Thursday, September 20, 2007


Ok, so those of you that know me know that "letting a sleeping dog lie" really isn't one of my strong points. I'm more of a "beat a dead horse" kind of girl, which is not something I'm proud of but hey, at least I'm aware of it and can usually control it. But there's something that's been eating at me for, oh, the past 8 months and I don't know what to do. Here's the scenario: I work in a building with roughly 28-30 people, each of us with our own office. Now, as those of you who know me know, I have a...well...rather um, loud and (so I've been told) infectious laugh. On more than one occasion, complete strangers have approached my table at a restaurant and said something to the effect of "I just had to tell you that you have the BEST laugh!" Well, my office is situated between two men who do not find me or my laugh entertaining in the last. They used to, but then I met David, fell in love, and had one too many goofy, laughy phone conversations that they couldn't help but overhear. I'd like the record to show that this is not a high-pressure office; no one is under dead-lines and there is much joking and laughing amongst everyone. I would also like the record to show that both these men are of the grumpy-uptight-middle-aged-never-had-children-and-never-will variety. Which I point out simply because once you've had children, all need to control your environment goes out the window, right? So these two decided to get together and complain to my boss. Once he mentioned it to me, I was appropriately mortified (because I want everyone to adore me, I'm afraid) and immediately stopped taking ALL personal phone calls at work (even though everyone, including McGrumpy 1 and McGrumpy 2 do so). But the damage was done and McGrumpy 1 completely stopped speaking to me and won't even make eye-contact with me if we happen to pass in the hallway. Furthermore, he MOVED HIS OFFICE so that he didn't have to be in my general vicinity. For the most part I've been able to laugh it off; I have a great relationship with literally every other employee in the building and they roll their eyes about the entire silliness. But I have to admit, it eats at me. I've started dreaming about it, which I understand is my mind's way of telling me it is unfinished business and I should do something about it.

So. What do you think? Should I go to McGrumpy 1 (#2's already been dealt with) and apologize for my lack of consideration (even though I really think he over-reacted), or should I just let time do it's work and let him stew in his own miserable juices? I'm pretty sure the correct answer is to go talk to him, but I loathe confrontation and will do pretty much anything to avoid it. Help.


jpogue said...

Well, I hate to tell you but I agree. You need to talk to McGumpy #1 - there's one thing worse than confrontation and that's unfinished business...

Don't think of it as a hostile situation, think of it as an apology (ewwwwww) and if it works, great - if not, hey - you tried. At least then, you'll know you did what you could and maybe then you'll stop dreaming about the old fart. If you're gonna dream about another man - make it someone sexy like Carrot Top!

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

Yeah, Carrot Top... eeewww!

The dreams are surely caused by "unfinished business". It's your brain’s way of telling you that you are being treated unfairly, and it isn't comfortable with that. You have made all the compensations and changes possible to make Buttheads 1 & 2 happy, but your mind feels you have not done anything to stand up for yourself. Your subconscience KNOWS that you haven't done anything wrong, yet you had to make changes to make others happy. An apology to the Butthead Brothers will NOT make the dreams go away. Standing up for yourself will.

I think you need to ask your boss to sit in on a meeting with at least #1 if not both buttheads, just as an arbitrator (or witness). They need to see that you are a kind, concerned human with feelings – which THEY have hurt. I think you need to tell them the following:

"This little meeting is something I’m doing for me. It’s something I need to get out of my system, so please bear with me here.

It continues to bother me that there is a rift between us. I feel that you still have issues with me. It upsets me to have someone dislike me, I’m not used to it. This has really hurt my feelings. It’s to the point that it is even causing me to have reoccurring dreams. So, I feel like I need to say some things in my own defense.

First, I cannot change the way I talk to people or the way I laugh. That's just part of me, it's part of my voice, it's like my eye color or the size of my feet. If I had a voice like Fran Dresher, I could understand the complaints. But even then, I couldn't do anything to change it. I have stopped taking phone calls in an attempt to laugh less often, but still, anything that happens WITHIN the office still has the potential to set off "the laugh".

But here’s the part I feel is important for me to tell you. I have been through some tough times in my past, and somewhere along the way, I learned how important it is to enjoy every single day. As a result, I love life. It’s that simple. I try to see the good, and the humor, in every aspect of my life. I cannot comprehend living a life that is so dark and dismal that laughter is frowned upon.

I do everything that is asked of me here. I try hard to do a good job on every task I am given. And I believe I succeed. I am professional when necessary, and I can lighten a situation when necessary. I think I am a good employee, and a good person.

If my only crime here is enjoying life and my job a little too much, then so be it. Guilty as charged. Again, I can’t imagine being so miserable in your own skin, that laughter and humor are beyond reach. And I don’t intend to ever find out what that is like.

That’s all I had to say. I’m just hoping that we can get past old issues accept each other for who we are.”

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

Anyway, to make the dreams go away, you HAVE to stand up for yourself and tell the world, or at least Jerk #1, that HE is the one with the problem, not you. When your mind feels you made your stand, the dreams will go away. I'd bet money on it.

The Re-Occuring Dream Guru

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

P.S. - did Jodi say the word "sexy"????

kate said...

Um wow, Lala. Will you come down here and say all that?? You nailed the situation exactly. I was thinking that on the way to work this morning: that a big part of me is really pissed that I have to try to be someone I'm not at work. I've finally gotten to a point (hard won as you know) that I DO love my life and I AM to have to try to stifle that is just wrong. My fear is that to sit down and say all this will expose my vulnerability(I'll almost certainly cry), and frankly, I don't care to open myself up to him in that way.

Can't I just write a note and slip in under his door? And then run like hell?

Jodi, Carrot Top? Imma hurt you next time I see you for planting that seed!

jpogue said...

Ok - Linda's is great but if you're not comfortable doing that then you need to just give yourself permission to LET IT GO! You should also give yourself permission to be ok with some people in this world that JUST WON'T LIKE YOU!!!!!

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

OK, I understand you're not comfortable with conflict or doing this face to face, so, sure - write him a note. But no, you can't slip it under the door. It has to be more public and professional than that.

Send Butthead an email and cc your boss. (Put Buttheads name at the top of the email, and be sure to tell your boss that you are cc'ing him on it so he doesn't think you are directing it at HIM.)

Chances are good that getting it all down in writing and sending it to #1 will suffice to your brain as standing up for yourself. You will feel better about it, and the dreams will go away.

Dee said...

I just now read this, so I know its way to late to comment, but I hope you didn't include the sentence about " being so miserable in your own skin that laughter and humor are out of reach, and you don't intend to find out ". He will really take offense at that. Somewhere in that miserable body is SOME semblance of humor or good feeling.
Now I'll read "the rest of the story" and see what happens.
Good luck honey, I'm sorry this happened to you.