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'Tis the Season for Feasting: How Do You Say "No, Thank You"?
December 13, 2011
So you ate before you left the house. You brought a safe dish for the potluck. You packed an allergy-friendly snack in your pocket or bag. You may have talked to the host ahead of time about the menu ingredients and even arrived a bit early to help and to unobtrusively check out the kitchen for cross contamination. There's one more thing you have to do before party time: Practice saying no.
That’s right. We've all run into food-pushers who just won't take “no” for an answer. At best, the comments you’ll hear are caring, friendly, genuinely curious. At worst, they’re fulsome, manipulative, even intrusive:
“What’s the matter with you? Why didn’t you eat Mary’s cake? It’s divine.”
“Come on. Just one bite can’t hurt.”
“There’s nothing in it that would hurt you.”
“But I made it just for you.”
“I went to so much trouble.”
“I don’t know about you but I couldn’t live without [fill in the blank].”
“Try it. It won’t kill you.”
Practice what you can say. Suggestion: Start with a firm but courteous “No, thank you.” If that doesn't work, a little stronger: “Thanks, still no. It will make me ill.” One good answer to “Come on! It won't kill you” is “Actually, it might. At the very least, it will make me sick for days–maybe a week. It isn't worth it.”
Frankly, I’m all for using every opportunity as a teaching experience. It’s an open door to spreading the word and raising awareness about food sensitivities and food allergies. The more we talk about it, the better it is for everyone.
But what do you think? How do you handle these social situations?