• Mon, Jun 14 2010

Bitch, Please: Negotiating Crazy At Weddings and Work

Do you have issues with your no-longer-best girlfriend? Is your coworker driving you crazy? Megan Carpentier is here to give you the life advice that you don’t want to hear, told in the way you absolutely need to hear it.

My boss is driving me crazy. One minute, I’m her BFF who she can’t live without, and the next I’m a crazy bitch trying to sabotage her so that I can have her job. It’s not like her crazy is just drifting in my direction, because everyone has noticed her going slowly off her rocker, but as her sole direct report at our design company, I’m the person most likely to be screwed over by it. In the mean time, I’m covering her ass so that we don’t both get fired, trying to avoid the double-barreled shotgun of insanity as much as possible and trying to figure out whether to cut and run or do exactly what she’s accused me of: sabotaging her so that I can have her job (or at least work for someone that isn’t insane).

First off, if it’s clear to her managers that she’s losing it, you might be able to find a friendly ear there — and, at the point at which your boss is accusing you of sabotaging her anyway, how much crazier is she going to be if you go over her head to ask for a transfer. Go to the most sympathetic higher-up, or the one with whom you have some relationship, and ask that they alert you if a job reporting to someone else comes open anytime soon. If she or he asks why, don’t let the floodgates open more than slightly: just say that you love the company and your work, but you think your talents and enthusiasm might be better utilized by a different manager (bonus points if you say, “someone like [Sandra]“) and that you’re really interested in working for a manager who could help mentor you. You don’t have to mention that she’s crazy, if they already know, and if they don’t, well, then you don’t look like you’re telling tales out of school.

In the mean time, polish up that resume and start sending it out. Yes, the economy sucks, but it’s easier to get a job when you have a job than when you’ve been fired or laid off, so now’s the time to start looking. Again, if your boss catches wind, what is she going to do? Scream at you? Accuse you of whatever paranoid fantasy is spooling out in her head? Done and done. You can’t negotiate with crazy, you can’t bargain with crazy, you can’t reason with crazy. Crazy is crazy. And the kind of boss who is accusing you of sabotaging her job when you’re done cleaning up her crazy messes is just crazy. She’s not going to get any better until she gets to therapy (or gets off whatever drugs she’s abusing), and few people hop onto the return leg of the train to Crazytown until they absolutely have to, which generally requires hitting bottom. Just don’t be the person at the bottom who breaks her fall.

I’m not a teetotaler, but I don’t like drunks. I have a few friends who drink who can handle their liquor and still be relatively charming, but many of my friends and relatives are bad drunks: they get terribly melancholy, pass out, puke, start arguments, fall over — all the standard drunk things. Without getting into my past (that’s for my actual therapist), seeing drunk people behave badly is very triggering to me. The problem is that I’m getting married this summer. I want everyone to have a good time, and I know that for most people that involves drinking something, but how do I get my friends, especially, to keep it together?

Well, as you know, you can’t force anyone to keep their shit together: either they have to want to, or they won’t. And, I’m guessing you know because you didn’t ask how you could get your family to get it together.

As for your friends: they undoubtedly know you don’t drink much, if at all, but maybe they don’t quite know why you don’t or how uncomfortable you feel when they do and why. If you simply ask people not to get too drunk and call them out for previous bad behavior, you’re not likely to get anywhere. A better thing to do would be to take a couple of the heavy drinkers to whom you are close aside and tell them why you feel how you feel about drinking — you don’t have to go into all the gory details, but you should simply be able to say that your issues around excessive drinking are something you are working through in therapy, but in the mean time, it freaks you out in a few very specific ways and you’d prefer your wedding day to involve as few negative emotions as possible. If they are your friends, they should be understanding (and, if they’re not, well, it gives you time to rescind a few invitations, right?).

If you target the people who are usually the big drinkers, what it does is set the bar lower: those who keep going up to the bar often set the pace for the rest of the crew, including the people who have more trouble keeping it together. So, if the people who set the pace go slower, everyone around them will probably slow up just enough to see your wasted relatives misbehave and not want to emulate that behavior. It’s kind of a win-win in that regard. Mazel tov!

If you have a problem with a friend, relative, coworker, or other person in your life, email Megan at advice@thegloss.com. If you have a problem with your boyfriend, you should probably just try talking to him.

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  • Ricki

    Another solution for the bride, for her wedding day, specifically, is not to do a big open bar at the wedding but only have a few drink options available – some bottles of champagne, obviously, and then either some extra wine, some beer, or some fun cocktails. It depends on the kind of wedding you’re throwing.