Where I work, there is this girl who is completely cold to me for no apparent reason. I can only assume her adopted attitude solely lies with the fact that she is now Formerly known as the Prettiest Girl in the Office.
Before I was hired she lost 40 pounds and wants to lose another 15, or at least maintain her current weight.
FPG (As I call her) is pointedly rude to me, which is earning notice from my coworkers.
Short of covering her desk in candybars to torture her, how can I handle this situation tactfully?
The Prettiest Girl in the Office
Oh, this is good.
Unfortunately, the answer to your query is incredibly easy and short, and not all that fun. So what I decided to do was first list three things that you should not, under any circumstances, do out of reprisal to your catty Kathy. For the purposes of this posting, I will present them in the affirmative form as negatives, double negatives, single positives and thingies of that nature really confuse me.
1) Cut that bitch, cut her right above her bitch eye. Then drag her around the office by her formerly chubby ankles while shouting that you caught yourself a rhino. If you wear a pith helmet it will add to the effect.
2) Steal her stapler and replace it with a rattlesnake.
3) Whenever she leaves food in the refrigerator with her name on it, change the name to yours. Then forge a memo that says she has to move her desk to somewhere isolated, after she moves, take her former desk. Start wearing similar clothing as she does and change your hair to match hers. It’s very important that you do this slowly as you don’t want to arouse any suspicion. Finally, try to steal her man and have a violent showdown on a roof somewhere in the rain, bonus points if you’re the one who survives.
First off, we don’t need to get into why she’s being rude. That much is obvious. We can ignore all the cliched stereotypes of newly lithe ladies and the territorial nature of being the sexiest person in a space (which I could talk for hours about *rubs knuckles on shirt*). This isn’t a case of one girl being rude to another, you’re locked in the epic struggle of Machiavellian office maneuvering.
Office politics are the only thing more lame and pathetic than real politics. However, instead of ruining entire residential areas because your senator got bribed into green-lighting a cement plant, in the office people most usually just call each other whores.
Also, the worst thing about office problems like these is that everyone will always say to you, “don’t sink to her level, it’s not worth it.” Which is the stupidest fucking advice that you could ever receive. Feeling high and mighty for not being equally snide back to someone who insists on making rude remarks to you isn’t going to stop her from being a bitch.
Unfortunately, while it’s the stupidest and most boring advice, when in the office context, it’s the only advice. We’re talking about securing the means to feed yourself here. When you take a step back and look at it from the perspective of not being able to eat, which would obviously be a problem for your friend, and having to deal with a post-porker’s dramatic self esteem issues, the disparity is immense.
The other problem with not turning the other cheek is that 99 times out of 100 the person who retaliates to office goading is the one who gets in trouble. Why? Because that old familiar mantra of “don’t sink to her level” is so ingrained into the collective mind that any boss will instantly blame you for not following it. The weaselly instigator is almost never blamed because they exist on that level that we’re all not supposed to sink to, we just assume that it is in their nature and it’s up to us to suffer them their affliction.
So what the hell can you do?
You said it right there in your letter, it’s earning notice from your coworkers. Make it earn more notice. If you can’t sink to her level, take a rocket and go orbitally higher than it. Go out of your way to be noticeably nice to her, and if she’s rude back to you, make it noticeable.
Passive aggression is what makes the world go round. Rome wasn’t built in a day, it was guilt tripped into existence over a period of several hundred years. Let the crushing weight of just how little you seem to care squash her petty rudeness. Once the entire office has noticed how rude she’s being to you, you won’t need to tell yourself not to do any level sinking, because they will do it for you.
Slightly nefarious, I know, but it’s way easier than trying to wrangle a rattlesnake.