it!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: CrochetFanatic on March 14, 2013, 07:39:55 AM
I don't know why, but I actually kind of like the shadows under my eyes.  I've always had them.  I tried covering them up with make-up when I was younger, but I never liked the feel of it on my skin, and it's hard to match my skin tone.  I tend to keep my eyes downcast anyway, because I'm always tripping over something.  So...I always look tired.  ;D

I saw the picture too, and the only thing I really noticed was that it was quite a close-up.  Don't worry about what other people think; you look fine!  :)
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: LadyDyani on March 14, 2013, 07:42:56 AM
I think when someone says you look tired, it's a way of giving you permission to vent.  They're expecting you to spend a few seconds complaining about the baby not letting you sleep, or insomnia or whatever.  And then they can vent in agreement.

They want to share a bit of misery, and in the process, feel a bit closer.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: 25wishes on March 14, 2013, 08:14:27 AM
I find it impolite to comment negatively or ambiguously on someone else's appearance. I have an acquaintance who notices EVERY SINGLE TIME I have a cold sore and comments on it. WHY??? I know I have a cold sore, why is it a matter for conversation?


Instead of "you look tired" how about just "How have you been?"
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: lynnetteleigh on March 14, 2013, 09:04:17 AM
I find it impolite to comment negatively or ambiguously on someone else's appearance. I have an acquaintance who notices EVERY SINGLE TIME I have a cold sore and comments on it. WHY??? I know I have a cold sore, why is it a matter for conversation?


Instead of "you look tired" how about just "How have you been?"

This reminded me of a similar experience I had in middle school. I used to have a lot of bad breakouts at that age and I remember one time I covered up a fairly large pimple with some concealer/foundation.

My "best friend" said "I can tell you tried to cover up a pimple". It wasn't out of concern. Or to tell me a better technique in doing so. It was just her letting me know that my cover up hadn't fooled her.

She ceased being my friend for her many comments similar to this through the years.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: lynnetteleigh on March 14, 2013, 09:28:13 AM
After thinking about it I think another part of my negative reaction to this statement is that I feel put on the spot. If someone asks "How are you doing?" I can respond with a fairly short answer and then ask the same of them. Or depending on the level of relationship I could then bring up my tiredness and vent.

When someone states that I "look tired" then I feel the need to explain why I am tired or that I am actually well rested. When I typically wouldn't go into that much detail with this person. Plus I tend to start fumbling for what to say when I'm thinking "do I really look that bad?" in the back of my head.

And a sidenote.. like others I had a few occasions where I in my rush to get out of the house I forgot my makeup. My one male manager noticed every time and would mention how bad I looked. I started doing it on purpose when I was sick so he would be more sympathetic to letting me go home early.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: perpetua on March 14, 2013, 09:35:10 AM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

I definitely know it's a statement of concern, but the person is only concerned because you look bad. I don't take it as an insult, but it's annoying when you're not tired and an extra kick when you are and are trying to work through it!

But they're not saying 'You look ugly' or 'you look unattractive'. Tired /= these things, in my mind, so that's what I don't understand. It's not an insult or a slur.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: KenveeB on March 14, 2013, 10:24:56 AM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

I definitely know it's a statement of concern, but the person is only concerned because you look bad. I don't take it as an insult, but it's annoying when you're not tired and an extra kick when you are and are trying to work through it!

But they're not saying 'You look ugly' or 'you look unattractive'. Tired /= these things, in my mind, so that's what I don't understand. It's not an insult or a slur.

No, it's saying you, well, look tired. As opposed to how you normally look. I don't consider it the same degree as "you look ugly" by any means, but it's certainly not a positive or even neutral statement!
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 14, 2013, 12:53:28 PM
I only ever say this to DH, DS or someone to whom I'm close.  I have what I call a "permanent flush" across my cheeks.  It's not rosacea or any other type of skin condition (I've been tested for everything).  My dad says I have "Welsh redness".  When people ask me if I got sunburned I respond with "Nope, Welsh!".
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Bijou on March 14, 2013, 04:33:15 PM
In most situations it seems a pointless thing to say.  Unless someone is my sister, best friend, parent, spouse/SO or someone who really cares about me and are concerned, I don't need to hear it. 
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: crella on March 14, 2013, 07:26:49 PM
I had never heard of this being rude until I came to this forum. Where I live, it would almost always be interpreted as a show of concern, not an insult about how you look.

Personally, I find it irritating when it's repetitive. My mother said it to me all my life. She, of all people, should have known I was not tired, I was sleeping under her roof   :D for a good number of those years. She continued to say it. Co-workers too, once told that I'm not tired, that I just have naturally dark areas under my eyes, could stop but don't. What does it accomplish?
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Captain Hastings on March 15, 2013, 12:31:14 AM
I consider myself a fairly laid-back, self-confident person, but the tired comment makes me feel violent and hideous.

I, too, have very dark, very permanent circles around my very deep-set, shadowy eyes. I used to get the tired comment constantly and (I'm sure I've mentioned this here before!) when I was a teenager somebody asked me if my boyfriend beat me and ooohhh, that's stayed with me for a long time.

Don't ever say this to anyone, especially awkward teenage girls who are already in a constant panic about the way they look.

I've come to terms with so much about myself and am happier than I've ever been, but the dark circles are my last insecure holdout. I really feel that when I can cheerfully leave the house without a thick coating of concealer on my eyes will be the day I have achieved true inner peace.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on March 15, 2013, 05:36:40 AM
I really hate this because I have dark shadows around and under my eyes due to my bone structure that cannot be disguised with makeup so I forever have a "tired" look. I have people tell me I look tired ALL of the time and it's usually when I'm actually feeling quite well and energetic!

Here's a picture: http://i48.tinypic.com/34pgunt.jpg

I almost want to get plastic surgery some day.

Pretty eyes  :-*
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: menley on March 15, 2013, 08:46:18 AM
I often find that men say "you look tired!" to me when I'm not wearing eyeliner or mascara.  It definitely reinforces my belief that I need to wear makeup daily :)
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: Tea Drinker on March 15, 2013, 08:51:03 AM
I often find that men say "you look tired!" to me when I'm not wearing eyeliner or mascara.  It definitely reinforces my belief that I need to wear makeup daily :)

Alternatively, since the men who are commenting aren't wearing eyeliner or mascara either, a smiling "Thanks for noticing, so do you" might be in order.

I have no objection to people wearing makeup if they want to (because they like how it looks on them, or enjoy playing with it, or for any other reason). I do object to people, especially those who would never wear it themselves, pressuring others of us to do so.
Title: Re: "You look tired"
Post by: wyliefool on March 15, 2013, 09:24:26 AM
I have a lighter complexion in addition to having my under eye area be darker than the average person. I think this causes people to think I am tired when I'm actually very well rested.

So just now I'm walking down the hallway at work and had this conversation with a coworker who I rarely see and have had very minimal socializing with.

CW: "You look tired"
Me:"Well I don't feel very tired" :chirpily: Thanks, you too!  >:D
at this point I had turned and started while walking away
CW: "Well you look tired"
Then I kind of zoned him out but heard him say something else and another coworker laughing. I'm guessing at the way I reacted to it.