Q: One of my coworkers is always making remarks like, “I’m not sure that dress style is right for you” or “You look so tired. Don’t you feel well?” I’m really sick of these negative comments. How can I get her to cut it out?
A: No one likes those kinds of insensitive remarks, which are clearly different from sincere, constructive advice. To get her off your back, try a light touch first: “Gee, maybe you should check out more fashion magazines. My personal shopper says this is a great look for me!” or “Actually I feel especially well rested today.” As long as you don’t let your anger show, you’ll avoid a flap-and the combination of subtle humor and sarcasm just might make your point. There’s also the possibility that her behavior’s so ingrained that your polite retorts will roll right off her. In that case, I’d take the direct approach: “I’ve tried to let you know your remarks bother me, but I guess you haven’t taken the hint. I”d really appreciate it if you’d stop commenting on my appearance. I’m sure you understand.” No doubt she will.