Mr. Awkward Awkwards Again

I go into the break room, where a “pitch in” (i.e. everybody brought something for everybody to eat) is wrapping up. I didn’t bring anything because it was during a class I was teaching. Furthermore, I brought a bowl of udon noodles. I was actually really looking forward to eating the udon. Granted, it’s just cheap microwave fake stuff but it was a reminder of my year in Japan, and I was genuinely looking forward to it.

One of the participants insists I should “grab a plate, there’s food left.”

“It’s okay, I didn’t bring anything, I’ve got this food here in my hands, I’m fine.”…

“Oh no go on, there’s plenty left.”

“Oh you know, honestly, I already stole a couple of cookies earlier so I’m good…” (I didn’t actually…)

“Oh please, just go on and grab you some plate.”

“You know, I appreciate it but I was actually really looking forward to eating this…”

“Oh no don’t you just eat that microwave food, it’ll keep. Get you some wings!”

I finally said Okay at this point but I think I probably looked angry.*

So was I rude for refusing in the first place or was she rude for insisting?

I should have just taken the offer, right?

*Not just because of this incident, though–I’m already just in a generally shitty mood near to the point of ragequitting everything.

No, people need to learn to stop being pushy jerks. Just because something is free doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worth having. Also, being a good host/ess does not mean mentally strapping somebody down and shoveling food in their mouth.

She should’ve left it after the first push with a “Well if you do end up wanting some grab it soon because it’ll be gone before you know it. Ta!”

I thought the story was going to have a more twisted ending, specifically that you made your noodles, put them down for a second to get something, and turn around to find people eating your udon.

Sometimes you have that craving, even if it is something “simple”.
Some people have boundary problems. A simple “Hey, there is plenty of food left if you would like to have some. Feel free to help yourself.” would have sufficed. And then you would have cooked your noodled, maybe grabbed a cookie afterwards if you were still hungry, the world turned, no one would have been upset.

She was rude for pushing. God, is it so much to ask that people think? I actually plan to talk to my coworker about this…she pushes so hard on food and even tries to pull guilt trips. Its starting to give me a complex about it. I am not on a fancy diet but I do watch what I eat and save my indulgences for my own time.

She was rude. It wasn’t you.

Sometimes people go overboard in trying to include a person. The best way for this is to nod and say “Sure, I’ll grab something once I’m settled in.” Take a plate without putting food on it, eat your udon, and then burp and say that the udon was more filling than you expected but that you look forward to the next potluck.

Once she got past offering to insisting, she crossed the line to rude.

Curious if she was Southern–there seems to be a cultural thing there where it’s expected that you’ll refuse whatever was offered, at which point it will be reoffered, at which point you will accept. Don’t ask me–just know that I always used to get this from my grandparents on one side and it drove me bonkers. I have no problem accepting hospitality the first time it’s offered–or, for that matter, asking for it if I’m in a situation where that’s acceptable (e.g., visiting my grandparents!). So if I say I don’t want something, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the honest truth. Multiple offers will just get on my nerves.

It sounds like she had good intentions, so while I understand that it was somewhat unpleasant to be subjected to her pushy behavior, I think you’re making too big a deal of it. If this is the worst thing that happens to you at work, maybe you are just looking for something to complain about.

Lighten up Francis.

Something like this. NOT that you should have to, the woman in question was being silly and went overboard (not intentionally rude, but still). In these cases, the only thing to do, to prevent yourself from getting super annoyed, is to humor the person who’s being too pushy.

She was overly pushy but, on the grand scale of things to get upset over, someone aggressively offering you free food has to rank pretty low.

You’re right, she was rude. But, on the other hand sometimes by nature of being human beings in a society, man, we have obligations to hold up our own end of social conventions, even if we don’t always feel like it. Or at least be forgiving of those who insist of continuing to extend their end when they don’t pick up on the fact that we don’t want to participate.

Small price to pay for what generally results in smooth and pleasant social interaction with thousands of different people over the course of the year.

You could have just said, “OK. Let me just put this down.” and just walked away, never to return.

A few seconds of assertiveness would have cut her off at the pass.

thank you, i will if i’m still hungry after my noodles.

I know that I have found myself in a similar situation (well, it was a potluck that was planned while I was out of the office that I found out about day of). I agreed to eat when them but ate my own brought lunch, because I felt rude partaking in a potluck that I contributed nothing too.

My coworkers (and I echo the point about southerners, esp. women) were very insistent that I eat some of the food to the point that I found it quite uncomfortable and wished I hadn’t eaten with them. But, honestly, I don’t think they were being rude. I think they genuinely wanted to offer the food and were concerned (correctly) that I would be uncomfortable being a moocher. So I think they were making an effort to come off as genuinely inviting.

I think part of is that there is often too much food at such things. So if you eat some, at least it’s getting consumed.

Probably, “Oh, cool! Thanks! Which is yours? Oh, I love that!” and then do what you were going to do anyway.

But if it was me, I probably would have “owned the awkward”. I might have said something like, “I said no, but you don’t seem to be taking my answer. Are you saying no doesn’t mean no? Is that what you are saying? You think no doesn’t mean no? Ah, good to know, I’ll remember that about you. {long stare}.” That usually gets them running from the room with a distressed look.

I hope you’re mostly joking, or are talking about the case where you truly wish to never have anything to do with the person ever again. Because in other instances (you like this coworker, you just don’t happen to care for the error in judgment they’re making at the moment), this is a good way to turn ONE awkward moment into an awkward relationship with another employee for the remainder of your work history there.