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JUDI_CUTIE's Photo JUDI_CUTIE Posts: 7,949
3/6/10 6:55 P

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Very true. It is a bad situation and she shouldn't make it worse. I hate hearing that people can be like this!

Sparkfully Yours, Judi

Dear Spark Friends, I may not always write back about everything each person posts, but I am really interested in you! If you ever need me, send me a Spark Mail and I will always answer!


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CINDILP's Photo CINDILP SparkPoints: (79,943)
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3/6/10 6:01 P

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Great response. I also agree that this is an issue that would not be helped by taking it to management. I don't see a good outcome by taking it to management. One of the issues is that she has to deal with these people every day. So, she has to pick her battles and think long term in whatever she does to resolve the situation.
Cindi

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ANNANN63's Photo ANNANN63 Posts: 2,241
3/6/10 5:38 P

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I really believe when people you don't really know well comment on what you are eating, they are showing their problems and insecurities. They may or may not be interested in healthy eating; they may just be upset that someone else can eat things they feel they cannot.

I used to be a fairly confrontational person. If someone was rude or insulting on occasion, I would ignore them. If they were rude or insulting often, I would flat tell them that if they have a problem with me that can be solved, I will work with them to solve it, but if they are just venting, they need to stop. I cannot control what someone says about me elsewhere but I do not have to listen to it. After my "conversation" if the remarks were to continue, I would just walk away. I will not stay and listen to someone insult me. If getting away is impossible, I would get a very good set of head phones and use them every time the conversation turned rude.

I actually would avoid taking the issue to management. If folks don't like you now (and being rude and ugly certainly implies they don't like you) turning them in to management will only make it worse. Standing up and refusing to accept unmerited criticism tends to make people respect you and if not, at least you respect yourself.

Annie
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JUDI_CUTIE's Photo JUDI_CUTIE Posts: 7,949
3/5/10 5:53 P

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Good thinking, Cindi. You are probably right that no matter what she says, it could escalate into a pointless argument!

I wish people wouldn't butt into other people's eating! We each need to take care of ourselves.

Sparkfully Yours, Judi

Dear Spark Friends, I may not always write back about everything each person posts, but I am really interested in you! If you ever need me, send me a Spark Mail and I will always answer!


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3/5/10 12:19 P

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I like your response. Sounds like they are jealous. Also, makes me wonder why they really care what another coworker is eating. I guess, my response would be to not spend so much time with them, especially where food is concerned. Sounds like the person in question has a healthy relationship with food and the coworkers don't seem to have a healthy relationship with food. I don't think any response will help. It could just turn into a argument. I think the better response is to focus on work and find others to associate with either at work or outside of work. Truth is I think this issue is just a smoke screen for the real issue they are having with the American worker.

I noticed the location was Switzerland. I have a relative who lives and works in Switzerland. From what I've understood from her is that it is very different in Europe. They aren't in the same place as we are when it comes to men and women in the workplace. To put it simply, from what my relative has described to me, women are kept in their place at work and the glass ceiling is very much present. So, I wonder if some of the same dynamics might be at play in this situation.
Cindi

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JUDI_CUTIE's Photo JUDI_CUTIE Posts: 7,949
3/3/10 5:27 P

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I would take a different approach. I would talk to these people one on one (never all at once) and say to them

I am really very lucky to be thin and healthy, and I know that it must be frustrating to be around someone like me if you are struggling with your weight. I am not trying to rub your face in this, but I also do not think I should need to hide my eating. You are making me uncomfortable and I would like to ask you to stop.

If you want to talk to me about whatever problem you are having with food, if you think there is some way that I can help, and if you speak to me about your own situation, I might be willing to make some changes (like eating some of my snacks where you cannot see me). But I would be doing that as a friendly co-worker to help you, and you would need to first treat me nicely for me to consider doing something to help you.

My eating is not a problem for me. And I would like to stop hearing about it.

Sparkfully Yours, Judi

Dear Spark Friends, I may not always write back about everything each person posts, but I am really interested in you! If you ever need me, send me a Spark Mail and I will always answer!


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CHANLSURFR's Photo CHANLSURFR Posts: 893
3/3/10 12:28 P

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Hey Ladies,

I read Dear Prudence every week in Slate.com and this kinda caught my interest (look at where it's from). Let me know what you think or what advice you'd give this woman.

Geneva, Switzerland: I am a recent college graduate working abroad for a small nonprofit. Most of my coworkers are European women in their 20s or early 30s, and we generally get along pretty well. We eat lunch together every day, and I eat substantially more than they do, since they are all on very strict diets. I don't watch my calories, and I don't think I need to—I am 5'5" and 120 lbs, and I get plenty of exercise by riding my bike to work every day and going hiking on the weekends.

Weight is a very sensitive issue in the office. Every time somebody brings in a snack for the office (like zucchini bread—yum!), the other women instantly start complaining about their diets and having those horrid conversations about how fat they are. I, on the other hand, always happily accept these treats, along with the two men in the office. This wasn't a problem until one woman said, "Look at the cow, she just keeps grazing all day!" Now the whole office comments on my eating, and everyone chalks it up to me being an ignorant American, as though I can't control my food intake! They have also recently started making comments while I eat about how my overconsumption contributes to poverty and famine. It has gotten so uncomfortable that I have tried to eat less, but then I am hungry (and cranky) all afternoon. I have asked them to stop making these comments, but they persist and say that healthy eating is too important to let it slide. I think my eating habits are perfectly healthy, and I don't understand why they care. What should I do?

Emily Yoffe: It sounds as if your office is acting out some geopolitical struggles over the zucchini bread. It would be one thing if the American amongst them was obese, spoke in tongues, and kept a loaded shotgun on her desk—then they could satisfy themselves about their European superiority. But here you are, having the audacity to sate your appetite while remaining thin! You could shrug off an occasional snipe about your ability to have a slice of cake, but a daily badgering about your intake is intolerable. What's next, they blame droughts in Africa on the fact that you shower daily and flush the toilet? Stop being intimidated about your eating. The next time one of them insults you, you need to say firmly, "Gerta, I'm afraid my personal eating habits are irrelevant to our work. Things have escalated to the point where I am being insulted daily, and this is not conducive to a harmonious work atmosphere." Repeat to Veronique, et al. (Alternately, you could joke that their complaints sound like something they should take up with The Hague.) If the harassment persists, you need to address your complaint to the boss.

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