Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman Crosses Line by Scolding Diabetic Co-worker

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have diabetes. I am taking the proper medication for it, and I think it is mostly under control. Occasionally I like to eat sweets, but I try to keep it in check.

Recently, I was out with some co-workers, and when I ordered an ice cream, my colleague chastised me, telling me that it was not good for my health. I was offended. My doctor says that I can have sweets in moderation, which is what I do. But even if I chose to eat the whole ice cream store, it shouldn’t be her business to weigh in on my choices.

How can I get her to understand that she was out of line? It was really awful, especially because she said something in front of other colleagues who don’t even know I am diabetic. -- Crossing the Line

DEAR CROSSING THE LINE: Your co-worker friend knows about your health challenges and was able to speak on it because you shared that information with her. I point this out because you have to be mindful about the people with whom you share your private business. You can speak to her privately and let her know that you believe she has your best interests at heart, but you felt she was out of line telling you what not to eat, especially in front of other people. Remind her that you are an adult and are responsible for your choices. Add that the other co-workers do not know your health concerns, and you do not want them to know. Her outburst represented a breach of confidentiality, as far as you are concerned.

Make it clear that you believe she was looking out for you, but you would appreciate her keeping her comments to herself. Check in with your doctor to be as specific as possible about what you can and cannot eat so that you stay the course.