You look tired

So here’s the scenario.

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?”

Yes?

Author: Susan

This post has 7 Comments

  1. Mocha with Linda on April 27, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I agree! I’ve had someone say that to me and I think “gee, thanks for telling me how awful I look!” And then they want to know WHY I’m tired. . . .!! (I’m tired of you telling me I’m tired when I’m not!)

  2. Sandra on June 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I think it is so so rude to tell anyone this. My husband does not think so. His response is, “Well it's true.” This makes me so sick to my stomach because I have been in his presence a couple of times when he has told people this, one was a man the other a woman. I kid you not, we have been married for 14 years and this one thing is the ONLY thing that we get into VERY BIG fights over. I sure wished some random person would walk up to him and tell him that he looks fat, old and tired and see how he likes it. It's just terrible.

  3. Anonymous on December 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    It happened to me today. Sitting having my lunch, my boss passed by and said: Oh, you look tired! I answered: I'm not, but I just returned back from a heavy spinningclass at the gym, if that explains things. Then she keeps on… But the other day – you ALSO looked tired! That really made me sad/angry, so I answered: No, I am fine and energetic. It is an interesting question you raise, what really do you mean? She answered; no don't get it wrong, I was just concerned. Really?
    I agree completely: put this on the list of things you NEVER say. Under any circumstances!

  4. Anonymous on December 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    It happened to me today. Sitting having my lunch, my boss passed by and said: Oh, you look tired! I answered: I'm not, but I just returned back from a heavy spinningclass at the gym, if that explains things. Then she keeps on… But the other day – you ALSO looked tired! That really made me sad/angry, so I answered: No, I am fine and energetic. It is an interesting question you raise, what really do you mean? She answered; no don't get it wrong, I was just concerned. Really?
    I agree completely: put this on the list of things you NEVER say. Under any circumstances!

  5. macy green on February 20, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Some guy who i did met today and didn’t saw for at least more than a year (while he adored me before but i quit our contact) told me long time ago after i said ‘hello!’,,, ‘You look so tired !’ ..afterwards i told him ”please never say that to a woman again you look tired because it makes a woman feel very insecure about herself ” ..
    But now he did it again and that after so long time we didn’t meet each other ! So i told him ”you look tired too , i just wake up” ..
    When i came home i felt depressed like he sucked all my energy out of me because i did everything to look so good that day ,beautiful dress nice make up etc ..later i thought by my self i wish i had said to him ”and you look very small today !”(he’s very small men) or ”yes iam tired because i am still sleeping and you are my worst nightmare ” or more positive “thanksss for you concern and you look really fit and handsome’ or just ” i think your body is upside down because i smell shit !” …i just hate him right now !!Is that what he want ?

  6. Dhs on January 20, 2016 at 1:38 am

    You sound tried ????

  7. tiredly on May 24, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Just respond with “oh, I’ve been crying”. Then enjoy the sympathy. Or simply open you eyes as wide as you can, exaggerate a smile and ask, “is this better?”

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