News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 21, 2017, 12:54:00 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Mean girls  (Read 14467 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Coralline

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
Mean girls
« on: May 29, 2015, 08:13:21 PM »
My DH works in a high profile industry. About a year and a half ago he was offered a job with something very recognizable and popular. It's really cool, he's been building up to this for years. The downside is a group of 4 or 5 "superfans". There's a main ringleader who took an immediate dislike to me and is making our lives very hard. The ringleader is the epitome of a high school "mean girl" (even though she's in her 50s) - she only does things where other people can't see it happen.

I work in a complimentary industry and have looked after certain aspects of DH's career for a long time. Within 6 months of him getting this job his employers approached me to do the same type of work for them, which was surprising and exciting for me. This has made the "superfans" even more of a problem.

If I'm at one of his events and by myself they will surround me and ask me very inappropriate questions. I've tried the "that's an interesting assumption" response, but it just seems to make them realize that I'm uncomfortable, so they get more persistent. I've found that if I stick with the other people he works with the women don't do anything, but it's not the best solution and I can't do it when they're working.

They also like to corner my DH when I'm not there and indirectly criticize me . They pretend that they don't know that I'm doing the work, and they complain about how bad it is to him (he defends me, he's lovely). It drives him crazy. He's started to sneak out after events to avoid them. It's sucking the fun out of what should be a really enjoyable job.

They can't ban these women from events because, although they're annoying, they haven't actually done anything provable. They just look like very loyal, long time supporters.

I've talked to DH about me trying to make friends with the nasty women, but he doesn't think that will work (also, yuk). Apart from just not turning up (which hurts my work), or hiding when I'm there, does anyone have any ideas about what I can do to make this situation easier for us both?

I should also say that because of the nature of his work we've both dealt with inappropriate or slightly obsessed people over time, but this is the first time things have become really difficult and persistent. It's been 18 months now and we don't see any sign of this slowing down. It's bizarre.

Black Delphinium

  • The Black Flower
  • Member
  • Posts: 7960
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 08:23:16 PM »
Have you tried being vapidly, the-only-light-in-her-eyes-is-from-the-window-behind-her clueless? Just totally pretending you don't get what they're trying to say? It would take away from giving them the rise they're looking for.
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas

TootsNYC

  • Member
  • Posts: 33792
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 08:38:19 PM »
Can you start telling them to go away and leave you alone?

"I don't want to talk to you--leave me alone."
Though, that may just give them the rise they're asking for.

Laugh at them? because, they are incredibly pathetic. And you actually have a job with "the band."

Or can you get "the guys in the band" to tell them to leave you alone? And to say, "If you approach our staffers again, we -will- ban you from our venues even if everyone else thinks you 'haven't done anything.' Because by then, you -will- have done something.

I suppose an air horn might make them go away? They approach to talk to you, and you blast them with it?

EllenS

  • Member
  • Posts: 4654
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 08:55:01 PM »
Why do you talk to them at all? Are they physically blocking you from walking away?

What about just saying, "Really?" or "Huh."  or "How about that?" or "Uh...no."  and walking away/talking to someone else?

Benni

  • Member
  • Posts: 557
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 08:57:06 PM »
Can you keep a cell phone in your pocket and record the encounters?  What they are doing is harassment and any rational person would ban them with evidence.

Coralline

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 09:22:39 PM »
Why do you talk to them at all? Are they physically blocking you from walking away?

I do my best not to communicate with them, but my work takes me out into the audience and they will come up to me if I'm not careful. I move away from them if I can. It's very frustrating having to be on my guard the whole time and watch where in the room they are so I can avoid them.

Can you keep a cell phone in your pocket and record the encounters?  What they are doing is harassment and any rational person would ban them with evidence.

I like this idea. I hadn't thought of that.

TootsNYC

  • Member
  • Posts: 33792
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 09:33:50 PM »
Check the laws in your state first; they vary a lot in terms of what you can legally record.

But you could also simply repeat back to them everything they say, as a sort of question.


And since you are working, you might sort of absently say, "I'm working, you're in the way. Please go back to [wherever]." But it also gives you grounds to ask someone with more clout to approach them and say, "You need to leave our staff members alone--they are working, and you are in the way. Do not approach and distract them again, or we will ban you."

I kinda wish you could just pinch them. But that would get you in trouble instead.

Coralline

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 09:39:15 PM »
I kinda wish you could just pinch them. But that would get you in trouble instead.

Me too! That brought up some wonderful images in my head. That will privately entertain me the next time I see them, thank you :-)

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Member
  • Posts: 7021
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2015, 09:54:26 PM »
Wow, that's crazy!

I think the best thing your husband could do is go overboard gushing about you. They want to try the "Divide and Conquer" approach? He can go uber "United Front". He could say things like "Really? You don't like Thing? I personally love it. I think Coralline did an amazing job, but then again I think everything she does is amazing." *goofy love-struck grin* I bet they'll get sick of hearing him gush about you so they'll stop providing him the opportunity.

As to them, when they can't be avoided, I'd treat them like a group of annoying but ultimately harmless idiots to be pitied. There'd be lots of "My goodness, what a thing for a lady your age to say!" and "Aww, bless your heart." and "That must be terrible for you, you poor dear." They're enjoying the power trip of upsetting you. Do whatever it takes to avoid becoming upset and mask it when you can't avoid it.

Definitely record them if you can. If it's plausible that you'd be recording your DH, the fans, or the venue, go for it. If you happen to catch their nastiness that's just a bonus.

EllenS

  • Member
  • Posts: 4654
  • I write whimsical vintage mysteries.
    • My Author Page:
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 11:13:12 PM »
Why do you talk to them at all? Are they physically blocking you from walking away?

I do my best not to communicate with them, but my work takes me out into the audience and they will come up to me if I'm not careful. I move away from them if I can. It's very frustrating having to be on my guard the whole time and watch where in the room they are so I can avoid them.

Can you keep a cell phone in your pocket and record the encounters?  What they are doing is harassment and any rational person would ban them with evidence.

I like this idea. I hadn't thought of that.

I guess I'm just not picturing the dynamic very well. I really don't get the idea of recording something like this in a crowd or what the purpose would be. Maybe the standard for "harassment" differs in other parts of the world. Where I live, obnoxious conversations are not "harassment."

I think something along the lines of "can't talk, working" as suggested above could be useful.  Or, "enough already, that's inappropriate." Or what happens if you just scan past them with your eyes and ignore them entirely? In terms of manners, the way to deal with pushy boors (especially strangers) is to blot them out of your consciousness. (The Cut Direct.)

If your DH doesn't want to talk to them either, why does he? Are they work colleagues or major patrons that he has to curry favor with for his business interests? If it's literally a "fan" scenario, I have seen plenty of public figures politely but directly tell journalists or their fans that certain topics are off limits, or that they can't talk to them right now.

The metaphor I'm thinking of is how we taught our kids (very frightened of dogs) to react when a dog would come and try to jump on them: Be a Tree. The more they would squeal and raise their hands up, or run away, the more the dog would jump and chase and think something really interesting was going on.  If they stand still and put their hands at their sides, the dog sniffs them and walks away.

So, there are a lot of polite tactics of minimal engagement/brushing off, but the purpose of all of them is Being a Tree.

PastryGoddess

  • Member
  • Posts: 6370
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2015, 11:55:47 PM »
you said that they surround you and ask you questions.  Are you standing still?  Can you walk away? What types of things are they saying/asking?  I know you're trying to be vague, but its hard to understand what's getting under your skin.

I would cultivate the "bless your heart" look and tone.  When someone says something stupid you stop, cock your head, look down, then up into their eyes.  Smirk and drawl a phrase that shows pity for their poor tiny brain. 



Drunken Housewife

  • still coherent
  • Member
  • Posts: 3954
    • my blog
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2015, 12:34:59 AM »
"Sorry, can't talk; I'm on the clock." 

"Hope you enjoyed it; gotta get back to work."

I think you're going to have to cultivate a thick skin.  I know it is easier said than done, but the dynamic here is likely to keep coming up.  Keep reminding yourself that you have what they want.  They are extremely jealous of you, jealous and rude.  Try to be gracious and skate above their pettiness.  I think it might look bad for you if you engage with them. 
................................................
http://www.drunkenhousewife.com
................................................

TurtleDove

  • Member
  • Posts: 7253
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2015, 04:29:41 AM »
I get the sense you and DH are entertainers of some kind? That makes it more difficult to use the "I'm working" excuse because you job is to mix and mingle and be "on." If it were me I would ask DH to do the lovesick routine another poster suggested, and I would cheerfully and laughingly use the "bless your heart" routine myself. Don't let the mean girls stress you out. It sounds like they are after your DH and so long as you and your DH are solid that's just pathetic of them and not any real threat.

POF

  • Member
  • Posts: 3200
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2015, 07:50:08 AM »
Check the laws in your state first; they vary a lot in terms of what you can legally record.

But you could also simply repeat back to them everything they say, as a sort of question.


And since you are working, you might sort of absently say, "I'm working, you're in the way. Please go back to [wherever]." But it also gives you grounds to ask someone with more clout to approach them and say, "You need to leave our staff members alone--they are working, and you are in the way. Do not approach and distract them again, or we will ban you."

I kinda wish you could just pinch them. But that would get you in trouble instead.

Toots - you made me LOL ! I can't imagine you pinching anyone.  It would be effective though.  I was thinking a spray bottle like I use with the cat/

Elisabunny

  • Member
  • Posts: 1806
Re: Mean girls
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2015, 11:23:34 AM »
For the inappropriate questions, some possible responses:

Good heavens, why would you want/need to know that?
What a silly thing to say.
That's on a need-to-know basis.
That's a pretty personal question, don't you think?  (said in a you're so silly, I can't believe you're asking that, tone.)
If I told you, I'd have to kill you. 
You do know I could lose my job for answering that, don't you?
Well, bless your heart, you are the curious one.
That's really not something I can discuss.

Your tone should imply firm boundaries, with a hint of eye-rolling.  Picture them as middle schoolers who are unduly interested in their teachers' personal lives.

You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...


Sorry, this topic is locked. Only admins and moderators can reply.