Whenever we move somewhere new, we tend to do our best to fit in.
Unfortunately, in work and school situations, that desire doesn’t always benefit us.
One woman discovered this unfortunate truth via the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Storm_Lady was pressured to change her dietary habits because of a pair of disgruntled coworkers.
After hearing their critiques, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if she was out-of-line.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to change the quality of my food because of a jealous coworker?”
The OP carefully prepared food for her long work shifts.
“I transferred cities about half a year ago or so, and in this new site, we work 12-hour shifts (8 am to 8 pm or 8 pm to 8 am).”
“That means that since I have a very high metabolism and I am not a fan of the cafeteria on site, that I pack a breakfast, a lunch, 2 snacks, and a baked good to have with my very very late tea (or 2 dinners, 2 snacks, and a breakfast).”
“Now, I am a huge foodie, have been learning to cook since I was 8, and I took a couple of baking and cooking classes.”
“Since we work in a very tight-knit office, we all have our meals together (4 people), and I usually pack a bit more, since I like sharing food with my teammates.”
But then she received a complaint.
“Fast-forward to yesterday when I got a call from a fellow coworker, one who works my opposite shift (think on nights while I am on days and vice-versa), who also happens to be married to one of my teammates.”
“She was very aggressive from the get-go, demanding that I stop bringing my ‘elaborate’ meals to the office, and that I should just do what everyone else does and get my meals from the cafeteria.”
“I was firm and said that it was not her business what I eat or where I buy my food from.”
“Then she comes out and says that her husband has been complaining non-stop about how she does not make him good food like I do, how she isn’t as put-together as I am, how I am always pleasant and smiling from the start to the finish of my shift while all she does is complain (to be fair, I had very strict parents growing up, and that translated to never stepping foot outside of my bedroom unless I was dressed and ready to face the world).”
“I felt bad for her and told her that these kinds of things should be discussed between her and her husband and that I shouldn’t be involved in them.”
“But I also said that I will not stop bringing meals from home.”
“She hung up on me after calling me a b***h.”
The OP had some thoughts about the call.
“IMO (in my opinion), I think her husband needs a reality check that his wife is not responsible for all his meals. They work the same hours and should share housework.”
“Also, he should stop comparing her to other women.”
“But she also should not be blaming me for living my best life.”
“So Reddit, WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) if I continued bringing better meals than is served in the cafeteria and keep sharing them with my teammates?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were concerned about the gravity of the situation.
“Yikes and yikes again. You need to let your line manager know this happened and document it all.”
“There’s so much to unpack here and the food is almost the least of it.”
“Your colleague shouldn’t be starting fights about anything, it’s unprofessional, but over your food is ridiculous.”
“However, the comments about her husband and his views about your appearance are massive alarm bells to me. I think you potentially have a male colleague who clearly has been spending far too much time thinking about you in a way not appropriate for the workplace.”
“You also have a female colleague who is jealous and is going to attack you rather than tell her husband to pack his own d**n lunch and that oggling his female colleagues and comparing her to them is totally inappropriate in both the professional and marital setting.”
“This has all the hallmarks of blowing up into a problem and you should get ahead of it with your line manager and then potentially HR.” – ACatGod
“No way. NTA. You’re not responsible for the thinking and comparing of her AH husband. And also not for her inconvenience.”
“You’re making your own food, behaving as your normal self, and doing whatever you want to do without troubling any of them. What’s happening between someone else isn’t your fault.”
“Nor are you responsible for their communication issues. They need to resolve their issue and that’s going to happen when they discuss it between themselves sensibly. A third person isn’t going to make changes in their own food habits and nature just to please any of them.”
“Moreover, if the husband is really that much of critic, he’ll find some other reason to complain about her.”
“There’s no sense here. You’re not responsible for any part of it. Keep enjoying your food. Not your problem.”
“And what the stupid wife is expecting here? A third person to change their own lifestyle for her husband’s criticism over her?”
“So when someday her husband will say, ‘XYZ is so pretty and beautiful. You should also maintain yourself,’ what will she do? Will she expect that random person to stop being beautiful and wear rags just so her husband won’t tell her to be prettier? Insane couple.” – StatisticianOwn4949
“NTA. Keep cooking and bringing food you enjoy. Also, contacting HR was good advice.”
“Personally, I would stop feeding the husband. His marriage problems are between him and his wife but he’s using you as cannon fodder in the war with his wife.”
“I would cut my participation in that out, no matter how unintentional it was. You can do what you think is right, you’re going to be judged as wrong in one way or another. This isn’t your circus.” – missveronicaleigh
“Personally, I’d just bring enough food only for yourself because you’re just going to keep inviting drama into your life by continuing what you’re doing.”
“This woman could end up escalating or her husband could start being word given that he’s already comparing you to her… that would just make me incredibly uncomfortable.” – Musiclovinfox
Others urged the OP to contact Human Resources (HR) immediately.
“I hope you don’t wait, even if it’s just to shoot an email with the date, time, and rough transcript of the conversation to your boss, and a note that you’ll discuss it when you see them.”
“There’s a lot of time for your coworker to decide to make a mess of things by claiming intentions, etc.”
“Obviously NTA and none of this is your fault.”
“Your coworker who compared his wife to you to her face is a gigantic a**hole and his wife is a misdirected a**hole who should be telling him that comparison is a thief of joy.” – stefaniey
“Do not wait. Go to HR immediately. If this woman escalates, this will have needed to be reported now, not when something else happens.”
“This person may also be harassing others. HR needs to know now.” – mmmmmarty
“I second the others, go to HR, or if there is no HR, just give your boss the quiet heads up.”
“It might not seem like much to you right now, but your workmate is making you out to be the perfect woman and it’s causing issues. And it’s going to keep causing issues.”
“I was in your position, his fiance made it a huge thing and blamed me. In the end, I left the organization because it was so uncomfortable. Just like your position, it was a small workplace.” – LeafCase9847
“Waiting’s a really bad idea. Studies have shown that the first person to report to HR is the likeliest to be believed.”
“When stuff like this happens, you don’t want to wait for the psycho to go to HR first and lie about it. If you try to tell HR your story later on after additional stuff happens, they’ll wonder if you’re truthful, because it won’t make sense to them that you didn’t say something sooner.” – jmurphy42
A few assured the OP that she was doing nothing wrong.
“No. That couple is poisonous. Ignore them. You’re just being used as leverage in their squabbling.” – GumptheChump
“No. You don’t have to ‘dumb down’ your food because some people in your workplace are jealous.” – stevenpdx66
“I strongly feel it would be the wrong move to change your habits over something like this, tbh (to be honest). Stand your ground, and enjoy your meals. Don’t let other people steal your sunshine.” – Gemembory
The subReddit was absolutely in agreement on the most ridiculous aspect of this situation: the OP should definitely feel free to keep packing the foods that she wants to eat.
But the sub was a little more divided after that regarding what the OP should do next, whether it was to avoid further drama by not sharing food anymore or taking matters all the way to HR.
Either way, the OP will need to stand up for herself in some way, so she can maintain a healthy work environment and so she can keep herself out of what sounds like a pretty toxic marriage.