Ask STFU Jezzies – 1/27

It’s Thursday at 11 am, and you know what that means! Time to dispense with the advice.  We have a little bit of an office-theme this week, with a couple others thrown into the mix, so let’s get on it.

Q: I’m a college sophomore, and I’ve been living with my roommate (also my best friend) in the dorm for two years now. Last year she and her boyfriend became “official” and I was, obviously, very supportive of their relationship. They just had their one year anniversary, and I can’t help but see the change in our friendship. We don’t talk like we used to (my side isn’t lacking), and if we do, it’s always after she talks to her boyfriend first. I admit, I am feeling jealous that I’ve been replaced as the #1-go-to friend. She’s brought up many times about her goals for the summer and that she might stay at her boyfriend’s apartment for the summer because it would make commuting easier. I’ve no problems against that, but then she brought up how she might want to live with him full time – as in, not dorm anymore. Of course, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of living off campus, but I honestly don’t want her to live off campus because I admit, I am insecure and afraid that our friendship will whittle down to “Hi, how are you? .. Good .. Gotta go to class now, bye!”. Not only that, but I don’t think she’s ready to live with him full-time yet, and her parents feel the same.
I’m not sure how to talk to her about this. I do understand that she is an adult now, and it is her choice to do what she wants to. I also understand that when you enter in a serious relationship, things do change, whereas my role remains just a friend. I am supportive of their relationship and I want them to be happy, but I don’t want to be left in the dust either. What should I do?

A: At this point you’ll just have to accept that the relationship is probably going to keep changing, which sucks, but is just kind of a fact of getting older and moving in different directions.  Sure she may be making a huge mistake moving in with this guy already but if it is that’s something she’s going to have to learn by experiencing it.  So my advice would be to not interfere on that front.  It sounds like you’ve been a supportive friend up until this point and hopefully she values that, so if you keep doing what you’ve been doing she will probably want to make sure she wants to help maintain the friendship too.

So yeah, things will probably change and maybe you’ll see her a little less.  But if you want to keep her in your life, it will just involve a little more planning than it does now.  You’ll have to arrange time to get together, making a weekly date to get together and checking in via text or e-mail just to get/give updates.  It’ll involve a little more work, but it’s totally possible to keep her as a close friend, it may just be a little different than you’re used to. Also, be honest with her! Let her know she’s important to you and you want to try to stay as close as you have been! She’ll understand.

Q: Scene: 4 women standing in the office’s kitchen warming up various luncheon goodies. One is heating a very healthy veggie meal, one is heating up mac ‘n cheese, the other two are waiting for the microwaves to be free.

Healthy eating woman starts “teasing” mac ‘n’ cheese woman about eating “the fat making food” and “that’s definitely not in any diet book I’ve looked at”. Additional commentary was also made along that same vein.

I stood there with my mouth hanging open, not knowing what to do or say. This, to me, was blatant fat-shaming (to someone who isn’t even overweight) and I’ve been told it happens on a regular basis between these two.

How does one counter these kinds of comments in a business setting without upsetting the balance of friendly work atmosphere. Or does one just leave it up to the recipient to handle as she sees fit (which is to continue to ignore it or faux play along with it)?

A: Aahahsdghifasbipfase Whyyyyyy!! Whyyy do people feel like they can comment on someone else’s food in the office whyyy??  ewgifaebipfasd.  So, uh, this is something that really gets on my nerves, obviously.  Everywhere I have ever worked there has always been at least one person who loves to comment on what other people are eating. Sometimes it’s the “oh how can you eat that and stay so skinny!?” line; sometimes it’s asking a woman who has a healthy-looking lunch if she’s on a diet. Sometimes it’s teasing about food-choices. In my perfect world, no one would ever comment on what anyone else is eating ever.  Not even a “oh that smells good, what is it?” None of it.

<sigh> But that does not answer your question at all. That’s just a rant.  So, for your dilemma I say, it’s not your fight to fight.  Those women have some issue going on that’s not yours to deal with.  I wouldn’t laugh/play along with it just because I think it’s bullshit and I wouldn’t want to feed into it.  But it’s not your place to get into it.

And for women who are at the receiving end of comments about your food: I have been known to flat out say in office situations that I would prefer not to talk about the nutritional content of what I’m eating.  Yeah maybe it’ll make someone uncomfortable, but they’ll get over it and it’s better than spending every lunch hour dealing with their crap.  Ugh. I hate that shit so much.

Any advice for dealing with coworkers who are much older than you? I feel like I’m an alien to them sometimes and frankly, they make my head hurt most days.

In situations like that I try to channel a former coworker of mine.  She is able to make conversation with anyone about anything by asking a lot of questions about something they are interested or their job. As a result she is able to find common ground with people that may be a lot older than her, or very different in other ways.   She was able to find positives and something interesting about coworkers that I found kind of irritating.  Do I always do that? No. I usually am polite enough but keep my distance and then I’m annoyed at everyone.  So you know, you could do that too.

Q. I’m married and my parents are constantly pressuring me to ‘Give them grandchildren.’ At this point, I’m fairly sure I don’t EVER want to have kids, though there’s a slight possibility (we’ll say a 1 in 10 chance) that could change. Should I tell them this and risk upsetting them and causing a rift between us, or just let it lie?

A. Oh this is a tough one.  It’s something one hears about all the time, but I’ve never actually heard of anyone that was in a situation where they were feeling pressure to have kids that they didn’t want.  On one hand I would say to just let it go, smile and say “oh you never know” and leave it.   On the other hand, it’s not like your parents are probably going to forget that they want grandkids and quit asking about it.  I suppose you would have to think about how your parents are.  Are they going to be upset if you’re honest with them? Are they going to give you a whole big guilt trip or start to put on even more pressure? I would just ignore it.  But if when you get to the age where it’s clear you’re no longer in your child-bearing years are they going to feel really betrayed and like you weren’t honest with them, then it’s probably best to let them know now.  Also you could just throw out that 1 in 10 chance and let them cling to that hope.

Q. I just moved to a new town and I’m not sure how to go about making friends. I work in a pretty small office with much older men, so I don’t see those relationships going anywhere that’s not weird. My neighbors are nice, but they’re all much older, too. I’m not religious, so church isn’t an option. What else can I do, besides hang around my gym looking pathetic?

A. The way to meet new friends at the gym is to check out your muscles in the mirror between each rep, everyone knows that.  Seriously though, making friends as a grown-up is hard! I am going to give you advice that I have never actually taken, and that’s to join some sort of group or activity that you are interested in where you can meet people with similar interests.  Meetup.com has a bunch of different activity groups like hiking and running.  I’ve belonged to some gyms that had different camping or kayaking excursions in the summer that you could check out, if those are of interest to you.  Taking a class is another option that I’ve seen offered up before.  Um, sometimes people post “just friends” ads on craiglist, but to be honest I would never answer a personal ad for a new friend.  You could become a Free Hugs person and see how that works out.  Really though, classes or group activities are the best ways to meet people with common interests, especially if you put yourself out there and really make an effort to be outgoing and on the hunt for friends.

That’s all for this week, friends.  Don’t forget to submit your questions to Ask STFU Jezzies. You can also e-mail us with your questions and I’ll keep them anonymous.  Or send a homing pigeon to my apartment.  Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Ask STFU Jezzies – 1/27”

  1. Re: Married without children
    When my parents continually nag me with a question I’m not prepared to or don’t want to answer, I just tell them to please stop asking about it. I don’t give them an answer or a glimmer of hope or whatever – it’s my life, and they don’t get a say in the decisions I make.

  2. RE: New in town

    I highly recommend taking a class to meet people, either a hobby you have always been interested in or a class at your gym, since you’re there anyway. There’s something about a shared activity, that you may or may not be good at, that makes it easier to talk to strangers

  3. RE: Married Without Children

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy is this a tricky subject. Like walking a tightrope during an earthquake.

    I’d add there are other things to consider. Is the asker an only child? That adds tremendous pressure doesn’t it? If she can declare to her parents that she elects to be childfree then she needs to do it with her husband at her side. She should lead the discussion (they’re her parents), but her husband needs to provide support and show solidarity. Husband should not speak more than the wife, because his PIL might think he pushed her into the child free decision.

    And if she is no longer of childbearing age then adoption might be raised. And other relatives might be brought in to “influence” the child free wife.

    I would not opt for just ignoring them and let time go.

    BTW I’ve seen this pressure happen in my own extended family.

  4. If anyone said to me, “That’s definitely not in any diet book I’ve looked at,” my response would probably be along the lines of, “Gee, commenting on people’s food choices is definitely not in any manners book I’ve ever looked at.” Then just walk away and let them stand there with their mouths flapping like fish. What. In. The. Hell. I hate that shit. It’s certainly confrontational, and it’s hard when you have to see these people in the office all the time. But I feel like it is worth it to stand up to really inappropriate comments like that.

    1. It is such a bizarre situation. The only time I ever encountered it was when I worked at a massage clinic. I prefer to eat my lunch away from work, so I can chill out and read a book, but I always kept some candy in my locker because when you have five massages in a row, a Starburst between appointments is a quick easy pick-me-up. Notice I said “a Starburst,” not a pack, not a few, just one piece of candy every hour. After a month I started getting teased about how I never ate real food, just candy. I was half irritated and half confused. Why the fuck was anyone paying attention to me eating a piece of candy? And why does that mean it’s OK to say that must be all I eat? My usual responses, because it happened a lot, ranged from laughing to sarcasm.

      To the woman who asked the question – if it seems like an office bully situation, where you feel like the recipient might not know how to deal with someone picking on her, I have found that saying something nice to the recipient in the face of the bully’s teasing takes some of the wind out of the bully sail without causing a lot of office tension.

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