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How to Survive the Holidays When You Feel Like a Grinch

220px-The_Grinch_(That_Stole_Christmas)Whether you’ve experienced a recent loss or you’re strapped for cash or short on time or you’re sick or feeling especially lonely or sad or anxious this year, the holidays can make you feel worse than you already do. It can be hard to muster enthusiasm for the parties and celebrations and the endless obligations when all you want to do is pull a blanket over your head and sleep through the whole month of December — and maybe January and February, too, while you’re at it. But you can’t sleep through it, and while you don’t have to embrace the season if your heart’s not in it, there are a few things you can do to make it not so terrible. Keep reading for a few tips to survive the holidays when you feel like a grinch.

1. Embrace your Grinch-ness
Don’t feel like getting in the holiday spirit? Then don’t! Get into the anti-holiday spirit! Throw an anti-holiday party for your fellow Scrooges where you promise there will be nary a decoration seen or Christmas tune heard. Set Grinch-y house rules stating that anyone heard uttering anything holiday-related will have to stand outside in the cold for three minutes with only a coat and a flask of whiskey to keep warm. But be warned: the ridiculousness of it all might just make you smile despite yourself.

2. Don’t spend money you don’t have
Tell friends and loved ones not to expect store-bought gifts from you this year because you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to shop. Instead, write a hand-written letter to the people on your holiday list telling them what they mean to you. I promise it will mean more than a sweater bought on sale at Gap. If you still want to do something more, think about what you have to offer in the way of personal skills or expertise that might bring them joy or convenience. Baking, cooking, home organization, babysitting, house-sitting, yard work/ snow removal, dog-walking, car-washing, knitting, photography, and house-cleaning are just some of the gifts of time and skills you can offer people in your life if you’re short on funds. As someone who has to pay $15 an hour for a babysitter to watch my son, I can’t tell you how appreciative I am any time we get free sitting! That is definitely a meaningful gift.

3. Do something nice for a stranger(s)
Feeling jaded about the meaning of the holidays? Be the change you’d like to see! Send a card or care package to a deployed service member. Drop off some cookies at your local fire house. Buy some $5 Dunkin’ Donut gift cards and pass them out to homeless people. Write your kids’ teacher or caregiver a thank you note for the hard work he or she does. Buy a child in need a book — it may be the only gift she gets this year.

4. Just say “no”
Don’t feel like going home for the holidays? Don’t. Not up for attending all the various parties and social functions? Blow them off… or make a quick appearance and leave or just choose one to go to instead of dragging yourself to all of them. What’s the worst that will happen? People will think you’re anti-social? That you don’t love them? If they give you grief, tell them you can’t get time off from work or you don’t have the money to travel or you aren’t feeling well or you already have other plans or you’ve decided to sit the holidays out this year and you hope they understand. There will be other opportunities to show up, and once you relieve yourself of the pressure to be present for the holidays, you may just find some moments during the month that are actually enjoyable.

5. Find one outfit you’re excited to wear
Maybe you can’t get out of your social obligations, but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. One of the best ways to make a social obligation a little more fun is to look great going out. So pull out a favorite outfit you haven’t had the opportunity to wear in a long time or take advantage of all the sales and buy yourself something new that looks awesome on you. Or, if you’re broke and hate everything in your closet, do a clothing swap with a friend who’s the same size as you or ask to borrow something or spend a little time mixing and matching stuff you already own or adding a “statement” piece, like patterned tights or a big necklace, and see if you can create a new outfit pairing items you hadn’t thought to wear together.

6. Focus on one holiday-related thing or activity you like (or at least don’t hate)
Maybe it’s the holiday drinks at Starbucks or sales at your favorite store or the way your city empties out the week of Christmas when everyone goes to the suburbs to visit their families (I love that!). There must be one little thing that happens this time of year that brings you even the tiniest bit of joy (time off from work, at least?), so focus on that and make a point to enjoy it even while actively disliking everything else about the holidays.

7. Don’t try to lose weight
There are so many temptations this time of year that make losing weight a losing battle, sabotaging your self-esteem and making you even grumpier. Instead, enjoy a few select treats and try to focus on just maintaining your weight or keeping your weight gain to under three pounds, which you can lose in a weekend come the new year.

8. Connect with people you like and/or miss
Even if you can’t afford to travel to all your loved ones, you can at least make some phone calls or enjoy some Skype sessions with people who fill you up instead of depleting your energy. If possible, squeeze in some time with your local friends you don’t see nearly enough, using the holidays as an excuse to get together. Sure, no one looks forward to social obligations with people they don’t necessarily want to see, but when it’s people who lift you up, a quick brunch or snowy walk through the park or meet-up for coffee can renew your chapped spirit.

9. Schedule an extra therapy appointment
I’m serious on this one. If you know the holidays — or at least this particular holiday season — is a trigger for you — talk it out. If you’re in therapy, schedule an extra session to help you cope. If you’re in a 12-step program, attend more meetings. If you don’t have a therapist and you aren’t in any programs, consider calling a hotline that specializes in your particular form of hardship, or vent on an internet message board, or talk to a clergy person if you’re religious, or see a campus counselor if you’re in school, or talk to a trusted friend or loved one who’s proven to be a good listener. Unload your burden a little so the weight isn’t as heavy.

10. Take care of your physical self
Exercise! Get fresh air! Schedule a massage! Build a snowman or go ice skating or throw snowballs at a group of carolers, you old scrooge. Physical activity releases endorphins, which help fight the blues and makes things like dysfunctional family get-togethers and socializing with annoying co-workers a little more bearable.

11. Start new traditions
Maybe the holidays are no fun for your because you don’t enjoy any of the traditions you’ve always begrudgingly participated in. But you’re an adult now and part of the beauty of that is that you can start your own traditions. And they can be totally silly or ironic (how do you think ugly christmas sweater parties began?) or irreverent or have very little to eve do with the holidays at all except they take place every year in December. The point of traditions is to mark the passing of time with people you love and care about so as long as you’re doing that, a tradition can be anything you damn want it to be. Just think of something to do, invite a few favorite people to join you, call it the “First annual holiday (or anti-holiday) such-and-such” and Boom! you’ve got a new tradition — one you can actually look forward to.

12. And whatever you do: avoid the mall!
Enough said.

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{ 83 comments… add one }

avatar kerrycontrary December 5, 2013, 1:13 pm

With all the posts in the forum this list is really timely!!

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:20 pm

Ditto!

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:21 pm

I started saying no and it is AWESOME. It’s so liberating.

avatar starpattern December 5, 2013, 1:39 pm

Right? It’s so hard at first, but once I got the hang of it, my life is way less stressful.

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 1:41 pm

I wish I could just say no. Unfortunately, most of my Christmas crap is work-related, so I can’t. This year I’ve done everything just short of wearing a Santa suit.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:57 pm

Ugh, that sucks. We’re skipping a family holiday party to go to a football game. I might be the worst person ever.

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 2:00 pm

How close is the family?

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:03 pm

GGuy’s stepdads entire side. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma…the whole deal. In our defense we’ve been planning to go to this game for like a month and then they planned the event at the same EXACT time, even after we where asked about our schedule.

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 2:14 pm

Oh well, In that case I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. They knew you had other plans and scheduled it that way anyway.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:21 pm

I still feel like a Grinch but whatever. It’s playoff race season.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:25 pm

I love this whole list, but especially #1. Basically…it’s okay to be grumpy or un-holiday-ish or even a little sad (how dare you!) around the holidays…whether you’re single or in a relationship. Because I love beating dead horses, I’m going to bring up TWW’s post…if it’s okay for couples to throw ourselves pity parties about how hard the holidays are, why isn’t it okay to talk about how hard they are when you’re single, too? I mean, they both come with their different kinds of difficulties. Telling a single person “don’t feel sad about being single during the holidays — it’s sooooo much worse when you’re coupled up!” is kind of like playing Top My Trauma: “I went through something worse (or…just different) than you did, so that totally invalidates your feelings and experiences!” You know who wins Top My Trauma? No one.

Eh, I probably should just stop. Like the rest of the world, I’m cranky and stressed and overworked right now and it seems like all I’ve done on the boards this week is put my foot in my mouth and inadvertently guilt-trip people. I’m taking my sheriff hat off now. I just wanted to say: if you feel sad because you’re single over the holidays, it’s cool. It’s fine. You’re not a moron. Just ride it out.

avatar kerrycontrary December 5, 2013, 1:28 pm

I think we were just trying to say “don’t glamorize it because there are hard things about the holidays whether you are singled or coupled up. Here are some hard things as a couple you may not have thought of”. Just trying to get out of the “grass is always greener” mindset.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:34 pm

Okay. I agree with that entirely — you’re right. I just always get antsy when it seems like people are piling on.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:36 pm

Not that this was necessarily true here; but sometimes you need to be told something 100 times before it sinks in.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:41 pm

And sometimes it’s equally important to tell someone that advice with a generous dose of compassion, which is what I didn’t see a lot of. I saw a lot of “Well if you think that’s bad, wait til you get this…”

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:45 pm

I usually agree with you, but I don’t here. I read it as “if you think its only singles whose holidays suck, here are examples of how they suck for couples too and how most couples aren’t walking around sipping each other’s cocoas.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:50 pm

Okay. I think I probably am just misreading everything today (and probably also feeding my own grumpiness into the interpretation). Sorry to anyone who feels like I’m attacking them or their advice. I get that we’re all coming from a place where we just want to help each other. LBH, since I normally agree with you too, it’s a big warning bell to me that you’re calling me out, since that means I probably am overreacting. Sorry.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:57 pm

Oh no! Please don’t be upset. I love you banana!
I see why you were looking at it like that (top my trauma). I just was looking at it differently. And of course, many times on here we do get a little intense when someone is venting, so I especially get why you thought that. Anyway, hopefully it helped her realize that its not only singles who have crap holidays. I’m in a grumpy ass mood too. Its going around.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:04 pm

Maybe one day we’ll go where the people are. Maybe we’ll see, see ‘em dancing. Walking around on those whatcha callem…feeeeeet? In the meantime I’m a grumpy mermaid.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 2:09 pm

hahahahaha

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:52 pm

Yeah…I don’t read it that way at all. Plenty of people wrote politely worded things on the first page and a half. Then it turned into complaining about in-laws, as DW threads often morph into other things. Honestly, I think I was the only rude person to the OP!

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 1:33 pm

What Kerry said. I didn’t mean for my comment to come off like “Stop complaining, I have it worse.” I just wanted to say that no one has magical holidays, and knowing that holidays as a couple are hard too breaks down some of the expectations I think. It’s certainly okay to be sad about it. But I would hate for someone to have a shitty holiday just because they were playing the never ending “If only…” game.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:34 pm

Yeah, I agree with Kerry. It’s not a grass is greener on the other side kind of thing…just that both sides have their negatives. Sure, being single sucks a bit, but so does being coupled. They both have their challenges and it’s all in how you deal with those challenges.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:44 pm

“if it’s okay for couples to throw ourselves pity parties about how hard the holidays are, why isn’t it okay to talk about how hard they are when you’re single, too?”

Sure, you can throw yourself a pity party and only focus on the bad. But where does that get you? (applies to all people, relationship or not)

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:46 pm

Yeah, I agree, it’s not constructive no matter who you are. I’m just saying — we’re all human. Whether it’s constructive or not, at SOME point or another we’ll all have something we just need to complain or vent about, we’ll all have some moment where we just need to wallow. If it’s a pattern, that’s bad. If it’s a way of life, that’s worse. But if it’s just a moment someone has to experience, get off their chest, and then move on — eh, let’s not judge so much. None of us are totally innocent of complaining or self-pity from time to time.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:49 pm

I don’t disagree with any of that.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson December 5, 2013, 1:52 pm

I agree with all that you’re saying, but the problem is that most people lack the self awareness to see where they are on that spectrum. They’ll exclaim that they’re just venting, when they vent about the same shit over, and over, and over again.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson December 5, 2013, 1:50 pm

Competitions between whose life sucks worse make me so stabby. I always just want to say, “Cool, congratulations, you have the worst life ever. You win. Let me know when you start to realize how dramatic you are. Maybe then we can be friends.”

avatar kerrycontrary December 5, 2013, 1:53 pm

Sometimes I do say a version of this to those Debbie Downers (have you seen the SNL thanksgiving skit on debbie downers? It’s pretty great), but they’re so dense that they just don’t get it.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:54 pm

My life sucks worse than all of yours. However, my basement is turning into an aquarium, so its on an upswing hopefully.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:56 pm

Can you please play “Under the Sea” on a boombox loudly the next time Peter goes down there to attempt to fix it?

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:59 pm

I didn’t think it was possible to make me laugh about this disaster. Thank you!

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:54 pm

Thank you!!!! That’s why I had my initial reaction to that thread. I was reading it as Top My Trauma, but I realize now I was totally off-base, and people didn’t mean it that way at all, making this at the very least the second time (after the time I was all over you on veritek’s thread) that I’m just been a complete ass here this week. Blarg. But yeah, I hate Top My Trauma. That’s why I get so freaking sensitive when I’m afraid it’s about to go down.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 1:55 pm

I don’t think you’ve ever been an ass on here!

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 1:56 pm

*blushes*

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 1:56 pm

Oh, just let it go down sometimes! (Also, you’re not a complete ass, just SUPER worried someone is going to get offended. It happens, you move on..)

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson December 5, 2013, 1:59 pm

Yeah it’s best if you just never worry about offending anyone ever. My life is so stress-free because of that.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:09 pm

Hah, you guys are right. Actually (this is going to make me barf just writing it) my therapist has told me I’m WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too worried about other people’s feelings. All. The. Time. Like, it’s one of my biggest problems. That sounds like an epic humble brag but I don’t mean it like that. I’m actually not proud of it, because it’s kind of how people wind up turning into annoying martyrs, you know? And then I also get the reputation among my friends that I’m the Super Nice one who will put up with virtually anything, and so when I do actually let lose and tell someone what I think without varnishing it, they all get “WOAH! What is wrong with you? You’re not acting like yourself!” when really maybe I am finally acting like myself.

Dear lord. I need a drink. Context (not in a top-my-trauma way) for my stress this week: my boss and several other people want me to fire one of my employees. And they might be right. But it’s fucking Christmas. And I’m trying So. Fucking. Hard. to teach her how to do her job better. And I’ve never fired anyone before. I’ve never had to.

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 2:16 pm

Oh dear… That sounds really stressful. Can you plead with your boss to let you wait until after Christmas? That’s just terrible and not okay. Fire her after the new year.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:35 pm

Thanks. I think I’ve managed to buy her more time. We’re giving her another month to shape up and I’m tutoring her intensively in that period. So it’s going to be hard (we hired her to help ease my workload, and instead I have to do my work AND closely monitor and help her improve hers) but I hope that in the end she can prove herself and really shine. At the very least, by that point, I’ll feel like I’ve done everything I can — and if she really hasn’t improved enough by that point, it’s really her problem (bad attitude, not trying hard enough) and not because I’ve been unreasonable.

It’s so bad that one of my coworkers keeps asking me to confirm that HR had called to confirm her degrees, because he doesn’t believe someone with her level of education could make the mistakes she has.

Fabelle Fabelle December 5, 2013, 2:30 pm

I don’t know whereeeee to reply in this thread, but my two cents: I get how you interpreted it as Top My Trauma (I love that phrase, by the way) but I think our tendency (on DW) is be like, “Oh, this person is asking for help.. hm.. how to make them feel better? I know! I’ll convince them that the thing they want isn’t that great!” It could be off-base at times, of course, but I think it comes from a good place (rather than a “wah wah you’re single, well it sucks being coupled up too!” thing)

So yeah, everyone covered this already so I hope I’M not “piling on” but I just wanted to add! I love your comments too, Banana. And I hope work gets better!

Here’s a story for you… apparently the building owner here just fired everyone who works in the cafeteria! EVERYONE. Because she dropped something, told one of the workers to pick it up for her, & he wouldn’t. Or so that’s what I heard. But dafuq (da fuck? for anyone who cannot translate that haha)

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 2:33 pm

Some people are bad at NOT giving advice, too. My boyfriend will complain about something and I’m all ‘here is what you do to fix that’ and it bothers him. Apparently he just wants to whine and have me feel sorry for him?

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:35 pm

Omg GGuy does that all the time and it drives me BONKERS. Sometimes I just need to complain about the same.damn.thing for 5 minutes for the 400th time. AHhhh.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 2:42 pm

I guess I just don’t understand that, even though I love to complain haha. If you come to me with a problem, I assume its because you want me to fix it. I hate when other people complain but don’t want a solution, but its ok when I just want to complain. Basically, I’m a hypocrite. haha

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:47 pm

Well, most of the time I complain it’s about work and there isn’t a solution. So when a bunch of crazy far fetched solutions are presented it just pisses me off even more. Sometimes I just need someone to listen to me ramble about how annoying my boss is.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:37 pm

I’m the same, LBH! In fact, back when I wrote my own advice column, I wrote a whole post one week on why it’s important to NOT give unsolicited advice sometimes, because sometimes people just need to vent. But I’m not very good at following my own advice, apparently! I have to keep reminding me that unless someone explicitly asks for advice, sometimes I just gotta nod and smile and move on.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:40 pm

Oh man. That is awful. I can’t even imagine how someone could be so evil they’d do that (fire the whole cafeteria staff for that reason). I sincerely hope that was just gossip/exaggeration and not what really happened!! Eeek.

Thanks Fab. I love your comments too. I feel like I’ve been on the struggle bus lately. I’ve been really hard on myself. This employee situation is really tough because I’m trying hard to do the right thing, both as a businesswoman looking out for the bottom line, and as a compassionate person who wants to give a slow starter a chance to bloom before casting her back into this crummy job market.

Fabelle Fabelle December 5, 2013, 2:49 pm

OHMYFUCKINGOD well apparently ~something~ happened, because I just got an email saying that our “cafe vendor” will be “in transition” because their contract was “scheduled to end December 31st” but they have “chosen to leave” a week from now. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

And now I have the sads, not only for those employees, but for myself, because the fully serviced cafeteria will not be ready until January 2nd… & I’ll be gone by then (mini pity party)

Erm, but anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if that lady really was that evil. She’s nice to me, but she’s pretty Evil Stepmother…employer..ish to her own employees. Anyway @Banana, I hope you get to postpone this woman’s firing, but if not, I know you’ll find the most compassionate way to tell her. It does suck, suck, suck, though :(

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:55 pm

OH MAN THOSE ARE THE WORST! As someone who works at a company that has had A LOT of layoffs this year…they find all sorts of weird ways to say it to try and keep people from catching on and losing morale. “The vendor is in transition” takes the cake, right alongside telling us it’s more efficient to have people in India with extremely limited English skills fix our computers remotely, when all we needed all along was our lovable (and now-downsized) IT guy who probably just needed to whack it once on the side (I miss him).

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson December 5, 2013, 2:00 pm

Although now that I think about it, I might try to get into a competition like that every time anyone complains to me about anything. Maybe then they’ll learn that I don’t have any sympathetic bones in my body and we can spend our time talking about more worthwhile matters.

kare kare December 5, 2013, 2:27 pm

I feel like I can’t vent to my friends because they are all at blissfully happy stages in life, and I don’t want to be that person that’s not fitting in. So I’ve mostly been faking it. When they say “hey so you must be starting to be lonely since you’re the only single one in our group and no one ever hangs out with you anymore”, I think “oh I can say something about not being super happy”. Then it becomes a lecture on how my life is awesome so I need to suck it up. Grr. I’m grinchy today, but plan to catch up on sleep on my day off tomorrow.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 2:32 pm

Your friends don’t really say that to you, do they?

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:37 pm

If they do, you need new friends.

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 2:48 pm

Your friends sound like assholes. Who says that to someone?!

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

Fire your friends before Christmas.

kare kare December 5, 2013, 3:20 pm

I don’t realize how it comes off. They are thinking “oh she’s alone, she must be lonely, we need to see how she’s doing since we are all usually busy with our relationships”. Then when I’m like “yeah guys it kind of sucks we rarely hang out and I want to go out and still have fun”, they’re response is like “at least you can go out, you can afford to live alone, you don’t have to deal with a long distance relationship” etc. I think they are legitimately trying to make me feel better. They mean well, but they are out of touch. They are the Effie Trinket of my dating game.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 3:52 pm

Your Effie Trinket reference just made my freaking day. Seriously.

But for real — doesn’t matter what their intentions are, comments like that are SO outrageously out of touch you need to smack them down. If they’re good friends they can survive it if you tell them, “Hey, cut it out with the remarks like that. You might not realize it but they come across as really hurtful.”

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 2:52 pm

The point of my comment on TWW’s post wasn’t that single people can’t throw themselves a pity party now and then (we all have bad moments, and that’s ok), but rather that some people tend to glamorize being in a relationship at the holidays, when, really for most of us, the holidays are full of challenges- single, coupled, whatever.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 2:41 pm

The other girl in our office just emailed me to ask me to order printer paper. WTF? I don’t even work in the office! (She is fully capable of and authorized to make the purchase.)

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 2:56 pm

I hate when people do stuff like that. There used to be a guy here who would tell me when the copier was out of paper. Um… There’s a cabinet FULL OF FUCKING PAPER right next to the damn machine. It’s not that hard. idiots.

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 3:06 pm

Does anyone else think that often men in the office (and yes, sometimes other women) wind up asking a female to do that sort of stuff, even if there’s a guy available? Like, in my old office, there was a guy and a girl who both sat really close to the copier/fax machine, and the guy was the actual admin assistant, whereas the girl had a slightly different job that didn’t involve office maintenance at all, but more often than not people would ask the gal “Um, how do I fax this?” “We need more toner.” “Do you know where the paper is?” etc.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 3:15 pm

Ugh my favorite is when they call me to ask me to look up a number for them. Hello google! Or maybe try the office phone database thing you have access too (since that’s where I’m going to look them up!). I need to watch like 50 episodes of SVU tonight to chillax (thank goodness GGuy works tonight!).

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 3:21 pm

My favorite is when our guys ask ME to call our IT people to fix a problem on their computer. Ummm… You’re the one with the problem- you know what is going on, you can’t do anything until the problem is fixed anyway, you know their phone number- You call them! I can’t stand that.

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 3:39 pm

Oh god, I am so sick of getting called to look up a phone number. You looked up my damn phone number, why don’t you look up the other one? I accidentally got smart with someone who did that yesterday and said LET ME GOOGLE THAT FOR YOU.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana December 5, 2013, 3:58 pm

yeah when I first started here this guy asked me if I could google the email address of the nearest Ruby Tuesday and email it to him. Like really?

theattack theattack December 5, 2013, 4:01 pm

Oh no. Oh HELL no. The ONLY excuse for that is if he had already shut his computer down for the day and was asking it as a one time favor.

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana December 5, 2013, 4:15 pm

no this was out of pure laziness and i don’t even work in his department, guess i was just the closest female.

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 3:19 pm

Yes, that 100% happens in my office. There are only 3 women here, and we’re all in admin/marketing positions, and all the guys think that we are somehow the goddesses of the copy machine. They’ll come over if it jams and ask me to fix it, meanwhile the machine walks you through how to unjam is step by step with pictures on the screen!!

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana December 5, 2013, 3:30 pm

yeah the older men in my office are completely in a fog and ask me or one of the other girls who are pretty much all in admin/support positions to fix anything ever, or find the tp, or new paper towels, or where the forks are in the kitchen. Like seriously??? WTF just go look you are a 50 year old grown ass man, the paper is IN THE CABINET UNDER THE PRINTER. It just gets me so angry.

avatar bethany December 5, 2013, 3:46 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one!
Sometimes I wonder how people who are so smart can be so clueless.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 3:13 pm

I want to e-mail her back and say “no.” Just no in the whole e-mail. WTF can’t you do it? You have a credit card, you know what kind of paper we just ran out of…heck you can go to the staples down the street and buy it on your way home! It’s irrationally annoying me. I need the weekend!

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 3:19 pm

Say no! If she wants to play dumb, you can too. I started doing that at my job with a woman who does the same thing and its worked out well.

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 3:24 pm

She is the owners daughter so I tend to tread lightly. Which is really f-ing annoying.

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 3:35 pm

So be sweet about it. “oh, no I don’t, but if you figure it out, would you mind showing me how it works?”

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 3:37 pm

Muahahaha. That’s delicious. Throw it in her face by being helpful, but in a way that implies she’s an idiot. “Oh, you don’t know how to order paper. Here, let me show you. Did no one train you on that? It’s really simple…”

GatorGirl GatorGirl December 5, 2013, 3:50 pm

I’m tempted to ask 50 questions. “Do you remember where we ordered it from?” “What brand was it?” “What about brightness…what’s on the box?” “FSC or just recycled?” “Well what recycled content?” “In store pick up or delivery?” “What day do you want it delivered?” “1 case? 10 reams? 2 cases? How much do we need?”

avatar lets_be_honest December 5, 2013, 4:27 pm

She’ll never ask you again!

avatar Banana December 5, 2013, 3:26 pm

Yep! Though I can see how that might be more difficult depending on the office politics. In my office, there are really two people I simply can’t say no to, no matter what they ask me to do (my boss and her boss) but they also don’t ask me to fix copiers and shit. Somehow, despite being a director who is clearly not involved in office management, I still sometimes get random “Hey do you know if we have any more file folders?” types of questions which I could ascribe to the “Ask a female!” problem. But at least I’m in a position where I can summarily smack them down. Usually I just give them a cold look, say “I don’t know,” or “No. I don’t have time,” and let them soak in the chilliness for a moment before totally ignoring them while I turn back to my screen.

KKZ KKZ December 5, 2013, 4:48 pm

Ooo oo oo, I have a minor office vent too…

There’s a person in another department who I work closely with, she’s very very sweet and friendly, we have a good coworker-friendship. A detail to note, the part of the building where she work is Cubeville so it’s hard to get privacy & peace & quiet while on a phone call, whereas my department has offices with doors, hooray! it doesn’t make a lot of sense because her dept. has to be on the phone all the time, but there aren’t enough individual offices in the building for them all to have one, so that’s how it shakes out. There are a few empty offices, though, that they sometimes use as “phone booths” when they need it.

Yesterday I hear her go to the office next to mine, very much occupied by someone else in my department who’s technically ‘under’ me, and say “You’re going to lunch, right? I need to use your computer and phone to make a call, and all the other offices are busy.” (This was at 10:30 a.m.)

This is the second time she’s done that. The first time he was out sick, she just asked me to use his office and presented it as a “quick favor” sort of thing, and I said go ahead, since it wasn’t in use. But it is SO not appropriate to come kick one of us out so she can call a client in quiet. And of course she plays it so sweet and apologetic and thankful that it’s easy to just say “Oh sure, I can do you this favor” but fool me twice…

If she pulls it again while I’m here, I’m gonna backbone-up and tell her NO. Because I’m like Banana in the discussion above, too concerned with other people’s feelings, and that makes me a doormat. But my therapist told me that this coworker is a good person to practice boundary-setting with (her other bad habit is stopping by for a “quick question” and then lingering to chat for 20+ minutes). So I am fully prepared to step up and call her out and say NO, and when Colleague returned from lunch, I advised him not to let her get away with that again either and he agreed, he said it caught him off guard and he wasn’t even sure what she was asking so he just went along with it but it struck him as weird too.

We have a pretty easygoing office culture around here, but Colleague needs to be at his desk just as much as Pollyanna does, and next time I won’t be shy to tell her so.

/vent

avatar something random December 5, 2013, 10:03 pm

Just wanted to chime in and say I love the list. I’ve been feeling really crappy all day. I’m not sure why. Just the winter blues I guess. I actually decided to do number 10 and I did get an endorphin kick. Maybe I’ll vent in a thread.

avatar Girafe December 5, 2013, 10:19 pm

I am pretty grinchy. The holidays are an emotional time for me and it seems like every year I have a hard time managing it all. My parents are divorced, my Dad is bitter, Mom’s S/O is a pain in the arse, and my Sister’s BF is a know-it-all. There are MANY times I want to hide out and sleep through the holidays. I’ve also had the opportunity to be away for Christmas Eve and/or Christmas day… and its like I can’t imagine missing out on the day with them.

How weird is that? It’s like the pre-holidays for me are filled with a weight and dread that makes me want to hide, but I know that if I actually wasn’t around for those two days, I’d be a wreck and cry that I was missing out.

Damn you feelings!

avatar something random December 5, 2013, 10:50 pm

Why is everything so magnified this time of year? All the magic, sad quiet feelings? There is so much weight we take on, and for what? Well for me it’s my kids. And some toxic, deeply ingrained desire to fix things that are not within healthy boundaries. I’m getting better, slowly. I should print this list out.

avatar bookie December 6, 2013, 12:31 pm

Perfect timing.

I have zero interest in holidays this year, but everytime I think about not celebrating at all, I cry. My husband, who is awesome, decided we have to do something so he bought us a 3ft tall xmas tree to put up in our apartment, and we’re going to go buy some new ornaments to put on it. Most of our christmas stuff is gone, but I did find one ‘engagement’ ornament someone got us, so I’ll put that up.

We also keep getting the “what do you want for xmas–send us your list–etc” messages from family. I want my stuff back. And my life back. And I can’t have that… and it feels so stupid to say, well how about new perfume or running tights. But I guess that’s moving on. So new running tights and socks it is.

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