that time I was harassed... and how I dealt with it
welcome fellow humans
As the summer keeps chugging along, I am keeping busy with my part-time job as a hostess and filling my free time with friends and family. I’ve been pretty content day to day, but it’s definitely been a struggle balancing work and the “vacation” part of my summer. I am usually very easy-going and happiest when I get to meet and talk with new people…which works out pretty well for me being a hostess for the past three summers.
And yet, while I have reached a healthy mental state that tends to be full of positivity, that certainly doesn’t make me bulletproof. No matter how content or positive I feel, I’m still going to cross paths with people who feel…otherwise. I love the word “sonder” because it signifies the human experience we all face.
We move around in a world full of individual struggle, pain, and burdens; and it’s an abstract world that can be impossible to fathom when we are only stuck in our own heads, our own lives.
Now, I like to think that I am pretty good at practicing empathy--something I learned from my mother, especially. But I learned something else very recently…some people just suck. I’m talking about the ridiculously irrational, immature people who probably aren’t worth your time.
I am ALL about kindness, trust me. But the truth is that people will disappoint you, disrespect you, and damage you... only if you let them. I thoroughly believe that you should give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but some people who enter your life are just not worth your kindness or respect.
I’m going to give you a real life example that hit me like a ton of bricks...very recently I had a disagreement with a fellow hostess at work about who should “close” for our shift that night--we had both been on double shifts and neither of us wanted to stay until 11 PM to close up the restaurant for the night. After the other host refused to discuss it and also refused to close, I decided that it wasn’t worth my energy to be friendly to her anymore; I needed my space to calm down and stay rational. She sensed the shift in my demeanor and started verbally harassing me throughout the night. When the end of the night came, I was very upset, uncomfortable, and furious. I left after expressing to this coworker that the amount of disrespect I endured the entire night was confirmation that I would not be closing or doing any favors for her. She responded with more harassment, texting me immediately after I left work…
I have never been spoken to this way in my whole life and so I obviously didn’t take it well. I do not handle people disliking me very well, and I was terrified to work with her after this.
So, I did a couple of things to deal with this extremely stressful situation, all of which I agonized over… I did tell a manager and they supposedly had a talk with her about her behavior. But, I didn’t lose sight of the fact that I am a seasonal employee who doesn’t have much leverage when I will be leaving in about a month. Next I decided to just keep things professional and not engage in any arguments with her at work. Lastly, after a lot of consideration and realizing I would be working with her alone not too long after, I decided to bring up a calm, respectful conversation between the two of us.
Did we resolve it? As much as it needed to be resolved so that we could work together without a problem. But after listening to her half-heartedly apologize, tell me that she “can’t get fired anyways,” and endure constant interrupting while attempting to convey my side of things, it was clear that no matter how hard I tried, she wasn’t going to give me the respect I deserve. Not now, not ever.
It still bothers me when I think about it but it forced me to realize that people can be terrible to you despite any kindness you show them, and sometimes it is best to just move on. Whereas in the past I would maybe let my anxiety get the best of me and stress over making it right or making her like me again, I’m swallowing my pride.
I am steering CLEAR of shitty people. It’s just better to let it go and maintain your pride.
BE KIND, BE STRONG.