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To think that colleagues shouldn't *immediately* take sensitive topic in conversation and talk about their own experiences?

(39 Posts)
CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:31:31

A friend of many years died last night. She'd been involved in a freak accident, and was only 45 years old.

I'm a very private person, but felt very sad today and told two colleagues (separately). I said to the first that I was feeling upset because a friend died last night (no other detail at all) and she immediately said that a friend of hers had died two and a half years ago, and then talked about the funeral. That was then the end of the conversation as she left.

Later on I told another colleague, that a friend had died last night and that I was upset as she was relatively young. He said that a relative of his had died a couple of weeks ago, that she was 96 and it was in her sleep. They had to wait a long time for the funeral as the parlour was very busy. I then mentioned my friend again, but the subject was changed to striking junior doctors (also linked to his relative's life).

AIBU to think that they could have shown a little more interest and even sympathy? I didn't expect and hugs or anything, but a sad face would have been appreciated as I was feeling so upset.

I seem to be surrounded (at work, with friends, with family) by people who will take any conversation and immediately turn it into a discussion about them and their experiences.

AIBU or is this just normal? Thanks.

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:32:22

I should add that these people are very pleasant in every other way.

goodnightdarthvader1 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:32:50

Grief Olympics. People are twats.

VeraClaythorne Tue 12-Jan-16 20:38:58

I would expect sympathy from friends but not colleagues.

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:39:10

Wonder if I'm being a twat though, by hoping for someone to lend an ear.

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:39:57

I was sympathetic to their stories. It's natural, isn't it?

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:40:40

I'm not disagreeing though. If iabu, iabu!

SmellsLikeMiddleAgeSpirit Tue 12-Jan-16 20:40:42

Sorry about the loss of your friend, OP flowers
People are self absorbed twats.
I had a colleague like this. I had to interact with her often because we had to work together, doing the same thing. Every topic became about her precious sons, three namby-pambied men-children. I knew everything about them... I doubt she could have told you even the names of any of mine.

goodnightdarthvader1 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:42:36

What? No! Of course a decent colleague will say "I'm sorry to hear that, are you ok?" Just because they're not your best friend doesn't mean they have to be a heartless bastard!

MN hmm

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Tue 12-Jan-16 20:42:52

That may have been their way of sympathising with you.

Or they might just be self absorbed.

Sorry about your friend op flowers

maitaimojito Tue 12-Jan-16 20:42:57

Sorry for your loss flowers

I think sometimes people don't know what to say when someone says they've lost a relative/friend and it can appear insensitive.

I had a friend who didn't like to talk about her loss and she hated it when people asked questions or continued the conversation. She much preferred people just to offer condolences and then change the subject.

MrsAxewound Tue 12-Jan-16 20:44:15

No cheeky, you weren't being a twat at all and yanbu. Some people just can't wait to make it all about themselves is all. Unfortunately I think its in the worst situations when you find out who is truly there for you. For what it's worth I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and I hope you are OK

RaskolnikovsGarret Tue 12-Jan-16 20:45:46

Selfish self absorbed people making it all about them. Sorry for your loss OP. How dare they?

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:47:21

Thanks all. I really appreciate that.

One of them does tell me a lot of detail about her life, and I doubt she knows much about me at all because all conversations are turned to her within a sentence or two.

I don't want all attention on me at all. But today I was feeling fragile. Anyway, done with now.

CheekyMaleekey Tue 12-Jan-16 20:48:51

Your lovely words are letting the tears flow (a good thing).

Thank you very much. I'm very grateful to you all.

Salmotrutta Tue 12-Jan-16 20:49:35

I've worked with several people like this Cheeky so I sympathise.

Every anecdote, sad story, experience etc. that you relate to them is turned back into "all about me" by these people.

I find that behaviour very crass and tactless but often it boils down to a complete lack of self-awareness on the part of the person you are telling.

Once or twice I have been known to turn to the original person who was relating their news before the "me, me, me" type interrupted and said "Sorry, what was the rest of your story?"

Im sorry about your friend flowers

Goingtobeawesome Tue 12-Jan-16 20:50:09

I suspect they didnt know what to say so tried to show empathy by telling you they had been through something they felt was similar.

I'm sorry for your loss flowers.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 12-Jan-16 20:50:20

They might have been trying to empathise, but forgot to actually engage with you and check you are okay?

I'm so sorry for your loss.

shoopshoopsong Tue 12-Jan-16 20:50:59

Sorry for your loss OP.

Going against the grain here, I don't necessarily think people are being selfish/self absorbed, more that people really don't know what to do and say around death so try and empathise with something they've been through as a comparison. It's silly, but people panic and say stupid things around the subject of death. YANBU to hope for different reactions, that theirs weren't sympathetic or helpful, but try not to dwell on it.

MarlenaGru Tue 12-Jan-16 20:58:38

Sorry for your loss sad
If a colleague told me something that I didn't know how to react to I would probably rabbit on about nothing. I am terrible in these situations. Sorry for being a twat too as I am sure I do it to people often.

maggiethemagpie Tue 12-Jan-16 21:08:54

I think there is a tendency to want to share in order to show empathy. I had a colleague tell me recently she'd been diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to tell her about my experience with a terrible illness that could have blinded me (but was not life threatening) just to sort of show that I knew how terrible it was, but I stopped myself as my illness had not been life threatening (although I was very very scared of losing my sight) whereas hers was, so I thought it would be crass to talk about my experiences.

The temptation was there though, and it wasn't about making it me me me it was to show some sort of understanding, on some level, of what she may be going through.

I'm glad I stopped myself as in retrospect it would not have been right.

Casmama Tue 12-Jan-16 21:18:42

Agree with previous posters and I also wonder if they both know you to be very private then they might have thought you didn't want to be asked about the subject.
Sorry for your lossflowers

nextusername Tue 12-Jan-16 21:21:56


Often when people try to describe something similar it's nothing like what you were talking about. Maggie is right that sometimes it's better not to say anything and just listen.

EnthusiasmDisturbed Tue 12-Jan-16 21:52:18

sorry to hear your sad news

I think this is how most people react, it is uncomfortable to hear sad news but it is easier to share the uncomfortable feeling. All that is needed is I am sorry to hear that but then there could be the dreaded silence but most will be trying to show empathy

BarbarianMum Tue 12-Jan-16 22:04:41

<<I think there is a tendency to want to share to show empathy>>

Yes, I am aware that I sometimes do this and have to remind myself that listening and letting the other person talk is actually much better.

Sorry to hear about your friend OP. flowers

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