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To think when people say that they find adult fussy eaters annoying

(94 Posts)
fussyoldfusspot Tue 19-Aug-14 16:33:42

what they really mean is that they find selfish behaviour annoying?

I've read a few threads started by people who state they find adult fussy eaters annoying however when you actually read the post it's not actually the fussy eating itself they find annoying - it's the behaviour of the fussy eater in question.

For instance I read a thread recently where the OP was getting annoyed at her father who is a fussy eater. He had a very limited diet and would only ever eat out at restaurants that he liked and he always got to choose the restaurant - if they wanted to go somewhere else he would moan and throw a strop until they went to the place he liked. They could only ever cook and eat things he liked in the house and if they didn't then again he would moan until he got his own way. Obviously this poster was getting irritated with this however she seemed to think it was the fussy eating that was the problem and not the fact her father was being selfish and behaving like a brat.

I've seen this in other places, both here and elsewhere, where people would describe fussy eaters they knew who would always get to dictate where everyone ate, what people should cook for them when they eat at someone else's house, commenting on what other people are eating and making "eww!" sounds when someone was eating something they didn't like, etc. They then sum up with how they hate fussy eaters and how they are annoying, etc.

But AIBU to think it's not fussy eating that's the problem in these cases, it's the fact the fussy eater in question is being rude and selfish? And you've somehow connected them together and using them interchangeably and assuming that all fussy eaters are this way?

I'm a fussy eater. I hate it and would love to have a more varied diet however I have sensory issues and there are certain smells and textures that just make me heave. Someone could start eating a banana or baked beans in the next room and they wouldn't need to tell me that's what they're eating - I will know because I will be gagging from the smell of it.

However I would never dream of dictating where everyone can go to eat just because I'm coming too. I let everyone else choose and then try to find something I like on the menu and there always is something I like, even if it's just chips. I do this because I'm not selfish and don't allow other people to deal with my issues.

I would also never comment on food other people are eating and I certainly wouldn't pull faces and go "ewww!" and "how can you eat that?" because that's just rude and I'm not a rude person. I just get on with what I'm eating and let everyone else enjoy their meal too.

I highly doubt that I'm the only fussy eater in the world who doesn't behave like a selfish brat therefore I can only conclude that when people say they find fussy eaters annoying they do actually mean they find the selfish behaviour of some fussy eaters annoying.

Because I don't know why people would find the fact I can't eat a big variety of food to be annoying if I don't inflict it on other people or tell other people what to do.

LadyLuck10 Tue 19-Aug-14 16:40:47

I think you are spot on.

ChocolateButtercups Tue 19-Aug-14 16:44:46

Yanbu, I'm a fussy eater due to sensory issues too but my fussy eating doesn't affect anyone around me.

Andallmyhopeisgone Tue 19-Aug-14 16:47:24

YADNBU, I hate those threads. You're right, they are really about selfish/rude people, not about everyone with eating issues/food phobias/food intolerances. But some people like to tar everyone with the same brush.

SaucyJack Tue 19-Aug-14 16:51:00

Yes and no.

My ex-MIL is a very, very, very fussy eater. TBH I find it a weeny bit pathetic to see a grown woman of 70 making gag noises at the mere sight of gravy. She's never ever once ever even tasted pasta, but she insists she hates it and won't ever try it. I do know it's a real problem for some, but it just seems so childish to me to be perfectly honest.

LadyLuck81 Tue 19-Aug-14 16:51:19

Sounds right. My MIL is 'fussy' on top of a couple of food allergies. Some of her creative recipes to avoid what she doesn't like are amazing and we now cook them at home. She never makes a fuss about restaurants either. In fact she goes out of her way to make everyone at ease and in turn we find it easy to do the same for her.

fussyoldfusspot Tue 19-Aug-14 16:51:45

I think if these people weren't fussy eaters then they would simply find something else to be rude and selfish about.

Their eating habits don't really have much to do with it - they're just selfish people who happen to be fussy eaters.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Aug-14 16:53:59


whois Tue 19-Aug-14 16:56:17

Yeah defo, it's the attention seeking fuss and placing restrictions on other people (no we can't eat there, I don't liiiiiike indian) that is annoying.

I don't actually care if someone doesn't like something, but don't make a song and a dance about it!

Also though, it isn't exactly a pleasure to cook for someone who you know only likes chips or something...

bebebringingup Tue 19-Aug-14 16:57:56

I've got a SIL who decided one day she was a vegan due to ethical reasons and because she 'doesn't trust' our cooking, brings her meals (think muesli in a little plastic bag and little portions of food) with her to our house and makes a big drama about heating it up herself. We can heat up vegan food FFS.

WooWooOwl Tue 19-Aug-14 17:00:18

YANBU. You're right that it's about the behaviour that surrounds the eating rather than the eating itself. Or at least it should be. I have seen posts on here stating that people get annoyed with fussy eaters for no reason other than they are fussy, but it just think those people are small minded and ignorant.

What annoys me is the way people who have problems with food are belittled and made out to be acting, through choice, like spoilt children.

Even calling it fussy eating isn't great tbh, because that implies there's a choice when there really isn't.

I disagree that it never affects other people though. I am someone who is very close to someone else who has problems with food, and it would be impossible for those problems never to affect anyone else because food is such a big part of normal every day life. It does cause restrictions, and I can understand that it will be very hard for some people with these issues not to behave selfishly sometimes, because if you can't at eat certain places then you aren't going to want to go to them to sit there and eat nothing while people who supposedly care about you tuck in.

I'm waffling too much now because it's a complicated thing, but I think people need to open their minds up when it comes to food issues, and try to recognise that it's not fussy, it's unlikely to be selfish unless the person concerned is selfish in other areas of life, and it's not something that anyone would ever choose to have.

Thurlow Tue 19-Aug-14 17:01:34

Yes, I think you are spot on.

I think it really depends on the attitude of the person with the food intolerances or issues. Apologetic (not that they need to apologise), suggesting things, offering to bring their own food (again, not that they need to), that sort of thing - that has been my experience of friends with allergies and intolerances. They really don't want to put someone out if they think it will cause other people problems. Which actually has the reverse effect of people happily putting themselves out to make a gluten-free dinner.

But there are some people who just like to make a fuss of things, or be different, or be the centre of attention, and they've decided on food as their weapon of choice.

Unfortunately it tars everyone with genuine allergies, intolerances or sensory issues with the same brush.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Tue 19-Aug-14 17:08:05

There's certainly a difference between people being a "fussy eater" purely because they are a naturally fussy person and a person who can only eat certain things due to food intolerances, sensory issues etc.

DS1 has sensory issues, but will go anywhere with us or friends to eat. If there is nothing he wants on the menu, he will just have chips or garlic bread or something along those lines & eat more at home later. He doesn't make any fuss about it though & doesn't want anyone changing their plans for him.

DH on the other hand is just a fussy person. Don't get me started on the list of his foodie foibles grin. I'll give you one so you get an idea of the level of fussiness - he will only eat sausages on holiday. The same brand of sausage, bought from the same supermarket chain, cooked by the same person (me), served in the same way. However at home he "doesn't like sausages" but on holiday? "Can we have sausages?" confused. That's just one of many............

ToomuchToonow Tue 19-Aug-14 17:10:11

If you were my friend while I would think you were odd for being fussy I really would appreciate you being so accommodating re restaurants.

But I have to ask, sorry. If you gag when somebody in the next room is having baked beans or a banana what do you do if they are sitting right next to you in a restaurant? I might find that a bit offputting. grin

Iconfuseus Tue 19-Aug-14 17:10:17

I don't mind fussy eaters who just get on with it.

It's the attention seeking ones who make a giant performance out of it and bore on for hours about their preferences who get on my nerves.

FreeSpirit89 Tue 19-Aug-14 17:11:22

I think your rating everyone with the same brush. I suffer with something called emetophobia (a fear of vomit) and I won't eat anything new for fear of it making me sick.

I don't feel selfish or bratty, if I eat something I haven't had before I feel like I'm going to be ill for the rest of the day

Thurlow Tue 19-Aug-14 17:12:22

Santa, I feel your pain, DP can be like that. He's not fussy per se, he'll not really kick up a fuss, but he likes good food with good ingredients. Nothing bad about that - except when we're on holiday with my parents, who think the Morrissons cafe is a decent meal. Which it is for everyone but DP.

I can just see him squirming and trying not say something about the meat quantity of Richmond sausages...

chubbyhez Tue 19-Aug-14 17:18:57

Lots of fussy eaters would happily just get on with it but people take it as a challenge to try and get the fussy eater eating. And people are funny, they see refusal, even polite refusal, of their food as a personal attack.

WooWooOwl Tue 19-Aug-14 17:20:13

That's very true chubbyhez.

Montegomongoose Tue 19-Aug-14 17:24:02

I think a lot of fussy-eating adults simply didn't get enough attention as children.

I know plenty of people with food allergies and intolerances who wouldn't dream of wiffling on dully about their bowels and intestines or making rude comments about the contents of someone else's plate.

Silly sods. I pity them.

chubbyhez Tue 19-Aug-14 17:32:22

Some people just don't like things.

badasahatter Tue 19-Aug-14 17:32:41

My daughter is a 'fussy eater' who has real problems with food mixing. She gags if she has to eat anything new, or anything with a sauce, but she doesn't gag if she sees other people eating such things. Her eating has driven me to the brink in the past. My husband has always been laid back about this issue, but I've always known that her eating habits will one day cause her a problem.

His mantra of 'she'll grow out of it' hasn't transpired, and dd is 13 now. She shows no sign of branching out now. It worries me inordinately.

DD is not a brat. She doesn't inflict her problem on other people. When she goes to town with friends, they usually end up in MacDonalds and that suits DD. If they don't, wherever they go, she can have chips, or salad in pizza places or a muffin in a coffee shop. She is as flexible as she can be, she doesn't like food and doesn't see the need to expand her range.

These threads where adult fussy eaters are branded as spoilt and infantile drive me nuts. The people who say they won't get a partner or that they won't have friends worry me. A part of me thinks they may be right, but another part of me thinks, stuff them. If people can only see that one part of my girl, they're going to miss out on someone who's genuinely funny, infinitely kind and good fun to be with. Her eating doesn't impact on her humour, her intellect or her general willingness to throw herself off tall structures (in school activities, not whilst shopping or generally walking around).

YANBU. You are right. People take the most extreme fussy eater they can think of and then slag off all fussy eaters as being despots who spoil everyone else's fun. The reality is that people with food issues can operate in other areas of their lives more than adequately, just as people with relationship issues can and people with behavioural issues can. A bit of tolerance would be nice to see, but that's not really what you expect from the frothing fringe of Mumsnet.

WooWooOwl Tue 19-Aug-14 17:34:41

But that's the point of the thread Monte.

Plenty of fussy eaters wouldn't go on about their bowels or the contents of someone else's plate. Those are things that people who are rude do. It is irrelevant what they will or won't eat.

Numfardothedanceofshame Tue 19-Aug-14 17:35:48

I have food issues. I can't get people to stop trying to feed me. I avoid restaurants and people that understand just let me get on with it. Other people just can't get past it. They mean well and I am extremely polite about it, I don't want to point out that I don't eat whatever they're offering every single time because they feel bad or in worst case scenario it gets their backs up, so usually say "I'm alright at the moment thank you." They see it as a challenge if I say I'm a fussy eater! It gets more and more uncomfortable.

For what it's worth I'm vegetarian, have fairly extreme facial pain that makes a lot of foods difficult to eat, have stomach issues and have sensory problems with textures and smells. I'm not purposely being difficult! I struggle to sit with people who are eating food with strong smells too.

Numfardothedanceofshame Tue 19-Aug-14 17:38:22

chubbyhez ahahaha you beat me to it!

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