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AIBU to think one of my co-workers has a point ?

(94 Posts)
SeptemberFlowers Mon 17-Feb-14 11:22:40

I work in a small team and one of my colleagues smokes, she'll nip out in the morning and have one followed by an afternoon one, however she is always at work early to cover the extra break time.

One colleague said to her this morning "Off for another death stick ? You should try quitting you know, you're doing your health no favours." Smoker colleague has tried a few times but non smoker colleague is always making a comment or two, I feel it's none of our business. She's a grown woman who makes her own choices.

This morning after non smoker colleague said that, smoker snapped back. "How about you stop snacking on all the junk food and crap that you eat ? You are doing you're health no favours you know, I hear Weight Watchers is good." Then she left.

Colleague sat their stunned and quite promptly burst into tears. She is morbidly obese (she tells the whole office this fact so it's not me being unkind).

A small part of me feels actually that smoker has a point, why is it ok for non smoker to make comments but as soon as shoe is on the other foot it's bullying ? (non smoker wants to complain for bullying now)

Over to the MN jury !

DejaVuAllOverAgain Mon 17-Feb-14 11:53:24

I'm on the side of smoker colleague and I'm a non smoker who is obese.

Non smoker colleague has been making snide digs for a while. She cannot complain when smoker colleague finally snaps and replies in kind.

LoisWilkerson1 Mon 17-Feb-14 11:55:09

Both out of order, but I hope the smoker doesn't get into trouble for snapping as she was clearly being bullied and was pushed to it! Stay out of it if you can OP, sound like it's going to get messy!

moobaloo Mon 17-Feb-14 11:55:23

Another one with the smoker! It's her life, her choice, she's an adult etc. what has it got to do with fat colleague if she chooses to smoke or not?

This is where I find one bible bit relevant, something along the lines of not passing judgement on others unless you are perfect yourself

I'd have snapped ages ago!

(Not a smoker or religious)

LoopyDoopyDoo Mon 17-Feb-14 11:57:53


SeptemberFlowers Mon 17-Feb-14 12:06:35

NS looked at me rather shocked and I did say "You did have that coming ..." in a gentle tone as she has been making comments to Smoker for awhile now.

NS does snack on crap food, she'll have McD's for lunch, crisps and various chocolate bars during the day at work so Smoker was accurate there.

NS has flounced out now, amd WW3 has commenced in the office. Smoker came back in and looked sheepish, NS snapped "I'm lodging a complaint with HR" and walked out. Smoker looked at me "I was going to apologise but fuck that."
NS has gone for lunch and S called out as she left "Might I suggest a salad instead of a double quarter pounder meal ?" Then immediately went red and said that was stupid of her but she was just mad.

I'm suddenly finding sorting my inbox very riveting ! grin

SeptemberFlowers Mon 17-Feb-14 12:08:02

Sorry that has been written incorrectly, Smoket came back in from her break looking sheepish but NS flounced out at lunch.

WoTmania Mon 17-Feb-14 12:09:42

hmmm, smoker WNBU (although the comment as NS flounced was ABitU)

MothratheMighty Mon 17-Feb-14 12:10:02

So, if the Fat Lady Sings, will you stand up for your workmate and say that there has been continuous comments that woud her up over a period of time, and that it was not an attack but a riposte? A defence?
Or will you duck out of the line of fire and say nothing?

moggle Mon 17-Feb-14 12:11:50

Oh dear! I agree it sounds like tit for tat. Maybe you should write down what happened while you remember it in case you get asked as the eyewitness! It is a bit unfair that smokers have to put up with these kind of comments whereas comments about other aspects of health are more taboo.

Used to work in health research for nearly a decade and from everything I've read, eating that kind of junk every day is probably going to be worse than low level smoking (from your OP, sounds like smoker maybe gets through 5 a day so not exactly a big habit). Agree they should both give up their bad habits though!

YouStayClassySanDiego Mon 17-Feb-14 12:13:00

Do you think NS will actually lodge a complaint?

NS is playing the victim, I hope HR laugh her out of the office.

MothratheMighty Mon 17-Feb-14 12:13:08


My DS walked out of his volunteer job last week after being needled and needled and sniped at by one of the other, older, female volunteers.
His manager ran down the street after him to apologise for not being more proactive and stopping the shit before it blew up.
DS went back, his solution is to not speak to the woman, or make eye contact, or hear her. She's won herself a ninja suit.

wowfudge Mon 17-Feb-14 12:15:41

Both as bad as each other; can't say that I blame Smoker for snapping initially. Your obese colleague needs to think how she made smoker feel, once she has stopped feeling sorry for herself. She's proved the point hasn't she - she got upset when someone passed comment on her in a very personal way and didn't like it so why would she think it was different when she did the same?

It would be better if they could apologise to each other and move on.

Topaz25 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:15:53

I'm a non smoker but I would never make obnoxious comments like that. Your non smoking colleague shouldn't make personal comments if she can't take them. It sounds like your smoking colleague has tried to resolve this before without success so decided to be more direct and point out non smoking colleague isn't perfect. One comment isn't bullying, bullying is repeatedly picking on someone like non smoking colleague did. I hope your manager can see that if she makes a complaint but I would stay out of it if possible.

Xfirefly Mon 17-Feb-14 12:21:52

she had it coming IMO. She obviously can't take it so she shouldn't dish it. do you think she'll actually lodge a complaint? or is she threatening it out of embarrassment?

Xfirefly Mon 17-Feb-14 12:22:42

sorry kind of x posted with stayclassy blush

WorraLiberty Mon 17-Feb-14 12:25:44

It serves NS right. Perhaps she'll learn to keep her comments to herself in future.

As an aside, why do so many people snack in offices?

I've only ever worked in public facing roles and can't imagine spending a whole working day eating.

Fair enough on a tea or lunch break but I'm surprised it's allowed at any other time.

helenthemadex Mon 17-Feb-14 12:29:23

oh dear that sounds a fun place to be at the moment!! NS was BVU and I say that as a non smoker, you make a comment you open yourself up for getting one back

SeptemberFlowers Mon 17-Feb-14 12:30:09

Mothrathemighty I can hardly see what I will do should she make a complaint is anything to do with this thread. If something gets asked then I'll deal with it.

MothratheMighty Mon 17-Feb-14 12:32:58

You seem to work in an office where snippy comments and undermining each other is unremarkable. I was wondering if you wanted that to change.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 17-Feb-14 12:34:55

I think they both sound as bad as each other and it makes for a horrible work atmosphere. As much as I disagree with how non smoking woman handled things smoking colleague does not have moral high ground now. There are a million better ways she couldve handled this. There are many work environments that do not allow smoking at all. How would she manage if your company made that change?

ivykaty44 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:39:19

So is anyone going to point out to NS that if she lodges a complaint she will in fact be scoring an own goal as smoker will contract with far more ammunition than todays one comment and the NS could find herself in far more trouble for consistent daily abuse

Seff Mon 17-Feb-14 12:40:57

Two comments in retaliation to the other woman who is "always making a comment or two" does not make them as bad as each other.

If it's being called bullying, there's only one bully there.

BabyMummy29 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:41:45

Sounds like a classic case of someone who likes to dish out "advice" but can't take it when others retaliate.

In my opinion the NS got what she deserved. In no way do I condone smoking, but I expect the smoker had just had enough and snapped back where it hurt.

I don't see that the NS has any grounds to complain.

DorisAllTheDay Mon 17-Feb-14 12:45:05

I have some sympathy with the smoker, but she's put herself in the wrong both with her original comment and certainly the follow-up. If the comments were getting to her (and I can see why they would) then she should have done the adult thing much earlier, and asked the colleague, calmly and reasonably, to stop making them. A simple 'Please would you stop commenting on my smoking' should have done the trick - and if it hadn't, an escalation of the request, 'I've asked you not to comment on my smoking: if you continue to do so, I'll have to take things further'. But by descending to tit-for-tat she's done herself no favours.

Sounds to me as though they both need their heads knocking together. They've been childish and unreasonable, and now it's having an adverse effect on everyone in the office. I hope that by the afternoon they've calmed down enough to see reason, apologise to each other and move on, with lessons learned all round. I would keep out of it as far as you can, OP, and not be seen to side with either of them. And yes, a good idea to write it down in case NS decides to make a formal complaint. I hope she won't, though, because it will just escalate what should be a storm in a teacup.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 17-Feb-14 12:47:02

That's not bullying, that's playground namecalling. If smoker felt she was being bullied she should have reported, instead of being as bad as non smoker. It just makes everyone feel crap. But as an aside, was your manager aware of this. Why didn't he or she deal with it?

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