, “Oh boo hoo, you’re really going to complain? You’re a grown man.”
wow. that would set me off. big time. shaming, sexist, etc.
not sure how I would react.
I guess it would come down to a lot of factors including what I thought I could/could not say at work. how much I had to be around this woman. etc. how i thought she would react.
couple of takes:
I am a big guy. a big pinko, sensitive, cry at movies guy. But I would swell up, and get a cold look in my eye, and grit my teeth, and look her in the eyes and say. “YOU. DON’T. GET. TO. TELL. ME. WHAT A GROWN MAN IS.”
because she is not going to respond to reason, or empathy at this point. she will respond to you being an alpha (I am not an alpha, btw) this is not my preferred way, but frankly it might be a good one.
I could look at her and say “you have a sad, small, fucked up way of looking at the world. I don’t want to sound mean. But that is a fucked up thing to say to someone.”
I could say “Hey! don’t tell other people what they should and should not complain about! this is a free country.”
I could say “Excuse me, as a grown man, I am busy listening to another grown man tell me something that bugs him. This is what normal grown adult men do. I don’t know what the men you know do. Please don’t talk if you can’t contribute in a positive way.”
the long game: say nothing. find out more about her. listen to her. let her open up. because she comes from a sad, fucked up little world, she could probably use a friend.
I will end with story:
I was playing D and D with some real stupid, uneducated jerks. first off, i have no idea why these philistines played DnD they should have being doing something else. 3 of them were long term buddies. one was an army guy named Alex. then there was me. they always shamed, mocked and dominated each other. alex was pretty quiet most of time but had real snarky streak. once he went out to smoke and I went with because I smoke a pipe.
I started to complain/vent about something. don’t remember what. Alex said, “boohoo I am gonna cry and complain about my life!” in a mocking voice. and I said, “fuck you alex. you bitch and moan about your wife and your life and your money all the time. and I LISTEN. and I CARE. you know why? because that is what normal grown men do. They give a shit about their friends. So if you want a friend who fucking listens to you, then you better do the same for me.” he broke up laughing and apoligized. the next week I got a call. he had me over to hang out. we became fast friends. we quit that DnD group because after talking we were sick of their juvenile behavior. we started our own group. Alex was there for me when I got divorced.
He had been alone for a long time when we had that converasation as we were smoking, and he had been only around losers who could not share their feelings or be supportive like fully evolved humans. he told me later that he used to have good friends but after being in army…and moving…he had not found any men who were not just big immature boys. we are still friends to the day. all that to say that people get in dysfunctional settings and think they are normal.
show her what healthy looks like.
edit: “try not to dwell on it”
a) that seems like you meant well. I want to say that you took the time to offer advice, that was thoughtful.
b) I am pretty sure he has tried not to dwell on it. but felt like he need to process. part of letting go of things often involves processing them first. you are right, in that sometimes we can or need to let things go. not sure about this time. it is work related. he will have similar run ins with this woman in future.
c) having processed it, he can move forward to take action or not. at that point, he can move on/not dwell.
I am not attacking you for your advice to not dwell, I am simply deconstructing it. I think you meant well.
“We all interact with people like that. One of my friends taught me a long time ago that Occam’s tactic is the best way to deal with these people: get everyone laughing at them. The more angry they get the deeper hole they dig and the more everyone laughs.”
as a humanist, one of the last things I feel I should do is use a group dynamic to shame/attack another person or marginalize them. would I? i have. if I felt VERY unsafe and precarious I might use this tactic. but not be proud of myself. not everyone can grow or change but I am not going to, early on, be a person who purposefully alienates and angers someone. I ruin every chance at connection and helping them evolve as a FELLOW HUMAN.