Back-handed compliments - page 3

Or perhaps the title of this thread should be "how to accept a compliment graciously". Some of the men at work have started referring to me and one of the other nurses as "doc". (I work in an... Read More

  1. by   Porcupine
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Or perhaps the title of this thread should be "how to accept a compliment graciously".


    Some of the men at work have started referring to me and one of the other nurses as "doc". (I work in an office building). They'll say "Hey, doc" or "there's my doc"; that sort of thing. They know full well we're nurses, in fact some of us are on a first-name basis. They mean it as a compliment you see; they're letting us know how much they think of us and our skills by giving us a "promotion" so to speak. One guy said it was his way of showing gratitude and that we carried ourselves better than nurses. I cheerily correct them whenever they do this but a couple of them were put out that I didn't accept their compliment. I know they mean well, but I cannot allow and do not wish for them to refer to me this way.

    Also, one of the other guys has started calling us his "girls". This also makes me grit my teeth. Again, I know he has good intentions and he wants to convey his good feelings towards us, but am I wrong in thinking this is patronizing? I don't want to be petty, but I cannot imagine anyone referring to a group of female physicians or attorneys as girls.

    I go out of my way to maintain a professional image, dressing conservatively and while we are friendly, we do not act flirtatious or inappropriate with them. Is it rude for me to refuse what is meant to be a compliment? Am I wrong for being irritated by this?
    I understand your feelings. The same issue developed at a couple of places I worked. We, ( the males) solved the problem by just quit talking to these women. We simply ignored them. I started to try to time my approach to the door, so as to insure that I would not reach it at the same time as a female employee. If I opened the door for them, I was being disrespectful of their sex. If I did not hold the door open for them, I was creating a hostile work envirement. We just started doing our jobs without so much as a word. Walking down the hall, it was eyes straight ahead, no facial expression at all. Wasn't much fun to work their and I got the hell out as soon as possible , but at least I didn't get sued. My supervisor,(a male) got in trouble for asking a protected class to limit her lunch hour to 60 min.
    He quit too, and was replaced by a protected class. From what I hear,
    nothing much has changed, morale is as low as ever. At least everything was Politically Correct.
  2. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Porcupine
    I understand your feelings. The same issue developed at a couple of places I worked. We, ( the males) solved the problem by just quit talking to these women. We simply ignored them. I started to try to time my approach to the door, so as to insure that I would not reach it at the same time as a female employee. If I opened the door for them, I was being disrespectful of their sex. If I did not hold the door open for them, I was creating a hostile work envirement. We just started doing our jobs without so much as a word. Walking down the hall, it was eyes straight ahead, no facial expression at all. Wasn't much fun to work their and I got the hell out as soon as possible , but at least I didn't get sued. My supervisor,(a male) got in trouble for asking a protected class to limit her lunch hour to 60 min.
    He quit too, and was replaced by a protected class. From what I hear,
    nothing much has changed, morale is as low as ever. At least everything was Politically Correct.

    Yeah right. It's too bad that you were unable to learn the balance between being polite and respectful and being disrespectful. Fortunately, most of the people at my job get it while just a few do not. In fact, one of the men who usually greets me with doc said it again just yesterday morning after I answered him with "good morning from your friendly neighborhood nurse". This time he said good morning doc with a wink......he was teasing me......and I laughed because I got the joke.
  3. by   Tweety
    Quote from stevielynn
    Well, I AM a girl. Was born a girl. Always will be a girl.
    ..........I'm very anti-PC too . . .So, don't feel all alone Bipley.

    steph

    Speaking of PC. The first time I went to college was at a big university in the 70s. I befriended quite a few feminists. They loathed being called a girl............"I ceased being a girl when I became a woman." (the most radical of them spell it womyn, which sometimes slips out of my typing.) :roll
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 23, '05
  4. by   Tweety
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    What i intended doen't mean that someone's not going to like it. Even if i meant it in a good way, and someone didn't like it, i'd still stop it. I can't say that for a couple of people i work with, who think it's cute to refer to females as "chicks" (all the time).

    I'm just not buying the i-don't-mean-it-as-an-insult-so-that makes-it-ok.

    I agree Marie.

    Sometimes, a person needs to just back off when another person is insulted rather than "my intentions are good, lighten up". They should respectfuily say "I meant no harm and even disagree, but I respect and validate your feelings, so I'll stop." (nobody really talks like that, but that's the point one should try to make.) IMO

    Sometimes we might be baffled at why a person is insulted with our innocents, but we need to be respectful that they are indeed insulted no matter how silly we think their feelings are.
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 23, '05
  5. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from chris_at_lucas_RN

    A patient told me I was beautiful in my own way.

    LOL, I've gotten that a few times. That look is cute for you. (because God knows I would never be caught looking like that). :chuckle
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from Bipley
    That isn't the point of the thread. It is your INTENT. THAT is the point!!!
    The point is also the best of intentions can hurt. Why can't the hurt/insulted/mildly irritated person point that out without others saying "lighten up", "I hate all this PC crap", "it doesn't matter what you say nowadays someone is going to be insulted", "it's a joke for heaven's sake", "no harm was meant". Why can't you just respect the individuals feelings, rather than invalidate them with good intentions. You don't have to agree or buy into their pc and agree with them.
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 23, '05
  7. by   fergus51
    Quote from stevielynn
    Ah, sociology . . . .

    Men refer to other men as "guys" usually. Pretty close to "girls".

    I guess, again, it depends on the intent. If a person is meaning to be condescending than you might have a point.

    steph
    I used to say boys and girls. Course at the time I was still relatively new to nursing in the US and would always start the morning with a "Hello boys" to the RTs I worked with which was usually answered with a "Hey girl!". All was well until one woman complained that my comment was racist. Apparently she didn't like me using the word "boy" because one of the RTs was African American and she felt I was being insensitive to him. At the time, I was still very uneducated about American racial history and didn't mean it to be offensive. I was so embarassed and apologized to the RT the next time I saw him. He just laughed his butt off saying he wasn't ever offended and that he didn't need a caucasion woman to defend him from me. I was relieved that I didn't offend him, but I have never used the word "boy" when speaking with coworkers again.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Tweety
    Speaking of PC. The first time I went to college was at a big university in the 70s. I befriended quite a few feminists. They loathed being called a girl............"I ceased being a girl when I became a woman." (the most radical of them spell it womyn, which sometimes slips out of my typing.) :roll
    This whole thread is reminding me of the "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holiday" thread.

    Tweety - I think you hit the nail on the head . . .this girl vs woman vs ladies vs opening the door vs not opening the door is absolutely tied to the feminist movement.

    Poor guys - how do you ever know whether you are about to put your foot in your mouths?

    Seriously though - aren't there more important things to think about?

    steph (the resident girl)
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    LOL, I've gotten that a few times. That look is cute for you. (because God knows I would never be caught looking like that). :chuckle
    Sharon - a good friend and I were at lunch with her teenage daughter and during the conversation my friend and I bemoaned the changes that aging has wrought on our faces and with our bodies. The teenager said "well, for women your age, you both look pretty good".

    That is definitely a back-handed compliment.

    steph
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from alakaea
    Sorry, but guys does not equate to boys.
    That was not my intent . . .

    I meant that men don't call themselves "boys" for the most part, it is "guys" so your point was a bit off the mark.

    steph
  11. by   Tweety
    Quote from stevielynn
    Seriously though - aren't there more important things to think about?

    steph (the resident girl)

    But is it fair to belittle someone to whom these ideas are important, with a statement like "aren't there more important things to think about?".

    Yes, for me there are more important things.

    ER vs. floor nurse, why does the ER always bring their patients at shift change?

    Day shift nurses vs. night shift. Night shift nurses only work nights because they are inherently lazy and have no people skills.

    Or how about BSN vs. ADN, which are better nurses?

    Gay marriage, is the gay agenda ruining the family?

    Republicans only care about money, not the common man nor the evironment.

    Discuss.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    It truly depends on context to me.


    Being called "girl" or "girlie" totally insulting unless it's a sweet lil ole confused patient. By anyone else, it's a problem for me. But I don't make a huge issue of it, either. I have been known to politely state my name and credential when I sensed disrespect. No problem being assertive and polite---usually does the trick.
  13. by   Bipley
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    What i intended doen't mean that someone's not going to like it. Even if i meant it in a good way, and someone didn't like it, i'd still stop it. I can't say that for a couple of people i work with, who think it's cute to refer to females as "chicks" (all the time).

    I'm just not buying the i-don't-mean-it-as-an-insult-so-that makes-it-ok.
    First of all I may be wrong as I am going by memory only, but I'm not sure the folks in question:

    1) Are insulting anyone (opinion for the sake of this thread),
    2) That the OP feels "insulted" (read her initial response to mine), or
    3) That the folks in question knew at the time of her post she was uncomfortable with the words.

    Quite frankly, it most certainly IS okay to have the attitude of, "I don't mean it as an insult so that makes it okay," due to the fact that they have yet to be told they are saying anything inappropriate.

    I stand behind my comment of intent. There is already enough confrontation, PC BS, hate, conflict, and just mean people out there. I'm not about to go looking for something to complain about when the intent is CLEARLY positive.

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