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(33 Posts)
nailbedssuck Wed 12-Apr-17 13:00:57

I'm a foreigner in the country I live in, so there are not many people to choose from as friends and most of them are at work with me so I can't just sack them off and move on. I have a colleague/friend who is as generous and kind as you could hope to meet.

But.

She makes a lot of personal comments that get me down. She was complimenting me on my weight loss after pregnancy but it felt like a burn "Look, those trousers are hanging off your bum!" (I'd just bought them off the internet so they didn't fit properly but at least I could get them around my tum. I hadn't realised the fit was obviously bad, and I liked them until she mentioned it.)

Now she's making comments about my baby! FFS, the baby is 2 months old and it's "look how feminine her feet are" "I bet you are jealous of her long legs". They're all compliments but they fuck me off. What's wrong with how my legs look?!? Can babies have feminine feet and what does it even mean? Am I being unreasonable? I know it's just a baby and there's not much you can say about them "look how short the hair is/wow such little fingernails" but still.

They're little flea bite words. She was making comments about my baby's "low" birth weight (50% percentile) which really was a sore point because of major issues with gaining birth weight back in the first week. This is my baggage and not hers, so she probably doesn't know what she's saying is irrationally hurting my feelings. They don't make me livid or mumsnet "fuming", they just irritate and get under my skin for a short time.

I have considered saying something but people have been making comments about how strident I can be, so I think I overshoot when I think I am being assertive. I like this person and she probably thinks she is being nice but her own insecurities "leak" into what she says. I don't want her to feel as bruised as I feel after talking to her, if you see what I mean.

I have watched her say similar to/about her pre-teen daughter, while she is right there, carving her body up with her words like she's meat

"Look at these hips, I hope she's not chunky like me" sort of thing.

I said nothing because there is no way I am wading into that particular quagmire but there is no way in hell she's going to talk about my kid like that when she can understand actual words.

But what do I say and when can I start? It's not like I can tinkly laugh "you'll give her a complex" when the baby hasn't even realised that she has a body to feel insecure about yet.

ThePigletatwork Wed 12-Apr-17 13:41:45

What she's saying doesn't sound that bad to me.
It sounds like she's trying to be nice.

Cocklodger Wed 12-Apr-17 13:49:01

I think she's trying to be nice it's just coming out badly because you're from a different country.
YAB a bit U but I sympathise x

Bahhhhhumbug Wed 12-Apr-17 13:59:11

My MIL is like this a bit. Absolutely obsessed with everyone's weight and 'Ooh you've lost weight ' or 'you're getting a tummy on you' or I saw soandso the other day and 'God they've put weight on . When you see 'soandso' they usually don't look any different. She is lovely but she has upset one of her other DILs so much (she is a bit of a yoyo weight/dieter kind of person and has always struggled with her weight) so much so that DSIL wont have anything to do with her anymore which is a shame as she is as I say lovely in every other way and we all used be really close to her. I just ignore her as she's in her eighties and quite stubborn and would probably get the hump if I pulled her on it and besides which she probably wont change.

Bahhhhhumbug Wed 12-Apr-17 14:02:03

Sorry my post wasn't much help to your situation but just to say that I dont think your friend means any harm either. As she's not an eighty plus elderly lady set in her ways like my DMIL maybe you could have a 'gentle' word about how much she does it and that you don't like it .

badabing36 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:06:49

Why do people care so much about what everyone else weighs? It pisses me off. No it's not a compliment it's annoying as hell. YANBU.

badabing36 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:08:18

Also jealous of a babies long legs? WTF?

badabing36 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:08:54

*baby's

Heratnumber7 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:10:24

Does the country you're living in have a different culture than the one you're more familiar with? And is English the main language?

It could be that some comments are coming out wrong in translation, or that these kind of comments are the norm where you are.

Either way, they don't sound that bad to me.

kathkim Wed 12-Apr-17 14:11:18

Sounds like she just has no filter and is trying to connect with you somehow. Bit awkward. If she is otherwise kind and generous as you say, just let her comments flow off you. You don't need to see her outside work if you'd rather not. Keep your eyes open for new friends though if you want - don't just assume you won't make any more friends though. It will happen if you just give it time.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Wed 12-Apr-17 14:13:08

When you have a baby it's like an invite to comment.
Oo he's chubby /skinny!
Ooo too ginger (my dd apparently confused)!
Oo what a bruiser /bean pole!!
Oo he's loud!
You need to toughen up I am afraid!!!
I bet your dc is lovely BTW!!

Chavelita Wed 12-Apr-17 14:14:33

She sounds like a tiresome bore. If that's her idea of conversation, I'd rather live as a recluse. Tell her her body issues are boring, and you don't want to hear about them any more, because you don't share them, or tell her she should go and see a professional -- that's not 'strident', and may stop you killing her.

And frankly, some people call a woman strident when she behaves in any way in which she's distinguishable from a doormat. I wouldn't take the slightest notice of that.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 12-Apr-17 14:16:17

The comments you mention sound a bit off but that's likely due to being lost in translation a bit.

I think you're being massively over sensitive. A compliment about your baby (no matter how weird!) is not a personal insult to you.

snowgirl1 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:32:04

Sorry, I think you're being over-sensitive too.

ApplePaltrow21 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:38:32

She sounds fine to me (especially across a culture barrier) but I would simply distance if you aren't enjoying the friendship.

You work with her so I would not try to "modify" this relationship in any way. Just accept it's not right for you and move on.

TheVeryThing Wed 12-Apr-17 14:38:56

It doesn't sound like she's trying to insult you, but her comments are very inane and I would find her intensely irritation.
Some people just are obsessed with appearance, weight etc and it can be very tiresome.
I wouldn't be offended by her but I would try to find a way of shutting down conversations about appearance.
I agree that men are never described as strident, only assertive women.

MrsLupo Wed 12-Apr-17 14:49:59

Huh, am I missing something? In what parallel universe is it a compliment to say that 'your trousers are hanging off your bum', or ask you if you envy your baby's long legs? hmm I don't think there's anything remotely nice about these comments. I find them incredibly passive aggressive, or, being as kind as I can, odd and socially inept. And I say that as someone with Asperger's. I don't think she's intending to be nice either. She made you feel uncomfortable in trousers you had liked up til that point, and I think that was exactly her intention.

What is more problematic is how to deal with it, since your situation is potentially quite socially isolating. I think the best way to deal with PA behaviour is to call it out, directly and innocently. Instead of saying to us, 'Can babies have feminine feet, and what does that even mean?' say it to her. If she has to patiently explain and deconstruct every crass remark she makes, she'll soon get tired of it and find another person to irritate.

And who has said you're 'strident'? As a pp said, some people find any normally assertive woman strident, most commonly, ime, women who wish they were more assertive themselves. Are you in a country where women are expected to be seen and not heard? It ll sounds like rather hard work. Sorry. sad

ForTheSakeOfFuck Wed 12-Apr-17 14:51:52

I feel bad for you, but also for the poor woman who has internalised that notion that a woman's worth is in her physical appearance. She also seems to be instilling it in her daughters. I have absolutely no clue how you'd handle this OP, sorry. It would drive me mad. Being a big, brave, assertive adult, I would probably give her a strained smile, simmer away about it all day, then get home and rave about it to my OH. (Who would be baffled by the whole thing.) Best of luck navigating it.

user1483387154 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:57:15

I think you are being oversensitive.
However if it is really upsetting you then you need to tell her that the comments make you feel self conscious.

Happybunny19 Wed 12-Apr-17 14:59:25

She sounds like she has her foot permanently wedged in her mouth and would piss me off too. I'm surprised how many pp here think it's ok to comment like that, but i guess they probably suffer the same affliction as her. I would definitely distance myself from her.

TheMysteriousJackelope Wed 12-Apr-17 15:01:50

Can you let her know how the comments make your feel?

'Your trousers are hanging off your bum' - 'Ugh, now I won't wear them again'.
'Aren't you jealous of your baby's long legs?' - 'Why would I be?'
'Aren't you worried about your baby's low birth weight?' - 'She wasn't low birth weight, at 50th percentile she is the perfect birth weight'.

If the culture there is 'say what you think' she surely can't be upset if you say what you think right back at her.

Darla21 Wed 12-Apr-17 15:10:30

It sounds like she is just trying to be nice. You sound overly paranoid; just accept compliments at face value and the manner in which they were intended. No need to overanalyse everything to pieces just in case part of it could be negative.

nailbedssuck Wed 12-Apr-17 15:10:33

I like the idea of asking a lot of questions about her remarks, thanks for that tip, MrsLupo! Plus, I'll work on the thicker skin and try to let it flow over me because she is trying to establish a connection.

I do think she is nice, rather than PA but incredibly insecure at the same time, and I don't want to make her issues worse.

The people who call me "strident" are all fellow Brits. People from the country we are in sort of expect women to be forthcoming about their opinions. This friend is also a Brit, so she's not lost in translation. In fact, it was one of the things I was glad to see the back of when I moved here (women saying they were "good" for going to the gym/not eating cake, making a lot of comments about their own thighs and the thighs of others. Maybe I am oversensitive, though)

Reow Wed 12-Apr-17 15:15:01

I think you're being very over sensitive.

INXS Wed 12-Apr-17 15:23:22

I don't think you are being oversensitive OP.

I think the "questions" approach is the way forward, but god it's hard to react in time when people say this sort of shit! It sort of takes a second or two to feel the sting, and by then they're innocently trilling about something else.

By the way, OP - are you a writer? You have quite a compelling turn of phrase.

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