General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Getting scolded because of a conversation I'm trying to shut down

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doodlemor:
I too think that the other woman is setting you up.  She may subconsciously feel that you are more attractive and will get more attention because of your youth.  I bet that you are "competition" in some part of her mind.

Since this has happened 3 times, I would be tempted to not look at her when she makes the comments, but smile just a bit and say "Not now."  I might say it again once - very tersely, and thereafter ignore the irrelevant comments about clothing.  Saying "Later" would work, also.

JenJay:
I would have a quiet word with the other lady and say "Remember the other day when Boss scolded us for talking about shoes? I realize you were only paying me a quick compliment, but since that was actually the third time he'd got on us for talking about clothes I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't ask me about my wardrobe around any coworkers. Thanks."

If she does it again you can say "I'd rather not discuss that right now. So anyway, about the demo..."

bopper:
He may or may not have been saying "Ladies!" because he was directing his comments at her and didn't want to particularly call her out.

Another thing you could say to the boss is that "Something happened at the demo the other day that I wanted to talk to you about. Cow-irker out of the blue asked me about my shoes.  I was concentrating on the demo but to be polite I said "Yes, they were a gift" and then was going to redirect the conversation to something work related. However, before I could do that you chimed in.  How should I handle that kind of thing from her in the future?  Just say, "Cowirker, now is not the time?" or acknowledge her and then move on? I am trying to maintain my coworker relationships but I cannot control when she asks me non-work related questions."

Hmmmmm:
OK, I'm curious. Do the men ever talk about non-work related issues? Is there ever "Hey Scott, did you watch the game last night?" or other chit chat?

Is she being scolded because she is bringing up non-work related topics or is it that she is bringing up a topic that the male dominated field doesn't feel is worthy of chitchat?

Either way, in your position, try to see her early in the morning so can get any of her comments out in private and if she does make one in a group setting keep your response short with a simple "Thanks"

GreenBird:
I'd try catching her alone after a meeting and saying, "Hey, let's keep any fashion talk to the break room - I really prefer to stay on-topic during meetings".  I like this because it's stating your preference rather than blaming boss's preference, and makes it clear that you want to stay on-topic in all meetings, not just ones where Boss is present.  It sounds like in your workplace and field of work, this is going to be a good stance to take regardless of who is present.

During meetings, I'd immediately redirect her.  If she says "Nice shoes!", just say "Later.  Boss was just about to show us the demo/the meeting is about to start/as I was saying" and go right back to the subject of the meeting.  Don't be pulled into responding about the shoes (not even to thank her for the compliment); just make it clear you're totally focused on the meeting.

If she keeps it up, I'd switch to "Let's stay on topic here" and going right back to the subject of the meeting.  Basically you're beating Boss to the punch and redirecting her before he can express annoyance and redirect/scold both of you.

After an in-meeting redirect, you could catch her in the break room later and say, "Hey, thanks for noticing my shoes - but I just really prefer to stay on-topic during meetings.  Let's keep any fashion talk to the break room."  It softens it a little while still stating the boundary. 

Although overall I might keep fashion talk at this workplace to a minimum even in the break room, since it doesn't seem to fit in well with the workplace culture.   

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