Negative response for refusing food

Why do some people push food onto other people, then get upset when it’s refused? A co-worker bought me a Cadbury Creme Egg because I talked about getting them in my Easter basket as a child. I’ve been watching my weight, and so I told him thank you, it was very thoughtful of you to remember and think of me, but I don’t want it. He got offended that I won’t take, and now he’s avoiding me. He’s a normally reasonable guy, and I just don’t get it. He gave the egg to another co-worker and made a comment about how she’s happy to take it.

My grandmother does this also. Every time she buys groceries she’ll bring home ice cream or cookies or something unhealthy that’s hard for me to resist. I tell her I love that she thought of me, but please don’t buy me anything anymore, I’ll do my own shopping. Then she’s hurt because I’m not thrilled she bought me something I like.

Would someone please shed light on this behaviour?

It makes most people feel better about indulging if others are too. If everybody else is doing it, they won’t feel bad about having a treat.
With your grandmother, it just sounds like she’d like to buy you stuff, and maybe there is a limited amount of stuff she’s certain you’d like? I think a lot of grandparents associate food with love, too - they NEED to feed you!

Offering food in some cases is like offering a gift, and it’s rude to not accept it. Your co-worker was thinking of you, spotted a Cadbury egg somewhere and remembered what you had said about enjoying them as a child. It was a nice gesture, so it was kind of rude not to take it. I think in a situation like that, it’s ok to say thank you, accept it as if you plan to eat it later, then toss it when the co-worker’s not around. Or give it to a loved one :slight_smile:

I think it is a bit rude not to accept a gift offered by a coworker in the circumstance you describe. It sounds like he was trying to offer a thoughtful and kind gesture, which, as good as your reasons may be, were rejected. I think it would have been nicer to accept the egg, tell him you appreciate the thought, and you’re going to take it home and put it in your very own Easter basket just like when you were a kid… and you don’t need to say that you intend to eat it.

As far as your grandmother, I think there’s a little more latitude for saying things like, “Sorry, Grandma, I love you but you’re making me fat. Buzz off, you old hag!”

I agree that it wasn’t polite to tell him you didn’t want it. I’d have accepted gratefully, by saying something to the effect of, “Oh, thank you so much! That was very thoughtful of you. I’ll bring it home to have as an after-dinner treat.” Then you could bring it home and toss it in the garbage and he’d be no more the wiser.

I do understand where you’re coming from. I’m watching my weight too and have a co-worker who likes to try to feed me candy bars once in a while. Usually I thank her and ask her to share it with me. That way I eat some, but not all of the treat to make her feel good and we spend a nice few moments together.

As for Grandma, yes you can be a little more direct with her. My husband likes to buy me ice cream and such and I’ve had to ask him not to do so.

My mom does this to me all the time - she’ll buy or make me food that has incredible amounts of fat and calories (most of the stuff she makes is with heavy cream), then gets upset when I only eat a little bit. Of course, she always insists that it’s my favorite even when it’s not (I think heavy cream sauces are ok, but they make my stomach hurt later), but that’s another thread altogether. Anyway, I usually just take the cooking out of her hands so I can have more latitude with the menu. That way I don’t feel obliged to eat something that’s going to make me sick later. But, it’s a lot easier to do that with family and friends and far more difficult to handle a one-off situation like that.

In the situation the OP described, I’d have to agree with several other posters who’ve suggested that it would probably have been better to accept it, say thank you, then unload it on someone else who will eat it. In this case, I think it’s truly the thought that counts.

It’s more then refusing a gift to some, it’s not accepting them as a friend. Think of the concept of ‘breaking bread’, it is a gesture of fellowship.

Okay, we’ve been over this in some of the etiquette threads, but it always bears repeating.

Food sharing is one of the oldest rituals of mankind. It served as, quite literally, a peace offering- a symbol of truce. In ancient Greece, Persia, Egypt, Babylon, etc. there were quite a few stories about the virtue of hospitality, often featuring the gods, who traveled the world as beggars, doling out punishment or reward based on the actions of the host.

Pragmatically, it was a very easy way to separate your group from ‘those people.’ Similar tastes and taboos were easy identifiers.

Now, these feelings die hard, and work for many of us on an internal level. Add to that those who grew up in poorer households, where food was a symbol of love and our parent’s ability to provide material goods for us. While I never had a lot of fancy things as a child, I never went hungry.

All that said- you handled this (coworker) situation badly. There was no need to refuse the offer at all- as was said by others, you could have accepted it and not eaten it. If he’d sat there waiting for you to eat it, you could have put him off. As for grandma, see my comments about food=love above.
Also, never discount the co-worker in question’s attempt to engage you romantically by showing you that he was thinking of you. Rebuffing him would have been taken quite personally in that case.

If the situation were reversed, I might be a little hurt, but my co-worker knows I’m watching what I eat. He foisted candy on me yesterday, and he does it whenever I’m in a bad mood because he knows it perks me up - for a while anyway.
I don’t like the idea of wasting a perfectly good (if not divine) Cadbury egg, and I know if I take it, I’ll end up eating it. (It’s chocolate!)
However, I understand that it’s a social bonding thing, and maybe not the best move to give it back.

ETA: He’s not interested romantically.

I also think it was rude not to accept the candy from your coworker. Had I been that coworker (which I would not be, since I am nowhere near that thoughtful), I would have been put off by your reaction (though perhaps not so offended that I would be avoiding you). At a minimum, you could have given it to someone else later, or just stashed it in your desk. (Or, you could have eaten it in the spirit of camaraderie and reminded yourself that its 171.6 calories represent less than a 1/10 of a pound, even if it all went straight to your bottom line.)

Food-sharing has great social significance, as others have noted. Ask my late Italian grandmother. She’d tell you. After forcing you to eat a plate of pasta, a pizza, a cannoli, and a 1/2 pound of nuts.

(On preview, I see that there may be more to the story – continued foisting of candy in spite of statements that you don’t want it (assuming you’ve made such statements) is itself rude.)

Eat the damn egg. He is not asking you to change your life. You hurt his feelings and now he feels rejected. One egg would not have made you fat.

Frankly, I’m surprised at these posters. No way. I am not obligated to accept a foolish gift because somebody got it for me. Especially if it’s something of a medical issue. Also, I don’t lie to people. I’m not asking people not to buy me food because I hate them; it’s because I watch what I eat, plain an simple. I don’t accept gifts of food I don’t want, and I won’t then go off and hand it out to someone else unless I know they want it.

Then you won’t get anymore gifts. And if that is Ok with you, fine, but I think he could have taken the egg and then gotten rid of it. I agree it’s rude to refuse it. It was a nice thought on the coworker’s part.

I also come from a food-oriented culture. I’m sure my mindset comes straight from there. Where i’m from you don’t stop offering after they refuse once, twice, or three times. :eek:

In any case, I’d try to apologize to him for hurting his feelings, maybe offer him a carrot as a peace offering.

I understand exactly what you mean. I handle this by accepting the gift and telling them that I will save it for a special time. I then put it in my freezer and there may come a time when I do want it.

You were as courteous as a refusal can be - but a refusal still feels a little bit like a rejection and is a little hurtful. Some people will get it and understand, you are rejecting the calories, not the gesture, many won’t.

For what it’s worth, I do think it’s obnoxious and childish that he avoided you and made digs at you because you wouldn’t eat a chocolate egg; however, it seems petty to refuse a gift someone got you.

Oh, well. Just my opinion. Anyway, has he gotten over it or is he still acting hurt?

I don’t think you were rude at all. You were very polite and thanked him for thinking of you. As you said, he knows you’re watching your food intake so he would have known that was an inappropriate thing to bring you. You handled it quite well I think. He is the one that is acting like a child.

Take egg, say thank you, say you want to save it for dinner, go home, throw it in the trash or give to someone else, come back the next day and say it was delicious- a bit of subterfuge, yes, but better than hurting someone’s feelings, especially when you see them 40 hours a week.

I’m sort of undecided on this. Yes, it may have come off as rude, but you have every right to control what goes in your body. No has a right to take you off your diet, even if it’s only less than 200 additional calories.

The situation is not beyond repair. Approach the coworker and reiterate how thoughtful you think he was, and that you appreciate it very much, but it’s a temptation that you can’t afford to have.

If that doesn’t work, offer him a blowjob.

That’s just it, though- unless he sat there watching to see if she’d eat it right then, that second, he wasn’t forcing her to put anything into her body, or go off her diet. It could have been taken home, thrown out, given away. If it had been a non-food present, would you have turned it down?

There was a very clear way to save everyone’s dignity in this case- unfortunately, the OP didn’t take it. There is certainly time to make amends and go on as before, but it’s not fair to paint this as the other guy’s problem.

Of course, this is a separate issue than dinner at grandma’s in so far as appropriate reaction.