Friends, Politics & Equality, Work

You look tired…

OK, so potentially debatable opinion: I hate Zoom.

Work has just switched to Zoom for conference calls and that means more video calls. I’ve managed to avoid them so far for the most part – himself almost always interrupts my regular Wednesday group meeting and I’ve started making him wave at the other participants in an attempt to put him off.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a video call when a colleague (almost a friend, someone I trust and we share moans and advice regularly) remarked, as soon as I joined: “Oh Smell, you look tired!”. (He didn’t really call me Smell, obviously, but you get the point).

Now, I still don’t know how to take that.

He IM-d me immediately to ask if I was OK – clearly genuinely concerned that something might be wrong, so exhausted and dishevelled did I appear, apparently. Honestly, I was quite hurt. Sure, I was a bit tired but I didn’t feel like I looked any different than usual. I was quite horrified with the strong sympathy expressed – strong imposter syndrome doesn’t want people to perceive any weakness?

On the other hand, it’s wonderful that I have a colleague how genuinely cares that I’m OK and wants to help and support me if I’m not. But I am.

Is it OK to ever say “you look tired” in a group setting? Is it better or worse than “oh wow, nice legs” or “hey, someone took their handsome pill this morning”? Should we ever comment on how someone looks?

I felt really bad when it was said to me, almost as though it implied I couldn’t be doing a good job that day because I was clearly so tired I was sure to underperform. As well, that maybe I’m not capable of coping with working (almost) full time, having a family, and dealing with everything else in life.

We should be really careful when we make that sort of throw away comment. The person on the receiving end might indeed be rather tired, but remarking on that isn’t going to make them feel any better!

What do you think?

Love from Smell xxx

17 thoughts on “You look tired…”

  1. I feel you. As a general rule, I will never comment on anyone’s physical appearance, either positively. Meaning that if you’re fishing for compliments because you lost weight and want to humblebrag about your hot body, I’m going to ignore you, and if you have a horrible haircut or look like something the cat dragged in, I’m going to ignore you. It drives me absolutely bonkers when other people do this to me. And I feel like on Zoom, with people staring at their screens all day, I think people notice more details than they used to. No one would have said anything to me if I showed up to an in person meeting without concealer, and yet, coworkers seem to have no qualms about pointing out dark circles under my eyes on Zoom. Ugh!

    I just blame the lighting or my internet connection (sometimes, I lie and say my home internet is horrible so I don’t have to go on video), or I make a joke to bring it back to actual work (“Must be those crazy deadlines on that [insert project name] project stressing me out!”) But I feel you because I absolutely hate this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha, I had a conference call earlier this week I’ve been ill – not covid – but a colleague messaged me after to ask if I was sure I was okay…..I thought bloody hell better put some make up on 😂
    I do think it came from genuine concern obvs there’s been other situations where I don’t think it has

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s rude to say ‘you look tired’ in a group setting. It’s better to ask the person alone if they are okay. It seemed like the person who asked you this was genuinely concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, Zoom—or any other video call platform—isn’t known for making any of us look our best. I don’t usually bother turning on my camera any more, unless it’s an external call.

    I always think it’s best to avoid making these kinds of comments in a group setting. If you’re genuinely concerned, send a message or make a call after the meeting.

    And…I think we’re all tired right now so it wouldn’t be any wonder if you did look tired. I had my year-end review with my boss yesterday and I told him I’m just exhausted and unmotivated lately. I really hope I can snap out of it in new year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent question. My answer is I don’t know. On the one hand if the concern was genuine, it’s nice BUT on the other hand it’s subtly insulting if you feel well. I wonder if the comment was more about your make-up, or lack thereof, than about your health? A subtle way for the business world to remind you, a woman, that you’re supposed to look pretty. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would be guilty of sharing a comment like that, but out of concern not to make someone feel bad. I will think twice about it now. I also get told that a lot in video meetings & too find it hard to take a compliment, but always try to say something nice to someone in the video setting. This is an interesting piece and one I think I’m guilty of, I would never want to make someone feel bad. Thanks for raising this point xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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