TL;DR: How do I to tell a judgemental person with unsubstantiated statements, making it a clear and definitive statement, that she may not move things around in our office?
That person (I'll call her "Alice") isn't business-related but is family-related to my business partner.
"Alice" always criticizes, not directly with words, but rather with small actions.
Background: I run a small business with a founding partner (FP) I've known for years and worked with before. We did everything by ourselves but one thing: we needed legal and business/marketing advice from someone, and my FP's mother-in-law ("Alice") had that name in her professional address book. She introduced us to the person, all went fine, we thanked her. Before we opened, we had all the stuff put in the office, from desks to PC to flowers and paintings, well, everything to have a nice and functional environment/workplace. 6/8 weeks later, we set up a small and friendly Opening Party, inviting family, friends, and some neighbours.
What Alice did (twice! before the opening date, and at the opening party) was moving things around, saying it's much better here, it'll look good here, or you can't have this here!. And so on... No matter why we want and need things organized one way, for customers or ourselves, she'll step in and mess the whole thing up.
What I did:
- say nothing, and put stuff back to its place.
- say nicely (kind of slightly joking tone) "we need it here for [ X ] reason, you know...", and put stuff back to its place.
- I didn't know her before my FP suggested he asks her for help once on our behalf.
- We often have customers saying that our office is cute, feels warm and welcoming.
- To me, Alice's one of the most selfish, arrogant and disdainful people I've ever met. Her words and gestures carry the highest level of lack of respect I've seen in one's behaviour. No need to say I avoid her anytime I can, as I believe she's not, as she thinks, the best person in the world, the only one that Earth is worth feeding, with such a good taste, and the only one who knows perfectly how it works and how things should be done.
- This happens at the workplace but is more related to IPS as it's not about customer/staff relationship, which I can handle in a professional manner.
- FP is 100% with me and will let me handle it my way.
- "Alice" works at a place very close to our office. Her daughter (FP's GF) comes to pick him up for lunch, or after work. They find it convenient to meet at our's. GF thinks her mother's the best on earth, nothing wrong with her...
So far, I just talk to my FP and my GF about her, and they both agree: roughly, no comment about such a personality and behaviour...
Alice is irritating, and now, next time she comes around and starts over again, I feel like I won't be able to remain calm and (at the very least) restrain myself from throwing her a pointed/acerbic comment. I even thought about telling her that she's not welcome to visit us anymore. As I don't owe her anything (but respect?), and I don't want to hurt my FP feelings or put him in trouble, I'm looking for a good/better way to handle this irritating situation.