Thursday’s TPS Report: Short-Sleeve Dress with Pleat Front

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Reader B wrote in, gushing about this cute dress from DKNYC:

I am not normally one to recommend something to strangers, but I think this would be so perfect for your readers – it’s like the holy grail of summer work dresses – that I had to email. It does not look like all that much on the hanger or even on the model, but it’s perfect in so many ways: it has sleeves and a work appropriate neckline, it’s incredibly flattering on, it’s machine washable, it feels really great on and it virtually does not wrinkle, oh, and it’s on sale and also comes in plus sizes. I actually bought it in both colors! The red is great true red, perfectly bright for summer. The fabric is light-weight but substantial. It does not cling but is tailored just right. It is polyester, but the nice kind. Normally I am a snob about that sort of thing, but the fabric here feels truly great. Oh, and the compliments — I feel like a billion bucks whenever I wear either one!

For the record, as far as fit goes, I am a curvy hourglass, usually between sizes 6 and 8 in dresses, and the 6 fits like it was made for me. The slight pleats are a great little touch and do a great job of adding interest while also hiding a less than perfect stomach. For your plus size readers, I am sure this dress would be a great find, too. It just works on so many levels!

Wow!  I normally try to edit a bit, but when someone is that excited about a dress that, indeed, is really reasonably priced, you have to share the excitement!  The dress is currently available in black and red at 6pm for $69-$89 (in a broad range of sizes, too).  DKNYC – S/S Dress w/ Pleat Front (Salsa) – Apparel

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
(L-2)

Comments

  1. An entirely looks focused TJ:

    I’m looking for new hair and makeup – 30 this year still wearing my long blonde hair in a bun as waist length is just too much to style fast and pretty much the same story on the makeup front. I’m sorted (ish) on clothes but I’d love to feel sophisticated and s*xy from the neck up.

    Help please?!

    • What is your hair texture like and what is your current makeup routine?

    • Your hair is waist-length? Cut it! You will be a whole new woman.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Really.

      • This. You don’t even have to cut it ALL off. Just cut it to a few inches past your shoulders. Back in the day I too had waist-length hair. A few inches past the shoulders is enough to make a drastic difference but is still feels long.

    • Look for hair tutorials on Joanna Goddard’s blog, A Cup of Jo. She has posted about 10 great updos that would be perfect for someone with long hair like yours.

    • Hair, reasonable condition, loads of it, wavy probably curly ish if it werent so heavy. It’s always been long, when I was military it made it easy – bun and go – but now maybe it’s making me lazy? Problem is I’ve no idea of what cut. I know, I’m a fail on this one. But seriously once every six months I get someone to chop a couple of inches that’s it. So guidance?

      Makeup – foundation, powder, mascarca. Red Lippy occassionally. Eyeliner helps when I do it.

      Hmmm – I may need more help than I realised!

      • Find a hair stylist you can trust and ask their advice. A good one will be able to tell you what will look best with your hair texture and face shape.

      • Research, Not Law :

        I have similar hair! I’ve had my hair everywhere between two inches long to mid-back, straight and curly. There are pros and cons of each length. I’m currently wearing my hair long (to bottom of shoulder blades) with long layers and face framing, either with my natural ‘beach waves’ (or ‘rock star hair,’ as my husband calls it) or with smooth curls from jumbo curlers.

        I think you should start by thinking about how you want to care for your hair. Would you enjoy styling your long hair if you knew how to do some fresh dos? Do you want something wash-and-wear? Do you want to try short style? If you want to keep it long, I agree with others to go to about 3 inches past shoulders. If you want short, then I’d do a little past chin (think nape of your neck). Shorter will give you more curl and be easy to apply some product when wet and let air dry (google ‘curly girl method’), but you can’t put it up on bad hair days. Long takes more work for defined curls, but it gives you more styling flexibility.

        Either way, you need to find a good stylist. The cut is crucial. Saying that you get someone to chop off a couple of inches every six months suggests that you don’t have one yet. They should know how to cut hair like yours to thin it out and give it layers. I’ve found the best way to do that is to start asking people with similar hair (and good haircuts) who they use. I’ve literally asked strangers on the street before.

    • Cornellian :

      I’m going to ride on this… I have just about waist length (maybe a 16 inch long pony tail) dark honey blonde/strawberry/auburn/light brown hair. It’s naturally very straight, relatively fine, but I have a lot of it. I’m going to chop it and donate it at some point, but until then, I’m not sure what to do with it. There is a more senior woman in my office who has even longer hair she wears loose, but I still feel like a long ponytail is not the most professional way to go. I sometimes do French twists (well, if I do say so myself), but I can really only do that once a week because my hair is so heavy! My weekend styles often involve braids, but I don’t think that’s work appropriate, really.

      FWIW, I’m 25 (for a few days!), fair, wear mascara, tinted moisturizer, sometimes gloss.

    • Second all the comments on a good hair-cut. Maybe get a fringe cut in if your hair and face would suit it. Perhaps some highlights or lowlights?

      Re make-up, I would go to a big department store (you said you’re UK-based, so I’d suggest Debenhams or John Lewis) and get a consultation done for some colour recommendations. Start with foundation/tinted moisturiser, a three-shade eyeshadow compact, mascara, blush and a lip-gloss. Powder if you think you need it, but I never use it day-to-day.

    • Cutting off some hairwould make a difference, both in routine and look. (But I have no emotional ties to my hair so deciding to chop it doesn’t scare me). You could donate it if you wanted a bigger than you motiviation.

      I like Sephora and Ulta for playing with lots of makeup and generally being left alone to do so. For a new look, you might want more guidance. I have had nice makeovers at MAC counters as well as Sephora and then you can just buy a few items that you like (say, stuff for the eyes) and they will give you a card that shows you what to put where. I Smashbox and Bobbi Brown both make nice palettes that are great for every day wear and Smashbox has a little sticker on the back and online tutorials that instructs how to get the looks.

  2. I really, really want to find a mentor to guide me professionally. I don’t have any family or friends that I can turn to for advice in the area so I think a mentor would be an enormus help to me. The trouble is, I haven’t met anyone yet that I would like to mentor me. I understand these relationships should grow organically but I haven’t made that type of connect yet and really want to. Any advice on how to seek out potential mentors and develop the relationship? I am looking for mid level females that are savvy and successful in the corporate world.

    • What kind of help are you looking for? Toastmasters can be a good resource. You may want to visit more than one club to find a group that suits you.

      • I am looking for someone who has “climbed the ladder” so to speak, and can offer me some insight and advice on how she did it, what made her successful, pitfalls to avoid, etc.
        I also have a lot of questions about where to take my career and what to consider while managing a career and a family that I’d like someone to be a sounding board for. It would be invaluable to me to learn this from someone who has already been there. I am the first in my family to go to college and have a corporate job so I don’t have anyone to turn to for advice. I really want to move up the ranks in my field but I am not quite sure how to best do that.

        • Think of all the people you admire. Your granny. Boss at work. Awesome woman you heard speaking at a conference. Kick A colleague. Go tell them you think they are amazing and ask for their time. You might not get all the mentoring from one place. So spread your net.

        • What field are you in? It’s perfectly reasonable to find someone whose career you admire, and call them up and ask them for coffee. I think being a “mentor” is kind of scary if they have to commit up front. But it’s ok to tell them that you’re in search of some career guidance, and would love to pick their brain.

    • Go to networking events, talk to people. And if you find someone who would work, ask if they would e willing to have coffee with you, to talk about their career. If you hit it off, you can grow it into a full mentoring relationship.

      Or join a local organization that provides mentoring as part of its structure (AIPLA, ABA, etc.) and find someone through that.

  3. Senior Attorney :

    Is there a Rotary club in your area? Lots of savvy and successful types there, although many clubs skew older than you may be looking for.

  4. Heeeey everyone. I put this question out there last week, but wanted to ask it again just in case.

    Is anyone else attending the Farm Bureau Legal Execs Conference in Biloxi, MS, this weekend/early next week? If so, let me know! I will be there and won’t know anyone else since I am the only lawyer at my company.

  5. newassociate :

    Someone please give me a virtual hug and tell me it will be okay. I covered a hearing on a mundane matter this morning but at the very end opposing counsel threw in a request to take our MSJ off calendar. I froze like a deer in the headlights, stumbled and stammered and my mind just could not form an argument as to why they shouldn’t do that. The judge, after giving me a funny look, agreed and took it off calendar. I feel like the biggest idiot in the world, my stomach is in knots and I’m dreading reporting back to my boss. Someone tell me it will be okay and that rookies make mistakes? Please?

    • Rookies make mistakes. It happens. Your boss was a rookie once and probably made more mistakes than he/she would prefer you to know.

      That being said – can you just re-notice the MSJ for a later date?

      • Ditto. In my first year in practice I screwed up some deadline that resulted in our case being dismissed, and I was despondent. The really great partner I worked for first made me take a breath, and then had me file whatever motion was needed to get the case reopened and back on track. 20+ years later I don’t remember the details, just the calm way the senior attorney responded and helped me through it. JessC is right, everyone makes mistakes and you’ll fix this one and move on. (Maybe we need a new abbreviation — JFIAMO, for just fix it and move on.)

    • Our office is usually pretty cooperative about changing hearing dates to accomodate opposing counsel’s schedules, was it something like that? Anyway, it shouldn’t be a big deal, just tell your boss they made the request and the judge granted it, and you’ll get a new hearing date.

    • There is nothing you (we) can do that cannot be un-done. We all make mistakes, and your boss will know that. Report back to your boss, but try to think of a solution so that you can say “This happened; the judge seemed persuaded because (counsel’s arg). Would it be appropriate to (whatever – file a motion, call opposing counsel, whatever makes sense) to get it back on the calendar? Is there anything I can be doing?”. Presenting a problem/error with a possible solution, even if not the “right” one, shows you care and refocuses the discussion on how to fix it, not what you did wrong.

      You’re ok, and will be ok, I promise :).

    • It will be okay. Rookies make mistakes. That sounds exactly like something I would have done (and might still do, given the level of surprise sprung on me). This is what I would say in explanation, if you haven’t already:
      Opposing counsel asked the judge to take our motion for summary judgment off the calendar. I was so surprised that I didn’t have time to respond before the judge granted her request. I will do whatever needs to be done to get it scheduled again as soon as possible. Now I know what to watch for with opposing counsel and I won’t be surprised again.
      Hugs to you. I hate the feeling when I am driving back from court, knowing the I effed something up and will have to explain myself. You are expected to make mistakes. This isn’t an error that cannot be rectified, so don’t beat yourself up about it too much.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you all so much. I made the dreaded march into the boss’s office and explained what happened as best as I could and he was MAD, but more so at the judge than at me. He explained that in the future when oc brings up things that are not on calendar and thus I’m not prepared to argue it to just tell the judge that. Such a simple, eloquent solution! Why couldn’t I have thought of that in the moment! I am really trying hard to focus on the positive- I did a great job in the argument we were supposed to be there for, and the worst case scenario is we do have to renotice it and I learned a very valuable lesson. One more millimeter gained on that learning curve…

      • newassociate :

        Er, previous comment was mine forgot to put the name. (It’s that kind of day!)

      • Former MidLevel :

        You got blindsided–that’s why you didn’t think of it. It is okay–really. And now you know how to handle it in the future. Be glad the boss took the time to teach you–not all of them do.

      • seniorish :

        And now you have a new trick in your bag for the future. You will someday spring a new issue in a case when opposing counsel sent in the new guy . . .

      • You did your best. Of course you didn’t know how to handle it, it was a curveball. The best you can do is JSFAMO. And keep the advice in your pocket for next time.

  6. Man, i love this dress so much and would buy it in both colors if they weren’t totally out of my size.

    • Maddie Ross :

      This! I’m depressed I wasn’t quick enough, as I totally needed some good retail therapy today. And other suggestions ladies?

    • Me too. I’m on the west coast, so by the time I get up, get dressed, and get myself situated at work and ready for a break, most things I like aren’t available in my size anymore. Not sure if it is the power of Kat, or if the item was never available in my size. The 8-16 they have is a broad range, I just don’t fall into that range.

  7. Another Associate :

    Ladies, I need some advice on whether (and how) I can approach a summer intern to gently let her know she is alienating the attorneys in the office.

    I am a mid-level associate at a firm with 40-ish attorneys. The summer intern started 3 weeks ago, and she is acting in a way that gives everyone a negative impression of her.

    For example, I stopped by her office to casually ask how things were going. The Intern said, “oh, I have two projects, but they’re easy because you don’t have to think too much.” Keep in mind these two projects were the bread-and-butter type work our firm does. On two difference occasions, two different senior associates reviewed her work and said, “Partner A suggests you revise this part to read x, y, z.” Both times, the Intern said, “No. That won’t work.” When asked by a partner whether the Intern was interested in legal field M (the partner’s specialty), the Intern said something like, “Yeah, I took a class on it, but it was boring. There’s not much to legal field M that I can’t learn on the job.” Even if she is right on substantive matters, is it appropriate to tell her that she could express herself in a way that is a little less abrasive?

    In addition, the Intern does not seem to want to do anything with the firm outside of work hours. The first day on the job, she declined a social outing (baseball game) with a senior partner. The second week on the job, she said, “do I have to go to lunch with attorneys every day?” She has also declined several other social events, including impromptu cocktail hours and scheduled firm-wide events. This is even after another associate reminded her that she is essentially on a 2-month long interview, both for the firm to assess her and for her to assess the firm.

    The Intern is a bright person, and has prior legal experience, so on paper seems like a good candidate. But her attitude is driving people crazy! Ordinarily, I would keep my mouth shut, but we are in a male-dominated field, and both of her attorney mentors are men, and so might not be comfortable saying anything to her. Should I say something to her? Maybe she doesn’t realize the negative impression her statements and actions are making?

    Thanks for your comments!

    • My fellow summer associate was something like this (though instead of telling people he didn’t want to do their specialty, he would say “oh…this specialty is my passion” no matter what…and it was not a big enough office for that to work.) He also was just an odd duck and did little to suppress his odd-duckishness around the office. He didn’t get an offer.

      I mean, if you want this girl to get an offer or want to help her out (though she sounds fairly intolerable), why not just ask her to coffee. I’d avoid mentioning things that are more personality based (i.e….you’re abrasive) and focus more on things that are work based (you need to take partner suggestions more as commands or senior partner x is very influential here, you should make an effort to get to know him.) That sort of thing.

    • new york associate :

      I think you should intervene. (In my firm, you would need to check with someone on the hiring committee first.) I would start by saying, “Intern, now that you’ve been here for a few weeks, I want to ask you a question: Do you want to work here after you graduate?” If she says no, then don’t bother. If she says yes or maybe, then say, “I ask because your behavior is suggesting that you actually don’t want to work here. I want you to be successful here — you’re bright and your work product is good. But that’s not all it takes to be successful in an office. You also have to do a better job of communicating your interest in this field, and your desire to work here.” Then you can explain that it’s important to convey 1) interest in the firm; 2) receptiveness to criticism; and 3) graciousness. (For example, if the firm organized a cocktail party on your behalf, then SHOW UP.)

      • Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking. It sounds like she has no interest in getting an offer, but…that’s precisely the problem, isn’t it? Find out (preferably in a private lunch or something) if she wants an offer, and if so, I think it would be great of you to tell her that it doesn’t seem that way. Frankly, it couldn’t hurt to remind her that the legal community is smaller than it seems, so even if she doesn’t want an offer with your firm, it would be to her benefit to be making a more positive impression– that of someone who is bright, curious, can learn from others, and is a pleasure to be around. Even if she doesn’t want an offer, the people supervising her now can help or hurt her attempts to do anything else.

        Clearly, you don’t have a responsibility to intervene, but I think it’s really nice of you to want to. It may not go well, but then at least you’ll know you tried to help a sister out, as it were. ;)

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Personally I would say something. I know it’s not an easy thing to do, so I applaud you for stepping up to bat for her when the two other male partners will no. Her behavious is eggregious so she may 1) be totally clueless; or 2) not give a s**t. If it’s the second, you’ll know soon enough and can stop wasting valuable partner time on her. If it’s the first at least you gave her a second chance.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I echo what other commenters have said. Talking to her about this is the kind thing to do. Also, it’s possible that your kindness will not be appreciated. Her lack of social skills might be unknown to her and accidental, or a part of her personality that she is unwilling to change. But as a young up and comer, you will be doing her a great service by pointing it out now.

    • Please intervene. I like the above suggestion of asking her to go get coffee with you and focusing on work stuff and how to interact with partners (i.e. take their suggestions, go to events with them, and don’t belittle their area of practice). If she still doesn’t get it (or obviously just doesn’t care), at least you did your part to help out a young C*****ette and be a good unofficial mentor.

    • seniorish :

      Oh, you all are nicer than I am. My view is that everyone knows these summer positions are like long interviews. She is not doing anything to get hired and she’s a bad fit for your office. Her problems do not seem fixable in the short time frame. Just be happy she’s not a permanent hire.

  8. Just got told that I have earned a promotion based on my work, but I won’t be getting it because I’m going on detail for the next 6 months.

    BLERG

    • And I can’t sit in my office and cry because I have to be on camera in 10 minutes.

    • Oh, I remember when you were posting about whether to apply for a job when you had a detail coming up… I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out perfectly. I hope your detail turns out to be awesome, and I’m sure you’ll look beautiful on camera.

    • Leslie Knope :

      Blerg indeed! What an unhelpful thing to tell someone. I don’t really understand what “on detail” means, but is it possible they’d give you the promotion in six months?

    • oh that stinks!

      they may be able to make your promotion effective date as-of now, even if the pay won’t be adjusted until after your detail. that way you’ll make time-in-grade sooner at the promoted level. (they could also do this in 6 months, to make the effective date retroactive.)

  9. Merabella :

    I am going to use some bonus money to get a Cole Haan bag. Any suggestions? Which is your favorite?

  10. I have a question about bullying coping too. For some reason it never occurred to me to ask for tips here, but I think some people will have pretty good advice!

    I’m going to a family type wedding this weekend and there will be about 15 people that I have known since I was born attending. Two of these people are women who I have serious issues with, one more so than the other. I’ll call them Sarah and Nicole. As a kid, we were the only 3 girls who were the same age and always played together when our families got together every week or so. When we were about 4, Sarah (the one I have serious issues with) and Nicole figured out how to bully people and I was a frequent target. At a summertime picnic when I was 5, Sarah pushed me so hard that I fell and broke my leg. Between 5-12, when I was old enough to opt out, I got good at just ignoring them, playing with other kids, and got really good at socializing with adults. My parents were very proactive in trying to help me and do what they could to fix the situation, but there wasn’t really much they could do. In high school, Sarah became even worse and began to internet bully me, telling me I was a horrible person, didn’t deserve to be alive, was a disappointment to my family, etc. With massive amounts of therapy, I got over this as much as was possible. It’s not really something that I think about, but if anyone (or your kids) have experienced this, it’s not something that totally goes away. Obviously Sarah and I don’t see each other anymore if we can avoid it, and our parents are no longer friends. I see Nicole much more often, as we are in the same area of work, and she is sort of tolerable. I do know that she tried to tell Sarah that what she did was out of line.

    So this weekend is likely the first time I will see Sarah in years. The last time I saw her was at a similar event, where it was like we were 8 again. When I saw her, I smiled and said hi and was very cordial. Later, she called everyone over to where I was sitting with my brother, said everybody’s name except mine and said, “Since we’re all in town, wouldn’t it be fun to all go out to dinner and catch up WITHOUT [my name]?” I didn’t know what to do. My brother just sat there and had no idea what to do. Afterwards, he told me that she only did it because she wanted to see if she could rattle my being cordial and that I couldn’t let it bother me. Obviously, it worked and I still think she’s a horrible person.

    Writing this out I almost feel like this is really embarrassingly dumb, because why am I letting this girl from my childhood impact me so much? I don’t really want to hear that I need to get over it and move on, because I’m reading this and can see that and I have. What happened, especially in high school, was really damaging to my mental health/psyche. Like last time, I will be cordial, cool, collected, and not engage. What I do want to know is how to react when I am baited like that.

    • I would literally not speak to her at the reunion. I mean — this has got to be a big thing right, just spend time around other relatives and avoid her.

      If she comes up to you and pulls sometime like the above (which is so juvenile as to be laughable) I’d just smile, roll my eyes slightly, and say something like “Hmm…hope you have a good time with that.” Or even “wow…time warp. Its just like middle school.”

      As for coping with it, just try to remember that its HER that’s the immature sad person. Try to think of it as though you were outside your own body, if you saw someone acting that way in another situation, you’d pity them and perhaps find them a bit sad. Go in with that attitude and you’ll do better.

      • Merabella :

        This. Ignore her as much as possible. If she pulls this crap again, calling her out on her behavior as being juvenile if it comes to that would be the best approach IMO.

        Are you still in therapy? Maybe your therapist can give you some tips on how to deal with this person since she knows your history.

      • I agree with ignoring her, but I think a much better response to any snide comments from her would be “Go f- yourself.”

        • haha. Well, I was trying to be vaguely polite. But go f- yourself would work too. Or an eyeroll and saying “Sarah — in case my not speaking to you wasn’t clear enough, I don’t want to f*cking deal with you right now.”

          And if she doesn’t stop after that, JSFAMO.

          • I wish I wasn’t too polite to say that. Obviously I’ll be thinking it and I’m pretty sure some others will be to. She’s not worth any of my mental space, so I’m going to stop thinking about it and just see her as the sad pitiful person I think she is. And if she tries anything, for the sake of the bride & groom, I will turn on my heel and JSFAMO but in my head be telling her to f off.

        • This is the correct response. Say it to her as many times as you need to. Seriously, you do not owe this miserable b*tch any courtesies. You owe her nothing, especially if she tries to start any stupid nonsense. Bullies get off on prodding people with little verbal needles, and they think it’s great because most people are too polite to do anything about it.

          When they prod the wrong person (occasionally happens), and thee person responds not with a needle, but a verbal sledgehammer, then they learn to STFU. This is what Sarah needs. If she prods you in any way, tell her off. Harshly. It’s not like you need this b*tch to like you, and she doesn’t like you anyways, so you have nothing to lose.

          But, do go into this prepared.
          1) How many of your friends and family know about her bad deeds to you, past and recent?

          2)Why is she included? Is she special friends with someone in this wedding? Knowing who is deluded about her real nature (or just hasn’t seen it), or who is her ally helps you know the lay of the land.

          3)For those who know about her bad deeds and are sympathetic to you, and who will also be at this wedding, TALK TO THEM.

          Let them know that this is meant to be a nice event for the people getting married, and you want their help in making sure that Sarah doesn’t create any sort of situation that would mar the event. They will be more inclined to put the kibbosh on whatever nonsense.

          Be specific– as to some of the exclusionary (and other tactics) she’s used against you. Sometimes nice people are clueless and don’t understand the game. Explain it to them and if they’re not idiots, they’ll get it and want to help you, if only to help maintain harmony.

          Also, don’t let her be the de facto social leader. Get your allies to not join her, or, even better to say, “no, Sarah, you’re not leading the show. You don’t get to call the shots on where everybody goes afterwards.” If I were there, I’d do that for you. I really hate it when some fussbudget/bully type thinks s/he gets to automatically tell everyone what to do next.

          People are generally pretty passive and complacent, and if someone takes on a bossy pushy role, a critical mass tends to follow until someone says, “Enh. I don’t like that idea.” Then, people feel empowered to NOT FOLLOW HER automatically.

          4) Going to back to Bluejay’s comment. I am in earnest when I say this next thing:

          If she starts crap with you, don’t restrain yourself in telling her off. And don’t let her guilt you into thinking you’re ruining someone’s event. She’s already done that by starting sh!t with you, and like most bullies and psychopaths, is banking on your good manners to prevent you from defending yourself. Don’t appease this Queen Hitlerbee.

        • girl in the stix :

          In the South when we want to say go f**k yourself, we say “Well, Bless your heart!”

    • naijamodel :

      I think that if she baits you, you should stand up to her.

      “wow Sarah, this is a bit sad! Have you not grown up at ALL?”

      “Sarah, nobody is impressed by you acting like you are 3 years old”

      “Sarah, kindly remove yourself from the presence of adults!!!”

      Ok, not the last one obviously :-P
      But seriously, if she comes looking for trouble, engage her and give her what for. Then walk away to someone you really like and begin a normal conversation (even if you are tearing up, lol). I think that this Sarah person sounds awful and public shaming might be the only thing that helps…she will continue to bait you if you don’t fight back.

    • I would avoid her but be cordial if you do run into her and if she pulls that “let’s go to dinner without you” crap, look at her and in front of everyone, say “Really, Sarah? Wow.” with your best raised eyebrow and then just keep staring at her. Everyone else will probably be shocked she said something so rude and will be glad you called her on it.

    • Others have good ideas you could use but in addition I think that -ahead of time- you should ask your brother (and other siblings or parents who you know are going to be there) to be ready to come to your aid if she pulls any of her stunts and/or if you look like you need help. They should have something ready to say or physically come to your aid by getting between you and aggressive Sarah. I don’t want to criticize your parents, but from what you’re saying no one protected you back then but you can ask for help now. Good luck!

      • I actually give my parents a lot of credit for everything they did. For many reasons, I didn’t go into full detail, but I do believe that they did absolutely everything they were capable of doing at all stages, including police intervention with the internet stuff. Without them, there’s no way I would be a sane, balanced, successful, happy person.

        • Bullying, I should have realized you left some things out. But my point is that having allies (even if they are silent) might help you get through the event more easily.

          • Definitely agree. I have already enlisted my brother and I know that he will help if need be.

    • The only thing I can add to what others have already said is that it might help to shift your mindset. I can’t tell to what extent you already have, but you do say/recognize she is a horrible person. Bullying is about power. She can’t have power over you if you don’t let her. What I’m saying is, you need to think of her not only as horrible, but as beneath you. And treat her as such. Like the way teenagers think of annoying younger siblings. If you were a teenage girl with a pesky younger sister who would run around and say awful things about you, you wouldn’t be dreading what she’d do next so much as you’d just roll your eyes and ignore her. Not sure I’m explaining this well, but minimize her. You are better than her in every possible way and don’t let yourself doubt that for a second.

      Was the one childhood incident the only case of physical aggression? If not, she sounds a bit sociopathic.

      • I totally agree with this, KK. Bullying is all about power and I need to let her know she no longer has any over me. I do completely believe that she is a horrid person and beneath me and that I am so much better than she is.

        From what I know it was the only case of aggression. At least it was to me. God knows I stayed 50 feet away from her after that.

    • If you have told other family members about this behavior, then you are not alone in this. I’m assuming the rest of your family is not sociopathic themselves. I assume other aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. know she’s awful. I would focus your attention on staying away from her (for the sake of the bride and groom) and walking the other direction if she attempts to walk toward you.

      But you’re independent and better than her now. There’s nothing she can say that will bring you down. That’s what bullies do – try to make others miserable. It’s not going to happen with you. You are going to have a fabulous time and it will be as though she’s not even there.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but here’s another way to call out the bully :
      Sarah : Let’s go out without Bullying !
      Bullying : I didn’t hear what you just said – can you repeat it ?
      Sarah : I said ‘let’s go out without Bullying’ !!
      Bullying : I still didn’t hear – you want to try again ?

      Many bullies will stop when asked to repeat because they realise how bad they sound. Even persistent ones will stop after a couple of repeats when they realise they are not achieving anything. And this gives time to the audience to absorb what’s been said and step in against the bully, instead of just standing by and shuffling about in embarassment.

    • I’d be tempted to go with “Sarah, is your rudeness caused by some sort of mental illness, or merely feelings of inadaquacy? I’d hate for everyone to be judging you if this is a disability”

      Obviously don’t go there if she has a history of mental illness.

      Following that any nasty comments can be responded to with sincere offers to boost her obviously low self esteem. “Sarah I went to collage with a women who’s a brilliant therapist now – want her name?” “Sarah have you considered charity work” etc

  11. new york associate :

    Sarah sounds like the worst person ever and I think you’d be entirely justified if you decided not to go to the wedding at all based on her presence there. If you want to go, then more power to you. Your brother’s advice — that she wants to rattle you, that she’s trying to reassert her dominance — seems like a good appraisal. I might suggest a “Bless your heart, Sarah, we’re not in seventh grade any more,” followed by an immediate change of subject or change of venue.

  12. Anonymous :

    Dumbest question ever.

    I know nothing about pregnancy and stuff (I never bothered to pay attention) but I’m meeting somebody today for the first time and she’s 6 months pregnant. Can you please throw in some questions to ask her just to break the ice?

    • Don’t assume she wants to talk about being pregnant. Talk to her like you would a regular human being you are meeting for the first time, because pregnant women are regular human beings after all.

    • Just tell her congrats and hope she’s enjoying it. Tell her she looks great (even if she doesn’t).
      If you really want to ask about it, you could ask if they have found out the gender (if she wants to share it, she will) and if she’s having fun shopping for tiny clothes. Those are pretty non-controversial.
      You could ask if they have started thinking of names, but I wouldn’t specifically ask her what the name is, as many people don’t want to share it.
      If it’s not her first, you could bring up that the big sister/brother is probably so excited, or something like that.

      But mostly, just ask her about stuff you would ask her about if she weren’t pregnant – has she taken any great trips lately, has work been busy, where did she get those great shoes, etc.

      I’m pregnant and am getting a little tired of hearing “how are you feeling?” because I’m feeling totally fine. It’s nice that people ask, but it usually comes from people who wouldn’t normally ask me how I’m feeling, so it’s weird and seems ungenuine.

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