Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Should I Be Scared to Be Nice?

From a young age, we're taught to do the right thing. To be good to other people. To avoid being rude. So why is it that sometimes being nice gets you nothing more than this?



When I worked in an office, dealing with different personalities every day proved to be a challenge. I always tried to be polite, though. So imagine my surprise when one day I asked a woman, "Have you lost weight?" and she took it as an insult.



Her exact response was, "No. I'm good." She said it in a very defensive manner. And that was the first time I realized asking someone if they'd lost weight has now joined the ranks of "impolite questions."

Like this.



While most people may see, "Have you lost weight?" as a compliment, apparently it's an insult for some. Who knew?




Have you ever been snapped at for doing something nice? 

49 comments:

  1. I can see someone doing that, but I'd still think it was a compliment, even if I hadn't lost weight. Maybe she was having a bad day. Keep being nice anyway.

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  2. I don't think it's mean or else, it's quite nice. But well one someone tells me that I think it's nice.

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  3. I no longer get personal with coworkers. I had a really bad experience years ago at one workplace, so I learned just to stick my nose to work--I was considered nice when many of my coworkers were very much the opposite. I might be aloof, but I don't get in the middle of things and at the end of the day it's a pleasure to go home without stressing about coworkers.

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  4. I'm finding that to be PC, you just shouldn't comment on a person's physical attributes whatsoever. It's best to stick to material compliments, such as "I like your purse."

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  5. I think it is awful that we cannot even make a comment... I would be grateful if someone thought I had lost weight and commented... even if I didn't..

    I think asking if someone is pregnant is a bit different...

    I have been snapped at for innocently asking questions... I have to really think these days... :)

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  6. It's tough to find the right balance with co-workers because there's no way to know how they view things that seem innocent to you. I don't think there is anything wrong in what you said though!

    Someone recently asked me if I'd lost weight and I was thrilled! But I suppose I can understand how it could be seen as an insult, especially if the person is having an "off" day anyway.

    Still, don't stop being nice - always just be you!

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  7. like every day...I AM married to a woman, after all

    (oh yeah...that'll get me some hate mail)

    (Finally, this Hermit-Writer was lonely)

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  8. Yeah, people get mad if you ask AND they get mad if you don't notice. Can't win. But always opt for nice and screw the sour heads.

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  9. The weight thing is tricky. My mother-in-law had breast cancer and lost a lot of weight (weight was still in the normal range though). She got upset and defensive when people noticed/complimented her, because it was a reminder to her of what her body was going through. The people who commented didn't know her situation, but it still stung. Now she's cancer free and still maintaining her lower weight (she's rocking size four jeans in her 5os :) ), and she's still uncomfortable when someone compliments her weight.

    Seeing how this has bothered her so much, I now never comment on someone's weight, unless I specifically know that they lost weight on purpose :)

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  10. If you spend any time on WL message boards, you will see this particular catch-22.

    You will have one person start a thread complaining that no one has mentioned his or her weight loss and how awful it is and how it makes him or her just want to give up.

    Directly below will be a thread by someone who is incredibly insulted because someone mentioned he or she looked great after losing some weight.

    For the record, I will hug you so hard if you tell me I look like I've lost weight. :-)

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  11. Damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of thing when many people. They just want something to whine about usually though.

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  12. One of the reasons I don't consider myself a people person.

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  13. Again, I'm thrilled you used the Madmen clip (and that's one of my favorite episodes, too). I find it difficult at work. It's in my nature and upbringing to be "nice" but sometimes with the students I'm too nice. It's a fine line.

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  15. i'm laughing at that last graphic. :)

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  16. Overall, I think it is safer to use general compliments such as "You look so nice. I love your (purse, shirt, or whatever accessory)." If you've built a relationship with a person, then you can say more personal things like "Looking good - have you lost weight?"

    Which, by the way, I'd give hugs to whoever said that to me!

    All in all, though, I'm a nice person and can't help but say nice, but sometimes lame, things to people!

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  17. I always feel like hugging someone when they ask that question, heh! But, yeah, I always steer away from asking the pregnant question, unless I know 100% they are. I used to work at CrackerBarrel, and those darn aprons always made even they tiniest bit of belly look like a baby bump. =)

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  18. Yikes! I think if that had been proceeded by, "You're looking good. Did you lose some weight?" It might have been acceptable. I don't know. People are so touchy sometimes.

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  19. Wow, some people will get offended by anything apparently. Sadly, those are the type of people who are unhappy for that very reason - they are projecting negativity.

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  20. Snapped or Slapped? I've had catty comments from people. No one has ever slapped me though. I've found that people are just less tolerant than they used to be. Everyone has an opinion. Theirs and that's all that counts to them.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  21. Yes. Sometimes you have to ask yourself "Why do I bother?"

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  22. You may ask me if I've lost weight anytime you want. You will be lying through your teeth, of course, but I will still be pleased and accept it.

    Now, this is a true story of never seeing the irritation coming. My sons's football team needed a new flag to carry in on Friday nights. A nice lady made them one. She paid for everything, did all the work, and refused to take anything for her troubles. I asked the local reporter to give her a little story in the weekly paper as a thank you.

    Then I hear through the son of the lady who made the original flag ten years or more before was mad that no one thanked his mother all those years ago and the article on the new flag was a slap in the face to his mother.

    Um. Ten years ago? All those parents's kids have grown up, graduated moved on. I'm still stunned by the irritation. Go figure.

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  23. I never claim to be nice. If people assume I'm mean, they either won't be disappointed or they'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Most of the time I'm either silent or unobservant. I don't notice subtle weigh shifts or hair cuts or color changes. I might comment that they look good, if it's true, but I avoid specifics unless they bring it up first.

    I've been on the receiving end of some of those compliments. It's shown me that people assume they know what the change is, when they are pretty far off the mark. I put on make-up one day for work pictures. My co-worker said, "See how pretty Loni looks when she wears a skirt?" I just smiled, and didn't point out that I wore a skirt 4 out of 5 days a week.

    It might've been the same thing with the weight, and the person might've been more sensitive to the subject than I was about my appearance.

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  24. Dealing with the world's array of people personalities is sometimes a challenge, isn't it! Cute post.

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  25. I wouldn't think that was insulting at all. I guess if someone is sensitive about their weight they might take offense though. You just never know.

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  26. Oh, I forgot to mention that I tagged you in a blog hop today. :) Hope you don't mind.

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  27. Seems like All. The. Time!

    People are way too sensitive when we're making small talk. I have to tone down the nice at times, especially at the office because of this very thing. You don't know anymore what is rude or not nice. Almost everything is subjective.

    I just do my job, come home, then drink a nice cold beer, "Damn, what a day!"

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  28. At first I thought it was you, Stephanie, doing the slapping . . . . lol . . . she looks a bit like you. Oh dear if looks could kill as well. I think that must be a very rare event - that poor girl only trying to be nice.

    Yes, I know from my Ambulance days it is sometimes difficult to get the balance right with what is said to people - they vary so much in how they react. On balance though most people are reasonable, friendly and have a good sense of humour which was great because I am a very friendly guy and try to make people happy.
    Nice topic, Stephanie ~ Eddie . . . :)

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  29. Some days you just can't win. So be true to yourself. Your nice self.

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  30. Keep being the same person you are. These people are often looking to be offended and you can't win. The best with many people who can't take a complement or are truly negative people is to ignore them. They want to be noticed so ignoring is the best and it keeps you out of the office politics. I once told a fellow worker that they looked good. Her response was.."What? Are you saying there were other times I looked bad?" I just looked at her shook my head, motioned my hand like i give up and good bye and walked away. Stand tall, show no "fear" and be happy doing your work. They are just not worth it. I have, I believe, foot in mouth disease. The worst i did was ask a client what her middle initial was (she was from another country and the name was quite unique). The voice was high and she was tiny. Well HE corrected me1:) Yup it was a man, not more than 5 ft tall. I could have sunk in my chair

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  31. What you do is on you. How others react to you is on them.

    When I worked in retail, there were customers who had every right to get all upset and yell at a manager who didn't. Then there were customers who got upset over the stupidest little things. You never could tell which way some would go. In the end, it's all about them. We all react to things differently.

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  32. I'm sure I've been snapped at for being nice, but I don't remember details. I did not like it when someone asked me when my baby was due. I was 50+ and fat, not pregnant. I didn't snap at the server who asked me. I just said I was much too old to have a baby. Then she went on and on about how young I looked. I think she felt quite embarrassed without me giving her a hard time.

    Love,
    Janie

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  33. I've been scolded for acting morally. I just left the ophthalmic/optical industry, and doctors were constantly asking for kickbacks and all kinds of stuff (i.e. free trips to Vegas) in exchange for using our products. I told doctors "no." And they hated that. Called me a "boy scout." LOL

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  34. Not snapped at per se, but a definitive "no, I haven't lost weight" when I asked someone. Conversely, when she did eventually lose weight about a year later, I made sure it was a very noticeable difference (like 30 pounds) before I said something :)

    betty

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  35. Sigh, I know we were brought up to be nice, but as a teacher and mom, I'm finding more and more people aren't bringing up their kids that way. And they've forgotten what nice is themselves.

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  36. Again great topic Stephanie...
    I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated and if I say something that upsets them without meaning to then it's their problem. I don't like walking on egg shell around people.

    If they let me know that they don't like what I said, I'll be happy apologize for upsetting them and I'll try to never get them upset again on the offending topic otherwise I just carry on being my unique self.

    I don't need negative people around in my circle. Life is really to short to worry about upsetting over sensitive people. People are complex...
    Hugs,
    JB


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  37. Some people take things differently; unusually. Be nice as always, god sees the truth.

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  38. I think that some people make it their life's mission to be miserable! They're hooked on it.
    Since misery loves company, it tries to suck you in too...
    Writer In Transit

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  39. Everything is so PC these days. I just don't deal with many people face to face these days because most times I won't keep my mouth shut if someone out right rude to me.

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  40. I've been asked that question when I've gained weight, and I still didn't find it offensive. To each her own, I suppose.

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  41. I always just take things at face value, trusting that people will tell me what they really think. Saves me from over thinking.

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  42. Hahaha! You always make me laugh !
    Is absolutely true!
    I never say nothing about weight to anybody! And is true the women are really sensible with this:)
    still Im laughing remember some things!
    xo

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  43. Amazing how people interpret things their own way, huh? I agree with the pregnant poster, my husband likes to ask women and I'm always on the verge of smacking him for it. 9 out of 10 times he's right, thank goodness. Apparently he forgets the few times it didn't work out well o_O.

    eh, I say we keep being nice and hope for the best lol

    S.K. Anthony

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  44. Story.Of.My.Life.
    People have always told me I'm "too nice." I hear people say it's a good thing but I don't think it is-- I think being nice gets you walked on...so over the years I've worked hard on toughening up. I'm still inherently nice, I think, but I def don't take crap and I've cut so many "friends" out for pushing too far. It feels good to stand up for myself!

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  45. Your post made me think of THIS scene...

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  46. she probably thought you had thought she was fat before LOL

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  47. I once held a door open for a woman at the University of Washington and got a nasty look from her. I was scared to do it again for a while.

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  48. I asked a co-worker who was obviously overwhelmed if I could help her - she responded, "Oh, sure - since I'm obviously incompetent."

    "I'll take that as a no, " I responded calmly.

    Really? Is that a big problem for someone - an offer to assist?

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  49. I once asked a girlfriend if she was still taking water aerobics, as I was interested in joining, and she was offended.

    But she didn't tell me this until months later. Instead, she stewed in silence, only to one day explode with, "That day you asked if I was still in water aerobics, were you saying I was fat?"

    No offense to my gender, but women are crazy. Especially women in the workplace who don't have enough to do. Working with women was like dancing in a minefield. Some were great, but there were quite a few who were certifiably insane.

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