I’m so mean


Doris is not speaking to me . . . again.

Doris, you see, thinks I’m mean.  Doris has accused me of such crimes as calling her a homophobe, calling her mother shallow, and believing that she is an irresponsible pet owner. 

I don’t think she’s a homophobe, nor do I think her mother is shallow, and I believe she is a good and responsible pet owner. I do believe, however, Doris is crazy.

I have worked with Doris for about six years or so.  Same department, different projects.  So, most of our contact is really purely optional.  I like Doris.  She is a kind and decent person, and definitely a bit quirky.  Granted, in the “real world” we probably wouldn’t be friends as I doubt our social circles would necessarily intersect.  But, here in the work world she is one of the few people I spend any time chatting with.  That is, when she is speaking to me. 

These silent periods can last a couple of days, to close to a month, depending on how deeply I have somehow offended her.  The following exchange resulted in about a week’s silence:

Doris:  What did you do this weekend?
LazyBuddhist: Oh, I went out to Point Isabel for a walk and to hang out with all the dogs.  Sometimes I just need to have a good hit of doggy love.
Doris:  Why don’t you get a dog?
LazyBuddhist:  Well, I work full-time and live alone, I don’t think it would be fair to the dog.
Doris:  That’s not a nice thing to say!
LazyBuddhist:  What? 
Doris:  You’re mean.
LazyBuddhist:  How is that mean?  You asked me why I don’t have a dog and I told you. (Then I remembered – she has a dog and works full time.  Oh shit.)
Doris:  So you think people who work full-time shouldn’t have dogs?
LazyBuddhist:  No, I’m strictly speaking for myself, not making a policy statement or saying what is right for someone else.
Doris:  You should have kept that opinion to yourself. You’re mean.

I know I probably just should have apologized for offending her.  But, I couldn’t.  I’m stubborn that way.  Silent treatment?  Oh, bring it on.  It’s a family specialty.   My stubbornness and pride are not traits I’m proud of, yet I admit I havent’ been terribly interested in changing them.  Perhaps if I had truly been in the wrong, sure, I can swallow my pride with the best of them and do the mea culpa like no one’s bidness.  But for this? No, I don’t think so.  I always let her be the one to re-initiate contact, and everything gets back to normal.  No need for rehashing the past or holding on to grudges.

We had a good run there of being on speaking terms for a couple of weeks.  Our online chats definitely make the day go by faster.  But I have managed to offend her yet again.  I don’t mean to, I really don’t.  Yet, I have to admit I’m starting to find it slightly amusing at how completely unintentionally and easily I can get her panties in a bunch.  

Maybe she’s right.  Maybe I am mean. 

19 responses »

  1. You are NOT mean! She sounds like she has her own doubts about how well she is doing working full time, living alone, and having a dog. Otherwise she would/could have said, “Ha. I work full time, live alone, and have a dog, and hey, I have no problems.” Those work relationships, I know what you mean – no one you would ‘find’ or ‘socialize’ with otherwise. It’s hard to find the common denominator if it is just not there.

    Think of this as a learning experience for her. If she can’t take the answers, don’t ask the questions! Or don’t take the answers personally! Oy!

    Our 19 year old foulmouthed, aggressive, nonspelling, nongrammarian, former part-time bartender receptionist was heard muttering (about me, I think) that she did not like being treated like a 12-year old when I had to point out a mistake to her. You keep wondering, what the heck did I do? Work ‘stuff’ is ridiculous because one is a bit captive!

    You are NOT mean!


  2. I don’t blame you for being amused, that’s probably a very kindly way to react to it.

    It’s always hard to know for sure when you only see what people present on the internet, but I dare say shu is right… you’re not mean. A mean person couldn’t be so patient with the animals.

  3. Thank Shu and Amuirin for the votes of confidence. She is the only person who has called me mean since . . . heck, I can’t remember when. Yet, I do know that whenever I express myself honestly there is a high probability that I will offend her. A truly kind and compassionate person probably would choose not engage if they knew that doing so is likely to get the other person upset. Yet, I do.

    Sometimes I think I am doing her a favor by being honest and not pandering to her overly delicate sensibilities. I mean, for crying out loud, how has she gotten through life taking everything so personally? But, my sense is that people close to her tread very, very carefully around her so as to not hurt her feelings, so when someone doesn’t agree with her or question her she feels attacked.

    Shu, as you so succinctly put it, “Oy!”

  4. Sounds like she’s really responding to her own feelings of guilt over having pets while working full time, not to your comments. So, no, you’re not mean.

    She asked a question and you answered her honestly, without the intention of hurting her, which absolutely doesn’t qualify as mean… unless she takes ‘mean’ to mean ‘any statement with which I disagree’ in which case, you’re not being mean but she is being passive aggressive!

  5. or to expand on Truce’s comment about what your coworker might think ‘mean’ is:
    any answer your co-worker doesn’t like, disagrees with, doesn’t give her what she wants, GIVES her what she wants but didn’t expect it turn out that way, delays what she wants, or shows her how her actions are not the best/compassionate way.

    eh, who knows… maybe you are mean LB.

    we know you’re not mean. you’re adorable.
    mucho big hugs from your favorite Texican.

  6. What cracks me up about Doris is that she asked the question (“why don’t you get a dog”) and then, when she didn’t like the answer, it became your fault.

    People have these odd emotional “set” points. I first read about it in regard to happiness. Some people are just emotionally set to feel a bit happy, or grumpy, naturally — even though we all pretend external events drive our moods.

    But it isn’t just happiness or un-. It’s all kinds of emotions. Mabe Doris is ready to be offended, it’s an unconsciously comfortable position to be in for her. Not that she seeks it, consciously.

    I’ve known people who are most comfortable begin mad. I wouldn’t say they were at their “happiest”, but they are in their comfort zone. However much they believe it was something extenal that got them there, they took the ride themselves.

  7. I have to say, I work in an environment in which people seem to take offense to some of the craziest things.

    In the end, those who find themselves offended are usually not in my close circle of friends and I don’t really have a lot invested in them in the first place.

    So I figure if they choose to be offended that is their problem (and generally speaking, I don’t go out of my way to offend people on purpose). I have better things to do with my time than busy myself with that kind of annoyance.

    is that right or wrong? I don’t know. But that’s just the way I see it.

  8. It’s fun psychoanalyzing Doris, isn’t it? It really is part of the reason I put up with her silliness. I mean, we can have conversations about politics and religion with nary a problem – even though we are pretty different on both fronts. Yet, when it comes to her dog (she also got offended that I thought it was great that a Beagle won Westminster Dog Show instead of the Poodle – yes, she owns a Poodle), I should tread lightly – but I don’t.

    Believe it or not, when I manage to inadvertantly offend her the most is when we are discussing really inane TV shows. Normally, a safe topic between people who don’t have that much in common. But, not with Doris, nooooooooooo. We were discussing the Housewives of Orange County (I know, I’m not proud I watched it), and I mentioned I didn’t like one of the characters. She liked that character so I was forced to justify why I didn’t like her. I mean, come on, I don’t know, I just don’t. So, I said I felt this character was shallow. And then she made this amazing leap of logic where she likened that character to her 91 year old mother, and then accused me of thinking her mother was shallow. Wow.

    She has a huge investment in the view of herself as this very sensitive person. She claims the reason she refuses to let me talk about my rabbit is that she thinks I shouldn’t have one because they are fragile and he’ll die, and she doesn’t want to deal with my tears because it will make her cry. Uh . . . OK?

    So, I guess I am a big meanie. And per OmbudsBen suggestion, I am chaging my avatar to reflect this. 🙂

  9. Wow, Doris sounds like she’s a mess. Talk about projecting… and she sounds a lil’ self-involved.

    She doesn’t want you to talk about your rabbit because your tears will make her cry? That is freakin’ hilarious. I sounds like she’s definitely wading in the shallow end of the emotionally-evolved pool.

    …and don’t get me started on those work relationships. Arrrrrrrrrgh! I’ve been spending a lot of time with my headphones on these days. Now you know why I listen to complicated music…

  10. Oh, it’s all about me, me, me …

    I did some friend housecleaning not too long ago where I dropped a lot of people who got offended at the slightest inference that what I had just said had anything to do with them. I dropped one of my best friends of twenty-five years because I was just tired of tiptoeing over her eggshells. I ‘offend’ people all of the time. No big deal.

  11. Ha ha… “friend housecleaning.” I did something similar a few years back, called it the great purge of ’04. It got pretty tiresome being called to the carpet for having an opinion.

    I wouldn’t have to do that if everyone would just put on their big girl/ boy panties and deal with their stuff. Sheesh.

  12. i’ve got no pride and eye m proud ovit! people with no humility are mean ~ cats are a woman’s best friend anyways cuz they doent mind if you cheat on em with a rabbit. oh shit ~ sorry ~ that was kinda mean wazinit.

  13. just wondering ~ is doris perchance the author of the “dangerous pervert” comment? inquiring perverts want to know.

  14. Yes, Mr. Marshmellows NOT – Doris is indeed the person who believes you to be a dangerous pervert. So, after this post, you probably have a better idea of the mind from which that label arose. Gosh, maybe I should have said she was mean for calling my friend a dangerous pervert. I mean, at least part of that label is wrong. 😉

  15. dangerous and perverted ~ the more eye think about the more it fits = just don’t ever call me dangerously perverted – I like the keep my faults distinct

  16. there once was a dangerous pervert
    whose innocence he’d like to convert
    with a wink of an eye
    he’d unzip his fly
    an then blush cuz he’s really an introvert

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