One of my last mornings at my previous job here in NYC, I was confronted with a strange situation, the likes of which I hadn’t witnessed first-hand since probably elementary school. One of the team members brought donuts for the team as a celebratory gesture – it was one of the last works days before Christmas, after all.
I completely agree this was a super nice thing to do, it was her method of distribution where things got really interesting. She walked around offering donuts to specific team members. And the million-dollar question, who did she deem worthy of her tasty treats? The short answer, basically everyone but me. That’s right, she legitimately walked around me to pass out her donuts.
Before you shed a tear for me, you should know a few things:
- I hadn’t eaten real sugar or a carb in 10 months, so I wasn’t going to eat a donut no matter who did or didn’t offer it to me.
- For reasons I still don’t really understand, she and I had a difficult relationship, and I was no more a fan of hers than she apparently was of mine.
- I thought this was kind of hilarious and childish in a way that I hadn’t seen in the work force.
Now mind you, she had no idea that I was leaving and every idea that I had not and would not eat a hot, sugary carb. Based on this (and let’s face it, all that is good and right in the world), I think we can all agree the appropriate exchange in a professional setting would have been something like this:
Her: Would you like a donut?
Me: No, thank you.
Why that isn’t what went down on that bitter cold day in December five floors above Park Avenue, I’ll never know. But what may be equally shocking is that it didn’t hurt my feelings, that I didn’t feel bad about myself because she obviously didn’t even want to be my work acquaintance – or most importantly, that her deeming me unworthy of a simple donut (albeit, a super fancy $5+ NYC donut) did nothing to change whether or not I felt worthy.
Not everyone who crosses your path in life will like you. And while it doesn’t always feel great (and some mornings, may even leave you without breakfast), it doesn’t mean their opinion counts more than yours, or that it even counts at all.
Many years ago, a coworker (shout out to Brooke😊) shared the book The Four Agreements with me. And while I don’t remember everything from the book, there is one sentiment I’ll never forget, “It’s never about you.” How other people act or react toward you says so much more about them than it does about you.
Knowing this on the surface level – and truly knowing it on the level that you don’t let others’ moods impact yours – are two totally different things, I’m well aware. It’s hard, and I don’t know that it ever actually gets easier. I’m human and I want everyone, even the donut diva, to like me on some level. But will I beat myself up, or will the world stop turning if she doesn’t? No, I’ll just have to buy my own donut.