You never know when you might trigger someone by doing your own thing. But, you can’t be responsible for everyone around you.
Especially if you have dietary restrictions, you can’t eat something just because you might trigger someone.
Redditor thekawaiipisces encountered this very issue with her boss’ daughter. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for triggering a girl’s eating disorder by ordering a salad?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I am part-timing in an IT company that is very close knit. My boss Steven and his wife were always sweet.”
“It was my first month and it was my boss’s ‘birthday week’ so he and wife Melissa were kind enough to include me in this fancy dinner they were taking everyone to. A week prior to the dinner, Melissa added everyone to a group chat and asked whether we had any suggestions on where to eat.”
“I told her that I am fine with anything as long there are vegetarian options available or at least chicken.”
“They brought their daughter Stef (15) to the dinner and she is a sweet little girl. Now Stef was really interested in me and she kept on asking me questions about how I look the way I look. Now I am short(5ft) but can be somewhat deemed as ‘fit’ to today’s generation.”
OP answered all her questions.
“I was transparent with her and told her that I don’t restrict myself to certain foods but rather eat everything in moderation. Plus I have a plant-based diet and home cooked meals so that helps and I also lift weights.”
“Now Melissa overheard our conversation partially. She pulled me aside and told me that Stef was recovering from eating disorder so she encouraged me to be honest with her and not lie to her and not to order anything that screams ‘diet!'”
“When I saw the menu, there were little to no vegetarian options available.”
“It didn’t have anything for me. I was very disappointed and made a comment that ‘oh, wow there are no vegetarian options.'”
“Melissa chimed in and said that eating meat once in a while won’t affect my weight. Now, when I say plant-based diet it’s not that I don’t eat meat but I only eat chicken maybe once a week as a side dish and certain types of fish occasionally but other than that I mostly eat vegetarian dishes.”
“My food habits are not for my ‘weight’ but for my religion/culture. It has nothing to do with my weight.”
OP ordered whatever she wanted.
“When the waiter came in, I was still glued to my menu when all the others had already ordered.”
“Melissa said that ‘oh, she will have the duck too’ and I interrupted and said that ‘no, I will have the garden salad’ (I hate salads but there were no other veg options).”
“Melissa got quiet.”
“After a few mins she told me that I shouldn’t have lied and lead on her daughter if I was going to order a ‘skinny’ salad and starve myself.”
“She said that I am just like those IG influencers who lie to impressionable young girls about their food habits and bodies and I just proved that by ordering a salad after giving her daughter a ‘don’t restrict yourself’ speech and I probably triggered her eating disorder.”
“I tried to explain that I only ordered a salad cuz there was no other option in the menu for me but then she said that I should have just sucked up and eaten the damn duck as it isn’t going to affect my weight. But then again, I corrected that it is a religious thing and not a diet thing.”
“She said that if I eat chicken then obviously I would eat other animals too and I was just putting up an act.”
“It was horrible. She completely tore me down and I immediately left”
OP provided more context.
“My boss tried to calm her down but she got pissed off and started making personal attacks on me on how I am just trying to sleep my way through the job as I don’t look like an engineer. And also how I am obsessed with my looks and weight and is also affecting her child.”
“I am a Hindu and half-Brahmin in that (I didn’t want to mention this but people are curious so that’s the only reason) it is okay to eat chicken and fish here but eating any other animal is frowned upon and eating beef is considered a sin.”
“So it’s not that I stopped eating other meat, I have never eaten anything other than chicken and fish in the first place.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA- they have no right to dictate what you eat, if their daughter gets triggered by someone else eating a salad then that daughter needs more help than she is currently getting. You are not the AH in any way.” ~ Deep_Ad_9889
“Yeah reading the woman trying to force OP to eat duck kinda pissed me off. NTA.”
“Whether it’s medical (so many people have a number of dietary issues ranging from different severity), weight or religious reasons, what someone chooses to eat is NONE of anyone’s business.”
“Like sorry the teen has an eating disorder but OP eating a duck isn’t gonna change that! Especially since she announced there were no vegetarian options, kinda tells the kid it’s not a weight thing in its own… no?” ~ DeviousCheesecake
“If OP has really only eaten some chicken and fish in their entire lifetime, they could really get sick from eating a lot of a new meat in one go. My friend who was strictly vegetarian once was stoned and ate a bunch of chicken for the first time in years and his stomach was not happy about it.” ~ troweled
“After a year of being vegan, I accidentally received a tuna sushi roll in my grocery delivery order (I’d asked for an avocado roll, the shopper messed it up).”
“Not wanting it to go to waste – and remembering how I used to love these before going vegan for my health – I ate it anyway. An hour later there was a rumbling in my colon, and soon I was on the toilet. 30 minutes after that I was on the toilet again, and again…” ~ GozerDestructor
“If someone has an eating disorder and you know it, it’s probably more than a little inconsiderate to take them to eat out in the first place.”
“Sounds like the girl is going to have a lot of food-related issues in the future, too. I was like that: mom tells you you’re fat and need to lose weight, mom takes you to eat out, you try not to order anything or order some little thing, mom screams at you for not ordering food, you eat, mom tells you to eat more, you do, back to square one.” ~ StructuralLinguist2
Many argued OP should contact HR.
“‘No, OP, you are going to order the duck and like it! No salad for you, and nobody believes your food choices are religious and culture based, you are just putting on an act and lying about it…’ to paraphrase the wife of your boss.”
“What. The. Holy. Hell. Good for you for up and leaving.”
“I don’t know what your next step is, though, a visit to HR? This is just so damn bizarre. At least you are only a part time worker… NTA and how dare they put their daughter and her future problems on you.” ~ Servantofbosco
“Should I? Does this situation call for a visit to the HR?”
“This on off-clock and I honestly don’t know. This is my first job (related to my chosen field) and I am worried that this incident is going to reflect badly on me.” ~ thekawaiipisces
“Write yourself a dated file note setting out details of the incident and what happened (just email it to yourself) and then give it a few weeks.”
“Hopefully your boss realizes his wife was crazy and out of line and there are no repercussions for you at work, and if you head straight off the HR immediately you could in fact make things worse by making this ‘a thing’ at work if it doesn’t need to be, he could then resent you for embarrassing him at work about his crazy wife.”
“Instead act normal and professional at work and see how things go, and if you see any sign that your boss is retaliating against you or treating you poorly, then you can consider going to HR with your file note. If he treats you normally, forget about it and just don’t interact with the wife in future.” ~ Alwaysmoredogs
“Small additional remark, as people are interested:”
“Writing incidents in such emails (or gathering them in a document you will send again at each new entry) is very helpful to prove yourself. Indeed, it permits first to express what happened in a detailed and clear way.”
“Second, it proves that you wrote the entries at the time you claim the events happened. While this is not a proof, providing those emails will give a lot more weight to your testimony in court or in front of HR.”
“This is particularly important for the harassment cases, where the accumulation of small things is the key. You want to start a paper trail early.”
“For the same reason, it is important to make a report to the police each time an harasser (hostile neighbor, bad neighborhood kids, crazy MIL…) do something a little illegal, like trespassing or causing light damage. The police will only write things down, but this paper trail will be very helpful if things escalate.” ~ RNBQ4103
OP responded to the comments.
“Edit: I didn’t expect this to blow up but wow. Thank you for all the love and support guys.”
“I truly appreciate the people who gave me legal advice on the issue and how to deal with it without any repercussions and the all kind people who took their time to learn about my culture and also the kind people who stood up for me against trolls who invalidated my feelings and dietary concerns.”
“Thank you for all the awards btw.”
OP should be able to eat whatever she wants. And, hopefully her boss’ daughter can get the help she needs.