The summer suddenly came in Germany and like in the past years my coworkers commented something like:

"Ahh, did you bring this beautiful weather with you to work, my sunshine?"

when I entered the building. ( I am not sure if this is weird in english, but in the german language this is a pretty normal phrase, not between coworkers but still.)

Usually I answer something like: "Yes, as always!"

To be clear, I don't think of it as harassment. I am the only female person so I am used to it and I really don't mind the weird "compliments" I sometimes get.

What really bothers me about it, is that I have a strong allergic reaction to sun light. And the summertime is my least favorite time of the year. I have to wear long sleeves all the time. This allergy gets worse, every year. And hearing this every day is kinda exhausting. I am not mad at them, and I don't want to sound stuck up. It is my fault that I reacted so positivly in the past, but I didn't know I would be confornted with it every day.

I don't want to sound rude. I want to make clear that I did not mind in the past, but I rather have it stop. I want to make clear that it is not the "compliment" part that annoys me, but the fact how it reminds me of my allergy.

  • 6
    Would you be happy revealing your medical condition to your coworkers? I'm sure that if they knew about it, they'd stop saying it. Apr 9, 2018 at 9:53
  • 1
    @PhilipKendall I would not really mind, but I don't want to sound pitiful
    – Pudora
    Apr 9, 2018 at 11:03
  • Is it primarily one person who calls you sunshine?
    – Lumberjack
    Apr 9, 2018 at 12:13
  • @Lumberjack Not really, a few of them do, mostly the older ones.
    – Pudora
    Apr 9, 2018 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


Yes, especially for you!

This removes the idea that you're happy with the sun, and gives this blessing to someone else.

Giving someone else a positive response is good for your relationships and doesn't really cost you anything at all. If you raise the issue that you don't particularly like the sunshine, then not much positive can come out of it.

So, deflect the negative, and reflect the positive toward other people.

  • 1
    I like it, but it feel it might be not enough. But it sounds like a good start.
    – Pudora
    Apr 9, 2018 at 12:26
  • 1
    I tried this today first (before the 1 on 1 idea from Lumberjack) just because this is really simple to do. And it worked amazingly. They instantly noticed that my answer was different than usual. I wish I could mark both your answers.
    – Pudora
    Apr 10, 2018 at 7:13
  • 1
    Glad to hear it..! Hopefully making someone else feel better also makes you feel less anxious.
    – user44108
    Apr 10, 2018 at 12:56
  • I really like making others feel good, which was the reason I always reacted positively in the past. So this works great! Thank you!
    – Pudora
    Apr 10, 2018 at 13:02

Have a candid one on one conversation

You mentioned in the comments above that there are only a few people who give you this compliment on a regular basis. With that in mind, I think you should use this as a chance to improve your relationship with each of these people.

Find some time to talk with each of them one on one. Don't address the conversation like you are talking about a problem that you are trying to solve. Don't talk about the compliment at all. Instead, bring up your allergy in casual conversation. You mentioned in the comments that you wouldn't feel uncomfortable sharing, and I think that sharing is the best way forward here.

If you feel comfortable, share some details about your allergy and how it affects your life. Let them know how it makes you feel when you see the bright sunshine in the morning, and how it affects your preparations for the day. Avoid talking about how their compliments remind you of these problems and instead let them know about the problems themselves. Your goal here is to make them understand that sunshine for you isn't a pleasant joyous thing. It is a difficulty and a constant challenge.

From what little we've heard, they sound like kind, friendly people. I think that most of them will adjust their behavior without being asked directly, once they realize how you feel about the sunshine. If the compliments persist, instead of responding as you have in the past, take the moment as an opportunity to share more details about your struggles.

For Example:

"Ahh, did you bring this beautiful weather with you to work, my sunshine?"

"It seems I have. I wish I could enjoy it the way that you do. I'm so sick of wearing these long sleeves, and this rash is driving me nuts!"

But really I don't think this will be necessary. Once people realize what you are going through, they will probably feel mortified that they ever called you Sunshine.

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