update: my rude and intrusive coworker makes me feel horrible

Remember the letter-writer last year whose coworker kept making rude personal comments, like “you’re gonna get fat” when she ate a piece of pie and “your boobs hang out of your shirts like the girls on The Bachelor”? And then when apologizing, said, ““I’m sorry I said that, but it’s kind of true”? Well, exactly one year after her letter was printed here, here’s the update.

As of yesterday, I have accepted a new position at a new organization (transitioning from corporate to government). I applied to this job back in December, with the help of AAM. There was one main reason I applied to this job: to get away from this coworker.

Things had gotten better after I sent in my question, but I got engaged near the end of 2013 and when my engagement was announced in a meeting, this coworker said “Well, that’s if Mark will still marry her in a few months’ time” and later that day asked if I just convinced him to marry me because I was pregnant (I was not and still am not pregnant). A few coworkers scoffed at her comments and told her to stop being such a fun stealer, but no one (including managers) actually did anything about it. Also, in the following weeks, I found out that the two people in my job previously left because of this coworker.

Once I had my first interview at my new job, this coworker actually put in her 6 months retirement notice! Hooray! As the weeks progressed and I went on more interviews and was still berated at work by her, I was offered the job and have accepted (in writing, with a start date). I will now have to put my 3 weeks notice into my current job. I really do love my current company and the other people. I’ve learned so much and only have great things to say about the company itself, but it’s a shame they’re losing a good employee because of another sour employee. With that said, I realize sour employees can happen anywhere, including at my new position, but there were also secondary reasons why I went with the new job, such as a slight pay increase and better hours and the fact that it’s time for something new, but this particular coworker did spur my initial job search.

Thanks again to AAM, this site has been like my workplace mentor to help me navigate the working world!

{ 139 comments… read them below }

  1. Mena*

    I hope the company you are leaving has employee exit interviews – this is your chance to explain why you are leaving and share your disappointment that management didn’t act to contain this person’s behavior.


      1. Letter Writer*

        Thank you! I mentioned it to another manager and she said “we should have gotten rid of the co-worker (mean, old one) years ago, but it would’ve been too expensive, so we just stuck it out”. I don’t think they’ll really care, but yes, many people have asked me if I’m leaving because of her.

        1. College Career Counselor*

          This infuriates me: “would’ve been too expensive…” Add up the cost of the people who were prompted to leave (or driven off by) this person, and there’s your real cost. (Who was mentioning Bob Sutton’s “No Asshole Rule” yesterday? He talks about the cost in sick time, lost productivity, people leaving the organization caused by people who are mean, nasty, toxic, etc.)

          My take on exit interviews is that no one ever gets thanked for telling the truth of why they’re leaving, and it can lead to burned bridges if the wrong people tie certain revelations to your departure.

          1. Mena*

            An exist interview shouldn’t burn a bridge but it should include a degree of honesty. It is all in how you position your position.

          2. Lily in NYC*

            Thanks for mentioning that book. I downloaded a sample to my Kindle and it’s really good – definitely plan to buy it.

        2. Vicki*

          That “too expensive” thing irks me too.

          I worked at one job where we had a a totally incompetent manager (but it was “too expensive” to let him go. Seriously? Just let him go.”. Then the company went through layoffs and, again, it was “too expensive” to let him go.

          But paying his salary and watching employees leave wasn’t “too expensive”?

          1. Laura2*

            Yep. This happened at a company I worked for and the incompetent manager was my boss. I was told by another manager (!) that it would be too expensive to let her go (I didn’t initiate this conversation, by the way) because she was over 40 s0 it could be considered age discrimination, which is bull because it’s not age discrimination if you’re firing her for being an incompetent, obnoxious, insubordinate boob who makes everyone’s work more difficult.

            Basically everyone who had the ability to get rid of her was too damn lazy to write her up.

            1. Poohbear McGriddles*

              If it’s too expensive, you’re doing it wrong. If they can show that she was let go for creating a hostile work environment, not her age, then she wouldn’t have a case.

              1. neverjaunty*

                So much this. I was explaining this to a friend the other day who was griping about how they “can’t fire” a toxic employee because he is over 40: if HR is competent, yes they can.

              2. Cassie*

                This times 100. One supervisor is hesitant about adjusting a staffer’s duties because the staffer hinted that she’s going to file a complaint. I think that’s ridiculous – if she wants to file a complaint, let her. Let’s see what she can come up with for the complaint.

        3. Beti*

          “we just stuck it out”

          It doesn’t sound like the managers “stuck it out”. All that woman’s co-workers are the ones who “stuck it out”. I’m sorry you had such a bad time but I’m sure you on to bigger and better things. Good luck!

    1. Letter Writer*

      Yes, I have to evaluate if I want to discuss this in my exit interview; I believe I will bring it up in a democratic manner. The managers have been great since I put my notice in and said they will be references in the future, so I don’t want to burn any bridges.

      1. LBK*

        Did your new employer ask you why you wanted to leave your current position in your interview? If so, you can probably use a very similar answer in your exit interview (assuming that your coworker was brought up in some way in that answer). You can be honest about his influence in your departure as long as it focuses on your interactions rather than attacking your coworker’s character and it’s delivered in a matter of fact, unemotional tone.

        1. Letter Writer*

          The manager didn’t ask outright, but he asked why I had accepted the other job. I said because it is directly related to my degree/education (which it is, and makes sense). I would like to mention that this co-worker did influence my leaving, and like you say, I have to do it in a proper manner.

    2. Artemesia*

      Maybe they know and don’t care because you know ‘managing is hard’. All the problems in the workplace and in American business are failures of management.

      Hope they suffer, but they probably won’t. I would definitely say something at the exit interview — there is always a slight chance it makes a difference in their future behavior. I wouldn’t hold my breath and hope your new workplace is wonderful.

  2. CanadianWriter*

    It sounds like the letter writer was working with my sweet granny. Glad you found another job!

    1. MW*

      If you weren’t Canadian I’d swear you just blessed your sweet granny’s heart daily as we do in the American South.

  3. Sunflower*

    WTF about asking if he’s only marrying you because you’re pregnant when you’re not????? This woman sounds like she may be suffering from slight mental ilness.

    Do you work with the LW who’s assistant was making comments on her appearance? I feel like these could be the same person…..

    1. KSM*

      That doesn’t sound like mental illness; just commonplace cruelty combined with some not-quite-up-to-date notions about marriage and today’s 20-somethings.

      (1) She’s “fat”, so
      (1a) she might be pregnant (because pregnant people often gain weight) and
      (1b) her fiance “must not” love her for her looks (because she’s “fat”), so
      (2) he’s unlikely to propose (implied: because love requires looks), which means
      (2a) it’s clearly a shotgun marriage (because that’s how it worked when I was of marriageable age),
      (2b) and if it’s a shotgun marriage, she must be pregnant because… (see 1, it’s a perfect circle)

      The “one-level” assumptions are cruelty; the “two-level” assumptions are bringing cultural baggage about women’s worth & our roles as mothers, lovers & wives into play.

      Any way you slice it, it is a nasty chain.

    2. Zillah*

      I’m sure you didn’t mean it like this, but it’s actually really problematic to associate rudeness and nastiness with mental illness. These personality traits have nothing to do with mental illness, whether or not this coworker suffers from one, and the vast majority of people who display these characteristics are not mentally ill. This is someone being nasty, pure and simple – nastiness is in no way a mental illness.

      1. Jessa*

        I was going to go here, when I read that you had just done it better than I could. I really dislike the rush to run to “mental illness” just because someone is doing something people do not like, or is nasty.

      2. Sarah*

        I disagree. When someone is depressed or anxious that can impact them inwards and they can be self – loathing or in some (less likely) cases it may impact how they interact with others. Or the person may have a personality disorder, ie. Narcissistic.

        I have training in mental health field and have experienced mental health issues as well.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Nope, she’s just nasty. I’ve known people like this. She sounds a lot like the Coworker from Hell, the only person I ever worked with whom I actually, truly hated.

      1. Fish Microwaver*

        “Being an asshat is not a mental illness”. Can this be a bumper sticker? And maybe a T shirt?

  4. Adam*

    Does this co-worker literally have no joy in her life? I know any person can be a pain in the posterior at times, but someone who seems to go out of their way to be this unpleasant makes me raise an eyebrow.

    1. Letter Writer*

      No, she really is a mean person. I feel badly for how much she must hate her life to take it out on other people around her (and me especially, since I sit beside her).

      1. Anonymous*

        I don’t usually say stuff like this, but your soon-to-be ex-coworker sounds like a bitter old hag.

        1. Janie*

          Yeah I don’t like to pull out the B-word but this lady sounds like a raging B-word.

          And she may be old but as Lewis Black joked, people like her live forever.

      2. Grace*

        And your employer ratified your co-worker’s bad behavior by not disciplining her for it and giving her consequences, including termination.

    2. Artemesia*

      I think you are right and once long ago when someone said something kind of like this to me in a meeting, I said ‘Wow, you must lead a very very sad life.’ She never did it to me again.

  5. AdAgencyChick*

    Good for the OP. Even though this coworker is going to leave in a few months, congratulations for getting out of a company that clearly isn’t willing to address toxic personalities.

    1. Letter Writer*

      Thank you! I do agree they weren’t willing to address this toxic situation. When I put my notice in, the managers said I was such a “positive, radiant light and we need more of that here at company xyz”. Which was really nice, but I truly never would have looked at other jobs if it wasn’t this co-worker.

      1. Frances*

        I would have been so tempted to reply “well maybe you shouldn’t keep around the people who drive people like me off. “

        1. Letter Writer*

          Oh! I was sooo tempted to say something similar. When I put my manager in, he actually said “what we can we offer you so you stay”… which was great to hear… but I know AAM’s advice on taking counter-offers. Additionally, there are some other reasons as to why I’m moving on, so I just replied with “I’ve already committed to this new position and am not interested in a counter-offer”. However, I was sooo close to saying that maybe they should re-think some of the employees at the company.

  6. Malissa*

    She wasn’t just a sour employee, she was the whole sour cake topped with sour cream.
    Glad you found your escape!

    1. fposte*

      I love sour cream. I’m thinking more like skunky old reconstituted lemon juice.

      At least you don’t have to live with that, OP–she does.

        1. Lizzy*

          I almost spit my coffee out. :-D

          And yes, sour cream is great and doesn’t need to be dragged into this.

            1. Asteria*

              “Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!”

  7. AMG*

    What a witch. Congratulations to you and to all of your former coworkers who won’t have to deal with her anymore soon enough.

  8. ZSD*

    I’m so sorry that you had to deal with this awful, joyless woman for so long. I wish you much happiness and success in your new position!

  9. Kay*

    Wow. The comment about only getting him to marry you because you’re pregnant is so far over the line. At that point, in front of other people I probably would have called her out on it and said something like, “Wow. That was really rude.” Apparently no one ever taught her that even if you think rude things, that doesn’t mean you have to say them out loud.

    1. Letter Writer*

      I agree! She said it (pregnancy comment) when no one else was around, but in a meeting, when my engagement was announced and she said “well, that’s if Mark will keep her around…” one other employee remarked “ugh! such a rude thing to say”and she just laughed it off and said “learn to take a joke”… however, a manager was right beside me and didn’t so much blink an eye. Unfortunately, her rude comments have become the norm at the office and it’s pretty much expected. I was in too much shock to say something back to her.

      1. Crow T. Robot*

        It’s just now occurring to me that she is a classic work place bully. Good on your coworker for calling her out. When bystanders to bullying speak up about what they are seeing, it can help to take away some of the bully’s power, and help the bullied feel less alone. Unfortunately, the person who should have spoken up (the manager) didn’t.

      2. Hlyssande*

        She’s totally the Broken Stair in this scenario.

        You know, the one that everyone knows exists so they just develop the habit of jumping over it and avoiding it and see no reason that anything should change?

        That broken stair.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        The manager did not blink?

        Uh. The real problem here is the management. Witch Woman is not going to change. It was up to the manager to do something.

        You made a good call, OP. Because management does not know how to handle this type of negative stuff. I can easily see this happening again with another employee. Management has sent out a message, “We are willing to tolerate bad behavior.”

        There are so many ways to handle a remark like that. The fact that the boss did not handle it speaks volumes.

        Congrats on the new job and all the best for you!

        1. KrisL*

          Yeah, the manager should have done something. It’s good that you’re going to a new job; at your old job, they might end up hiring another nasty person and not doing anything about it.

      4. Kay*

        That’s so horrible that the manager didn’t even reply or anything. I know it’s not professional and I’m not suggesting you take the low road, but if I were you, part of me would want to pull her aside on my last day and tell her “By the way, you’re the reason I’m leaving this job. You are a horrible person and I hope you have a horrible life. Please don’t keep in touch” (all said with a great big fake smile of course)

        I know these sorts of things are impractical to actually do, but visualizing them almost gives some sort of catharsis.

  10. Boo*

    Wow. How awful. Although I couldn’t help but think that you have more of a management problem than a coworker problem…sure your coworker is absolutely dreadful, but decent management would have got her under control long before she became the thorn in your side. So for that reason I think you’re doing the best possible thing by moving on (and congratulations!) because even with the coworker gone, you can be sure that bad management would have bled into other aspects of your working life.

    All the best with your new job!

    1. Letter Writer*

      I agree. This issue of keeping a sour employee *is* a management issue. There are other mean/sour/disgruntled employees in other departments (that I don’t work with) and management won’t get rid of them. I believe it stems from being a family operated business and not wanting to get rid of people who were there when the company started.

  11. Nina*

    That woman’s behavior is unacceptable, and it’s baffling that the company was willing to lose three employees because she’s “too expensive” to fire. It really is their loss above all else.

    Sounds like things are really looking up for you. Congratulations on your engagement and your new job! :)

  12. Katie the Fed*

    OP – ask to do an exit interview with someone as senior as you can find. You should explain precisely why you’re leaving and that management did nothing about the situation.

    To me this isn’t the problem with a bad employee so much as it’s a total failure of management. Bad management drives away good employees.

    Also, she sounds like miserable wench. Imagine how bad it must be to BE her.

    1. EngineerGirl*

      I was going to say this too. You’re not leaving because of the bad coworker. You’re leaving because of managements failure to manage the bad coworker.

      1. Letter Writer*

        This is true. I am having my exit interview with an HR representative (not really management, but our only HR person at our office). I’m close with the manager, but he won’t be able to conduct my exit interview.
        My concern is that if I bring up management issues and their failure to address this co-worker and if I ever want to return to this company in the future (they said they would have me back in a heartbeat), I don’t want to burn that bridge and the management team will take it offensively. Also, this certain sour employee is kind of in the aura of ‘well, she’s an old biotch, but that’s just her and she’s been here since the dawn of time, so it comes with the territory’ … also, my work was never affected by her, it was a personality issue, so I’m unsure if I should bring it up. Advice?

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Well, from reading your other comments here it sounds like the culture of this place is one of just bad management and they really aren’t going to fix these kinds of problems. If you’re pretty sure that no matter what you say, it’s not going to change anything, then I probably would just leave. I’d only say something if you felt like it might make any difference.

            1. Parfait*

              I regret giving honest feedback at my last exit interview. Nothing changed and things actually got a bit worse for one of my colleagues.

              Just like an interviewer doesn’t owe applicants feedback , you don’t owe your employeer feedback. You’d give it if you thought it might help them; you’d keep it to yourself if you can see nothing good would come of it.

              1. Letter Writer*

                This is all really great perspective. Thank you! I think it’s almost a moot point since she’ll be gone 5 weeks after me. I do want to bring it up as one of many reasons for me leaving, but I don’t want to dwell on it in the exit interview. I would be completely different if she wasn’t retiring though… I’d feel a duty to tell them before they hired my replacement and had to watch yet another person walk out.

                1. Mimmy*

                  I’d say that’s an excellent strategy. So happy you’ve found a new (and hopefully more friendly!) job. Best of luck to you!!

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I don’t know; you can certainly say it in a nice way, and I wouldn’t want to return to a company that had such ball-less management that they couldn’t get rid of this bully. I honestly don’t think anything there will change, even if she leaves. And especially if she leaves voluntarily, because then they can just breathe a sigh of relief and not have to do anything. And what happens when the next bully comes along?

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Since you don’t want to burn bridges, caution is your best bet.

          Sadly, thought even if you threw caution to the wind, I really doubt you would make a difference. This would be a second reason for looking out for your own self-interests first.

          I hate thinking about not making any difference. One job I left, I threw caution to the wind. As far as I know, nothing changed because the problems were system-wide. It was a mind-set problem. Oddly, I did not feel better. I did not feel like I stood up for myself. Not sure why- too little, too late, maybe? Or maybe that I was having a reality check myself, as in “I can’t fix this by talking about it here”.

          One time, I had a boss ask me if she was the reason I was leaving. I did not want to grant her that power. I said that the problems got me started looking around, but the reason I am leaving is because I truly feel I am moving to a better job with some opportunities that I am excited about.

          1. Laura*

            “Sadly, thought even if you threw caution to the wind, I really doubt you would make a difference.”

            This is, unfortunately, true. I had a similar experience with a nasty, vengeful, stalking coworker that everyone, including management, knew about, but wouldn’t do anything to correct the problem. They wouldn’t even move my desk – I got sympathy when I explained the problem, but nothing else.

            When I left the job, they did the same thing the OP’s company did: “Can we induce you to stay? Were there any problems that made you leave us?” But I said nothing. They knew what the problem was, and they knew what to do about it. They just chose not to and nothing I said would have changed that.

            I like to think that losing me as an employee was bad enough for them.

        4. KrisL*

          I’d probably leave it alone. Maybe if you are in a place after the interview where you’re “off the record”, you might say something about a person who will be unnamed saying some pretty shocking things from time to time, but since they already know…

  13. Crow T. Robot*

    Geez. That lady sounds like the absolute worst. I mean, saying in front of other people that she doubted that your fiance would follow through with marrying you? That is so, so far over the line. I’m glad you’re getting away from this bad situation, but this woman kind of gets off scot-free, which sucks.

    1. Letter Writer*

      Yes, the whole company knows about her antics and I’m confident many people (including managers) know she’s a key reason as to why I’m leaving.
      The whole marrying comment definitely caught me off-guard. She’s even gone so far to say that she’s going to hide out in the trees to watch my wedding : / [We have an ongoing joke that the groomsmen will be on the lookout for her that day!]

          1. Not So NewReader*

            She could notify local police and ask them to do a couple of drive-bys on that day. If I were in her shoes, I would seriously consider this, talk it over with others, etc.

            Conversely, sometimes all you need is a good bluff.

            Witch: “I will be by on your wedding day!”
            OP: “Yeah, you mentioned that before, and I let the guests and police know to expect you.”

      1. Laura*

        She’s going to… what? I’m just… wow.

        I’d have probably replied “Oh, please do – then you can give me your opinion of my dress, which I value SO much…”

  14. Lizzy*

    Ugh, I hate people who say things like “Oh sorry, but I was just being honest” or “Sorry, but it is the truth.” These people are using the honesty mantra to mask their agenda. You can be honest or upfront with people without sounding like a nasty piece of work. And if you have to add that you are just being “honest” or “true” (or telling it like it is) to your comments or when defending them, chances are you intentions are anything but altruistic.

    Glad the OP’s situation is getting better. Also, congrats on the engagement and new job!

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I work with a woman like this. She always makes the cattiest comments – you lose weight and she loudly instructs you to “eat a burger!” etc.

      When I got engaged I heard her say to someone “OMG how is it that Katie can get engaged and I’m still single?”

      REALLY had to bite my tongue to answer honestly.

    2. Artemesia*

      Jane Austen phrased it well ‘Honesty and frankness is a much overrated virtue’.

      Very true in most social settings.

    3. EngineerGirl*

      Yes. This is something I try to drill into the kids I work with. Honesty without gentleness is cruelty.

    4. Laura*

      Spot on! If you really do have good intentions, you’ve likely thought hard about whether or not to be honest in the first place; and if you’ve decided you have to be, you are very likely to be as gentle, tactful, and caring as possible.

      This does not include unhelpful comments on appearance, eligibility for marriage, etc.

    5. KrisL*

      I also hate those “truthful” people. They’re not being truthful; they’re being mean.

  15. JoAnna*

    Maybe on your last day, you could print out this letter & comment thread and leave it on nasty co-worker’s chair. ;)

    Congrats on your new position!

  16. Chrissi*

    I’m curious if the OP ever addressed this head on as Alison suggested in the first post? It sounds like she’s (rightly) angry that after the woman did it in front of management, no one said anything, but it also doesn’t sound like the OP ever responded either. I think the original advice said to say things like “Please don’t comment on my body” and “Wow, that’s inappropriate”, etc. I don’t mean to criticize the OP because this was obviously ridiculously inappropriate, but learning how to stand up for yourself in the way Alison described (short, assertive but not aggressive, and in the moment) is something everyone should be able to do. The next time you meet someone that comments on you in ways you shouldn’t, they probably won’t be nearly as bad as this lady, but it will probably happen again. It’s just a useful life skill (I know, easier said than done).

    1. Letter Writer*

      I did try to address the comments when she said them. After I wrote in the letter, things got better for a handful of months (which was great… I also think it had something to do with summertime and vacations). Alas, on a few occasions I used “that’s none of your business” and “please don’t say things like that” (especially if she started to gossip about someone). I also did the silent treatment where she would say mean things and then look over to see if I noticed and I just pretended I didn’t hear anything (then she would sulk at her desk until finally giving up).
      I do agree I have to learn to stand up for myself and not go quiet when something is said. I’ve definitely taken strides to work on that in-and-out of the office. I will continue to work on this, that’s for sure.

      1. Chrissi*

        Thanks for replying! It does sound like you’ve learned a lot and you probably did all you could. I’m kind of an intimidating person, so I’ve been told, even when I’m actively trying not to be, so I can usually nip stuff like that in the bud with an unamused, pointed look. Because of that, I rarely have to actually say the very direct responses that you did – I honestly am not sure I’d be able to very well, so kudos to you for doing that!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah there’s two factors here, one is OP and the other is this coworker. The coworker maybe truly unstoppable. The type that management escorts to the door and the employee does not stop talking about how right she is as she leaves the building.

          OP had an unbalance power situation because of the coworker’s seniority and her protection from management. In most places it is extremely difficult to go up against these two factors and win.

      2. Agnes*

        A non-response (after the first few responses indicating the Extreme Not Coolness of her statements) is actually a pretty good response, because even negative attention is a reward for people like this who like to hurt, confuse, and rile up others.

        1. Artemesia*

          Ignoring stuff –a basic principle of behaviorism does not work in the case of open defiance or open insult. Because it will just escalate until buttons are pushed.

          Management needed to have said at minimum ‘Wow, that was really inappropriate, don’t do that in a meeting again.’ the first time and the second time she needs to have been pulled into a meeting with the manager about doing that.

          And when that doesn’t happen then the person assaulted (or a brave co-worker needs to stand up and say it.) I have had an insult (not this personal but still rude) happen twice in a 45 year career in meetings; once I responded as I noted earlier ‘Wow, that was really inappropriate.’ and the other time a very senior person stood up and set the rude jerk down.

          Ignoring doesn’t work for this type of thing although it can for mildly annoying behavior that seems attention seeking.

          1. anonintheuk*

            A proper manager would have commented on the absolute inappropriateness of such a remark. Followed by a one to one meeting along the lines of ‘You will not do that again’.

  17. OriginalEmma*

    Congrats, OP! I really liked the advice for responses to this behavior, except there would be no “Please” from me. “Do not comment on what I’m eating. Do not comment on my body.”

  18. Canuck*

    Congrats OP!

    If I was in your position and about to take a new job, I would be so tempted to tell off the old bag and really let her have it. No holding back!!

    But you sound like a level headed person who wouldn’t do that, unlike me :)

    1. Katie the Fed*

      At an old office, a colleague resigned and left as his out-of-office message a rant with really dumb quotes from his boss and boss’s boss and so on.
      Because our IT is so slow, it took about 2 weeks to disable his account completely so this thing just kept going out to everyone who emailed him.
      Terrible, of course. But epic. If you’re going to burn a bridge, REALLY burn that sucker!

  19. AMG*

    I have to say, I really like when we have an OP who engages in the commenting dialogue; it really feels so much more productive to the OPs and helpful for me to learn when we have an environment exactly like this. :)

    1. Letter Writer*

      I agree. The comments are really helpful too to see others’ experiences and perspectives.

  20. Another Emily*

    LW, good on you for handling this bully in such a classy way, then getting the heck out of Dodge.

    You mentioned upthread that you and your fiance and the groomsmen all joke about how this jerk might show up at your wedding. If you think there is even an infinitesimal chance of this happening, please discuss the situation with your wedding venue and give them a picture of her. Then they can eject her from the site with minimal or no disturbance to you.

    This will allow you to enjoy the day and not worry about this nasty, horrible person showing up.

  21. xdisney*

    Hi OP,

    Since all of your friends and relatives have probably heard of this “wonderful” human being maybe you should INVITE her to the wedding. All of the happiness at your wedding would make her head explode….and your friends and relations can spend their time making rude comments about her.

    Remember, she will never die…God doesn’t want her and the Devil thinks she will take over.

  22. Puffle*

    Oh OP, if we lived in the same country, I would be convinced that this is my former coworker’s twin. My nightmare coworker was a few decades older than me and so liked to disguise her prying and prodding with “motherly concern”, aka concern trolling. Ick. Thankfully, she left shortly after I was hired, so I got lucky, but she was also a “fixture” that no one wanted to get rid of. I wonder how many other people she harassed with all the “helpful” comments about their weight, outfits, personal grooming, relationships…

    Anyway, congrats on finding an awesome new job and escaping!

  23. Feed Fido*

    IMHO exit interview are for turning in keys and getting your COBRA paperwork. There’s rarely ever a reason to vent to HR, especially when you are on your way out. I endured a goodbye lunch during which I was spoken about as if I wasn’t there and told my job unnecessary. Even then, I grinned knowingly at my co-worker and walked merrily home.

  24. Hcat*

    People like this insulting co-worker are pathetic, I only give them pity, because that’s all they deserve. Good for the OP for moving on. If this co-worker is married, then someone should send a sympathy card to the family for putting up with such oppression.

    1. Letter Writer*

      She’s most definitely not married (never has been either). I think that’s where the jealousy/fury about my engagement comes from.

      1. Laura*

        Yikes. The ability to be truly happy for others is a very human quality – But jealousy that bursts forth in such a blaze of glory as it does with this woman takes many years and lots of practice to build up.

  25. gayle // grace for gayle*

    sure, there are rude and intrusive employees anywhere, but what you described isn’t just sour, it’s toxic. congrats on the new job, you have certainly gotten great practice for how to deal with challenging coworkers! all the best to you.

  26. Jamie*

    The downside of people who are critical of others for superficial stuff like this? I am a living, breathing flaw colony but I am so not judgey about looks or superficial stuff and my default is to notice the positive – because everyone has something attractive about them.

    Except when people are critical and judgey of others looks. It’s immediate and my default shifts to noticing everything about them that’s worse than what they are complaining about. (I don’t comment on it – I just notice it.)

    I meet someone and notice they dress well or have pretty eyes. They start bashing others for what they look like and all of a sudden all I can see is the bad haircut and crepey neck.

    Being a self-appointed judge of the looks of others immediately sets you up for intense scrutiny – and I know I’m not the only one who does this.

    1. Laura*

      You certainly cannot be the only one who does this because I do too – you can be as pretty as a picture, but when uglyness comes out of your mouth, it permeates your aura.

      The reverse is also true for people who are not perfect physical specimens but are regarded as beautiful people for their positive energy – Actress Betty Grable is a perfect example of this.

  27. Laura*

    “If he still marries her in a few months” ??? WOW. This person is seriously unhappy with herself!

    That is not and never was your problem, OP, and I’m so glad you’re moving up and out of the line of fire. Best of luck to you!!

    1. Annonymous*

      Remember when Alison said the mean comments said more about the old bag herself than about LW?

      That’s right! I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

  28. Rocky*

    Gosh, OP, you handled this so well. What a dire situation. Once when I’d just gone through a break-up years ago I had a soi-disant ‘motherly’ co-worker crowing over me at a team meeting: “Oh Rocky, you look awful! You must be pregnant! You’re pregnant, aren’t you?” and she just wouldn’t let it go. Eventually I looked her in the eye and said “I’m not pregnant” and walked away. I left it to other co-workers to fill her in that I’d just broken off my engagement. *Shudder*. I heard later that the manager had noticed and approved my calm response. It was hard to do though.

    And sadly I agree with th comments that an honest exit interview won’t make much difference.

Comments are closed.