How do you ask your coworkers to stop offering you food?

Food with ColleaguesDear Gwyn,

How do you tell your coworker to stop offering you food? This happens to me every day and my colleague looks offended when I decline. Today she offered me carrot cak. I ate it because I felt bad, but now I feel worse for eating it.

Yowsers!  It is so unfortunate that you have to face this day after day. Although, if I am being completely honest, perhaps you aren’t being clear about your needs and setting firm boundaries.  So, let’s nip this “pushers” habit in the butt and get you back on track temptation free.

Although it is not entirely important to understand your colleague’s exact motivation, it is important to understand that her motivations have nothing to do with you. She may be offering you food because she loves to cook, she may feel insecure about her inability to say “no” to treats and “misery loves company ” or perhaps she social eating equivocates friendship and security. No matter her reasons for wanting to share food, you must set boundaries and feel guilt free.  Here is how:

  1. Let her know that you appreciate her offer.  There is no reason to burn bridges with your colleague.
  2. Take the blame.  Yes, state this as your restriction.  It is your choice for health or other reasons that you don’t want to eat her homemade flan, or best-ever-but-probably-is-chef-boyardee-concoction.
  3. State how is makes you feel.  Feelings are personal, so you can state why you feel you can’t particiapte.
  4. Set boudnaries. Let your colleague know what you will have to do if you can’t find a solution. Afterall this is for your best interest.

Ok, so here is an example of how this works. String it all together and state:

  1. I really appreciate your offer. 
  2. I’m trying to be mindful of what I eat.
  3. When you offer me food everyday it makes me feel bad.
  4. If you continue to offer me food, I won’t be able to come into the teacher’s lounge at work.

More than anything, be honest about your reasons and stick to them!