I made a resolution for the New Year that I was going to stop eating sugar and lose ten pounds. Sugar is my great weakness and I know if I cut it out I will stop craving it, lose weight, and feel better.
My problem is a colleague at work. Ever since I shared this information, this person who I thought of as a friend has been bringing in sugary treats. She comes by my desk and shows me the yummy thing of the day – truffles, fresh donuts still warm from the shop, etc. Yesterday it was her grandmother’s pear strudel. She has brought in treats before—that is her thing, homemade cookies and cakes for people’s birthdays—but this is now verging on the ridiculous.
It seems obvious that she is trying to sabotage me. So far I have resisted, but it feels like the more I resist, the harder she tries to tempt me. I am hurt and angry that she is doing this and am starting to avoid her. What is her problem? But more importantly, what to do?
Dear Holding Strong,
For starters, congratulations on your resolution and keeping to it. Sugar is addictive for some people and I know how hard it can be to give up. A true and embarrassing story: I recently hid a candy jar that was on a colleague’s desk that I had to pass several times a day because I had such a hard time resisting. She was not amused. I had to apologize for my infantile behavior.
I cannot tell you what your friend’s problem is, but I can tell you how weirdly common it is for people to want to test those who are making a real effort to change. Perhaps your friend viewed a shared pleasure in treats as a bonding element between you that might be lost now. There is a very good chance it is completely unconscious behavior and she thinks it is all in fun. But, really, the person to ask is your friend.
I suggest you don’t go right at it with “What is your problem?” Instead, start with how important the friendship is to you, tell her how important her support would be, and ask respectfully that she stop trying to tempt you. It is perfectly acceptable for you to request that she bypass you with offers of anything not on your program right now and leave treats in the break room for anyone who wants them. State how you feel without criticizing, and make a clear request for a change in behavior.
Good luck in your quest to be sugar free—you are an inspiration!
About the author
Madeleine Homan Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.
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