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Redditor Balks After Coworker Shames Them For Eating Tuna Salad In Their Own Private Office

someone eating tuna salad at desk
AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

People have all sorts of sensitivies.

Light, sound, even certain smells or textures can be very difficult for some people to tolerate.

So what happens when some else decides to make their sensitivities your concern?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) throwaway29383820 when he came to the  “Am I the A**hole” (AITA)  subReddit for judgment.

OP asked:

AITA for eating tuna salad at work?

OP got right to the problem.

“I have recently started a higher protein and IBS sensitive diet, so I have had to make a lot of changes with my lifestyle.”

“I’ve turned to fish as a main source of food, and canned tuna is one thing I enjoy a lot.”

“I have started taking tuna salad to work with me every so often. When I take it to work I prepare it beforehand, so I’m not opening the can at work or anything, just eating it out of Tupperware.”

“One of the newer employees at my work confronted me recently for bringing the tuna salad to work because she can smell it when she enters my office apparently.”

“To be clear the smell doesn’t waft into the public spaces, but when she’s dropping off papers or telling me something she can smell it.”

“I explained to her my diet changed and apologized for the smell but told her I wouldn’t be changing my diet again right now as my stomach has a hard time adjusting to new food routines and this one has finally started working.”

“She got pretty upset and told me that it was common office sense not to bring fish.”

“I thought that that rule was always about microwaving seafood, not just bringing tuna salad which i feel like is a pretty common lunch food.”

“I feel bad that she doesn’t like the smell but I really just need to keep with my routine.”

OP was left to wonder,


Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: NTA

Judgments were predominantly positive.

“NTA, tuna salad is a common lunch and sometimes food has smells, that’s just how it is. As long as you are being reasonable (sounds like you are) then there shouldn’t be an issue here.” ~ Free-Release-


“Plus OP is eating it in her personal office, not even in a common area.”

“People need to accept that many foods have smells and unless it’s an atrocious smell that fills the common areas, you have a right to have at it.” ~ JustKindaHappenedxx

Microwaves – the real villain.

“What does it for me is that it’s tuna salad, and not something microwaved.”

“Everybody knows it is awful when somebody microwaves fish, but cold tuna?”

“Totally fine. Cold tuna in OP’s office? That coworker needs to buzz off.” ~ Krayt88

“Definitely NTA.”

“We had an AH who microwaved fish in our office and didn’t know why everyone was mad at her.”

“Then one day the entire office got middle eastern food which smelled very garlicky and then complained the entire day.”

“Then she went around and sprayed room spray in every office, including in one lady’s office who had severe asthma” ~ goobage

Back in the day when I was working as an administrative assistant my boss once microwaved fish with broccoli every day for A WEEK. I never even saw his food, but I could smell it. ~ shesaidgoodbye

Some had words for the co-worker.


“She is an immature brat!”

“Tell her to put on her big girl panties and STFU.”

“Everyone has a right to eat their tuna salad in peace!!”

“Sounds like she is a narcissist and needs your tuna salad to revolve around her comfort 😂!”

“I had a coworker like this.”

“I received a dozen long stem roses delivered at work.”

“We shared an area in a large office approx 10′ from each other, it was open concept, so no walls or doors.”

“As soon as I set them down, she spins her chair around and says, ‘I’m allergic to roses.'”

“I looked her dead in the eye and said, ‘Looks like you’re going to need to take an allergy pill’. 🤣”

“They were there all day and guess what, she never had an allergic reaction to them! Some people are so nasty and miserable they try and squash your light.”

“Don’t let them!” ~ Tambiefreeasf

“NTA – the fish thing is a microwave fish that’s usually frowned upon.”

“She’s just dropping off stuff? She can deal with the smell.” ~ Ok_Job_9417

This handy list.

“On a scale of zero (glass of water) to 10 (microwaving fish), a prepared tuna salad is around a 3 or 4 on the smelly food list.”


“‘She got pretty upset and told me that it was common office sense not to bring fish”‘

“She’s wrong.”

“This is an already prepared tuna salad. This is her problem to solve.” ~ KronkLaSworda

Some tried to see the other side.

“In my opinion, tunas a ten on the bad smell scale and I’d be cranky pants. Especially because it makes me (edit: heachachy) and nauseous.”

“And gives me panic attacks. It’s an actual documented psychological problem.”

“I hate the smell and the food with the passion of a 1000 firey suns.”

“I say ‘im sorry. I can’t be here.’ and leave until the smell is gone.”

“And I’m sensitive to it, so it’s probably a couple of hours. And if they’re bringing it for lunch every day, that’s me peacing out for 3ish hours every day.”

“It’s such a problem that if it’s been eaten in a kitchen, I then can’t use the other utensils or plates or cups because the sponge washed the tuna bowl, then washed those, and they’ve all been contaminated.”

“I can’t speak to the person who ate tuna because they’ve got tuna breath.”

“It’s a real problem.

I have a therapist and psychiatrist.”

“But it’s still a problem.”

“I’m just saying, OP probably isn’t my level of bad, but people like me exist.”

“Tuna has a problem, and it exists on a scale. It’s not NORMAL.” ~ biddily

“Agree with you.”

“Growing up, I couldn’t eat inside the giant cafeteria of my high school because the smell of tuna was so nauseating.”

“I usually ate at tables outside. Decades later, it still gives me an instant migraine. Truly one of the most revolting smells of the food world.” ~ jaskmackey

“Tuna (in a sandwich, salad, etc,) and hard-boiled eggs stink.”

“They’re definitely a 7-10 for people with a normal to good sense of smell. Maybe if you like to eat it, it doesn’t stink to you, but to others, it does.”

“OP YTA (or ESH).”

“Tuna is a popular ingredient, so many will say that you’re not because then they would have to acknowledge that they also may be AHs, but it’s stinky.”

“Set out a small stand and bin where she can turn in papers without having to enter a smelly office.” ~ afrodasiac


“It’s common courtesy to not bring strong-smelling foods into the workplace.”

“I’d personally be embarrassed as all hell if someone told me my lunch was overwhelming their nose.” ~ reprobat3

“Soft YTA -“

Strong-smelling foods in an enclosed office that others have to enter is usually just as frowned upon.”

“You’re in a difficult spot.”

“I don’t think I’d change the food, but can you eat it in a different location? Eating outside is good, or if there is a well-ventilated common space, that could also work.”

“If not, then try to get your shared work taken care of in the morning so she doesn’t/others don’t have to enter your office in the afternoon.”

“In the end, this is a health issue for you. But being considerate of the sensitivities of others is also good and will make everything go better” ~ TKDavis07

“I’m going with a mild YTA.”

“Strong-smelling foods are indeed taboo in offices, regardless if it’s microwaved.”

“You all have to share an office space together. Why not make it as pleasant as possible for your co-workers who are forced to be there?”

“I know you said you have your own private office, but if people have to come in constantly to talk or drop stuff off and they are bothered to the point of mentioning it to you, why continue doing it if you know it makes you seem inconsiderate?”

“A small compromise would be eating in the lunch room, your car, or out at a picnic table or something.”

“I know I would never want to be known as the ‘smelly tuna girl’ in the office.” ~ oceanco1122

Personal space.

“Are you eating it in your own private office with the door closed?”

“This wasn’t clear to me. If not, please do that.”

“The smell of fish can be extremely pungent and disgusting to some people.”

“That’s why there’s a rule about microwaving particular foods. It distributes the smell to a large common area.”

“If you’re eating it (or opening it) in an area where others have to be, like a shared office, a lunch area, or a hallway: you’re the a**hole.”

“If you shut your office door and there’s no one else in the room: not the a**hole.” ~ GingerWillow


“Especially if you’re eating in your office and she’s b*tching about the smell when she comes into YOUR space.”

“Don’t cave to her.” ~ lindieface

There is a balancing act between the need for personal space and the need to make other people comfortable.

Finding that balance can be challenging, but can lead to happier lives for everyone involved.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.