Thursday, February 6, 2014
Scrupulously Polite and Obliquely Dismissive
You know exactly what I mean when I say someone is scrupulously polite and obliquely dismissive. Someone who is professional, but not helpful even though they obviously know something that may help you. A co-worker told me about this phrase and I immediately knew what she meant. I have found this behavior more often in connection with doctors' offices and government agencies which want you out of there space, quickly.
Even I cannot say I am above this behavior. I find when I am shopping I do not want to be sucked into anyone else's' drama. I am very quick to extract myself from anyone who even tries to throw themselves on my mercy in the spice aisle at Shop N' Save or ask me about underwear while I am at Target. And woe be to the hapless woman who dared to ask me how to get out of the store while I was deep in shopping Nirvana at IKEA. I politely told her to follow the arrows and turned back to the amazing knives I was thinking about purchasing for $3.99. Asking me a second time like I was some IKEA guru there for her convenience was a mistake. Her mistake. She was very lucky my mother and Natalie were close by and interceded before I tested one of those knives on her, but I digress.
The next time you hit one of those walls of civil unhelpfulness, remember the phrase, "Scrupulously polite and obliquely dismissive." Also make sure the person isn't a plus-sized, middle-aged, woman swooning over knives at IKEA that curtain of niceness may drop very sharply.