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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread and Links

Happy Friday! There’s the ever so slightest chill in the air here in NYC – mostly first thing in the morning and then at dusk – and I’m excited about fall. Fall! Soup season and sweaters and pumpkin bread and Halloween and a hygge home and colorful leaves and boots and – oh, please! – vaccines for my kids (Please!). Hope to enjoy some of that this very weekend, and I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Here are a few links you might enjoy:

How a brother’s obituary for his ‘Special Sister’ became a poignant internet phenomenon

I thought this op-ed, “The Middle-Aged Sadness Behind the Cancel Culture Panic,” written by a Gen X journalist (my generation) was an interesting perspective on cancel culture and the generational gap around it. I don’t necessarily share or agree with the perspective, but having written advice for and to people of younger generations and having been called out on my use of phrases or ideas that some find outdated or offensive – for example, using “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” instead of “partner” – I relate to some of the argument made here. I think there’s a lot of room to be both more sensitive and a little less so. I wish younger folks could be more patient with us olds as we navigate and adapt to societal changes, and I wish the older generation would be less defensive and more open to the intention behind such changes, which are almost always rooted in inclusiveness.

I just learned that one of my favorite lipsticks – Clinique Black Honey, which I used as a teen in the 90s and then rediscovered a few years ago – went viral on TikTok a few weeks ago and is now sold out everywhere. See, sometimes we middle-agers know what’s cool decades before the youngsters discover it!

Just terrible: ‘We’re seeing shock.’ Texas abortion clinics are now operating as trauma centers

Yup. Parenting a child under 12 in the age of Delta: ‘It’s like a fire alarm every day’ (But it sounds like we are now maybe just weeks away from a vaccine for the 5-11 year-old set!!)

Gawker makes an argument for lunch as the new hot date, and as a mom who has recently found herself with the hot commodity of time away from her children in the middle of the day now that they are back in school, I agree!

Do you ever use these phrases (or work with or know someone who does)? Avoid these 5 phrases that make you sound passive aggressive

21 comments… add one
  • MaterialsGirl September 24, 2021, 3:56 pm

    black honey is the best!

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    • Kate September 24, 2021, 4:22 pm

      Yup! Wore it in the 90s too. That was a good lip look, that rosy brown tone everyone wore back then.

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      • Kate September 24, 2021, 4:29 pm

        Just confirmed you can still buy it on Amazon. Maybe not the silver tube, but the plastic one, and the gloss, you can “buy now.”

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      • MaterialsGirl September 24, 2021, 4:56 pm

        I need to see if i still have any?

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      • Dear Wendy September 24, 2021, 5:43 pm

        It’s such a great color.

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  • ktfran September 24, 2021, 4:57 pm

    The TX abortion article makes me sick the my stomach.

    The Gawker article: I absolutely know I occasionally use passive aggressive phases, but it’s better than telling someone they’re a moron. I do it sparingly. Occasionally I hit a tipping point. Most of the time, I sit on it a day and cool down.

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    • Kate September 24, 2021, 5:16 pm

      I did say “going forward” the other day to my Gen-Z intern. Like, going forward please let me know if you’re not going to be able to finish something you thought you could finish. I hope it sounded scary. Sometimes you do have to use those.

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      • ktfran September 24, 2021, 5:19 pm

        Ha! I hope you sounded super scary.

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      • Copa September 25, 2021, 10:56 am

        I once said something similar to a young millennial or gen z coworker (unsure her exact age) after she missed a pretty big deadline on a project she was supporting me on. She went crying to our supervisor that I was bullying her and it turned into a big thing that I then posted about on this site. Good times!

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      • Kate September 25, 2021, 2:32 pm

        Yeah, I need to be careful.

        How did that end up?

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      • Copa September 26, 2021, 10:05 am

        I (still) don’t think what I said to this coworker was a big deal. The situation that ensued — boss lost it at me, I cried, boss made a third party manager at a higher level than mine get involved as some sort of mediator/buffer and I had to CC the guy all correspondence to the coworker I “bullied” — was absurd. I immediately started job hunting and was gone about five months later.

        The “bullied” coworker quit several months later to enroll in law school. Heard from a former coworker she failed out but planned to get an online masters in mediation instead. Last update I heard she’s back at an old retail job.

        I had a sorta similar incident when I was brand new in the workplace, except I was able to salvage what I’d messed up before a deadline. A manager addressed it pretty directly with me. I never felt she was wrong for doing so nor did I feel compelled to cry to a higher authority that I was being bullied. ??‍♀️

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      • Copa September 26, 2021, 10:21 am

        The buffer manager left about a year after I did and I’ve gotten some freelance work through him. I took this as a sign I was never the problem.

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      • Kate September 26, 2021, 3:56 pm

        I feel like the situation is slightly precarious because we do not want to hire this individual when she graduates, so I have to make sure I give her clear feedback and document stuff, but also this is my first experience dealing with someone this young. I really feel like I’m babysitting. Also her parent is pretty high up in the company. That said, I took two versions of the same “harassment, bullying” training, and it was super clear that talking about someone’s work performance is NOT harassment or bullying. Unless you say it’s because of a protected characteristic.

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    • ktfran September 26, 2021, 10:31 am

      I remember you posting about that debacle Copa. Yeah. You def weren’t the problem.

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  • Ange September 26, 2021, 5:41 pm

    It’s my fourth week at a new job and I have to run a meeting with this person who is the king of passive aggression next week. I’ve seen some emails come through from him and he is a master at it. He lives to make life difficult apparently (and having seen the emails I believe it) and I’ve got to start steering him towards some outcomes he’s vehemently against. If anyone has any words of wisdom for shutting that shit down I’m all ears.

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    • Kate September 26, 2021, 6:47 pm

      I would need to hear more about his tactics and what you’re trying to get him to do, but you could always hit him with a, “would you like to hear a different point of view?” And show him data and make it about what’s good for the business.

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      • Ange September 27, 2021, 7:02 pm

        In this job I’ve been hired to increase numbers nationwide by updating our delivery method to match what everyone else in this field is doing. It’s not revolutionary at all and is backed by reams of solid data both externally and internally. I’ve been working in this space for years all over and so has my boss so we know what’s out there and how it’s done.

        This guy is super old school, however, and hasn’t ever been outside this one organisation. My boss sent through a research proposal for the group to sign off with incredibly stock standard parameters and straight away he came back complaining about it and saying that we should also spend money to gather data about this *other* basic thing that had been researched to death and answered many times over. He does this sort of thing every time any communication goes out. When one of the other group members shot back half a dozen articles showing him the answers for his thing were already out there he backed down immediately, which he’s also done plenty of times but he still won’t figure this stuff out himself without forcing others to do the labour for him. So you get it, his perspective is narrow, he’s not as well informed as he thinks he is and he’s ALSO not really engaging in good faith about it. I’m willing to do that to a point but I’m also not that keen on having to defend my position constantly when I know mine is coming from a much better place.

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      • Kate September 27, 2021, 7:10 pm

        As I was reading that, I was like, someone should work with him on a “learning agenda” and show him the body of work that already exists. That’s what we do when we get asked to do some market research by a business partner who hasn’t taken the time to find out if the answer is already out there. My boss will be like, you’ve gathered syndicated research on this, right?

        But then I saw you’ve already done that, so that’s good. I guess I would start out being very friendly and nice to him until I figure out his angle for sure, and then determine how to work around him. I would definitely not directly engage in any kind of hostile or passive aggressive way.

        What power does he actually have?

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      • Ange September 27, 2021, 7:59 pm

        He’s not super powerful as such but he’s very good at slowing down productive work and creating more. This group should have been ready to disband about now but we’re nowhere near that. The research project now already has an extra, pretty unnecessary component just because it shut him up. So he costs time and money I guess. I’m fairly direct so this is going to be an interesting test of my poker face!

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  • Amy Garoutte September 26, 2021, 8:50 pm

    I feel the same way about the Cancel Culture article. I kind of relate – but mostly just think it’s strange to be in the middle age life stage where I’m not quite up to speed on everything.

    I live in the mountains in Colorado. My nearest neighbors are each about 1/2 mile away and I can’t see their houses from mine. I love it. AND – oh my gosh, I find the pictures from your neighborhood SO Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. It’s on the top of our list to go to NYC on vacation… post-pandemic which I hope is in the next couple of years.

    Love your site, Wendy. Thank you!

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