This one will need some background information. You see, I had this boss. I think I might have told you about her once or twice. I called her Crazy Boss Lady. Because she was a lady (using this term to mean only "female" not "genteel and gracious") and she was my boss and she was completely BAT-SHIT CRAZY (yes, I just swore...it's the only way to get the point across this time, sorry Mom). Crazy Boss Lady was incredibly incompetent for the position she held, which she had gained through a series of ridiculous situations that no one seemed to foresee as one of the signs of the impending APOCALYPSE. Okay, maybe not that, but close.
Anyway, Crazy Boss Lady's late husband had been a beloved dentist in our community. And before she got the job in which she tried to stomp all over my soul, she helped him run his dental practice. And by "run his dental practice," I mean, she answered phones at the front desk for a few hours a week. This made her an "expert" in all things dentistry.
And that was the only thing she knew. I'm not kidding. She seemed to have no other skills whatsoever, unless you count the ability to reach inside a person's mind and diminish their will to live by using only fake compliments and creepy smiles. And in case you are wondering, my job (and by default, her job) had NOTHING TO DO WITH DENTISTRY. Oh, but she tried to MAKE it about dentistry. In any meeting with clients, at any meeting with her colleagues, or in any conversation with her employees, she would relate everything back to dentistry, her husband's practice, or the fact that three of her five children had chosen to be dentists. You would not believe how many things can relate to the care of teeth if you try hard enough. It was like playing The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but a lot less interesting.
The problem with this is not just that NO ONE wants to talk about teeth that much. It's how selfish AND stupid these people look when trying to turn the conversation toward their interest. Because, although Crazy Boss Lady makes the best example, I have watched countless other people fall into this pattern as well. In her case, I think it had to do with the fact that she wasn't understanding the current conversation and was too insecure to ask for an explanation. But some people do this just because they are bored with what YOU want to talk about, probably because it is not ABOUT THEM or THEIR INTERESTS. I think it's pretty obvious why this is a bad behavior that annoys me.
Bad Behavior Number 2: Thinking that other people think you are amazing and repeating their "praise" of you to others.
I had another boss, right after I had Crazy Boss Lady. We call him Big Jerk Boss Man. Big Jerk Boss Man was about as qualified for his job as Crazy Boss Lady was for hers. Actually, he had three different careers before gaining his role as my boss and he was kind of intelligent in his day, but he's now in his seventies and has some health issues that I'm convinced have affected his brain. Also, he grew up as a scrawny kid in the gangland of Manhattan in the 1940s and 50s, so he pretty quickly developed an inferiority complex and the ability to tear people down with his words (since his hands weren't strong enough).
Strangely, this man had an ego the size of, well, Manhattan probably. Now that I'm away from him for good, I can see that it's all a defense mechanism--he actually hates himself and doesn't want anyone to see it. But the EGO on this man was enough to crush you flat if you stood too close to him. And he was constantly coming to us, his employees, for both validation and to brag about how much people liked him. I think it's pretty obvious why I quit my job....
On occasion, my boss would be invited to speak at community events or business luncheons. Often, we were required to go with, in order to fully appreciate his awesomeness. And he would stand up and begin his speech and I would cringe. He was NOT a very good public speaker. He rambled. He meandered. He used way too much personal detail and made people uncomfortable. He forgot what he had been asked to speak about and improvised. He never prepared in advance and was always flying by the seat of his I'm-too-big-for-these britches.
BUT. Inevitably, some well-meaning soul would approach him after the speech and tell him he did a good job. Or, more often, he would go and ASK people if they liked his speech. Yeah, he would walk up to someone, who was usually in the middle of a different conversation, and would interrupt them to ask, "So what did you think of my speech? It was great, right?" He was a Social Skills Train Wreck. And the person, caught off-guard and cornered, would say something like "It was very interesting..." or "I've never heard anything like that before..."
Now, I think you (and most everyone else in the WORLD) is smart enough to see through the non-answer in those answers. Words like "interesting," "special," "unique," and "informative" (without giving details as to HOW it was informative) are all the lazy man's way of saying "I have nothing better to give you because that speech was boring/weird/bad/uncomfortable and I don't want to offend you and you totally just put me on the spot" and/or "I wasn't really listening."
But, oh how the boss would glow and preen at these comments. He would come back to the office and tell us all about how people LOVED the speech. How he'd gotten SO MANY COMPLIMENTS. How HE WAS THE BEST SPEAKER MAN IN THE HISTORY OF MEN WHO SPEAK. And we would smile politely and give him the same kind of feedback as those who didn't know what to say. Because we liked our paychecks.
And GOD FORBID anyone EVER critique or dislike his speech. They were immediately eviscerated with his words (sometimes in person, sometimes behind their backs), shunned, and ignored forever. This man could hold a grudge like no one I've ever met.
And this brings me to the conclusion of Bad Behavior Number 2: repeating non-compliment compliments in an effort to stroke your own ego is not only arrogant, it's sad and pathetic. Just don't do it, okay? Big Jerk Boss Man was the worst non-compliment compliment taker I've ever seen, but just like Crazy Boss Lady before him, he's no special snowflake. I've heard other people repeat things they think were praise and I hear as "that's the word people use when they have nothing better to say." This has also made me suspicious of praise directed toward myself, since I'm always wondering if it was actually intended as praise or if it was just something you say to be polite.
Bad Behavior Number 3: Women who constantly tear down their husbands and complain about their children on the Internet.
[WARNING: This is where I get less funny and more preachy. I would apologize, but I mean every word.]
I could probably just round this one out into "all people who spend the majority of their time complaining and whining about EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND THEIR LIVES OMG!" But I'm not going to, because this particular subcategory of complainers makes me rantastically crazy. And really, this is more directed at women who husband-bash than those who complain about their kids, because most women know that they'll get called out if they go too far in insulting their children but that most people will ignore husband-bashing rather than stand up for someone else's husband.
And I'm calling out WOMEN in particular, for these three reasons:
1. I don't spend a lot of time with married men without their wives, so I don't have a good sample of their whining, which therefore means;
2. When I see this behavior, it is almost always coming from a woman and finally;
3. Women just seem more prone to this kind of "public" complaining, which men may do with their buddies but don't seem to engage in online.
I see it all the time on twitter and facebook and a little less often, but still frequently, on blogs. I even find it in real-live conversations at work and church and the grocery store. There are some women who apparently HATE their husbands and their children. Now, I understand that the Internet can be a safe and anonymous place to say all of the things you cannot say in real life, so a lot of venting takes place here. And I also understand that marriage can be difficult and that raising kids is no piece of cake, so there are times when you JUST HAVE TO LET IT OUT.
And, in case I haven't couched this one ENOUGH, it should be noted that I'm not talking about the joking kind of complaining. Like when you say, "OMG, my kid just painted the wall with his poop. In unrelated news, he is now for sale on ebay" or "The baby kept me up ALL NIGHT LONG. I'm so tired I can't remember her name. Remind me why I wanted kids?" Those are funny and real and help us understand that your day has been rough. I'm not asking for sunshine and ponies all day long in your twitter stream.
Btu there are some women (probably not as many as I think, they are just so loud and obvious so it seems like there are more of them than there really are), who never seem to have a nice thing to say about their families. And the things they DO say are so incredibly demeaning and disrespectful and unloving, that I want to vomit. I've seen tweets similar to: "My husband is so EFFING stupid, I don't know how he hasn't accidentally killed himself yet" or "My kids are the most annoying creatures on the planet. Why won't they just shut up and leave me alone?" I'm even bothered by the seemingly more innocuous tweets that say "I am so annoyed at my husband right now" when I've seen the same sentiment more than three times this week from the same poster.
I don't think it's okay to call your husband stupid on twitter and mean it (not saying that he did something stupid, but implying that he is ever in a state of stupid). I don't think it's okay to call him a loser or other derogatory names, when you're obviously not joking. I don't think it's okay to talk about your kids as if you wish you'd never had them. Again, I see this more often directed at husbands than at children, but I still see some really negative things about kids.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I am a single woman and deep down to the core of my soul and the marrow of my bones, I ache to find that one person who will love me for me and know me better than anyone in the world, with whom I will raise a passel of babies and next to whom I will grow old and senile. And every time I see a woman who has all the things I want, TEARING IT DOWN like it means nothing, it makes me kind of sick.
Right about now, I have a feeling a few of you are hiking up your sleeves, about to attack your keyboard in an effort to give me a piece of your mind, because you think I'm talking about you. I'm not. Really. This is a general observation only. But? If you were thinking that, it might be time to examine the percentage of your tweets/updates/posts that are negative toward your family and see how many of them you were "joking" about...
Because ladies? If you're constantly talking that way on the Internet, it's more than likely that some of that resentment and disrespect has already crept into your real-life relationships. And if you're not willing to love and honor and respect your husband, he might go looking for a woman who will. I'm not saying I'm out to take anyone's husband (I am SO not) or that all men who cheat have complaining wives. All I'm saying is that I've watched too many marriages fall apart because "she" tore him down and "he" went looking elsewhere--both wrong, both with devastating consequences. So treasure what you have and be careful with your words. They have incredible power.
Here is where I wish I had a Bad Behavior Number 4 to share, so I don't have to leave the post on such a bummer kind of note. But I don't have another one in mind right now and I'm not going to make one up for the sake of making you forget what I just said above. I'm also thinking about not posting this, because it might offend people or it's a little bit outside of the "Here's some crazy stuff that just happened to me and a recipe or two" thing I have going on. But I thought it and I wrote it and I still think it, so I guess I'm posting it. I'm also thinking of making a series out of these bad behaviors that annoy me, if no one yells at me too badly for this one. We'll see. For now, enjoy my opinionated rant and don't throw too many tomatoes, mmkay?