Last Friday I wrote about the stranger who tried to correct my form while I was going through my practice (The peanut gallery speaks). Well, today our paths crossed while I was replenishing my supply of allergy meds in a nearby town.

If he had not again spoken to me first, I would have never taken any particular notice of him. To my mind people look different outside the gym, in street clothes and not all sweaty from their workouts. It happens to me frequently whenever I pass someone who looks familiar in neighborhood establishments and typically takes me a moment to figure out where I know them from.

Anyway, he got in line behind me and greeted me with a smile and a hearty “hi.” I smiled and replied automatically, thinking he must be someone from the building the houses my firm’s offices. Our dialog went something like this (he is in italics):

I feel like I should apologize for what I said to you on Friday morning, but I was only trying to help you and keep you from hurting yourself. 

(Lightbulb moment for me – it’s THAT guy. Internal scowl commences.)

I appreciate the regret and the apology, but ….

(Insert long pause here while I internally debate whether or not to continue with my train of thought. F**k it, I decide and continue with the unedited version of what I truly think and feel about this whole situation.)

The way you approached me and said what you did makes it completely clear that our interaction was all about you and your ego; I was merely a prop to be utilized in some self-serving quest. I would like you to never approach or talk to me again if our paths intersect inside or outside the gym.

Hey that’s not fair or very nice; I was only trying to be kind and help you out ….

Please stop talking to me. You have nothing to say to me that I wish to hear.

And with that I moved to another line to wait for my turn to pay for my drugs and get back to my life.

Was I was rude? Maybe. Fresh off pep-talks from M, from J, from zillions of other friends, I said exactly what I thought, politely and firmly. I did not raise my voice. I did not make a scene. I did not even swear. I just stated what I felt with no qualifiers and no attempts to make him feel better about his behavior.

And I am okay with that. I stood up for myself and reclaimed back a little of the ground I lost over this incident.

Go me!

15 thoughts on “Standing up for myself

      1. I’m not exactly the model of restraint, especially when it comes to people butting into a conversation/activity (as in your case) into which they have no business butting. So with that introduction, I definitely think you had no reason to worry about being rude to an ass. You called it correctly, and even he knows he was being an ass because he tried to… well I’d like to say ‘apologize’ but I think the word is “justify” his comments.

        In my unqualified opinion I think with both your interactions with this guy, you came out clean and polite, with nothing to worry about. And perhaps it’ll be easier and less agonizing for you to do so again in the future.

        Cheesy grin and thumbs up to you!

      2. Thank you, Matt, for stopping by and for offering such a kind and supportive comment. I am typically very polite, but I was so shocked when it happened. Today it felt like a second chance to speak up and take care of myself.

  1. I had someone approach me this week about my email address. I said I had blocked their business because my polite attempts to unsubscribe and unfollow were thwarted b their ability to just add me back into the group list. My husband couldn’t believe that I didn’t tell a “white lie”, but I felt so much better telling the polite truth. Yes it may have felt a little strange and rude but I kept telling myself the conversation would have never happened – had they not been rude first! Same applies to you. I am a physical therapist and I had a trainer walk up to me at a gym to tell me I was doing an exercise the wrong way. It was several years ago and I didn’t say what I would say now – which is “go paying attention to your paying client !” Great job standing up for your awesome self!

    1. Thanks, A. I’m really, really trying to live up to earning my gym status, that I belong there, am following my trainer’s instructions on my own to the best of my ability, and I am earning every single success I achieve. I was so shocked by his behavior and words – to a perfect stranger! – and kind of ashamed of myself for allowing it to essentially taint my weekend and my practices. I have had all sorts of obsessive thoughts about what everyone has offered as pep-talks to handle the situation should it ever arise in the future. Maybe the universe gave me a second chance today because I took it so hard, and I was not going to waste the opportunity to say exactly what I thought and how I felt.

  2. I am really proud of you. You were not rude, you did not curse or lose it you simply told him how it was and how it was going to be in the future. You not only maintained your self respect by causing a scene, you simply remained calm and told him what to expect and moved to another line. Bravo

      1. You were the mature grown up…..he was the insecure little kid. But best of all you did it and didn’t even second guess yourself. You just let him have it straight out.

  3. Sorry I’m gonna disagree. I’m a little shocked. Yes you were rude and should have handled it more diplomatically. You could have got your point across without the rudeness. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

    1. It’s okay to disagree, Marty; I appreciate the perspective. I am typically not rude, but sometimes in life it seems necessary. But should this ever happen again, I will be slightly more thoughtful in my replies.

      1. No I am most certain you are not typically rude. That is why I was so shocked. I’ve just finished your subsequent post about your meeting with TM, hence I understand better how he incident affected you. But while being sympathetic to your situation, I can’t but help consider “him” as well. I tend to be somewhat “undiplomatic” at times so I understand the dynamics here.

      2. Which is why I especially appreciate the perspective. Hopefully it never happens again, perhaps he will be more thoughtful before sharing his thoughts and opinions with an unsuspecting stranger.

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