Category Archives: Relationships

How to Respond to Insults and Put-Downs

As human beings, we all want to be liked by the people who really matter to us and know that our efforts are appreciated. So, when someone puts us down, excludes us or reacts negatively to what we do, it taps into our individual insecurities and can really sting.

Here are some of my strategies for dealing with insults:

1. Don’t look upset

I don’t care if you’re about to crumble into a little heap like an old-style vampire who has been out in the sun – never let them see you sweat. That’s exactly what they want. If you don’t look hurt, then their insults haven’t worked. Just smile and look as though they said “good morning” to you. Don’t act weak – they’ll treat you like prey and continue to abuse you.

2. Don’t retaliate

Confront the situation with humor. Instead of getting in their face, making threats or saying something you’ll regret, just say, “Gosh, thank you so much. I’m really going to think about that because it might be very helpful to my life.” It’s called sarcasm, but if you sell it well, it seems sincere.

3. Listen

Even though they’re being an ass, they may actually have some useful information you can use to improve yourself.

4. Respond to the intent behind the insult, not the insult itself

Say something like, “Wow, what happened between us that made you want to hurt me?” That way, you’re highlighting their intent to hurt you rather than addressing the insult. (It also doesn’t hurt to have other people around when you say this because it will really make the insulter look and feel uncomfortable).

5. If you find out someone is talking about you behind your back…

Approach the person and say, “I just wanted to tell you that I’m worried about you because I think you are trusting the wrong people.  I’ve heard that you’ve been saying unpleasant things about me. I’m not upset about that – you’re entitled to your opinion – I just wanted you to know that they are not protecting your privacy.”  Be sure to use the word “they”; that way, you don’t reveal who told you, and you make the gossiper feel paranoid about who he or she can trust. By making it seem like you’re showing them great compassion, you’re covertly addressing their insult and making them think twice before saying bad things about you or anyone else.

6. Walk away

The unfortunate truth is that some people won’t give up. You should simply avoid them and keep them out of your life.

Is an Office Romance a Good Idea?

About 75 percent of office romances don’t survive. However, a small percentage do. Here are the pros and cons of dating a coworker:

Pros:

  • If you’ve had a hard day, he or she will get it because you work at the same place.   
  • You get to see them – a lot.  It’s very sweet to see each other at the water cooler and touch fingers.  (Although, I’m not entirely sure this should be on the “pros” list because couples do need breaks from each other. However, it’s a pro in the beginning of a relationship when you feel like you need to be in each other’s pockets all day).  
  • You get to learn a lot about them in different circumstances with colleagues, pressure, etc.
  • You have one more thing in common because you’re both experiencing the same work environment.
  • If you or your boyfriend or girlfriend are having some troubles at work, you can give each other advice because you both know the atmosphere.

That being said, office romances require two incredibly mature people, and the odds of two incredibly mature people being in the same place at the same time is not great.  So let’s move on to the cons.

Cons:

  • Gossip: You think it was tough in high school?  Everybody is going to notice.  You’re going to become part of a scenario of guilt, discomfort, and sibling rivalry. And, most importantly, the soap opera will distract you from what you’re there to do – work!
  • Whenever you fight, going to work won’t be a haven. Instead, it will be yet another place to be aggravated (but you still have to act civilly – good luck!)
  • Envy. If you’re dating a superior, be prepared for office envy. Other people are going to have a hard time with it because they will assume that you have perks they don’t, and that’s not good for business. 
  • You see them all the time. The flipside of seeing each other all the time is that you’re seeing each other ALL the time, which can create its own stresses.
  • If the relationship goes south, you’ll still be in close proximity to each other, which may be uncomfortable.

As I said before, office romances only make it about 25 percent of the time, so statistically, you are taking a big risk.  In my case, it did work.  My husband and I both taught at a major university, and we fell into the small percentage that makes it happen.  However, I still wouldn’t recommend it because we were in the minority.  Frankly, I would go elsewhere if I were you.