Saying No to Food Offers

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The awkwardness of denying food because you can’t eat it.

I feel like pretty much anywhere you go people are always trying to offer you food. You walk into the food court at the mall and they try to hand you food samples. You go to a store like BJ’s or Costco and they always have food samples out ready for you to try. You walk into someone’s house and they offer you anything to eat or drink. You’re at a party surrounded by food and people trying to give you some. But, when you have food allergies, intolerances, sensitivities, dietary restrictions, or any other reason stopping you from enjoying certain foods, you have to awkwardly deny food offers. You get annoyed by the constant hounding of food making it seem like everything is about the food.

I understand why people are always trying to offer food because they are trying to sell you their food and get you to buy it, so they hand out samples, but it gets annoying when you can’t eat the food they are offering and you can get upset about it, reminding yourself that you have food sensitivities. The hard/challenging part is that these people trying to sell you the food don’t know that you have food allergies. They have no idea that you can’t eat the food; they are just trying to sell it. So, now you’re in the awkward position of do you say, “no thanks” and walk away, do you tell them you can’t eat it, or do you just try to ignore them? How many times can you say no to food before you get sad and annoyed?

You can never really avoid food. The best way to avoid food at a party is just kind of walk away from it and just say, “no thanks, I can’t eat it” when people try to offer some to you. But, it’s always there and then it gets hard when they keep offering as they are trying to get rid of it. Then you have to go through the fun of trying to explain your food sensitivities to try to get people to stop bugging you about food. Even when you’re at someone’s house and they try to offer food because that’s common courtesy and the nice thing to do, but gets annoying when they keep looking for something you could possibly eat, to be nice no matter how many times you’ve said no thanks, then you get frustrated as you can’t get away from it. People are always trying to give you food and when you have no dietary restrictions, you can take it and enjoy problem-free and have a good time, but when you have a limited option of food you can actually eat, you hate always being offered food and try to express that you’re fine and don’t need food, but they don’t listen and keep offering.

For some reason, food is always the main topic; it’s always out in the open and being offered to you. Without food sensitivities, I would pretty much always say yes, and enjoy the free food because who wouldn’t want free food? But, I can’t do that anymore with my sensitivities. So, I have to stand there awkwardly and try to avoid food as much as possible, which can be hard to do. I try to tell people that it’s not about the food, it’s about having a good time and being around loved ones, but it’s kinda hard to not think about food when it’s always being offered to you, especially when you’re with family and friends as a guest in their house.

I feel like in order to avoid food offers you have to hold a sign or wear a shirt that says something along the lines of, “have food allergies. Please don’t offer me food.” I feel like even when you tell them you have allergies and express that you’re good and don’t need food, they try even harder to find something you could eat like gluten-free cookies, even though you can eat food with gluten. People just don’t understand unless they are going through the same thing or something similar.

What we need to do is keep spreading awareness and keep telling our stories so people have a better understanding and know what to do. If you don’t know that someone has food allergies and you offer them food and they say, “no thanks. I can’t eat it. I have food allergies.” You are now informed that they have allergies and have to be careful with what they eat so leave them alone and stop bugging them about food. Don’t try to offer them other alternatives and make them even more worried, stressed, and annoyed about food and food offers. Move on to something else and start up a conversation about anything else besides food. Life is not about food. People are there to have a good time. Stop offering food. Let them decide on their own when they want to eat and what they want to eat. Ask once and if they say no, end it there. Be aware, be understanding, don’t make it about food. Have a good time food-free.

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