27 December 2011

Backhanded Compliment

There is somebody I work with who does not work in my office. She used to work in another local office but then got transferred within the company to a location out of state. When she still worked in the state she would spend one or two days per week in our office. She was transferred around April, which was right around the time that I went from working full-time to working part-time. It was also around the time that Ike got laid off.

So, we hadn't seen much of each other for a few months. As I said in my post about Ike's lay-off, going from full-time to part-time was a good change for me. It created a much better balance in my life. One of the effects was that I started consistently trying to look nice at work - a thing I'd pretty much given up on at the end of my pregnancy and in Ike's early months when I was too tired and too rushed to really make attempts at doing my hair and make-up. Those were the months when this colleague had most recently been around me consistently, and I'm sure those images of me were the ones that were clearest in her mind because they were the freshest.

That was all the back-story. Here is the story:

This colleague was holding a training meeting that everyone in my office needed to attend. For some reason I was late to the training meeting, so I popped in about 10 minutes after it had started and took a seat toward the back - maybe about 20 feet away from the front of the room.

After the meeting the colleague said to me, "You look really good! I didn't even recognize you when you first came in."

I was a little taken aback. I said, "Wow, I must have looked really bad those first few post-baby months." Admittedly, this was not the best way for me to respond to my colleague's compliment. Then again, her compliment was not very tactful.

She then realized how badly her compliment came off, and we both kind of laughed it off and she gave me more compliments on losing baby weight and we chatted about life after having a baby and other things.

This exchange has left me thinking a lot about things that come out of our mouths in ways we did not intend at all. Anyone willing to share some examples?

1 comment:

Carrie said...

In a group of friends, one woman has lost her daughter at birth a few months after Kaitlyn was born. We were planning a get together and she was apprehensive about babies - especially girls around her daughters age- being there. Not even thinking about her I commented that I wasn't going to bring Kaitlyn because "sometimes life is just easier without her".
Oh boy. NOT a good way to put that...