Power-playing co-worker
September 6, 2007 10:52 AM   Subscribe

A co-worker is driving me mad with her petty power plays, any advice?

A woman in my office--I'll call her Darcine--who apparently thinks she's my manager keeps using a certain phrase in her emails that's making me insane: "Come see me."

What is this, kindergarten? Am I in trouble? This woman just has some paperwork she needs to get to me once or twice a week. We don't interact otherwise, because we don't need to. She makes rounds each day to all of our inboxes. There's no reason on God's green earth that she can't drop the paperwork in my box and then go away. But she practically calls a meeting every time she has anything for me. So whenever something even slightly out of the ordinary comes up, which nevertheless doesn't require any special instructions or explanations--I consistently get a snippy email from her demanding that I COME SEE HER.

It's freaking me out. I'm not a dumbshit. I tested it on myself: Would I ever use the phrase "Come see me!" in such a peremptory way to another co-worker? And the answer was No, of course not. It sounds creepy.

I'm thinking of telling her so, but I need to figure out the phraseology. "Darcine, please come see me. I need to explain to you how much you suck." Obviously I can't say that--I still have to work with her. But how do I show her that the terminology she's using is a huge turn-off? And I suppose my other motive is that I want to get her to treat me like a colleague, rather than some contemptible piece of crap. I've made a few mistakes during my time here that have affected her job, but that's what happens in life. When I've messed up, I've admitted it, apologized and moved on. But this woman apparently sees me as a huge fuckup who needs every little thing about my job explained and re-explained. Whereas the opposite is true: I'm a quick study, I'm smart and fast, and I've been doing my job here for seven years and could do it blindfolded and with one hand tied behind my back.

Any suggestions on how to deal?
posted by frosty_hut to Work & Money (49 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a concrete suggestion for you but it's clear she's insecure. Don't let her make you crazy.
posted by chickaboo at 10:55 AM on September 6, 2007

What has your direct manager said about this?
posted by kellyblah at 10:56 AM on September 6, 2007

If it's her job to get the paperwork to you, don't go.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:57 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I actually like your idea, the first part. If you have some paperwork to hand off to her or something else to give her, yeah, maybe you could try the "please come see me" email (not the rest of that message with the "you suck" though). If she finds it weird she may reconsider doing that with you. If she's fine with it, at least you know it's not a condescending thing and that she herself goes over to see people when asked.
posted by PY at 10:59 AM on September 6, 2007

I don't know how she'll react to this, but maybe the next time she says "come see me" reply with something like "I'm going to be busy all morning, but if you stop by my desk we can discuss x." Or some variant.

Basically, make it so that if she needs to see you, she should come to your desk (and, likewise, you will go to her when you need to see her). If subtle things don't work, I would flat out tell her that "as we are coworkers and equals, I would appreciate it if you would treat me as such. If my input is required, come see me instead of summoning me to your desk."
posted by boreddusty at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2007 [8 favorites]

Are you also a woman? In my experience women are more likely to be bothered by this kind of thing. Women know how to get under each other's skin and seem to do so deliberately as a result of misplaced rage. My advice is the same as chickaboo's: just laugh at her, realize that you're worthy of the respect you give yourself even if she doesn't give it to you, and let it slide. And if she does concrete things that impede your ability to get work done, then talk to your real boss.

Lord, strike me down for posting such sexist comments.
posted by randomstriker at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Why can't you just reply asking her to drop the paperwork off in your box next time she swings by? Sounds as though you're getting all worked up over naught to me to be honest.
posted by zeoslap at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Her: "Come see me!"
You: "I'm busy here, drop it in my box or come on down to my office for a chat. Thanks!"
posted by stormygrey at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2007 [10 favorites]

Best answer: When she send you her "Come see me." email, simply reply with your own, "Please drop the papers in my IN box at your earliest convenience." message.

That way, it's back on her to get the papers to you and, hopefully, reinforces to her that she's not your manager.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

Darlene: Come see me.

Frosty_hut: I'm afraid I'm a little busy this morning. If it's the sprocket forms, putting them in intraoffice mail would be great. Otherwise, can we do this via e-mail?

Darlene: No, we can't.

Frosty_hut: Okay. I'll let you know when I can see you.

(Long wait on Darlene's part ensues.)
posted by WCityMike at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2007 [4 favorites]

I don't know how she'll react to this, but maybe the next time she says "come see me" reply with something like "I'm going to be busy all morning, but if you stop by my desk we can discuss x." Or some variant.

I like this!

If subtle things don't work, I would flat out tell her that "as we are coworkers and equals, I would appreciate it if you would treat me as such. If my input is required, come see me instead of summoning me to your desk."

Oh, heavens no. Only do this once you're *sure* one of you is on your way out the door to a new job. You think she hates you now, but she would DEFINITELY hate you if you said something like that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Corporate Accounts Payable, Nina speaking... JUST a moment.

You need to be careful not to be seen as trying to "break" somebody simply because they annoy you. That is in itself a weak move. You also need to be aware of the fact that, if you expose your own annoyance with her behavior, what's to keep her from holding it over you, or maybe even going behind your back, i.e. treating you dismissively in front of others. Your best bet is to take a big step back from your emotional reaction and try to figure out what a rational human being would do: how do I get what I want without walking all over her? And give her the benefit of the doubt. And let her know you're giving her that benefit. And see how she reacts.
posted by phaedon at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'd vote for "Sorry, I can't leave my desk at all. If you need to talk about this, please drop by at your convenience."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:05 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thirding/fourthing a simple "Hey, could you stick those forms in my box when you're doing the rounds? Saves me having to trail all the way over here." If she says no, ask why. If she can't give good reasons, then you've got a concrete basis for a grievance.

You're clearly really worked up over this, but frankly, if you try to explain to your boss how intolerable the use of a fairly neutral three-word phrase is to you, you're going to come across quite badly. You associate it with being treated like a kid, but it really doesn't necessarily have that connotation.
posted by flashboy at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Next time you are summoned, head over as usual, with your choice of beverage in a cup, no lid. When you get to her desk, trip, spilling the drink all over it. You shall never be summoned again!
posted by poppo at 11:13 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: she probably has no idea how annoying you find it. i second the, "gosh, i'm completely swamped this morning and don't have time for a meeting. could you just put it in my inbox when you swing by? i'm really sorry."

then, next time, say, "thanks so much for dropping the TPS coversheet off for me last time. that really made a difference. why don't we just do it that way from here on out? you can just send me an email or put a note on a sticky if there's anything special i need to know about it."

you can't shame or annoy someone into doing something--but you can lure them in with praise.
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:14 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not really convinced that she's making a power play -- but whether she is or not, you'll do best to ignore it and just treat her like a co-worker with whom you're trying to do a job.

She says: "Come see me."
You reply: "I'm currently busy with a number of other tasks. If you'd like to get this into my queue, please drop it in my mailbox. I'll let you know if I have any questions about it."
"I don't think we need to meet about this. Whenever you'd like me to take care of it, please just drop it in my box."
"Let's schedule a quick phone meeting instead. Please drop it in my box today and we'll talk tomorrow morning."

Don't fixate on a power struggle -- just keep bringing it back to doing your job effectively.
posted by ourobouros at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't ask her to come see you because she might not have any problem with it and then you're both stuck always answering to each others' calls.
posted by jeffmik at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for these suggestions. I'll try to take a tactful approach--it sounds like most of you are urging that path.

I probably wouldn't be so bothered by it if I didn't feel threatened. I'm a quiet person, and I'm aware of my tendency to get singled out for minor persecution. She can't fire me, so I'm not super concerned. I just hate being treated with contempt by a co-worker. I don't like her either, but I'm cordial and courteous. It's weird that she doesn't return it.

Anyway, in answer to Kellyblah--my direct supervisor is a super sweet guy who loves what I do and doesn't want me to quit. He's a real mentor in terms of my job skills, but is very hands off around the people thing. He's not a people-manager, let's put it that way--avoids confrontation, and would never actually go to bat for me, so I don't ask it of him. He conciliates everyone in order to survive. He understands where I'm coming from, but he caves in to Darcine because she's a stronger personality, and he habitually takes the path of least resistance. If anything's going to change, it's going to come from moi.

I really need a life ouside of my nuthouse job.

Thanks for your responses!
posted by frosty_hut at 11:18 AM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: 23skidoo, I see your point. Maybe I'm paranoid. It's possible she does this with everyone.

So, I can't just give her a word to the wise about the "come see me" phraseology? I mean, in the guise of helping her? Couldn't I say, "Hey, I don't find this imperative offensive, but others might--just a thought"?

But "come see me" is the tip of the iceberg. What actually bothers me is her pattern of contempt...she treats me like kid right out of high school who screws up everything I touch. It's bizarre, because my boss has said he's impressed with my skills and thinks I'm doing amazingly well for someone who's relatively new to the field.

I'm cursed with the looking-young thing--people assume I'm in my late twenties when I'm actually in my forties. I keep thinking I should let it slip around Darcine that I'm not a kid. I don't know. It's just a struggle to get this woman to treat me like an adult...but I shouldn't let it bother me, is that what you're all saying?
posted by frosty_hut at 11:27 AM on September 6, 2007

frosty_hut: Any chance you can update this thread to tell us how it worked out?
posted by rolypolyman at 11:31 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

The first rule of politics is don't take it personally, even if it is personal.

The first rule of office politics is to stick to the job.

She might be trying to bitchslap you ("Come see me" might not mean the same thing to her as it does to you) and she might not. Whatever. Do you need to go see her every-time she says so? No? THEN DON'T. Ask her to drop it in your box during her rounds and go about your day.

If you need to, bring it up with your manager, in the framework of asking for advice "i.e. should I be going to see her everytime she request it?"

I'd also suggest that you're taking this way too personally and to knock if off, otherwise someone else is going to find your soft underbelly and start chewing, just for kicks and giggles, 'cause that's how office politics go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 AM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

I bet one of those wacky pranks from The Office would work. Ok, but seriously, what if you got five other people to start ubiquitously using the phrase "come see me" in their emails until someone is forced to write an email forbidding its use.
posted by craniac at 11:39 AM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just thought I'd add.... remember, you don't get tone of voice from email. It's best not to get irritated until you actually talk to her. It's entirely possible she's being completely friendly and straightforward and not 'powerplaying' at all -- that could be in your head, projected onto the lack of other verbal cues.
posted by Malor at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: I'd also suggest that you're taking this way too personally and to knock if off, otherwise someone else is going to find your soft underbelly and start chewing, just for kicks and giggles, 'cause that's how office politics go.

Brandon, that's it exactly. I think I attract this kind of thing. If showing my annoyance is going to be like blood in the water, then I'll continue to repress myself. I've got a couple of decades of practice behind me already--I'm an expert at not showing anything. (That's partly why I'm so wound up.)

I know I'm not supposed to go home and fashion a Darcine-shaped voodoo doll either. The idea is to become unobsessed. So I'll try.

But it's hard!
posted by frosty_hut at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2007

Response by poster: frosty_hut: Any chance you can update this thread to tell us how it worked out?

Rolypolyman, thanks for your interest. If anything changes, I'll update you--but I'm getting the message that I should just keep ignoring Darcine's antics and focus on the job.

Which is what I've always done.

Which doesn't change anything at all.

But just chatting with you guys always makes me feel better. I appreciate your input and support.
posted by frosty_hut at 11:44 AM on September 6, 2007

I would automatically reply with just a "sorry, no can do. What's up?"

Then she's going to have to tell you via email what it's about, and it will probably be stupid, and then you can reply while BCCing your boss.

And then talk to your boss about how this woman needs to stop trying to monopolize your time.
posted by mckenney at 12:02 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seems like she says "come see her", and you go and see her. Why would she stop?
posted by smackfu at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Why can't you just reply, "Busy. Come see me."
posted by chunking express at 12:10 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Most of the comments in this thread involve being passive-aggressive about it, which is probably the wrong way to rebuild the relationship.

If, as you indicate, you've screwed up before, and it's affected her job, then she probably has every reason to believe that you need handholding. She doesn't know your boss thinks you're awesome, she's just confronted with a pattern that suggests you're a problem and need special attention. That she's rude about it is just the way some people are.

I would work to affect the root causes. Solve her problems proactively, with documentation, aggressively and professionally for a little while and I bet the situation improves dramatically.
posted by felix at 12:24 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why can't you just pick up a phone and say "I got your email. What's up?".
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:29 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like the Office prank idea. Every time you go see her, give her an Altoid. Do this 40-50 times. Then, the next time she summons you, go, but don't give her the mint. She'll have such a bad taste in her mouth that she won't want you to come anymore. Brilliant!
posted by tadellin at 12:29 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ooo, what this lady is doing is CYA in the extreme. My boss does this all the time, but phrases it as "let's discuss".

In my world, this can denote one of several things: paranoia on the part of the requester to put anything in writing, lest it come back to bite them in the rear later on; the ability on the part of the person that you're supposed to "go see" to make requests of you that they can deny later if something goes pear-shaped; and yes, it can also denote hand-holding if the person feels you're somehow not up to the task.

Basically, this lady wants to make it crystal clear to anyone watching or reading the files afterwards, that anything that goes pear-shaped with her files is not her fault. So she's creating a paper trail showing that she "did her bit" to make sure the information got conveyed properly to the appropriate people. But by saying "come see me", the paper trail will not show that she's made any mistakes in her instructions or gotten anything wrong in requesting changes to documents. The fault will look like yours if she gets it wrong.

Despite what felix says, it's not your job to solve her problems, 'cause it seems to me that she has quite a few. You may never get her to stop sending "come see me" emails, either, depending on how paranoid she is. My best advice is let your work speak for itself. Establish a relatively long, unbroken record of doing things properly. Know your stuff inside out, and if this lady asks you for something you know is wrong, put it in writing to her in an email!! Whatever this lady thinks or tries to imply, your work will demonstrate your competency at the job.

And yes, it's insulting and infuriating, and you feel like you want to kick her teeth in. But believe me, doing a fantastic job is the best revenge.

Best of luck!
posted by LN at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

"I'm getting the message that I should just keep ignoring Darcine's antics and focus on the job."

That isn't the message at all, the message is to respond in such a fashion that results in you getting what you want.

What happened with the hot dog eating chap you were having issues with a little while back, and is this the same woman whose questionable website you came across?
posted by zeoslap at 12:51 PM on September 6, 2007

Best answer: I tell you what, if I used the phrase "come see me" to my assistant, it would be because he is in serious trouble and I expect him to look me in the eye and explain what the fuck he was thinking when he did X.

If I actually just think it would be easier to discuss something in person, I say something like, "why don't we have a quick meeting in my office to discuss how we're going to tackle [project]."

I think she's being condescending, and I think she's got you trained. No need to be snarky, just point out as suggested upthread that you're in the middle of something and ask her to drop off the papers at her convenience. I do think that you should discourage this behavior of hers.

As you pointed out, the phrase is just the tipping point that makes your blood boil over her general demeanor. You can't tell her that her general demeanor makes you want to stab her in the eyeball. So don't bother with any words to the wise. (Other people may not like a phrase she uses? Uh, no. She doesn't care.)

I look young too, and I absolutely drop casual references (nothing blatant, more like referring to a previous job held oh, nearly fifteen years ago) every once in awhile to clue certain people into this fact.
posted by desuetude at 12:53 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Another passive-aggressive/playing-silly-buggers suggestion:

As you're walking out the door for lunch: "Did you get those reports done yet?" "Great, just drop them in my in-tray, I'll deal with them after lunch. Bye!"

Of course, like everyone else, I don't recommend this as a good solution, but it's fun to dream about cutting the knees our from under people who piss you off.
posted by Leon at 12:53 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What happened with the hot dog eating chap you were having issues with a little while back, and is this the same woman whose questionable website you came across?

Zeo, thanks for recalling all of that. I work two part-time jobs, so I've got two different sets of folks and personalities to deal with each day (I know, lucky me). I'm pretty miserable with people stuff, but I'm actually getting better at these things, now that I've been forced to endure--sort of a trial by fire.

Hot Dog Boy update: He finally backed down when I went to one of the supervisors and said I wanted to double check on the situation. In a nutshell, HDB said a certain snafu had been my fault, but I knew it wasn't, and I asked the supervisor to confirm what I thought I knew. I believed the error was on the network side (I work in radio--network side means no one in our office was responsible). I didn't add that HDB was insisting it was my screw-up, but the supervisor knew all about it and was willing to referee.

So to my relief, my supervisor went back to listen to what had aired, and the network folks had indeed aired the same segment twice, back to back. I dropped out of the program as soon as I realized it, and the managerial consensus was that I had done the right thing. Even Hot Dog Boy backed down. Now he sort of bows and scrapes and gives me a shit-eating grin when he sees me, instead of yelling at me like he used to do. I didn't tell on him--I didn't even mention the guy to my supervisor. But I did go to management and ask to have the sequence of events cleared up, which worked out for me. So now Hot Dog knows he can't fuck with me without my standing up for myself first. Good feeling!

Lady with compromising web site udate: As far as I know her inappropriate personal web site's still out there, but no one cares. She's a nice girl. I like her. I realize I was insanely jealous that she got the "superstar" full-time job that we both applied for. I'm still teed off, but life goes on. I do my job every day as well as I can, and maybe someday somebody will notice. Even if they don't, I've got to separate all of this crap from how I feel about myself in general. I need to decide I'm okay, whether or not I'm being treated well by a cretin like Darcine or yelled at by Hot Dog Boy. Thing is, I really don't need to be treated like a rock star. I just don't want to be trampled underfoot on a daily friggin' basis.

But the occasional victory is suh-weet.
posted by frosty_hut at 1:16 PM on September 6, 2007

Good going on the HDB front :) The lessons learned there definitely apply here though, do your job well, don't let the f*ckers get you down and stand up for yourself/put your foot down when the situation presents itself.

It also doesn't hurt to blow your own trumpet once in a while either :) Good luck with Darcine, perhaps you could tell her to come see us :)
posted by zeoslap at 1:49 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Whenever someone tries a powerplay on me, I pretend I am a ray of sunshine who just doesn't get what's going on at all. If you try to snark back, you are playing her game but, if you reply with oblivious good cheer while still asking for what you want, it'll drive her batshit crazy. Respond to her bitchy email with a perky phone call asking her to place it in your mailbox since you are so super busy. Aren't you a dear? Thanks for dropping that off. It's sitting on my desk so you can come by and pick it up anytime. Place a Hershey's Kiss on the top. She'll flip her lid. It's like the kid on the bus who would respond to my biting put-downs with "nyah nyah nyah." GOD it really pissed me off. That kid was on to something.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:22 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

When I need to come up with a pseudonym for someone in a story, it's always something common like Amy or Betty or Sally (I don't tell stories about males, heh). How did you pick "Darcine" as a pseudonym?
posted by lostburner at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2007

"I'm getting the message that I should just keep ignoring Darcine's antics and focus on the job."

That isn't the message at all, the message is to respond in such a fashion that results in you getting what you want.

Exactly. frosty_hut, your response here speaks volumes about you. Your current passive-aggressive strategy of ignoring/complying with bad behavior while secretly seething with resentment is what's creating this situation.

You obviously enjoy dwelling on office machinations. But if you actually want her behavior to change, you need to focus, as so many have suggested, on tactics to actually do that. Not on her motivations or your feelings about them, which is where you are currently preoccupied.

And remember, reward the behavior you want, not what you don't want.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:25 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think you're reading way too much into this. Maybe the phrasing irritates you, but I frequently email or call my boss asking him to come see me, not because I think he's at my beck and call, but because I don't want to interrupt him by stopping by his office unannounced.

Maybe it's not a power play at all, and she's just trying to be polite. Or she's just lazy and doesn't want to walk over to your cube/office.
posted by emd3737 at 2:35 PM on September 6, 2007

Bring Febreeze with you and spray the chair before you sit down. Each time.
posted by andreap at 4:01 PM on September 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm loving the goofy getback suggestions. I needed a laugh ;-)

Ottereroticist, great advice: Reward the behavior you want, not what you don't want. I'm sticking that on my 'puter. I disagree that I enjoy dwelling on this stuff though. I do dwell on it, but don't enjoy the addiction that much. It feels like it's out of my control, and that makes me cranky.

Lostburner, I just wanted a name that sounded nutty--a Frankensteinian collation of Darcy and Maxine occurred to me. It's creepy enough to imply my feelings about this lady without stating them outright. Oh wait, I already did that ;-)

Thanks again for your suggestions!
posted by frosty_hut at 5:50 PM on September 6, 2007

never mistake for malice what can be ascribed to incompetence.
posted by andifsohow at 9:11 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: frosty_hut, I'm late to the party but I'm compelled to respond:

Just because she says "Come see me" on all her emails doesn't mean you should and, more importantly, doesn't mean you need to acknowledge her command. I'm assuming that there's more to her messages than "Come see me"; if so, chirpily answer the message with the info she needs, ignore the command and, if necessary, do a CYA about "Sure, drop it off between 3-4 this afternoon."

Give her what she needs but don't bother making excuses about why you're not going to see her OR offer alternatives (that you're busy, etc.). Why let her create the rules when she's not your boss?

Finally, as a woman, I must say that women really are the worst on this passive-aggressive power stuff.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:44 PM on September 6, 2007

The only time managers or coworkers in my office use Come see me or Meet me in my office is when both parties know there's something to see on the asker's monitor. Managers sometimes say it if you're slightly in trouble and they want to clear the air faster than email/IM allows.

You said she does this when something is slightly out of the ordinary. Would others need explanations in that case, or just you for some reason? She might just feel that she herself doesn't explain well? When you do meet, do you only discuss the paperwork? I'm wondering if she's friendless and isolated and doesn't know how to interact with others? And, since you're easy (you allow her awkwardness where others don't), you might be a potential friend. It's probably not about you as much as you think, which will make it easier to follow FoamPants sunny advice if you have to.
posted by ick at 7:13 AM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: andifsohow, you mention I should never mistake incompetence for malice. It's really good advice, especially at the drive through window. Sometimes behavior that seems outrageously, gaspingly cruel really is just stupdity on the other person's part. I know I tend to be paranoid, especially where strangers are concerned...trying to give 'em the benefit more often.

OTOH, Darcine is someone I've worked with for a couple of years. I do think the "rage" factor, as was mentioned earlier by randomstriker, and the passive-aggressive stuff I've described that others have picked up on, is a real thing and not something I'm inflating or imagining. I don't know whether to fight fire with fire. Her come-see-me crap is PA, and when I resist coming to see her, I become PA.

But maybe that's the best strategy...I'm tending toward thinking I should take the advice given here to be utterly positive and sweet and cooperative with Darcine, up to a point--i.e., do every necessary step in the process of fulfilling the task at hand, except for coming to see her. That way I'm reinforcing the behavior that I want, as ottereroticist mentioned, rather than the behavior I don't want.

Lots of food for thought. Thank you all.
posted by frosty_hut at 11:22 AM on September 7, 2007

Come see me ... fetch!

Professionals schedule. "Right now" isn't a schedule and would only be professional if you were a firefighter or the like.

Come is a command with time frame vague enough to drive a truck through.

Think you've gotten good suggestions but have a thought about the much bandied about term "passive aggressive" ... in my book, it's called reflection and execution.

When I was a freshman at university there were initiation rituals. One was to send freshmen out to pick up food. A day came and I was their errant selected boy. I indicated I wasn't going to do it and was threatened with having all my stuff tossed out of the residence by a group growing irate at my non compliance.

I finally ceded some ground but had already decided that the war was far from over. I would preserve my stuff but be filling their request ... on my own terms.

I took the commands and money and set out amid their smug laughter.

I walked down to the fast food place, ordered their food and then took 6 hours before returning at 2 in the morning. I had to wake a few of the guys up to give them their stone cold, congealed food and exact change.

We teach people how they are to treat us. A false notion of privilege and superiority shouldn't be catered too.

Not one of them complained upon delivery, aside some small grumbling. Their dictations were confronted, protest was feeble.

I was never sent again and instead hung out with them and gained many good friends.

Battles are won by out thinking and manoeuvering your opponent. I know this hasn't been entirely relevant but really think of passive as the polite and thinking part. Aggressive is action to illustrate a point when your good nature has been abused.

Good luck:)
posted by phoque at 5:01 PM on September 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

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