You are at a social gathering. You’re part of the Party Planning Committee (Yes, I am a devotee of The Office). The event is going well and you didn’t have to work any magic to make it that way. The details fell into place and you don’t even feel minimally stressed.
You are making the rounds, trying to say hello to the people who came, or at least as many of them as you can. Like I said, you are not stressed. If you don’t get to everyone, well, that’s life.
You are wearing a dress you like. It feels nice. It hasn’t wrinkled despite the minutiae of the day and the in-and-out of the car to get to the event. It’s a pretty good hair day, too.
You make your way to Person in Powder Blue Slacks to say hello. Person is happy to see you make your way over because Person really likes you. You really like the Person. You’ve been friends for ages. You pull up a chair and smile. Time for a little how-goes-it chat.
Person smiles, too, And then Person leans in and offers you a consolatory nod. And then Person says it.
“You look tired.”
Holy cow. Now what? I mean, really. Now what? What on earth are you supposed to say? Someone you like has just told you you look tired when you happen to be quite pleased and energetic. Just imagine your options with me.
You can say, “I do?” and they will proceed, I assume, to assure you how terrible you look.
You can say, “Oh. Well, I actually feel pretty darn good.” But this will make them feel bad. And you like this person. You don’t want them to feel bad. One person feeling bad (you) is enough. Besides where can the conversation go from there? Person might say: “Really? This is how you look when you feel pretty good?”
You can say, “Oh, yeah. It’s been a really busy day. You know. A lot to get done.” Which is a lie. It has been a busy day but you feel fine. You had some things to get done, but hey! You got them done and you are feeling pretty good about yourself.
You can say, “So do you.” Which may also be a lie. It could also be true, but you know how it sounds to have it said of you, so do you really want to go there?
I just don’t see a simple way to deal with this one. I don’t. If you are told you look tired when you’re not tired, what are you honestly supposed to say?
“Can I get you another cup of punch?”
I submit that perhaps this statement should be relegated to that list of observations you never say; that list that begins with the question, “So when is your baby due?”