General chatter - rude comments reserved for weight, think again!

11-23-2008, 02:02 AM
I have noticed a few threads about other people making rude or disrespectful comments about either people's weight loss or how much prettier one will be when they lose weight. The general response from fellow chicks was these people just run their mouths without thinking. I want everybody to know those kind of comments are not just reserved for weight.
I have volunteered in a hospital for about 2 years now. I do work a regular job mon-fri. My volunteering is on saturdays. If one more person makes one more lame comment to me about this I swear I will scream!!!!! I get these comments regularly. "you volunteer every week? Doing community service for something?"(in my state you can do community service when you are not able to pay for some court stuff like court fees and tickets) "What, you don't have anything else to do?" "You don't have kids?" " wow my time is too valuable to do that every week!" " you ain't got a man to spend time with?". WTH!!! Then they act like I'm a freak when I say "yes I do have other stuff to do(kinda a lie but still...) but ya get in life what you give out". Unfortunately in my mind I think "thanks for reminding me i'm a loser with no man and nothing to do!!!". Makes me wish I had a throw in their faces!!!(kidding I would never do that)

11-23-2008, 02:20 AM
I often find that people who make comments like that are compensating for their guilt. They are aware that there are people like you (and me! I'm a Scout leader, and my kids aren't even in Scouts any more) out there, and when we are in their faces they are confronted with the fact that they don't do anything to improve society, and it frightens them. So they react with rude and thoughtless comments to try and detract from the fact that they are lazy and selfish.

That's my take on it, anyway!

11-23-2008, 02:35 AM
I think most rudeness generally is thoughtless. Whatever the subject, most people aren't being intentionally rude, they just have poor social skills or don't realize what they're saying sounds like on the other side.

Intentional rudeness is another matter, but again, no one is immune from rudeness, intentional or otherwise.

What sometimes does surprise me (whether the rudeness is related to fat/dieting or something else) - is the people who have no problem being civil and even seem to go out of their way to be polite in most circumstances, but seem to have a blind spot in regard to one or two pet topics. It can just be a shock to hear something stupid/horrible come out of the mouths of someone who is sweet and considerate in almost all other areas.

It probably shouldn't be a surprise. I mean no one is perfect, and I guess it's to be expected that any person can be caught with their "ignorance showing" occasionally. I think it's just incongruous at times to see a person consider one subject taboo, and yet feel completely free to be rude or even cruel on another subject.

It isn't the person who is rude to everyone that is such a shock. It's the person who wouldn't dream of being so inconsiderate except on a select few pet topics, and you're left wondering why on earth they selected that particular topic for their soap box.

11-23-2008, 03:05 AM
wow, I can't believe those people.
Volunteers give their time for other people, we should be thanking them. I try to volunteer whenever I can, I like helping people.
People who say that are the ones that are lame.

11-23-2008, 06:58 AM
Ouch. Tough to have to fend off comments that minimize your contributions. Kudos for keeping your own head clear that it's about them, not about you.

I agree with the prior posters - many people aren't prepared to just graciously acknowledge something good without trying to justify to themselves why they aren't doing the same thing.

I've seen it happen to a couple who have two small dogs who require a lot of their attention. People rather thoughtlessly say "Oh, it's because you don't have children." Hello ... maybe it's no children by choice, maybe not by choice. But more importantly it's irrelevant, the difficult care of small dogs is their thing; it doesn't detract from anyone who followed a different path in life.

Oh, and Kudos for the volunteer work; most hospitals around here would fold immediately if not for their volunteers. And they need them week after week, duh, they seem to have patients week after week.

11-23-2008, 10:37 AM
......Makes me wish I had a throw in their faces!!!(kidding I would never do that)

:D Perfect! How about just picturing that pie hitting their faces as you smile and politely say "Thank you for your opinion"

We have enough struggles in our own lives without allowing other's misery to drag us down. You are doing the right thing to help you along your path to happiness....

Where can I send some whipped cream to assist you in re-loading? ;)

11-23-2008, 10:49 AM
The funny one is 'you can do that because you don't have kids'. I do have 2 dogs, 2 cats. My husband and I juggle our work schedule and our activity schedule based on the fact that we have 2 dogs and 2 cats. I think its even harder with dogs because with kids, at least you can take them places.

11-23-2008, 11:52 AM
I have to agree with all of this, too. I've heard it over and over. It definitely is not reserved for the overweight!
As DisgruntledOne said, people are just so self-absorbed. I was at a 7th grade, C-team basketball tournament this weekend. Keep in mind that "C team" consists of the boys that didn't make A or B teams. My son, a football player, is on the C team. He does it for fun and to stay in shape for football, his real love. Anyway, these are the kids that are just having fun, wanting to learn a little bit more about basketball, and maybe just aren't as skilled. I was amazed to hear a dad from the other team, standing behind us, continue to berate the referee's, calling out the travelling and double dribbles, wondering out loud why one of the better players was taken out of the game (duh... they get equal time), and cheering when one of our guys made a mistake. I was furious at the end of the game. What I wanted to say was, "Dude! This is C TEAM 7th GRADE basketball! Not the NBA! Most of these kids will NOT be playing basketball in high school! And you are not the basketball guru of the tournament. Relax!!!!" Instead, I looked him in the eye and said, "Sportsmanship, buddy." And I walked off.

Anyway, it is a lack of social graces and a lack of consideration for others.

11-23-2008, 11:58 AM
So what can we do differently ourselves to improve this situation?

We can/I can just say "Thank you for being a volunteer" the next time I'm speaking or corresponding with a
parent volunteer for the band/chorus/sport booster club.
pink lady or other hospital volunteer
GS leader, BS leader, camp parent, cookie drive mom
PTSA/PTA officer, committee member
HOA officer or member of the Architecture Board
School volunteers (kid or adult) for tutoring, classroom assistance
the Teacher who yes is paid to regular schooltime, but volunteers time with extra activities for kids.

The timing seems right, this being the beginning of Thanksgiving week. I challenge myself to thank at least one volunteer in the next week. I'll come back and report on it. I'd love to see some of you join me.

11-23-2008, 12:43 PM
What a good idea, Webrover! I volunteer 15-20 hours per week and have never run into such rudeness but I'm sure others have. I do sometimes hear "Well, it gives you something to do." Oy! That's thoughtless rather than rude.

This week I will thank as many other volunteers as I meet!

11-23-2008, 02:01 PM
Some of it could also be life experiences. If someone asks if you have community service to do, it could be an innocent, non-judgemental question, based on their life experiences. In their life experience, in their circles of friends and family, volunteer work isn't something you do just because you have the urge to be nice. In that sense, to them you are a freak - they don't know anybody that does what you're doing unless they're ordered to by the court - they can't relate to someone with that kind of "free time."

If it's coming from people in the poorest paid positions, it's actually quite understandable. If you don't feel appreciated, it can be very difficult to appreciate others. Also, if you're struggling to feed your family, working for no pay - for strangers, seems like the most pointless activity in the world.

When I worked as a probation officer I found out how many of the things I took for granted, were alien concepts to some of the people I worked with. I had to persuade one woman that an alarm clock was a necessity for her to keep her job (she was coming in late, because she'd overslept). Now, it might seem that the woman was being intentionally stupid (I mean who doesn't own - or at least understand the concept of an alarm clock) - but she'd been raised in a welfare family. Not only was she the first in her immediate family to hold an actual job, her family had never owned an alarm clock, so while she knew what they were, had never thought to purchase one, and in fact was a bit intimidated by the concept. She didn't understand that they were easy to use. I had to encourage her that if she didn't understand the instructions (they come with instructions?!), she could bring in the clock and the instructions, and I'd show her how to do it.

To not seem rude, I had to act, despite my personal stupefication, as though it was perfectly normal not to know how to use an alarm clock. I'm not sure I pulled it off, and so I know I probably was rude in that I made her feel even worse for having to admit she didn't have the foggiest clue how to use one.

When you think about it - rudeness is perceived when one oversteps the bounds of what is considered normal and acceptable. However what is normal and acceptable is not universal, it's determined by our culture and subcultures (and we're each members of not one, but dozens of subcultures).

Because of the jobs I had, in which it was a job requirement to assume ignorance before insult, I generally am able to give the benefit of the doubt and consider all but the overtly hostile comments as innocently-intended. But that has it's own "backfire," as I'm a very open person, so I tend to respond to an invasive question (that I take as innocently intended) and respond with as equally an invasive question (and if the person takes offense, I end up feeling "well you started it").

People are weird, funny, crazy.....

11-23-2008, 02:13 PM
All purpose answer, "How rude!"

11-23-2008, 02:16 PM
Very, very well put kaplods. The alarm clock incident was an excellent example.

While there are rude people out there, as others have mentioned, there are people who are truly incredulous that someone can fit volunteering into their schedule. As a grad student I make comments to my fellow grad students all the time like "I don't know how you keep up with school and raise an autistic child." Not because I'm trying to imply this single mom shouldn't be in grad school but because I am truly awed by her. I can barely do the same work she does and I'm single.

11-23-2008, 02:23 PM
Very, very well put kaplods. The alarm clock incident was an excellent example.

While there are rude people out there, as others have mentioned, there are people who are truly incredulous that someone can fit volunteering into their schedule. As a grad student I make comments to my fellow grad students all the time like "I don't know how you keep up with school and raise an autistic child." Not because I'm trying to imply this single mom shouldn't be in grad school but because I am truly awed by her. I can barely do the same work she does and I'm single.

Yeah, but that's a far cry from the comments the OP was getting like ""What, you don't have anything else to do?" "You don't have kids?" " wow my time is too valuable to do that every week!" " you ain't got a man to spend time with?"."

11-23-2008, 02:33 PM
I dunno the first two "What, you don't have anything else to do?" "You don't have kids?" seem like they could fall into the incredulous category. It kind of proves my point that a lot of times we don't know what the other person meant or why they said that. Maybe they are just processing out loud. And if it was said venomously then it probably was intended to be rude. It's hard to tell when you see it written. :)

11-23-2008, 02:52 PM
I find, being single and childless, that I get a lot of the "oh, you have all this time for (add activity)" and it drives me nuts! A few of my coworkers attribute that to my being able to lose weight...because I don't have a husband and kids to take up my time (lots of time for exercise, no one else to cook for), even though I have two jobs (one full-time, one part-time) and live alone and have a house to keep up like they do.

11-23-2008, 02:55 PM
I think every one of us has put our foot in our mouth unintentionally, at some point. Sometimes we realize it right away (and either apologize or hope the other person doesn't notice or cuts us a break), and sometimes we don't even realize how rude it sounds until someone else points it out.

"What do you mean, you don't have or know how to use an alarm clock!?" said in a shocked and uncomprehending voice, really isn't a lot different than "Don't you have anything/anyone more important to spend your time on?" or any of the other variations. Sure it could be said dripping with hostility and sarcasm, but it also could be just another example of someone saying what they think, before realizing how it could be interpreted.

I'm definitely a person who doesn't always do very well at the self-editing. Heck, I talk so fast (I'm sure you're all shocked), that I'm usually a couple paragraphs down the road, before I realize that something I said could be taken in a way I didn't intend it. In fact, it's usually the shocked and/or offended look on the person's face that makes me realize my foot is not only in my mouth, I probably swallowed it. And sometimes I'm not even sure what it was, and all I can say is "I said something incredibly stupid, didn't I?"

11-23-2008, 03:03 PM
It's always hard to find the balance between being understanding of the human foibles we all share, and not being a doormat for rude people. I don't think it does anyone a favor to pretend people aren't being rude when they are. Lately, I resent spending energy trying to understand and be nice to people who aren't doing the same. I think so many people are unintentionally rude because they get no feedback that they are doing it. The blank looks you get when they see that they've offended you are such a sad comment on the society we live in. IMO. Not only is the rudeness unintentional, they can't even see it when it's pointed out.

11-23-2008, 04:13 PM
But see that assumes that rudeness or politeness IS an objective standard. It was once considered extremely rude for an adult to address another adult who wasn't a close friend by their first name. For casual aquaintences, only children, servants, and those of lower social status could be addressed by their first name. That didn't change overnight, but gradually (and a lot of people were offended in the process).

In a sense, rudeness is as much in the "eye of the receiver" as it is in the giver.

Because we're a society of many mixed cultures, the "rules" can vary tremendously from group to group. There is no way to avoid offending everyone, because the rules not only change with time, they change from situation to situation, and subculture to subculture. The more rigid a group is regarding social protocols, the less open they are to diversity within the group.

In some groups looking a person in the eye when they're speaking is a sign of respect - in others it is a sign of deep disrespect.

I wish we lived in a society in which talking openly and honestly about health, exercise, weight loss and age - were not taboo. I'm tired of the social rules that go to ridiculous lengths to avoid talking about what probably would do many of us a lot of good talking about. For example, I was speaking with a friend and coworker several years ago, and we were talking about clothes, I think. I said something about it being terribly difficult to find a particular kind of clothing, being fat. The friend (without thinking) because it's "polite" to do so, responded, "you're not fat."

It was extremely "rude" of me not to take the "compliment" in the spirit in which it was given, but I couldn't resist. I started laughing uncontrollably, I'm sorry but it was terribly ridiculous. On what planet is nearly 400 lbs, "not fat?" I embarassed her deeply, and I'm not that regretful. I regret that she was hurt, but I think we both learned something from the experience. I didn't really mean to hurt her feelings, and I suppose it was very rude, but darn it, it was funny. My friend turned extremely red, and slightly annoyed snapped "you know what I mean." And sadly, I did. "Fat," is something so terrible in this culture, that an intelligent, kind, fun-to-be-with person could not possibly be fat, she had to be something else.

I don't believe anyone is obligated to keep silent when they are offended. Regardless of how a comment is intended, there's no reason a person needs to pretend they appreciate unwelcome comments or questions. But anger, begets anger, and is usually not necessary (and often not effective). Humor and/or direct communication generally often work much better in my experience.

Even when someone is being INTENTIONALLY rude, humor works amazingly well. I've had the catcalls "hey fatso" or some other rude comment - and what always shuts up these geniuses is being laughed at. Not only laughing, but in condescending cheerfulness, replying "Yeah I'm fat, you must be a genius to have figured that out all by yourself."

Above all, I believe in never being a doormat. There's never a reason to feel it's ok to be treated poorly. Standing up for yourself and being confident are not incompatible with compassion. You respond directly. If you're offended, say you're offended, and if you do so in a "tolerant" tone, (no guarantee), but people tend to respond in a more positive way than they would to anger (in which case they tend to become defensive or see you as the rude one - which doesn't have to be your concern, but for the sake of effective communication is often worth considering).