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How should I deal with this? (sorry, sorta long)

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Old 02-11-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default How should I deal with this? (sorry, sorta long)

I work in a very small office with mostly women and, although it can get catty sometimes, we all care about eachother and support eachother. Most of the women here are much older than I and almost all are overweight. Although I am the only one on a "diet" (im doing WW) and the only one who works out regularly, we all encourage each other to eat healthy while we are here and the vibe is always positive.

Until....

Sometime before xmas a new woman (let's call her Patty) started working here. This woman is in her late 50s, single and, as she told me herself, still has no idea what she wants to do for a living and keeps going from job to job to job. I think i've always been able to see through a person right away and as soon as Patty began working here, I just got a bad vibe from her. Within a week of starting, she came to my desk and started whispering to me about something she overheard downstairs involving a co-worker and her husband. I was a little shocked at this and told her straight out that I didnt know anything and didnt want to know anything. She quickly apologized and said that she tends to be a "nosy-body". But she continued to gossip to other co-workers and had a habit of going to co-workers desks, crouching down to them and whispering...Now, my mother always told me that if a person is constantly whispering, that means they are shamed of what they are saying....and I believe it. Co-workers would come up to me and tell me the gossip and rude things Patty was telling them...personal things that she had 'overheard' about people here...and this lady had been working here all of 2-3 weeks...She also seemed to be a bit of a liar and would make up stories about overhearing our bosses speak badly of our work performance and then when we would confront our supervisors, they would say they never said anything of the sort. It was ridiculous. Quickly, within weeks, all us women who had been working here before Patty had a little discussion between ourselves not to indulge her in any of her gossip and to try not to say anything personal when she was around and listen to anything she has to say about another person. It's not that we are trying to be mean to Patty and we are all really nice to her and include her in everything, we just dont want gossip going around. So...from the very beginning, I was very..., for lack of a better term, WARY of Patty.

Right after the xmas holiday, I announced to the ladies that I was finally gonna get REALLY serious about my weight loss again and wanted to reach a goal of 145 by this summer. They all supported me and gave me tons of hugs and so did Patty. That was on January 3. Within two days of going on my diet, EVERYTIME I passed Patty in the hall, she would ask me, "So how many pounds have you lost?" At first I thought she was just trying to give me a little support and motivation, but it got to be that she was asking me this EVERYDAY. Like on a Tuesday, she would ask me and I'd say, "I've only been on the diet 4 days Patty...it's gonna take a couple weeks to see the weight drop..." and then she would ask me again THE VERY NEXT DAY and the day after! I finally asked her to stop asking me after a couple weeks of this and told her, "When I lose weight, I will let you know, okay?" She nodded and walked away. Since then, she calls me "Skinny" and "Anorexic Girl" instead of my name. "Hey, Skinny...", "How are you, Anorexic Girl?" When she calls me these names, she kinda stands there looking at me to see my reaction and I just dont even bother to give her one even though it REALLY irks me.

Now...i am in NO way Skinny and anyone with two eyes can see that. And I eat regularly and have lunch everyday with everyone here, so she knows im not anorexic. The fact that she will NOT let me being on a diet escape ANY conversation she has with me is starting to weird me out. I dont think its coming from a nice, supporting place. I think she is being very....I dont know...I cant put my finger on it. I think its so weird.

I'm at a loss as how I should handle this and I really dont want to tell my co-workers because I fear it will cause even more of a backlash against Patty and, honestly, I feel sorry for her. I think she is incredibly lonely and depressed and I want to be nice to her...

HELP!
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Have you told your supervisor about these comments?

I was in a similar situation once (my BOSS was the one who called me broccoli anorexic girl), I know that it's very humiliating.

It sounds like she lacks social skills to say the least.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:01 PM   #3
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well u are a good person! There's NO WAY i could stay calm lol. Whenever she would call me those names, I would REFUSE to aknowledge her, until she calls me by my name. It wont take her long to figure it out! But i would discuss this with my coworkers and supervisor.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #4
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She sounds like a bully to me, who needs unhealthy quantities of attention. The best you can do is ignore her. If she confronts you about ignoring her, just ignore her some more. She is probably confrontational and exceedingly needy. You have a good relationship with the other people in your office. If she is that disruptive, and always going from job to job, then the fault lies in her, not you. You have better things to do than to coddle to her all the time. She is not reasonable enough to give you any form of respect, so I would guard against her in every way, including locking my desk, "hiding" my car a block away, and locking away any personal items and your lunch. Watch your back! And, I agree with Sacha--go to your boss!

Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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Yowsa, that sucks. That's really crappy of her to be doing that to you. It does sound like she is very insecure and also socially inept. She probably thinks she is being cute or funny, when actually it is annoying and stupid. If she calls you "skinny" or "anorexic" again instead of your name, don't hesitate to say, "My name is _____" and just leave it at that. It's not rude of you to do so. If she doesn't get the hint, then just flat out tell her to please stop calling you those things. If she still doesn't get that, then I don't think there is really that much hope for her in the world.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:15 PM   #6
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Right now the first thing you have to do is tell her to stop calling you by those names and that you find it offensive.

If she continues then you need to go to your supervisor. That behavior is inappropriate and harassment.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
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thank you ladies! next time she calls me those names, im gonna be firm with her and let her know how that bugs me and to please just call me by my name...and if this problem continues, i absolutely will let the supervisors know.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
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thank you ladies! next time she calls me those names, im gonna be firm with her and let her know how that bugs me and to please just call me by my name...and if this problem continues, i absolutely will let the supervisors know.
Great plan
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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The pot stirrer in me says that every time she calls you "Anorexic Girl" you call her "Nosy." And every time she asks you if you've lost weight, you ask if she has. For most people, you would only have to do that a few times for them to get the picture and back off.

But probably the more mature approach of telling her directly is the better bet. Not as fun, though.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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I agree...she doesn't seem to read social cues very well...so I would say being direct and firm with her is the only way it will stop...if that does not work then she is doing it on purpose and she is not some socially inept person...just a bully
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #11
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I'm actually experiencing a similar problem.
mine is quite the long story but the shortened version is enough haha
This guy I know tends to be kind of a jerk, especially when he drinks. Its nothing new to any of us and we mainly just ignore him.
About a month and half or so ago he was talking to a good friend of mine (I was standing right there so I heard every word and so did all of our friends) He was basically going on and on about how he cant believe how much I lost and blah blah acting like he just noticed. I lost the majority of my weight during the summer so I dont know how he just noticed..in january. He then goes on to say "thats not attractive to me because of what she used to look like.." This comment alone made me really sad and self concious and I even posted a thread about it on the body image after weight loss forum.
I dealt with my feelings about that one...I'm not personally attracted to this guy and I dont really respect his opinion so I brushed it off.

Now every single time I see this guy (he'll even text me saying stuff) he calls me "the skinniest girl in the world." Hes alluded that I have an eating disorder, did illegal drugs or used a bunch of diet pills to lose weight. All while telling me "you look great, should be really proud of yourself"

So I understand how your situation...I don't understand people like my friend and your co-worker.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:24 PM   #12
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Patty is an Instigator. And deeply insecure, but you know that already. She came into a situation where there is already a female group with close relationships that date back a ways. Instead of being herself, and friendly & approachable, she saw that as exclusionary & as an obstacle that she must overcome. Her strategy is obviously to divide & conquer. How she does this is by setting everyone at odds with one another. She thrives in an atmosphere that is somewhat dysfunctional, where people have grudges against one another, and she is able to form alliances with them. Thus she does not mind when she irritates someone. That makes them clearly against her, and she knows how to deal with that.

This is why she is provoking you. You know she wants a reaction from you. I wouldn't give her one; it's what she craves & what she knows how to work with.

Just remember it's not at all about your weight. If it weren't your weight, she would find something else, sniff out some other weakness or sensitive spot.

This person will not change her way of being in the world, so you've gotta find workarounds. I'm not thinking that a heart-to-heart with her would solve anything. Your tactic is defending yourself, as pleasantly & blandly & unemotionally as possible, and preserving & cherishing your other work relationships so that they remain unaffected & the atmosphere does not become dysfunctional.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:28 PM   #13
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Some people just weren't raised right.

Folks like "Patty" sometimes talk about weight because they have nothing else to talk about with you, but they really want to talk and wind up driving you nuts on the one subject they think you want to discuss. Sometimes all it takes is just a quick, direct comment: "Blah, talking about my weight is so boring, Patty, that I'm just going to refuse to talk about it from now on so I don't bore everyone to tears. I'm sure you understand. Anyway, how is YOUR day?"

That's if you want to be nice. I'm not sure that malign, gossipy people deserve niceness, but you'll probably feel better about yourself for taking the high road.

If you'd rather take the low road, call her "Nosy Rosie" or "Miss Buttinski" or whatever each time she refers to you as "Skinny" or "Anorexic." Two can play the "I'll make up an annoying nickname based on one offhand comment that she made one day" game.

KellyMarie, as for the truly obnoxious problem co-worker you have...oy, the eating disorder and illegal drug jokes are SO far over the line, as was the comment about how attractive he found you (that's so incredibly arrogant--like you exist for his viewing pleasure! Grrrr!). Have you reported his *** to a supervisor? If you don't want to take that route, have you considered referring to his drinking problem every time he alludes to your weight? "Oh, the skinniest girl in the world's doing great, and how's the oldest moronic frat-boy in the world today?"

I don't even know that guy and I want to feed him a cat food and ex-lax sandwich.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyMarie90 View Post
I'm actually experiencing a similar problem.
mine is quite the long story but the shortened version is enough haha
This guy I know tends to be kind of a jerk, especially when he drinks. Its nothing new to any of us and we mainly just ignore him.
About a month and half or so ago he was talking to a good friend of mine (I was standing right there so I heard every word and so did all of our friends) He was basically going on and on about how he cant believe how much I lost and blah blah acting like he just noticed. I lost the majority of my weight during the summer so I dont know how he just noticed..in january. He then goes on to say "thats not attractive to me because of what she used to look like.." This comment alone made me really sad and self concious and I even posted a thread about it on the body image after weight loss forum.
I dealt with my feelings about that one...I'm not personally attracted to this guy and I dont really respect his opinion so I brushed it off.

Now every single time I see this guy (he'll even text me saying stuff) he calls me "the skinniest girl in the world." Hes alluded that I have an eating disorder, did illegal drugs or used a bunch of diet pills to lose weight. All while telling me "you look great, should be really proud of yourself"

So I understand how your situation...I don't understand people like my friend and your co-worker.
WOW! what a total jerk! your weight loss is obviously intimidating to him. Some people just dont know how to be happy for other people.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:33 PM   #15
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Not only is she a bully she is a troublemaker gossiping about people she doesn't even know. Don't respond when she calls you those stupid names and has been suggested tell her my name is ...... Other than that I would not talk to her at all unless it is something required by the job.
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