I was enjoying a delightful treat of artery-clogging yummy goodness when a woman I barely know looked at me and said, “I hate you. That you can eat stuff like that and look like you do – I really hate you for that.” Well, I guess I can remove you from my Christmas card list…
First of all let me just say that is kind of rude. Secondly – how do you expect me to respond to this? Should I break out in tears because you now hate me? Should I throw my yummy goodness away because you have some aversion to it? Should I apologize for the way I look?
It used to bother me when people would say things like this to me – and I hear it a lot being a very petite person. Now, it doesn’t bother me a bit. My response depends on if I know the person, get a bad vibe or quite frankly if I like them.
Women are so obsessed with our looks that we get quite bitchy about it to other women, well guess what – I’m not your beauty sounding board. So if I know the person and like them I will normally respond something like my original comment in the opening paragraph or “so if I gain like 50 pounds we can be friends again?” Something light-hearted to let them know they are being silly and it was kind of a dumb comment and puts me in an awkward position.
If I don’t know the offender, get a bad vibe or don’t particularly care for the person I might respond with “and yet I am still going to enjoy this” or “If you are going to hate me for something I can give you a much better reason” or “oh it is awesome, I can eat Big Macs for breakfast, Chocolate Éclairs for lunch and Pizza for dinner” or maybe “well I’m sure you would just love to have my medical condition then”. I don’t have a medical condition but they don’t know that – yes, I can be quite evil.
The point is – sometimes when you say something and perhaps it is meant in a lighthearted manner it may not be received as such. You do not know someone’s story, you don’t know what has brought them to the place they are now, their battles, their victories and their sensitive points. So your little comment – which by the way is all about you anyway – may actually be offensive.
I say the comment is about you because really it is – I mean honestly, are you going to hate me because of my eating habits and my physical appearance? I don’t think so. I think maybe you are frustrated with your own body image and you are reflecting it on me. Knock it off. Not only is it a not nice thing to do to me but ultimately it makes you look like an ass. Going up and telling strangers you hate them – really?
For those who are not okay with these comments you put them in a very uncomfortable position – like I said, how do you expect them to respond to that? And please do not tell me it is a compliment. If your compliments start with “I hate you” then you suck at giving compliments.
Just be mindful the next time you feel the need to make some sort of comment like this – take just a moment to think about how it might be received, as well as what is your true intent. If you intent is positive then perhaps you could find a nicer way of saying it.
When all else fails it is a good rule of thumb to follow what mothers across the globe have been saying for decades: “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” Honestly I’m still working on that one myself – but I think I’ll mull it over now while I enjoy a couple slices of left over pizza…
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.