Author Topic: "You just haven't met the right man"  (Read 13069 times)

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BeautifulDisaster

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"You just haven't met the right man"
« on: September 06, 2012, 02:06:06 PM »
This going here because it's dealing with a coworker. In my personal life I would just disengage and cut the person off.

A coworker (Bee) is currently on maternity leave and came in today to show off the baby. She and another coworker (Sandy) were talking and she said something about how it was mine or other coworker's (Hailey) turn to have one.

It's a very well known fact to Sandy and Hailey that I am not, will not, under any circumstances ever have children. For a variety of reasons. They know this because we socialize outside of work and it's something that's come up as a topic of conversation as Sandy has children and Hailey eventually, one day would like to have one or two. Bee knows this because she heard Hailey and I discussing it one day.

So Sandy says it'll be Hailey because I'm not ever going to. Which is fine. She's doing it because before Bee went on mat. leave she would always tell me "oh you'll change your mind!" or "I didn't want children until I met my husband" or "I didn't want children until I got pregnant" (...after spending thousands and thousands on fertility treatments). So Sandy was trying to shut that line of thought down without shutting down the conversation completely.

Bee turns to me and says, and I quote, "You don't want children because you haven't met the right man for you."

I am married. I have been happily married for a few years. She knows this, she's met my husband.

I kind of stared at her, blinked twice and said "I can't believe you just said that", then turned my back to her and made a work related phone call.

To be perfectly honest I'm offended. I don't think I did anything wrong THIS time, but if comments like this continue I'm afraid I'm going to say something not very nice.

So how do I deal with her? Do I keep saying things like "I can't believe you just said that" or "What an interesting assumption" and cutting her off by continuing with my work? Or is there something else I can say/do to shut her down completely?

And what about outside of work? The office as a whole gets together outside of work every few months just to hang out and enjoy ourselves, especially around the holidays.

I work for a very laid back company. Discussing our personal lives and our families is part of our day. And up until this person was hired we all got along pretty dang well. This one person is managing to aggravate everybody but her managers (she has different managers then I do, my manager rocks) and the VP (who thinks she's the greatest thing to ever happen to the company).

Twik

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 02:17:59 PM »
It's an unfortunate fact of human nature that people, at a deep level of their psyche, assume that what makes them happy would make other people just as happy, whether it's a child, a particular career, or possessions (or lack of them). While most of us realize that this is not a logical belief, and learn to tolerate other peoples' differences, there will always be people who can't get beyond "It's good for me, so it will be good for you." Someone who tells a married woman that she "hasn't met the right man yet" is clearly not someone whose cup of sensitivity is overflowing.

I'm afraid that, laid-back company or not, discussing your personal life at work is going to have to go by the wayside as long as she's around. If you can't, "I can't believe you said that!" in horrified tones is about the only thing that's likely to work - subtlety is pretty likely to woosh over this woman's head.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 02:40:33 PM by Twik »
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Moray

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 02:21:55 PM »
OP, I think you handled this beautifully. Hopefully your coworker will realize she put her foot in it and apologize, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
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artk2002

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 02:24:52 PM »
I kind of stared at her, blinked twice and said "I can't believe you just said that", then turned my back to her and made a work related phone call.

Perfect response!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

DavidH

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 02:27:11 PM »
I suppose saying, "Thank you for that insight, you're absolutely right.  I'm going to call my husband right now and tell him we're getting divorced so I can meet the right man who will inspire in me the desire for children." would be rude.

Your response was fine, or you could be more explicit and ask if she really meant to imply your husband wasn't the right man for you.

TootsNYC

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 03:30:10 PM »
If it comes up again w/ her, I think you don't bother w/ hints, etc., and instead go straight to the core, directly and matter-of-factly. And a friendly tone.

"Bee, I'm going to ask you not to pursue this line of conversation with me. We don't have similar outlooks, and I end up angry if you seem to completely dismiss mine. It's best if we simply do not discuss it together. I'm very happy that you're so happy with your baby. He sure is cute, and I can tell how much you love him."

And then if she returns to it, say, "Bee, I've asked you not to pursue this line of conversation with me."

hobish

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 03:47:21 PM »
If it comes up again w/ her, I think you don't bother w/ hints, etc., and instead go straight to the core, directly and matter-of-factly. And a friendly tone.

"Bee, I'm going to ask you not to pursue this line of conversation with me. We don't have similar outlooks, and I end up angry if you seem to completely dismiss mine. It's best if we simply do not discuss it together. I'm very happy that you're so happy with your baby. He sure is cute, and I can tell how much you love him."

And then if she returns to it, say, "Bee, I've asked you not to pursue this line of conversation with me."

I would add that the next time she pushed we would be meeting with HR. I don't take dealing with HR lightly, but those kind of comments would have me feeling harrassed (and violent).
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Diane AKA Traska

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 03:58:15 PM »
::Gape::
EvilTraska:  ::Gape::

This is the first time ever we've agreed.

So I'm forced to go to SnarkyTraska:  "Well, I tried, but your husband said that the one you've got is enough for him."
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WillyNilly

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2012, 05:05:02 PM »
So wait you didn't haul back your arm and slap her into next week with a force that would leave a cheek welt well into the child's college years?  I think then, your response was very good and amazingly even tempered.  And you are excused from ever speaking to her beyond the required work related conversations and few 'keep the peace' exchanged pleasantries.

Pippen

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2012, 05:27:04 PM »
It seems to be one of those stock phrases people throw about without thinking. She is probably so wrapped up in her own little world others lives just fade into the background. Did she realise her mammoth blunder at all?

I can almost visualize the smug, condescending delivery of her comment.

BeautifulDisaster

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2012, 09:13:20 PM »
I'm glad for the affirmation that I did good. I wanted to say some not so nice things, but remembered I was in the middle of my office so needed to behave myself.

Pippen - I honestly don't know if she did. I suddenly became VERY absorbed in leaving a voicemail for one of our customers and just pretended she wasn't there until she left.

I already found her incredibly annoying - this just pushed it over the top. I now have absolutely no interest in being anything beyond coldly, professionally polite to her. I had already cut way down on the amount of things I shared with other people when she was in earshot that didn't directly relate to work, when she comes back next month I intend to cut that down even more.

She's got a very strong "cheerleader" type personality and wants to be involved in everything and everyone's work (yet...there are some of her own tasks she has weaseled her way out of doing). The problem is she's so self absorbed she does a horrible job at relating to other coworkers (on a personal and professional level).


violinp

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2012, 09:16:02 PM »
Say WHAT.  >:(  :o   ???

Your answer was perfect, OP.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


magician5

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 09:28:00 PM »
I work for a very laid back company. Discussing our personal lives and our families is part of our day.

I don't care. Stop sharing so much - at least, when a co-worker starts misusing what are really confidences.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

LEMon

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 09:40:15 PM »
I'd like to say, "three cheers for Sandy for standing up for you."  I love it when someone else understands your point of view well enough to defend it.

Coolly, professionally polite is the way to go with Bee.  But I suspect she will wonder (possibly outloud) "why, oh, why doesn't she like me?"

snowdragon

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Re: "You just haven't met the right man"
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2012, 12:07:28 AM »
you were nicer than I could have been...I want to calmly and cooly reach through the screen and strangle some sense into her.
 >:D

There is something wrong with that woman.