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Woman Claps Back After Colleague Calls Her ‘Princess’ For Washing Her Hands Before She Eats

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Helping greatly in keeping a workplace harmonious is to maintain a good relationship with one’s colleagues.

Even if one’s colleagues aren’t necessarily the type of people whom you would spend any time with outside of work, remaining on good terms with them will keep the work environment happy and productive.

Especially considering that putting yourself at odds with your colleagues has every chance of landing you in hot water.

Something a colleague of Redditor Lemonslothcake found out the hard way, after the original poster (OP) put this colleague in her place following an unappreciated joke.

But concerned she could have handled the situation a bit more diplomatically, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for embarrassing my colleague after she called me a princess?”

The OP shared how the whole situation began when she overheard her colleague suggest she might not be cut out for an impending office outing.

“At my work they allow 1 day a year for volunteering.”

“My manager said that we should do a river clean up or something like that.”

“My colleague pipes up and says “oh i know Kate would enjoy that, but [OP] wouldn’t be keen’.”

“I hear this from my desk, turn around and ask her what does she mean by that and she responds with ‘what? Nothing, it’s just I thought you would be a bit of a princess about it, because of lunch’.”

“What she means by that is I always wash my hands before I eat, and that if the food I have is messy then I will use utensils, so like a few times I’ve ordered chicken wings and used a knife and fork. but let me just say, those bones are clean at the end.”

“She has laughed at me about it before and I’ve told her that I don’t like getting sauce on my hands.”

“This is mainly because it’s the office, I don’t want to make a mess or be a mess.”

‘So I respond ‘so because I like to keep my hands clean at work means that I’m a princess and wouldn’t do what needs to be done?'”

“She starts to look embarrassed, and tells me that I should just drop the topic, but I’ll admit I was a bit annoyed and she hadn’t even apologized.”

“So I say to her ‘you’re saying that even though you are fully aware that up until a few months ago I was a carer for my bed bound nan, and didn’t hesitate to get my hands dirty’.”

“‘So if you don’t want to do river clean up, that’s on you’.”

“I then went to the organizer and suggested a volunteering company that I had used in a previous company.”

Little did this unlucky colleague know that a clap-back from the OP was only the beginning of her problems.

“Apparently my manager had heard the whole interaction and then called my colleague over to talk about her conduct in the workplace.”

‘Nothing serious, just a slap on the hand.”

“The sign up form went up for the river clean up.’

“As I’m signing up, she comes over to me and says the I completely overreacted on something that was a small joke.’

“One other colleague has said that I could have just ignored her.”

“I don’t regret standing up for myself but now I’m wondering if I should have just ignored it or talked to her outside.”

“I should let people know that this colleague has made comments in the past.”

“Including a comment about using my elderly gran as an excuse to be late to work, and also being hostile when I got a promotion and she didn’t.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP had doe absolutely nothing wrong, and was in no way the a**hole for clapping back at her colleague.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s colleague had no one to blame but herself for getting in trouble with management, and should have thought twice before making a joke at the OP’s expense.


“I would have gotten myself in trouble saying she’d feel right at home in a muddy riverbed like a pig in a sty.”-Dangerous-Distance86


“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

“She decided to ‘joke’ around about it publicly you answered publicly and proved to her that she was wrong.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

“The only reason why she is upset with you is because she got called out, and now she won’t bother you because now she knows you ain’t taking any BS and you can stand up for yourself.”

“I bet ten bucks she has done this before and the person she did it to didn’t stand up for themself and she got off scott free.”- Vixen_Us


“She’s mad you embarrassed her instead of her embarrassing you as she intended.”- Impossible_Side4922

“She insulted you.’

“You’re allowed to defend yourself.”

“It’s not like you cursed her out or anything, just stated the facts calmly.”

“You didn’t report her to the manager.”

“Her own conduct was enough that the manager, upon overhearing, thought she deserved a reprimand.”



“Lesson for your co-worker: Don’t make rude remarks about someone unless you’re willing to handle the potential repercussions.”

“You stood up for yourself in a way that wasn’t inappropriate for the workplace, so I see no issue with what you did.”

“Your boss, who you didn’t complain to, was unsettled with the co-worker’s remarks and took her aside for a talk.”

“The boss didn’t take you aside for a ‘slap on the wrist’ because you did not do anything wrong.”

“Your co-worker(s) who say you should have been passive, I don’t agree with because you weren’t being all that aggressive to begin with.”

“Hopefully your workplace experience becomes more pleasant.”

“It isn’t fun when there’s co-worker tension, as those stresses can linger in the mind, making it difficult to relax after clock out.”-j1gglypuffz

“NTA she jumped at the opportunity to passive aggressively criticize you in front of your peers and it appears from your follow up this isn’t the first time.”

“She deserved to be put in her place.”- Reese9951

“Anyone should be washing their hands before eating and I thought it was normal to eat messy foods with a knife and fork in a public setting.”

“I don’t eat food with my hands unless at home, I don’t want to get everything I touch all grubby.”

“If that makes me a princess then fair enough.”

“NTA you didn’t overreact.”- Abundleofjoyx


“Her : (insert insult).”

“People : (don’t react how she wanted them to react).”

“Her : ‘It was just a joke’.”

“We found the Schrodinger Douchette.”


“You put her back into her place where she belongs, and in doing so, you didn’t even use insults.”

“Nothing wrong here.”-Cave_Woman_

“Bullies love to say ‘it was just a joke’ and ‘you’re overreacting’ whenever someone calls them out.”

“Don’t allow them to flip this around on you.”

“You’re NTA.”- Prestigious_Isopod72

“Public indiscretions should be addressed in public.”

“NTA.”- ninja-gecko.


“I’m sorry she’s mad that you WASH UR HANDS BEFORE U EAT????”

“I can’t.”- youwantsomesyrup

Calling you a name about it, publicly shaming your behavior during breaks, which she has repeatedly done.”

‘That’s still no reason to stand up for yourself, according to her and that other colleague?!”

“This was an attack on your person, no matter how much that a**hole tries to sugarcoat it!”


“Tell her that if she’s against retaliation, she shouldn’t have attacked in the first place.”- DynkoFromTheNorth


“People like that only get mad because they never expect for someone to stand up against them.”-Top-Passion-1508


“You didn’t embarrass her.”

“She embarrassed herself.”

“You didn’t say anything rude or expose a ‘quirky’ behavior, like she did.”

“Washing hands isn’t quirky, she’s just gross.”

“You just said she was wrong in her judgment of you.”

“You corrected her publicly for a public statement.”

“Yup, you did absolutely nothing wrong.”-Ok_Yogurtcloset3604

“A bully gets a slap on the hand and everyone agrees, you should have let it slide?”

“I would say, far too many people already did that so she had to face some minor consequences for her words.”


“You could have ignored her.”

“On the other hand, she could have kept her ‘joke’ to herself.”



“She deserves it.”

“She got called out for her behavior by your manager.”

“Never feel like you are in the wrong for standing up for yourself.”- anaisaknits

It’s sad that people still feel the need to take others down in hopes of working their way up.

A tactic that absolutely never succeeds.

If the OP and this colleague are never likely to have a great relationship, one imagines that this colleague will at least think more carefully about her choice of words going forward.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.