coworkers say we shouldn’t attend a work party, I feel insulted by my new job, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My coworkers say we shouldn’t attend the work party we were invited to

I am a new youngish admin in a law firm that is extremely hierarchical and old school. My department’s practice group leader (PGL, the head of a certain practice in a firm) is hosting a year-end party for our department at his home, which is out of the way for the administrative staff, though most of the attorneys live on the same block.

I have learned that none of the staff have ever attended any of the PGL’s parties despite annual invites. It seems to be part “we’re not really welcome there” and part “if you want to fit in on the admin team, we don’t socialize with the attorneys.” I had a paralegal angrily tell me that “the party is for attorneys, their wives, and paralegals. Staff doesn’t go.”

I would like to go, but when I express interest, everyone both at work and outside of it firmly insist I should not. On one hand, I am afraid of violating social norms at a new job and am worried that no one will speak to me due to the apparent attitude toward those who don’t bill. On the other, I received an invite same as everyone else, I know I can be quite the schmooze at parties, and think that as the only staff member to attend it might make me stand out as a team player. How do you suggest I proceed? My gut says to attend but I worry I’m being naive.

So he invites the admin staff every year, they never go, and they insist that you shouldn’t go either? That’s an awfully odd practice. But law firms can be very weird and it is possible that attending will cause further weirdness, either with your peers or with the attorneys you support.

Ideally, you’d talk to someone at the firm who has been there a while and whose judgment you respect — your boss? a mentor? the head administrator? — and get their take on this. While it’s ridiculous to issue invitations you’re expected to decline, I wouldn’t just plunge in and attend if people are angrily warning you not to unless you get more information from someone who’s in the know. I mean, yes, it could end up that you impress everyone there with your poise and gumption, but it could also end up backfiring spectacularly. You need to know the insider politics on this one.

2. I feel insulted by my new job

I’ve been at my new job for a month and today they had a potluck and a meeting. They put a sign up in the break room where we could write down what we were going to bring. I thought okay, I will keep it simple and get Hawaiian rolls. Well, to my surprise, someone who didn’t put their name on the list brought cheap ass rolls! I don’t know who did it, nor do I care ! Well, I did care because to me that was the first slap in the face to welcome me aboard! So instead of eating with everyone, I got up and went to work while everyone else ate. I thought it was rude to hang a sign up to bring a potluck and then people just bring what everyone else does. I mean, really! Why even put up a sign?

Then they started with the staff meeting, where I didn’t know what to expect because after all it was my first one. So we are sitting there and the slide says, “Let’s introduce the new people.” My name was first and a woman who started two weeks after me was on there. So he starts off by telling the other woman “welcome to the team, blah blah blah” and skips right over me and says nothing. I’m sitting there thinking I know this jackass didn’t skip right over me, but I sat there with a smile on my face and pretended I wasn’t upset. So he’s about to go to the next slide and someone speaks up and says, “What about Ann?” and he laughs and looks at me and says, “Omg, I didn’t realize you were new!” To me that was another slap in the face! I mean, if you don’t want me working for you, then just say so! So, I’m already mad over someone disrespecting me over bringing rolls which I said I would bring, then he skips right over me like I wasn’t even sitting there when my name was first on the stupid PowerPoint!

In your opinion, what the hell is going on? Was I wrong to walk out of the potluck and go straight to work? I think that makes a statement as far as I was concerned because I’m not going to hang around fake ass people. Now there is a Secret Santa and I’m not doing it! I don’t want any part of it. They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!

You are wildly overreacting, and it’s very likely that you are going to get yourself fired from this job.

3. The head of another company sent a video of himself working out to one of my coworkers

A coworker of mine recently received an unsolicited, creepy video via text message of a person we work with doing a partially-clothed workout. If this were a fellow employee of ours, the path forward would be pretty clear — we have a (mostly) functioning HR department. However, this text was from a colleague from a different company that we work with on a regular basis. And this is not his first offense. Years ago, another coworker of ours received multiple unsolicited workout videos from this person and a senior member of our company stepped in on the coworker’s behalf to tell this person to cut it out.

What do you do in a situation like this? The same senior staff member stepped in again at the coworker’s request, but I think there need to be much more serious consequences for this person. For context, we are in a profession that requires us to be licensed by state boards and we work closely with the legal field. But I’m worried there’s not a lot we can do if this person doesn’t work for our company, and we’re in a small enough field that it will be very hard to cut contact/avoid them in the future. (We are consultants and the person is the head of his own small consulting firm. We sometimes collaborate, but since he’s the head of his firm, there is nobody above him to hold him accountable there.)

That last part makes it tricky! If he didn’t own his firm, your company should contact his company, complain about his behavior, and insist it be dealt with before the companies could work together again.

But since he heads his own firm, is your company willing to stop working with them altogether? Or at least willing to tell him they consider his behavior sexual harassment, won’t allow their employees to be subjected to that, and need assurance from him that it will not happen again if the business relationship is to continue? Really, they should cut him off now — he’s already had one warning previously, and how hard is it not to send unsolicited creepy videos of yourself working out? —  but if they’re not willing to do that, they should at least warn him that that’ll be the consequence next time.

I’d also strongly consider warning others in your field about him. And frankly, if he thinks this behavior is okay, he shouldn’t object to you sharing it with others.

4. How can I put a year-long assignment for a hiring process on my resume?

For the last year I was in the application process as author for a very popular programming-website. I was approached by them, and as this would be a wonderful side job and reputation booster, I of course wanted to be part of it. After I passed the first stages, they asked me to write a test article that should have the same quality as one that would be on the site itself, including the code necessary for that, and if they liked it they would publish t and pay me for it.

What I thought would take maybe 12-20 hours of my time over a month then turned into 12(!) months of feedback, suggestions, and change requests and took considerably more time than my initial estimate (at least 15+ hours each month). In the end, it was rejected.

Now I do not care about this job anymore and am actually happy that grueling application has ended. I’m using the material I created on my own website (which is legally sound, I checked our “agreement”). But how can I add this to my resume? While it was technically part of a job application process, it was on the quality level they have in their regular pieces, and I would like a way to show that I did do indeed work with that website (for one year, unpaid) and created a considerable amount of output for them, even if I wasn’t hired in the end.

You can’t, unfortunately. “I created X material for a website that they ultimately rejected” isn’t resume-worthy, and it risks backfiring because the rejection will imply that the work didn’t meet their normal quality. And you can’t frame this as working “with” them, for the same reasons that interviewing isn’t “working with” a company. (This was basically a really long interview, more or less.)

But for what it’s worth, no assessment process should involve a year of revisions or 180 hours of work (15 hours x 12 months), and while I’m not clear on exactly how that played out, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where that was at all okay for them to do.

5. Explaining to contacts why I’m job searching again after six months

After almost one year of looking, I took a job last summer that seemed like a good fit for my background. I knew that the company was having some issues (struggling to win contracts, low morale, etc.) but I needed the job so I took it. Now six months later, they have informed me that while I am great at a high level (think supervising and creating the overall strategy), they need someone who can do that AND execute the work at a more detailed level. So I’m not what they need right now and I find myself again job hunting. How do I tell contacts who I just approached six months ago to say I finally had a job that I am now looking again? How do I explain only being at the job for six months? I’m embarrassed to say, “Guess what? I’m looking for a job again even though I just told you six months ago that I found a job.”

This happens, and there’s no shame in it! You can frame it as, “I had come on board to do X, but it turned out they really needed someone to do Y. So I’m back on the market and looking for something more in line with my background.”

{ 1,472 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Since I think there will be a ton of responses to #2, let’s consolidate them as replies to this comment so they don’t take over the whole page. (I’m gathering up the existing ones and moving them under it.)

          1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

            Well, the reaction to perceived disrespect did kind of put the “nuts” in doughnuts.

            1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              Is she getting enough “dough” to make staying in this awful, horrible, dehumanizing job even worth it? Who knows what other insults they might “sprinkle” in. My eyes “glaze” over at the thought, but I’m an “old-fashioned” sort. Just “raised” that way.

        1. Jay*

          I am picturing a traumatized witness clutching the lapels of a classic 1950’s era newscaster and sobbing out:
          “There was powdered sugar everywhere!
          Oh the humanity!”
          before dramatically fainting.

          1. Quill*

            I don’t taste powdered sugar as sweet (I also think aspartame is bitter) so I would be disappointed in powdered sugar being everywhere.

              1. My Highnessness*

                It’s SO bitter. It’s foul.

                But I’m still upset about the beignets. What happened to them? Did some ding-dong try to dunk them in weak-ass coffee?

              2. Quill*

                No, apparently it’s a genetic thing, related to your sour receptors?

                (At least, this is what I learned when a former college roommate forced half our floor to do a lick test for her genetics lab…)

                1. it's me*

                  That’s interesting. Before I learned to avoid aspartame, I found it left a gross and lengthy aftertaste.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              I don’t think it’s bitter but I find it a particularly vile and inedible kind of sweet. I’ve never yet encountered a non-sugar kind of sweetener that tasted at all to me like a viable substitute for real sugar.

              1. aebhel*

                Same! I would much rather have whatever it is unsweetened. Aspertame has such an unpleasant flavor to me, I can’t even describe it.

                1. Kat in VA*

                  I am nodding in total agreement. I can instantly taste aspartame whether in a drink or a baked good or what have you.

                  I describe it as “the taste of chemicals” because that’s how it tastes to me…artificial and chemical.

              2. Crooked Bird*

                Preach! Even stevia tastes like crap. “50 times sweeter than sugar” or whatever, I don’t care what it tastes like *statistically*, people. I ended up learning to do without sweeteners, mostly, b/c non-sweet is way better than fake-sweet.

                1. Tax Nerd*

                  I’m with y’all on artificial sweeteners tasting bitter. Stevia is definitely the worst.

                  Give me sugar or honey or unsweetened, thanks.

                2. Shadowbelle*

                  Totally with you on stevia — I can’t stand it. If I want to sweeten coffee or tea without sugar, I add cinnamon.

                3. Medico*

                  Chiming in on the stevia dislike, it’s got a horrible aftertaste to me and I found out the hard way I’m allergic to it.

                4. Lucien Nova*

                  Holy fish. I thought I was alone in the fact stevia leaves a terrible and lingering aftertaste.

                  I can also taste any artificial sweeteners (and they tend to make my mouth and throat burn if by some odd chance I don’t manage to taste them)…it’s terrible. I suspect a mild allergy what with the burning.

          2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

            OT: This was a dramatic incident in a science fiction adventure book I read a long time ago. The colony has a New-Orleans analogue called the Quartier that’s the bohemian, artsy section. Our Hero has a mother from this area and one of the ways he establishes his local credentials is by starting a sugar fight, blowing the powdered sugar off a beignet onto the Love Interest. Pretty soon the air is clouded with powdered sugar. I don’t quite recall if it’s during this first incident or a later one, but the clouds of powdered sugar are highly combustible and explosions aren’t unknown if someone lights a spark. Of course at some point there’s a tragic powdered sugar explosion!

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                I’ve got terrible news for you. You’re going to have to travel down South to get a real one (which you NEED to do ASAP). A restaurant in my area (borderline Northeast/Midwest US) claims to serve them, and I had one when I was there with my family a few months ago, and they were awful. Can you handle a trip to New Orleans, E. Shellstrop?

                1. Sofia Blackthorne*

                  If you’re willing to DIY it, the boxed beignet mix from Cafe du Monde, which is pretty easy to find online, tastes exactly right. The homemade ones didn’t puff up as much as the real thing, but otherwise, follow the directions, bring your own powdered sugar, and enjoy.

                2. Lucy Preston*

                  Beignet shop is less than a mile away. I could just run over there and then email each of you some. Do you want coffee with chicory with them?

                3. The Original K.*

                  My friend and I waited in Cafe Du Monde’s long line to get them and it was so worth it (and not even a hardship, it was a gorgeous day). Worth every minute spent waiting, worth every calorie. Mmmmmmm!

                4. This one here*

                  I live in New Orleans. Yes, the “here” in “This one here” is New Orleans. Beignets on demand, y’all.

                5. WantonSeedStitch*

                  I was a bigger fan of the ones from Cafe Beignet than the ones from Cafe du Monde! They were bigger and had a nicer texture. Oh man, I want more now.

                1. Elenia*

                  Me too! One of my favorite memories was sitting in New Orleans at 2 am, at Cafe Du Monde. It was POURING BUCKETS of rain. BUCKETS AND BUCKETS. We were safely under their awning but outdoors, because it was also very warm, (We went in December and it was like 60-70 every day). we sat there and ate beignets and drank coffee and felt very much in love – at that point we’d been together for 20 years so no small feat. :)
                  New Orleans was one of the few cities that when I left I felt like there was so much more to see and I miss it to this day.
                  Beignet solidarity!

                2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

                  There is a beginet shop a few blocks away from Cafe Du Monde that is way better, behind the cathedral.

                3. That would be a good band name*

                  @ThatGirlfromQuinn’sHouse we went to both and I think I agree. We did Cafe Du Monde in the middle of the night when we happened to spot it without a line and then the next day we tried the one by the cathedral and it was a bit better.

                4. AuroraLight37*

                  One of my best memories of NO is sitting on a bench with my brand-new friend and munching Cafe du Monde beignets before going to dinner (there was no line at 6pm on a Friday night.) So worth it.

                5. Iconic Bloomingdale*

                  I was in New Orleans this past August and had beignets nearly every day from various places – Cafe Beignet, Cafe du Monde, etc. But the best beignets I had by far were from a kiosk in the French Market called Loretta’s Pralines.

                  The beignets were light, flaky and filled with praline cream (you can also get them unfilled or with other fillings like crab and chocolate). Of course they were doused in powdered sugar. Utterly scrumptious.

                6. Iconic Bloomingdale*

                  I’m going back to New Orleans next year to celebrate a milestone birthday…and to get some more of Loretta’s beignets. Lol

                1. mlk*

                  A lot of places say they have sopaipillas but I first had them in New Mexico and I haven’t been able to find the same kind elsewhere. The New Mexican ones are square and actually puffed up so you can pour a little honey into them. Elsewhere they seem to be flat things, no puff and the sweet stuff is all on top. So disappointing. I keep trying though!

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          See, if #2 had brought beignets instead of Hawaiian rolls, none of this would’ve happened. She would’ve received allll the attention, because beignets!

          1. My Highnessness*

            Are you sure she wouldn’t have been offended in some other way? Like, they ate all of my beignets, how dare they?

            No no no I kid. I feel bad for OP, not because I think she was wronged, but because I can’t imagine the lifetime of agony she is in for if every slight hurts her that much.

              1. DrRat*

                My thought exactly. It must take a huge amount of mental and emotional energy to find a “slap in the face” over – rolls? Every single day must be exhausting for this person.

                It’s a good thing I work remote because I know my colleagues and I would turn this into a running joke at potlucks, etc. “Are those ordinary rolls, or are they ROLLS OF DISRESPECT?!?”

              2. Elle Kay*

                I honestly wondered if #2 is a legitimate letter because of this very thing.

                But then I thought… there are times when I’m looking for validation that my unique “tests” are met and maybe the LW is actually very easygoing in tons of other ways but these particular issues are just on their list of things that cause frustration for whatever reason.

                Either way, I imagine it’s tough to get through a work day, though, and I have to offer some sympathy for that at least.

            1. Sirah*

              Tbh, “slight” seems generous to me. Nobody at the office did anything wrong. Technically speaking, a “slight” is a minor offense. No one was being offensive, OP was just finding insults that simply weren’t there, and even if they were, blowing them massively out of proportion.

        3. I edit everything*

          I think it’s hilarious that the first 60+ comments are about beignets…a far better topic of conversation than the LW’s molehill->mountain reaction.

        4. Jennifer Thneed*

          a. You’re brilliant
          b. You’re hilarious
          c. It’s 1:22pm Pacific time and there are 872 replies to just this one comment of yours.
          d. I saw packaged beignets in a grocery store recently and, just, no! Some things are meant to be eaten freshly-prepared and from what I understand, beignets are one of them. (I am sad that I never even heard of beignets before I stopped eating wheat, but I still enjoy watching friends enjoy them.)

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            (and in the time it took me to type that up, it became 888 replies. Are they all about beignets? I think I’ll be reading for awhile…)

          2. AuroraLight37*

            Packaged beignets are the work of the Evil One. Touch them not, for they taste of shame and blahness.

      1. Stephanie*

        LW2, try not to attribute any of this to malice. It’s simply things that happen.

        Hell, if someone thought I’d been there a while I’d take it as a complement. To me it shows I seem competent and others feel like I belong.

        1. Em*

          Exactly. When people say to me “you’ve worked here five years, right?” While I’m under 2.5, I’m flattered they think I have that much experience and skill in my department.

          1. Kiwiii*

            Yes this!! At my last job, I was in a meeting with my boss’s boss at about 6 months — he said something like, “Now that you’ve been here a year or so –” and I was over the moon!

          2. Gaia*

            Exactly. I’m about six months into new job and I have had a few people reference “oh you remember when thing happened in early 2018, right?” Nope. I wasn’t here. To which I usually get “Oh! It seems like you’ve been here forever”

            I don’t see this as an insult. I see it as a reflection of the way I’ve melded into the team, picked up my job, and made an impact. I’m not still the “new person” that has to be handheld and has a million questions. I’m part of the group.

          3. iglwif*

            Yes! When something like this happens to me, like “Hey iglwif, remember when …” and the thing happened like 5 years ago (I’ve been FT at this job for <2 years), that reassures me that yes, I am indeed fitting in as well as I hoped I was :)

          4. The New AO*

            Ditto! I’ve been at New Job 35 days +/-, and they have me doing stuff that should be 6 months down the road. Loving the confidence they have in my abilities that Old Job didn’t appreciate!

          5. designbot*

            Yep, this is a sign that they think you fit in well.
            In OP’s case, I take that as a sign that they’re not paying attention, because they clearly do not fit in well there.

        2. MissM*

          Also since it has been a month, he may have thought you were already introduced at a previous meeting.
          Life gets easier if you extend the benefit of the doubt and some grace to others.

          1. Shocked Pikachu*

            It’s also get easier when you know how to advocate for yourself. Something like this happened to my coworker while back, she just raised her hand and said :” Excuse me, you didn’t introduced me, I am a new company member as well, apologies if you were saving my introduction to the very end as to say grand finale”. Everybody chuckled, the meeting leader said “and of course, last but not the least..Jane from the candy designs” And that was it :)

          2. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yes, I think that is by far the likeliest scenario. The other person he introduced was newer and he thought the LW had already been through that introduction. There is no world in which “I didn’t realize you were new” translates into “I don’t want you to work here!”

            1. KayDeeAye (Kathleen_A)*

              Very well put. OP, let’s just say if he wanted to indicate that he didn’t want you to work for him, this was NOT a good way to do so.

              He just focused on the newer person because she was newer and overlooked you because he thought he’d already done it. It happens. It’s not only not a big deal, it’s not even a medium deal. It’s a teensy-weensy deal.

              I don’t even know what to say about the Hawaiian roll incident. I mean…what? How does somebody forgetting to add something to the sign-up sheet affect anybody else in any way?

              1. ElleEm*

                Yeah, is OP mad that someone brought….worse rolls than them? I’m sure people still ate the Hawaiian rolls! Unless OP didn’t actually end up leaving them out of spite, which it kind of sounds like they might.

                1. Working Mom*

                  It’s highly unlikely that someone saw OP’s name on the potluck list – and out of malice, purposefully brought cheaper rolls than OP as a top secret mission plot to let her know that no one wants her there.

                2. AKchic*

                  Right? And Hawaiian rolls aren’t exactly expensive. I mean, I can get a family pack for under $4 in Alaska. A “cheap ass” family pack of rolls are $2-3 depending on where I go, and taste just fine. So… not really sure how anyone was intending to “slap” the LW in the face when they probably didn’t even look at the sign up sheet or notice the LW’s contribution to it.

                3. Elitist Semicolon*

                  Maybe my workplace is an outlier but if we had two people bring rolls to one of our potlucks, we’d be twice as delighted. Because bread is DELICIOUS.

              2. ChimericalOne*

                There are plenty of folks who wouldn’t care at all about the potluck thing, but there’s plenty of folks who would be a little miffed (NOT PISSED OFF, but miffed) simply because it can make you feel like it made your contribution superfluous. But I agree with Alison that this level of anger is a wild, wild overreaction. And, since OP points out that A. this was an easy option anyway (it’s not like she made them herself) and B. the other person’s food clearly didn’t upstage hers if they were “worse” rolls, this is doubly not something to be upset over.

                1. EPLawyer*

                  I’m quite sure there are plenty of people who forget to sign up, or don’t realize there is a sign up but know there is a potluck so just decide to bring something.

                  OP2, this was NOT a deliberate slight to you. This was someone just not paying attention. As is often stated on here, they weren’t buying rolls AT you. They just brought rolls to the potluck.

                  However, your flouncing off in a huff did get attention. The wrong kind. No one wants to work with someone who gets all huffy over nothing.

                2. Dust Bunny*

                  Also: Regular rolls =/= Hawaiian rolls. I don’t like sweet bread myself, but plenty of people do, so I would bet a lot of people would be glad to have both kinds on hand.

                3. Public Sector Manager*

                  I’m miffed at someone who brings rolls for a potluck! At least bring a pre-made dessert or something with more substance.

                4. Arts Akimbo*

                  This scene from The Office came to mind, Christmas episode season 3 I think:

                  Pam: “I brought brownies.”
                  Angela, angrily: “And I brought cookies!”
                  Pam: …
                  Angela: “Same category!”
                  Pam: “So?”
                  Angela: “So I’m just trying to figure out why you’re trying to sabotage this party!”
                  Pam: “… I brought brownies.”

                  You don’t want to be Angela, OP#2. Adopt Hanlon’s Razor as your philosophy of the office and “never attribute to malice what can instead be attributed to stupidity” (or, more charitably, think cluelessness).

                5. Liane*

                  While I adore Hawaiian rolls*, the biggest package only holds 24, so reasonable to have more than one unless this is a tiny company. Chances are the coworker who also brought rolls (whether they were cheap or sprinkled with edible gold) was thinking “Rolls are easy”–just like OP2 thought! NOT thinking “How dare this unworthy person come to work here! This company is too good for the likes of them! So I will punish their presumption and humiliate them by–bringing cheaper rolls, BWAHAHAHA!”

                  *and would love a chance to try beignets

                6. Deanna Troi*

                  I know this is petty, but I was miffed once when this happened to me. I signed up to bring a homemade pumpkin roll. Someone else also brought in a homemade pumpkin roll (who hadn’t signed up for it), put hers in front of mine on the table, and then hers was eaten and I ended up taking most of mine home. Yes, I was slightly annoyed, but I stayed and enjoyed the party. Now I bring a big container of fancy nuts, so if there are a ton of leftovers (as discussed in a recent post), I put them on the front desk and everyone can enjoy them whenever they want.

                7. Robin*

                  I once brought a chocolate cake I made from scratch to a potluck. Another person brought strawberry cupcakes from a box mix. People raved about her cupcakes and hardly anyone touched my cake. Yes, I was a little miffed, but certainly not pissed. Besides, that left more for me to take home and eat myself :-) Also want to add…there is nothing wrong with boxed mix…I use it most of the time.

                  Clearly I wasn’t too upset, I had completely forgotten the incident until now.

                  Also, as an introvert, I would have been happy if they passed over me in the meeting and would have given the evil eye to anyone who pointed it out.

          3. Mama Bear*

            Agreed. People make mistakes. It is usually not malicious. Having more than one set of rolls at a party isn’t a hill to die on. My guess is that no one understood why the OP didn’t attend.

            There is something called Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. It may benefit the OP to look it up and see if that fits and what can be done to mitigate strong reactions and overblown feelings of rejection.

              1. Sirah*

                I’ve got beignet dysphoria. Other people love them but they’re too sweet to me. I’m working on it, but it’s hard to find a qualified therapist.

                1. DrRat*

                  I have a PhD in Baked Goods but sorry, not accepting any new patients. Although in your case I might prescribe an authentic croissant.

                2. KayDeeAye (Kathleen_A)*

                  There is actually more than one kind of beignet. I learned this from a very nice lady who owned a small breakfast restaurant in New Orleans (it was called Annette’s and it was great, but alas, I think it’s closed now). Hers – she said they were closer to the French variety – were quite a bit different from the famous ones at Cafe Du Monde, but both were delicious. I can’t say that one was less sweet than the other, though.

                  But I agree that the OP’s coworkers were almost certainly thinking (and possibly saying), “Huh, I wonder why OP left?”

              2. Skeeder Jones*

                I think you meant there’s a Danish for everything! I personally enjoy cheese Danishes. I really enjoy Danish research so let me know if you need help with that.

            1. Airy*

              My experience and observation of RSD has been more about feeling crushed and ashamed of oneself – at least in people with ADHD, who tend to have internalised from childhood that they mess up in social situations and annoy everyone around them. Often it feels like there’s a social rulebook everyone else knows so they never blunder into a situation where they don’t belong or say/do something embarrassing impulsively. OP2 seems sure she knows the rules and everyone else is breaking them.

              I think she’s showing a really angry version of the cognitive distortion “mind reading” where she assumes she knows the real reason for everyone else’s actions and it’s sheer rudeness or malice. It’s interesting that she believes everyone shows their disrespect in veiled, indirect ways like forgetting to mention her or… bringing rolls to lunch… when she has no idea who brought the rolls or if they even know her, which they might not as she’s new. Everything is a code to read for the secret, true message that outwardly polite and benevolent people want to humiliate her.

              This is one of those letters that makes you wonder, has OP ever, like, read this website? Observed its vibe at all? Like the woman who wrote to Captain Awkward asking how to convince her generally contented daughter to become a missionary overseas because she knew it was God’s plan for her, or the guy who wrote here that “needless to say” he did something completely screwy in response to a perceived slight.

              Some people go through life never feeling normal and afraid we’re going to make everyone rightfully dislike us with our weirdness or gaucheness, and then there are people with this iron-clad certainty that they and their standards are normal and right and universally known, and it’s just like… whoa. Same planet, different worlds.

              1. Deanna Troi*

                Thank you for posting this. I just looked up cognitive distortion – mind reading, and it describes my sister so completely that I almost fell off of my chair. I feel like this is a game changer in the way I understand how she behaves. My sister is extremely angry with everyone all the time about all kinds of perceived slights. She believes that everything everyone ever does or says was designed to “get” her. Most of the time, I’m sure people aren’t even aware of her existence (such as in the grocery store). I’m going to share this information with my mom.

              2. Curmudgeon in California*

                I have fought against this type of thing for most of my life. Part of it comes from childhood bullying, on top of ADHD, where it seemed like I literally could do nothing right in a social situation. So it became an oversensitivity. I literally have to tell myself when someone does something that seems to be disrespectful that it may not be, just assume that it was an accident, forgetting, whatever. By literally I mean consciously and constantly.

                If I start from the default assumption that everybody has significantly worse memory and social skills than I do, then every interaction is a plus, and I can appreciate people much more. Once I made that habit, and could make myself stop assuming the worst dis in everything, I actually got along with people better.

                But it is a constant struggle, and if I get stressed, the self-correction slips, and I get more stressed.

              3. lew*

                Personality psychologists just call this hostility – a chronic tendency to mistrust and attribute negative motives to others. e.g., “I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers.” is one item on a questionnaire that measures it.

            2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              this isn’t even a hill…I mean, I’ve been known to get upset over little things, but I would let this go.

        3. A Reader*

          Same here. In my current job, I had coworkers regularly tell me “It feels like you’ve been here for a long time,” or “You’ve only been here X months?” I took it to mean they liked me, and that I was part of the work family.

          1. Shocked Pikachu*

            Yes :) One of my proudest teenage moments was on my second summer job selling shoes (European readers will probably be familiar with Humanic) and one of the shift managers told me (when I reminded her I can’t be put on schedule after August) : “oh, I keep forgetting you are not the regular staff” I think my hair spread out like peacocks feathers that moment.

        4. lhh*

          LW2 Give people the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes and we appreciate it when people give us the benefit of the doubt!
          There are plenty of reasons why someone would bring rolls. Maybe she was busy and it was an easy thing to bring. Maybe people raved about those rolls before. Maybe she’s an extremely picky eater and will only eat those rolls. Maybe she doesn’t like hawaiian rolls. This is not about you.
          As for the person who did not introduce you at a meeting, this was an honest mistake. We all make honest mistakes. Someone else corrected him and then he introduced you. Learn to give people the benefit of the doubt and things will go much better for you. Consider apologizing for your behavior at the potluck.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Also rolls are a thing you can never have too many of. The idea of a potluck list is rarely that only one of everything should be brought. I think it’s more to 1) make you feel committed to actually bringing something once you’ve written it down and 2) help ensure somewhat of a balance between entrees, side dishes and desserts. You don’t want literally everyone bringing in things like cake and cookies and then that’s all there is to eat, but there’s certainly room for more than one person to bring those in.

            1. Archaeopteryx*

              And the reason this person probably felt fine bringing rolls when they were already a different type of rolls on the sign-up list is that they probably couldn’t imagine that any mature adult human could possibly take offense to something like that.

              1. Joie*

                I’m also wondering if they went “Oh I hate Hawaiian rolls, maybe other people do to so I’ll bring some plain one ins for options”

                1. TNT*

                  Yes! Hawaiian rolls are not good for all types of food-mopping-up, and so therefore other rolls were needed.

                2. pleaset*

                  But isn’t that really just a slap in the face to the OP about her opinion of rolls? Her rolls aren’t good enough?!! So you think cheap ass rolls are better!AAd??!! You punk ass rolls are better than her rolls? You think this is a game?!!!

              2. just trying to help*

                Also, offices the world over get irrational and weird when it comes to free food in the office, whether provided by the business, potluck, or something else. The only thing I have seen which runs a close second on the irrationality scale is parking spaces.
                OP – let it go. I don’t know how new you are to the office world, but this is not a hill to die on. Chalk it up to a misunderstanding, someone not reading the sign up list, or just silliness.

            2. AnnaBananna*

              WHAT? I would DIE to have nothing but dessert for our potlocks. Don’t ever suggest that this is weird again. My tummy thanks you. ;)

          2. Alcott*

            I also think people generally only have room to mentally categorize one person as ‘the new person’ so the person hired two weeks after LW2 is it. At least in my office I have to keep reminding people that I wasn’t here for Christmas last year, but the guy hired five weeks after me is still the “the new guy.”

            1. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

              This is a great point that I hadn’t really thought of before, but seems totally true… the “new person” is whoever is newest, even if someone was hired 2 weeks before them.

              I think we also have a tendency to be self-conscious when we’re new, in a way that makes us forget that everyone else is just doing their job and trying to get to a new status quo as quickly as possible. It’s the whole reason why HR has onboarding checklists… it’s very easy to sort of forget that a new person is new once they’ve been there a week or two, but at a week or two, we’re still learning people’s names, figuring out where all the bathrooms are… we feel exposed as The New Person long after people have stopped thinking of us as new!

          3. Marissa*

            +1 Maybe she was at the store the night before, thought “oh darn the potluck’s tomorrow I’ll just grab something quick”. There are just so so many more common, more likely, and completely malice free options for what could have happened besides OP’s assumptions. I know we’re all the stars of our own movies, but it would do us all well to remember that most of the time other people’s actions just aren’t as focused on us as we think they are.

            1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              Bwaaahaaaahaaaa–I’ll really stick it to the new kid! She’s bringing Hawaiian rolls? I’m bringing Boise rolls! That’ll show her! I’ll bet she’ll just huff back to her desk and do all the work while I’m enjoying the party. Sco-o-o-re!

        5. Andream*

          That was my thinking too. And maybe she started like the day after the last meeting and so he thought she was introduced before.

        6. ThatGirl*

          Yep, I had my new manager say it felt like I’d been here a year – after 3 months. It was part that I’ve been at the company 2 years already (so I know a lot of people and the norms) and part that I’m doing very well at my actual job.

        7. tinybutfierce*

          This. OP seems to just immediately be taking everything both in the worst way possible and as a personal attack of some kind, when… they’re really just incredibly small, impersonal incidents that happen to most people.

          I’m especially boggled by the vitriolic response to the roll “incident”. Oh noooo, someone brought more bread, how dare they I guess?

            1. emmelemm*

              I know, those Hawaiian rolls are basically cake (sooo sweet, carbs AND straight-up sugar) and I love them so much and I have to remind myself “Don’t you dare eat more than one of these because they’re basically cake!”

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                I love those things. They hate my waistline, so I don’t buy them all the time.

                But other rolls are yummy too. There’s room for both.

        8. Lucy Preston*

          My boss introduced me to a group with were meeting with. They said I had been with the company for ages. It had only been 6 months.

          As far as the roles, it happens here all the time. We have potlucks several times a year. Our staff is made up of mostly men who generally seem to be the types that can’t do without some sort of support. So instead of main dishes, side dishes, etc., we end of with multiple store bought desserts.

        9. ugh*

          Sometimes the lack of introduction is malice. But, giving the attitude pouring through this letter, it may be a two-way street. IME it is worth noting, but not confronting, anyone about this. It may be a pattern, it may be a mistake. Time will tell.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Yeah, your second sentence is spot on. OP, is there something else going on here that caused this response? Because you seem to be livid over two incidents that really aren’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

            1. NerdyLibraryClerk*

              I was wondering that as well. Is the letter writer the only [race, sex, gender identity, religion, etc] in the office? Did something too nebulous to write about happen that set them up to assume the worst about these two incidents? Do they have prior experience (horrible family, serious bullying situation, etc) that makes them hyper concerned about things?

              Most people don’t default to 11, so it feels like there’s some missing piece of what’s going on for the letter writer.

          2. This one here*

            In 2005, when I was transferring in the same firm from one city to another, I’d been with the firm less than a year, but everyone thought I’d been there longer. “I forgot you were new” is generally a good thing.

          3. Joie*

            Reading it I wondered if this was a projection of other feelings. A person doesn’t get this unreasonably angry over buns unless there’s something else going on, I’m wondering if they aren’t feeling like they fit in or aren’t liking the work and this was just the icing on the Uncomfortable Cake.

            But then again, there are people who like to be melodramatic and may actually melt down over something so odd.

        10. Senor Montoya*

          Exactly. I mentor our new professionals — one of them from last year was saying, it’s my one-year anniversary at Office! And I was like, wait, haven’t you been here for a couple of years?

          It’s a compliment. Also, missing someone’s name on an agenda happens all the time.

          The potluck: seriously, half the time people don’t sign up when they’re supposed to, or they sign up to bring one thing and then bring something else entirely. Someone else brought rolls = people love carbs, now there were two kinds of rolls.

          I do think you need to work on removing the giant chip on your shoulder, OP 2. Not just the feeling affronted when there is no affront at all, but also the disrespectful (and unprofessional) way of seeing others’ actions. “Cheap ass rolls” — for all you know, that’s all that person could afford. Or maybe that person knows the boss loves those rolls.

          You may be in luck with walking out of the potluck to go back to work, because (if they are professional and well-meaning) your coworkers likely think: OP2 is really dedicated, she went right back to work. Smiling at the meeting = hopefully it looked sincere, because that will help too.

      2. Annie Porter*

        I almost thought this letter was fake, but then I remembered that I’ve worked with versions of this person pretty much everywhere except my current role (I work from home, and my office mate is now my dog, who is never petty).

            1. Elenna*

              Eh, the possibility occurred to me, but also there definitely exist people who are this petty and prone to overreacting.

            2. Mallory Janis Ian*

              I know too many people like this to think it was fake. I have one aunt who always has at least one person who has offended her so much that she’s not speaking to them. Every time she moves past a perceived slight from one person, she gets the next perceived offender in her sights.

            1. Minocho*

              It would just be so exhausting to be this easily riled up. I can be negative, and have to make an effort to assume positive intent sometimes, and this makes me feel like a ray of sunshine.

              I feel nearly as sorry for the OP as I feel for everyone around the OP. oof.

              1. Myrcallie*

                I used to date someone a lot like OP. It was so thoroughly exhausting that since the breakup, I’ve had to thoroughly recalculate how much I can get done in a day, because now most of my energy isn’t going into trying to either make sympathetic noises at the litany of ‘EVERYTHING EVEN MILDLY WRONG IN THE WORLD IS BEING WRONG AT ME PERSONALLY’ or trying not to be the next person who had done something world-endingly terrible like saying something that wasn’t 100% what they wanted to hear, and I have time and space for things like hobbies! and cooking! and sleep!

                (To be fair, they were dealing with a lot of genuine abuse and trauma, as I think a few commenters have suggested OP is. But that didn’t make it any easier to keep up with, especially when I was also dealing with my own stuff.)

        1. Quill*

          Wait, your dog never brings you a ball, won’t drop it for you to throw it, and then refuses to chase it once you have thrown it?

          … maybe I just had a slightly off-brand labrador…

            1. Quill*

              Oh, he’s already been promoted to the heaven that all good dogs go to, I just remember the days of job applications straight out of college when he’d pull this sort of thing with me. :)

        2. Shark Whisperer*

          I also work from home and my dog office mates are hella petty. One just literally took a bone out of the other ones mouth (he had zero interest in it until his sister started chewing it). The aggrieved party is currently crying and trying to climb into my lap to alert me to the injustice.

          1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

            My eyes skipped right over the “dog” part of “dog office mates” and I was hella confused and worried about your workplace for a minute!

            1. Admin of Sys*

              lol – I had a similar reaction! I read ‘dog office mates’ as ‘dog office’ + ‘mates’ as in an office-mates in an office where dogs are welcomed. I reread the sentence about bones twice trying to figure out why a coworker was taking bones away from one of the dogs

          2. Mel 2*

            When I work from home my cat is such a micromanager. Every time I go to the kitchen to get coffee, she follows me and after a minute starts meowing for me to go back to work. (She wants me to sit back down at my computer so she can curl up nearby.)

        3. Arya Snark*

          Same on both counts. I’ve definitely worked with this person before and I can guarantee the LW went back to their desk and began slamming drawers, moving things around with considerable force and sighing/grumbling loudly after the “incident”. I am also so grateful to work from home. My dog is never petty but the cat is a whole different story!

          1. JJ Bittenbinder*

            Yes, Angry Loud Cleaning, easily the most passive-aggressive way to alert people to the fact that you need attention.

          2. AKchic*

            Ugh. The cats are so petty in my home office (the bed). They both try to steal the yarn. One insists on laying on every piece of paper that is out and then taking my pens, and she absolutely has to have a crochet hook or knitting needle to rub on for herself.
            The dog will chew the hooks and needles and lay on the yarn, but she won’t snag the yarn. The snagging is strictly a cat thing. But the dog will try to knock my laptop out of my lap for snuggles and butt scritches.

            They are bad officemates with absolutely no boundaries or sense of personal space.

        4. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

          +1 for a petty canine officemate. You should see the [stuff] he pulls in our space heater territory war.

          1. Code Monkey*

            Well, when my coworker Potato runs out of water, he’ll run around the office knocking over every cup he can find. The reason he runs out of water? He likes splashing it all out of his bowl. -_-

          2. Arya Snark*

            My petty office mate likes to go sit on the patio but he can’t (won’t) today because it’s snowing so he pouts and takes swipes at anyone who walks by, especially his 85lb canine brother.

          3. Ban the BCC*

            Allison-can you make this an actual thing? Like a thread request for petty animal co-worker stories?

          4. My Highnessness*

            Sometimes I birdie-sit my mother’s cockatiel. He won’t sing or talk for me at my house, except when I’m trying to use the telephone. Then he won’t stfu.

          5. Bridget the Elephant*

            My petty feline office mate likes to wait until his paws are nice and muddy, then walk all over my clean paperwork. His toddler sister likes to find settings I’ve never heard of before on my laptop, then restart it before I’ve had chance to save my work.

          6. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            Today mine gobbled up a day’s kibble (intended for grazing) in one go, then barfed it all back up under the table. Goodness knows how I’ve BECed him this time.

          7. The Cosmic Avenger*

            I have this one office mate that makes SUCH a mess in his office that I can smell it from my office! And then he expects ME to clean it up! Plus, every day he yells at me until I bring him breakfast AND dinner in his office….

        5. iglwif*

          Well, I gotta say, my canine officemate can sometimes be SUPER petty. I put his breakfast in his dish when he wanted it in the food puzzle (or vice versa)? JAIL FOR MOTHER FOR ONE THOUSAND YEARS.

          Seriously, though, I have worked with one or two folks like OP2 over the years, and they are EXHAUSTING.

        6. Gymmie*

          I still think its sounds fake. The roll thing is pretty unhinged, but…maybe I should know better from reading AAM for so long!

          1. Not All*

            I hate to say it…but if this letter was a few years older I’d be 95% convinced it was written by my former coworker. This type of offense at the World That Done Her Wrong was daily for the entire 2.5 yrs I worked with her. It was mind boggling.

          2. AKchic*

            I’ve worked with a couple of people that are like this. Every slight (in their mind) is a major affront to their dignity and demands a groveling apology where they can look imperiously down their nose at the offending party and decline to accept so they can have the honor of proving just how right they were while still holding the grudge and playing the rightful victim. Nothing is a minor coincidence, it is all a calculated “slap in the face” meant to demean, insult, and send a message to the poor downtrodden would-be hero(ine). Because that’s how they see themselves. The plucky underdog of their own story, crusading against all of these evil villains trying to keep them down.

            My 1st ex-husband is very much like this. It is exhausting. It was exhausting. He thrived on drama and when there was none, he manufactured it. To this day, if you are not 100% with him and every idea he has (no matter how bad it is) and 100% supporting of it, then you are against him and an enemy that must be handled (and I’m not even going to go into how he’d do that).

            I am not saying LW2 is like this. I am saying that there are similarities I see in the mentality, and it is exhausting to be around, and if it’s not reined in and corrected, coworkers and bosses will get tired of dealing with it.

            1. Gymmie*

              You actually made me think of MY ex-husband. Not this kind of rage or emotion, but certainly he always looked at everyone’s actions in a negative light. Even to the point of paint colors when we were divorcing – I chose grey and it was because I was depressed, my friends were only friends with me because I made them feel better about themselves (by being inferior, not being a good friend), other people did things because they were jealous. ICK. It was (and continues to be) awful. It was actually like he was from another planet and didn’t understand human motivations at all.

          3. Airy*

            It’s so easy to imagine OP2 as the *subject* of someone else’s AAM letter. “My new report reared up, flared her nostrils and flounced out of the office potluck – I have no idea why. Any tips for communicating with someone who seems to take offence at random events?”

          4. Curmudgeon in California*

            No, it’s not fake. When I was younger I could have been this person. It’s not a chip on the shoulder, it’s crushing insecurity and defensiveness, plus maybe some ADHD and prolonged bullying. Your perceptions can get warped in weird ways sometimes.

            In a way, the letter is possibly a request for a reality check. If so, then the LW needs to realize that their brain and emotions are lying to them. Never attribute to malice what can be chalked up to coincidence or forgetfulness. Tell yourself this, repeatedly. It will increase your happiness in life.

            1. Paperdill*

              I have to say, the reactions OP is having does remind me a bit of my little son, who has the ability to be quite magical but has pending diagnoses of ADHD, ASD etc., which screws his persecution’s considerably. EVERYTHING as a slight. Someone laughs near him – they’re laughing at him. Netflix doesn’t have Paw Patrol – it’s because they hate him. He gets conflicting instructions from preschool teachers – they hate him and are plotting against him. While I know in my heart that this anger all stems from insecurity, anxiety and inability to understand social conventions, it is exhausting to deal with so much anger all the time.
              What support did you have to help you, Curmudgeon?

              1. Geek history*

                Cognitive therapy. At his age they’ll probably start with play therapy. But yeah cognitive therapy.

        7. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          I thought it was fake for a second, and then I remembered a coworker who I tried to forget. Nothing was benign (or beignet!) to this person. Nothing. If you smiled at her, you were mocking her. If you invited her to a meeting it was a plot to make her look bad. If you didn’t invite her, it was a plot to sideline and exclude her. Anything anyone said or did was aimed at her and a vicious, underhanded attempt to destroy her. She was the center of the universe, surrounded by haters and “fake” people.

          She would make friends with people for a bit, and invariably, those friends would turn out to be traitors, and she would have to explain to her new, new friends how the old friend had betrayed her and broken her heart. I was very young, and I actually fell for this when I first joined. Paranoid Coworker seemed really nice and rational and explained how Sweet Coworker had stabbed her in the back and spread rumors about her. It was so nuts to me that anyone would make this up that I actually felt a ton of sympathy. But eventually I too betrayed Paranoid Coworker (to this day, I don’t know how or what the trigger was), and she explained to Next New Friend and anyone who would listen that I was a vicious backstabbing bully. Sweet Coworker turned out to be a lovely person and is one of my best friends to this day. Next New Friend and two more after her were accused of backstabbing and treachery. The whole thing taught me a bit of wisdom about people, but at the cost of a lot of stress.

          Man, I had forgotten a lot of this. With time and distance, I just feel really sad for this person (I worked with her for four years, and I don’t think self awareness or change will ever be in the cards), but it was tremendously stressful to live through. This person was a fount of toxicity, and because she was very intelligent and mostly functional, she did a lot of damage in that workplace.

          1. Clever Name*

            Yep. The hallmark of paranoid thinking is that one’s mind bends their interpretation of events to fit the narrative that everyone is out to get them. They have a foregone conclusion and everything that happens to them has to fit that conclusion. It’s super weird and leads to magical thinking and lying (except they don’t think they’re lying).

            OP, if you are reading this, I urge you to consider therapy. You sound very unhappy, and therapy can help you to modify your patterns of thinking so you can be in a better place.

          2. Petunia Cakes, The Atheist*

            In my experience, people like this are usually very insecure. They think everyone is out to get them because, in their mind, it’s not possible for someone to actually be kind or generous to them. It’s a huge projection. I hate myself, so everyone else must hate me too.

            1. Frustration Nation*

              It’s called Paranoid Personality Disorder, and it’s a beast. I only learned about it because a relative has it, and once I’d done the reading, I realized a (then) coworker also had it. There was no way I could convince this woman I wasn’t actively sabotaging her. I had to stop speaking to her entirely. Which she also thought was sabotage-y.

              1. Shoes On My Cat*

                I think we worked with the same person. I was her supervisor and I tried to let people do their jobs and only course-correct as it came up (I have a tendency to micromanage, so I consciously watch for that, and I know I was extra careful with her!) – well then she complained that I was too bossy, so I backed off to just making sure two primary tasks were getting done and she complained that I wouldn’t tell her what to do often enough. So I tried to collaborate job assignments and go over with her what needed to get done, priorities for the business and let her use that information to self select what she should do. Nope, I was back to being too bossy. I then realized she was our Missing Stair and my bosses were not going to deal with her so I pretty much smile & make sure she hasn’t set herself on fire yet today. Apparently her issues stem from her parents not loving her enough because they adopted her and she wasn’t a birth child. Okaaaay, but at 60+ there has been a whole lot of life as an adult, a wealthy, affluent adult. OP #2: I wish you an avenue to find your happy, some contentment and some good friends at work. If you are working, you still have time to take advantage of any EAP your company offers to make the best of your life. As Dr. Laura says, “Is this how you want to live between now & dead?”

        8. Wendy Darling*

          I also work from home but my dog is petty as hell and is currently mad that no one saved him a tortilla chip at dinner last night.

        9. Legally a Vacuum*

          If I’m not giving my dog the correct attention she’ll come over to me, then move just out of petting reach. So I have to actively move to pet her.

          1. Jamie*

            One of mine does this, too! Such a prima donna…but she’s adorable so I move and give her the scritches she’s due.

          2. Eukomos*

            My cat’s favorite position is juuuuust out of reach. This may be a sign that I snuggle him too much. I’m trying to take out some of my petting urges on my roommate’s cats.

        1. iglwif*

          The lack of a hyphen is particularly intriguing. Like, are they cheap rolls that are *also* shaped like buttcheeks?

          1. ArtK*

            A lovely maiden named Kroll
            Had a notion exceedingly droll:
            At a masquerade ball,
            Dressed in nothing at all,
            She backed in as a Parker House roll.

          2. Anonymosity*

            For years and years, there was a restaurant in my hometown that made absolutely delicious split-top rolls that did indeed look like butts. Think the shape of a popover but with a rounded top in two sections. Of course, we called them “butt rolls.”

            “Are you getting chicken from X? Don’t forget the butt rolls!”

            Sadly, it has closed. :(

        2. BigLo*

          That struck me too because while I love Hawaiian rolls, they’re still nowhere close to warm, buttery (maybe slightly gooey) homemade rolls.

          1. Yorick*

            Yeah, they’re really such different things that you shouldn’t be mad that someone brought the other one.

            And it’s not like she slaved in the kitchen making homemade yeast rolls! She bought a package of rolls, and so did someone else!

          1. Senor Montoya*

            I love those. Warm them up, butter them, slap on some ham….mmmmmmmm. Hawaiian rolls are too sweet for me.

        3. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          OMG me too! Wildly curious.

          It’s funny, too, because I have family who would get salty over if they both brought their signature potato salad to the cookout – but store-bought rolls? C’mon. That’s the job you give to your bachelor uncle with the issues.

        4. Shadowbelle*

          Plain yeast rolls that come 16 in a pack. Only edible if cut, toasted crispy, and drenched with good butter.

        5. Who Plays Backgammon?*

          Roll call!

          Hawaaian?
          Here!
          Parker House?
          Here!
          Crescent?
          Here!
          Cinnamon?
          Here!
          Cheap Ass?
          Don’t you call me that! It’s THRIFTY SINGLE SERVING EASY PULL-APART BREAD!

      3. RB*

        Thanks, #2, for your hilariously entertaining story. I really needed that today. Please send an update soon.

      4. RB*

        As someone who occasionally has a slightly unhealthy level of moral outrage, this letter made me ridiculously happy to see that my levels are well within healthy norms when held up against this person’s. I mean, on a bell curve, this would be so far out there that it’s maybe in the .001 percentile.

      1. MK*

        The reaction to the second incident is disproportionate (it warrants being slightly miffed not deathly insulted). The reaction to the rolls is frankly bizarre.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          Yes. I don’t understand why LW2 was so upset that someone else brought “cheap ass rolls” if they were already planning to show up with Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (aka “the good shit”). Worst case scenario is you get to take home leftover Sweet Rolls if everyone at this job prefers the ass rolls for some reason (heresy, I know, but just go with it).

          The universal truths of office pot lucks are:

          1) someone will always forget to bring the thing they said they were bringing,
          2) someone who didn’t sign up will decide to bring something last minute,
          3) there will be more than one of some dishes unless the pot luck is strictly coordinated to avoid that,
          4) exactly one person will always bring a godawful “family recipe” thing that “everyone loves” (despite all evidence to the contrary),
          5) #4 will be repeated at every pot luck even if the others aren’t.

              1. Zephy*

                Is that the secret?? They don’t taste overtly of pineapple, I never would have guessed (though in retrospect it makes sense, since “Hawaiian” at this point is a culinary term meaning “contains pineapple.”)

                1. Belle of the Midwest*

                  I use the Kings Hawaiian “savory” ones to make ham and cheese sliders for parties. They aren’t as sweet as the “regular” ones and I actually prefer them if I’m feeling too lazy to make homemade ones. And given that they are not really all that expensive, I’m boggled by what #2 could be calling “cheap ass rolls.” Maybe those plain white dinner rolls that come packaged 12 to a box?

                2. EH*

                  I grew up United Methodist, and my church used the big round loaf Hawaiian bread for communion. Us kids used to sneak into the sanctuary to snag leftovers while the adults were at coffee hour after service. :D

                3. Anonymosity*

                  Oh man, I liked the taste of the regular flat communion wafers, but they used some kind of chewy bread at my uncle’s wedding and afterward, I always wanted that instead.

              2. Arya Snark*

                OK, totally unrelated but I used to love Hawaiian rolls. We brought some camping once and they didn’t get eaten. Camping bin got packed up and put away for the winter, then we moved so there was no camping the next summer. That bin sat for well over a year and those rolls were still soft and mold free. We’ve never eaten them again.

                1. KayDeeAye (Kathleen_A)*

                  Odd. I’ve looked at the ingredients, and they’re perfect ordinary for a roll. I don’t see anything even mildly suspicious there. So I think your bin has unexpected magical powers.

                2. Dust Bunny*

                  People overreact to food not rotting: A lot of things keep well if they’re cold (like in a cabin or garage over the winter) or it’s not too humid. Decomposition also has a lot to do with environmental conditions.

                  That stupid article that’s floating around with the everlasting McDonald’s hamburger? Mummification, people. It’s a thing.

              3. CAA*

                There’s no pineapple at all in King’s Hawaiian Rolls, which are the ones we have in the grocery store here. It’s just bread made with an enriched dough that contains butter, eggs and sugar (in their case, lots of sugar). If you have a different brand that has pineapple in the ingredients, there may be more than one kind of Hawaiian roll out there.

                1. Marmaduke*

                  That surprises me. My favorite recipe has pineapple juice, and tastes fairly close to how I remember King’s Hawaiian tasting. I’ll have to round up some gluten eaters for a direct comparison…

              4. ArtK*

                Pineapple juice is not a requirement. They’re simply sweet and rich rolls. They’re Portuguese in origin, brought to the islands by sailors.

                1. MtnLaurel*

                  Yeah, my husband haaatttes them with the power of a thousand suns. If I saw “Hawaiian rolls” on a potluck list, I’d buy plain “nasty ass rolls” so that he could enjoy a roll too. Variety is not bad.

                2. Yvette*

                  “Not everyone can eat Kings Hawaiian Rolls! Some people are allergic to them. Thus, your suggestion sucks and you should be more considerate.”

                  Could not resist.

                3. Sarah N.*

                  Totally. I LOVE Hawaiian rolls but I also have a friend who hates anything that is even slightly sweet. He would never eat Hawaiian rolls and would definitely appreciate someone bringing regular rolls.

              1. Parenthetically*

                I think they’re awful too, especially if I’m expected to put deli meat on them! Ssssoooooo sweet.

                1. Kelly AF*

                  They are so good with ham. Sweet and salty is a great combination! (YMMV, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, etc etc etc)

                2. spaceinyerface*

                  Not only did I get the reference, I automatically read it in the Dude’s voice. It’s never too early for a Lebowski reference.

                3. Lee*

                  I can’t stand Hawaiian rolls and would have definitely wanted a different roll option. #2, have you considered that one of your co-workers might write in and complain about the nasty, sweet rolls someone brought to the potluck and why didn’t they bring non-sweet ones that other people like…???

              2. MatKnifeNinja*

                They take like dessert to me. You really need to use them to make mini sandwiches. Like grilled ham/smoked turkey with cheese. Something savory to cut the sweet.

                I’d never bring them as a roll, unless it was a BBQ (salty/savory)

                1. noahwynn*

                  I totally use them with strawberries and whipped cream to make a dessert kinda like strawberry shortcake with the Hawaiian rolls in place in the shortcake.

                2. Anonymeece*

                  Oh, man, I have a recipe – ham and swiss, then drizzle it with a mix of worcestershire sauce, mustard, onion, sesame seeds, and butter, and bake them. Every time I make them, they’re gone within 30 minutes, no matter how much I make.

              3. Jamie*

                I’m with you, they are awful. I bought some by accident a few weeks ago and my kids loved them but just… no.

              4. ellex42*

                They make great bread pudding! You can cut the amount of sugar you’d normally use and add fresh fruit (something that’s not always super sweet, like blueberries or raspberries…or craisins). You get a flavor and texture almost like custard.

                1. bubba g*

                  I also use them for bread pudding, but not as the only bread, maybe half Hawaiian rolls, half French bread. And yes, cut the sugar. I use really good rum in my bread pudding, and haven’t yet used fruit, as my husband likes a more classic bread pudding. He also likes to add a little bit of real maple syrup to his serving.

              5. Lara*

                Yeah, I’d be really glad someone brought normal rolls too. I will NEVER choose Hawaiian rolls over a normal dinner roll if there’s an option between the two. The sweetness works with some foods, but not with all options.

              6. Quill*

                Store bought ones are generally… not good.

                The higher sugar content I think means they put some more preservatives in so it will be shelf stable in groceries: if the Hawaiian rolls aren’t fresh baked, leave them be.

              7. Works in IT*

                They’re okay, but to me, they don’t taste good with most things, unless you have a REALLY salty meat to cut the taste of the massive amount of sugar. For anything that isn’t super super super salty…. why eat nasty hawaiian rolls when you can eat potato rolls? (at least, that’s my thought process).

              8. chi type*

                Yeah, it probably makes me a bad American but I detest sweets outside of dessert. I tried Zapps voodoo chips yesterday and was very disappointed by how sweet they are.

            1. Rebecca*

              I think King’s Hawaiian rolls. I live in rural PA, and our Walmart sells them for $3.48 per dozen and $5.48 for a 24 pack, vs $2.97/12 for the cheap ass rolls.

              But speaking of cheap, ahem, as far as rolls go, that’s one of the cheaper things one can bring to a pot luck, especially if there are a lot of people. I’ve spent north of $20 on ingredients for one dish, depending on the amount of meat, type of meat, etc.

              1. WellRed*

                +1. I made a big green salad for a potluck. Someone else brought a different salad. No one ate mine. It was annoying (sign up sheet) to spend time and $. It was not personal and coworkers at second job that night ate it up. A plastic bag of roll? Why are you really so enraged OP.

                1. President Porpoise*

                  I once bought a homemade pumpkin pie to a potluck and no one so much as took a slice. I was sad. I ate pie t console myself, and that was that.

              2. Wednesday's Child*

                Hello, fellow rural Pennsylvanian, where King’s Hawaiian roles are exotic and considered a splurge. :)

                1. Rebecca*

                  Confession! I’ve never once had one! I know there is a recipe using ham, swiss cheese, these rolls, and melted butter, something you bake in a pan and make sliders (?) and I’ve been anxious to try them!

                2. MatKnifeNinja*

                  I grew up in Metro Detroit. Big Polish/Italian/German neighborhood.

                  I never had a Hawaiian roll until 5 years ago. Never heard of them.

                  If I brought brought them to a family event, NO ONE would eat them.

                  They’d be like, “The Italian bakery down the street has excellent, fresh rolls. Why’d you buy this smushy stuff?”

              3. Archaeopteryx*

                My office has a potluck once a month, and I almost always sign up to bring Hawaiian rolls, because they’re cheap and easy but also because they go with everything! (our potlucks are themed month by month)

              4. Dust Bunny*

                Yeah, I notice LW didn’t stay up late actually cooking something.

                I mean, I don’t really care if people cook or not, but if you’re going to be insulted over a potluck at least let it be because you wasted your entire evening on broccoli-rice casserole.

              5. Working Mom*

                Yeah – bringing any kind of rolls to a potluck is kind of like contributing the LEAST amount of time, effort, and energy as possible. It’s not easy to prepare dips, sides, desserts, etc. in a fashion that you can transport, keep hot/cold, etc. It’s an effort to participate in a potluck, and bringing rolls is bare minimum effort. (I say this as someone who hates potlucks and often brings rolls, on purpose, because I hate potlucks – but I also wouldn’t get a bee in my bonnet if someone else brought rolls.) In my defense, on occasion I have *actually* participated as well :)

                1. Diahann Carroll*

                  @Public Sector Manager The 2 liter Coke was my potluck staple when I used to participate in those things, lol. That and the cups.

              6. SpaceySteph*

                Right? OP signed up for the easiest, cheapest contribution to the potluck and is mad that someone found an even cheaper, sadder option?
                You want some kind of medal for walking into a grocery store and buying a couple bags of bread?

                I could understand being pissed if you signed up for your grandma’s homemade lasagna recipe and then someone came with a Stouffer’s lasagna in a box, but even then walking out of the potluck in a fit of pique would be excessive.

            2. J*

              They’re essentially massa sovada, Portuguese sweet bread, in a roll. Whaling brought Azorean people to Hawaii, and they brought their sweet bread with them. Over time it morphed into what we call Hawaiian rolls. I don’t believe pineapple has anything to do with it.

                1. J*

                  Ha! As an Azorean-American historian who’s worked on whaling history, I’m always a teensy bit miffed when Hawaii gets all the sweet bread love! We came up with it first! More seriously, the way that food and plants move around the world is such an interesting way to track migration and cross-cultural contact. A coworker and I were just today talking about chili peppers and how and when they moved from the Americas to the rest of the world, to become foundational in so many seemingly-disparate cuisines.

                2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                  I always wanted to compile an atlas of world foods, including archaeological information about when and where they were domesticated, how they travelled to other parts of the world, and the flavours or foods they might have supplanted.

            3. Atalanta0jess*

              Ok, listen. Fry up some spam. Get some coleslaw. Put it all on hawaiian bread. Eat that up.

              (And look, I’m not gonna debate the spam. If you like salty meat, spam is delicious.)

              1. Petunia Cakes, The Atheist*

                Hehe, I like spam (and salty meat) but my husband acts like I’ve just ordered him to eat doggy doo if I mention spam.

              2. Anonymosity*

                I can only eat spam like once a year. I stopped eating pork so I probably won’t again.
                Tried spam musubi once and that was pretty good. Weird, but good.

          1. The Original K.*

            I was thinking “can’t there be two kinds of rolls at a potluck? What is the actual problem?”

            1. Hush42*

              Right- maybe someone realized they forgot to sign up at the last minute looked at the list and realized that the only rolls were the Hawaiian ones and decided to bring different rolls as well. I probably would have personally- I really don’t like hawiian rolls at all and I can’t be the only one so I’d be trying to make sure there was another option for people who prefer less sweet bread.

              1. Paulina*

                I would have thought that the point of specifying what kind of rolls you’re bringing would be so that people would know that bringing another kind would be different (and thus potentially welcome). Someone else bringing cheaper plain ones can make the person bringing the fancier ones look good (you spent more!), unless they start feeling insulted about people not wanting the fancy ones. And sometimes people just don’t want the fancier ones, eg. personal taste or allergies, so it’s not about the person bringing them. Until they make it about them by walking out.

            2. The Supreme Troll*

              I think if somebody had brought brown & serve rolls or buttermilk biscuits, this would have been the solution that Ann needed, and she wouldn’t have had to write to Alison (I’m just kidding!)

          2. Librarian of SHIELD*

            I’m allergic to Hawaiian rolls (pineapple juice in the glaze) so every time I see them on the potluck sign-up list it makes me feel vaguely sad. Of course, that’s not my coworkers’ problem and I wouldn’t bring extra rolls, but still.

            1. Food, Glorious Food*

              Same and I love those suckers!!!!
              I am not at all understanding why this is an issue. Nearly every potluck I’ve been to has had multiple options of many things. 5 chili’s, a couple types of potatoes, 400 desserts, and 2 or 3 fruit/veggie trays. And for many of those only about 5 people actually signed up for the potluck.

              Get over yourself OP – none of this is about you.

              1. EvilQueenRegina*

                We had one once where everyone was asked to reply to an email with what they were bringing, so not everyone could see what everyone else was bringing and it ended up with lots of sign ups for pork pies. The people in question were asked to consider bringing something else – but everyone saw the funny side of that. No one was upset. I can’t help thinking there must be more to this than rolls.

            2. soon 2be former fed*

              There is no glaze on Kings Hawaiian rolls, and I don’t think there is any pineapple juice either. I love them.

              1. Librarian of SHIELD*

                Ah. I’ve never looked at the ingredient label on the Kings brand. The bakery near me sells them and uses a pineapple juice glaze, so I thought it was standard practice. I’ll have to check next time I’m at the store.

            3. Dust Bunny*

              From the King’s Hawaiian website:

              ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID),
              WATER, SUGAR, LIQUID SUGAR (SUGAR, WATER),
              BUTTER (PASTEURIZED CREAM, SALT), EGGS,
              CONTAINS LESS THAN 2 % OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING:
              POTATO FLOUR, YEAST, WHEY, NONFAT MILK, SOY FLOUR, SALT, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN FLOUR, WHEAT GLUTEN, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, DATEM, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, WHEAT FLOUR, CALCIUM SULFATE, SODIUM SILICOALUMINATE, ASCORBIC ACID ADDED AS A DOUGH CONDITIONER, AMMONIUM SULFATE, WHEAT STARCH, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, ENZYMES, MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, CALCIUM SILICATE.

              CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK, EGGS, SOY

              I see ascorbic acid but not actual pineapple juice.

          3. Kimmybear*

            All of this. We had a potluck at work yesterday and despite all sorts of instructions for allergen labeling and signing up in advance, it was the normal chaos of a potluck. But no one got sick so it was a success! It’s nothing to get all bent out of shape about. I have a relative that could have written this letter and there is a reason they have been through countless jobs.

          4. Annie Porter*

            Plus, while Hawaiian rolls are delicious, they contain milk/eggs – I always bring my own rolls (and pretty much all food) to stuff. It’s not to be a jerk, it’s to make sure I have food that I will eat! Dairy also does something awful to my stomach, so it’s also beneficial to everyone there :)

            1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

              I just had flashback’s to a certain relative’s horrible, awful holiday dishes. Change of plans this year! We’re ordering pizza!

          5. JessaB*

            I would be very happy at a potlatch where someone brought the Hawai’ian and someone brought those really yummy butter topped yeast rolls. I’d eat both gladly.

          6. Sparrow*

            There’s also: 6) Something went terribly wrong with the thing I planned to bring so I picked up/threw together something random at the last minute so I wouldn’t show up empty handed. (Not that this has every happened to me or anything…)

          7. Turtle Candle*

            Yeah, my bet on this one is someone went “oh crap, I forgot there was a potluck today” and grabbed something simple from the store on the way to work. Nothing more complicated than that, let alone malicious.

          8. JJ Bittenbinder*

            This person potlucks.

            For #3, I was once invited to a potluck where the organizer made mention at every opportunity that NO ONE was to bring hummus (she herself, I think, was going to bring hummus so as to control the quantity of it) and there were to be STRICT LIMITS on the number and type of pasta dishes.

            I ended up declining, because even her emails about it exhausted me. It was as if Paige from Atypical was organizing the potluck (and I Paige, but she is tiring).

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I would definitely have “accidentally” brought some extra and snuck it in.

              This reminds me of the time I was involved in a big American expat Thanksgiving dinner. Someone made lengthy and strident demands that there was “no yuck stuff” which included a lot of common ingredients like onion, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, milk, pepper, etc. In the end I just made stuff my own way and made a list of the ingredients because it was impossible to make the green bean casserole I signed up for to her specifications. (I happen to love green bean casserole but I always make it from scratch, no canned soup.)

          9. Who Plays Backgammon?*

            This is so why I hate office potlucks. My boss the perpetual cheerleader is always wanting one. They’re a big to-do, they can be pricey, and there’s always so much food left over that unless we’re constantly nagging “take some home, take some home” a lot of it goes to waste and gets pitched out.

          10. PeanutButter*

            I worked at a place where a LOT of us baked or cooked as a hobby. One guy who didn’t like to cook figured out quick that because all of us wannabe Graham Kerrs were so obsessed with making our dishes we never remembered to bring paper plates, utensils, etc. From then on that was what he brought, a bunch of plates and flatware! It was great because if not for him we’d be eating our gourmet potluck out of our hands most of the time.

        2. My Highnessness*

          Totally agreed. I would be miffed to be skipped; I wouldn’t write to AAM about it. Or to put it another way, if that’s where I draw the line, then I’d be writing to AAM all the time and she’d have to block my email.

          But the thing with the rolls, call me crazy, but I doubt that it’s even possible to have too many rolls at a potluck. Often they are the most appealing item on the table. Having two kinds – both the Hawaiian ones and the cheap ass ones – makes things even better.

          Four kinds would have been ideal, and if OP had brought a couple dozen of four kinds of rolls they would be worshipping at her feet and that “other” coworker would look like a fool.

          1. Senor Montoya*

            We had our thanksgiving potluck today. There are: plain rolls, cornbread, pumpkin muffins, more plain rolls, Kings hawaiian rolls, a couple of baguettes, “cheap ass” sliced white bread (good for soaking up gravy and bbq sauce, obvs).

            Because you can never have too many carbs.

          2. LeighTX*

            The only four acceptable kinds of rolls are:
            1. Hawaiian
            2. Sister Schubert’s
            3. cheap ass
            4. cinnamon

          3. Elle Kay*

            I organize a monthly potluck type event for a nonprofit (as in volunteers bring the food for other people) and this idea of never enough rolls is dead on. We always run out, and when there are multiple options for roll types, people inevitably get excited. I have celiac disease and am sadly doomed for the rest of my life to avoid most rolls, but it still seems like a universal that more rolls = better.

        3. FormerFirstTimer*

          I wonder how LW2 would have reacted if someone had brought in bakery or homemade rolls? I’m picturing a screaming, ranting meltdown but IDK.

        4. Gumby*

          I have heard tales of a potluck where six people brought German potato salad and one person brought a dessert. That was it – the whole potluck. (It was a group of Lutherans, so it is perhaps not as surprising as it would be otherwise.)

          1. Cog in the Machine*

            Lol. That reminds me of an Easter potluck at my church when I was younger. There was a maybe 10lb sliced ham (for an estimated 100 people), 5 or 6 versions of German potato salad, 2 or 3 versions of mustard potato salad, and like 2 Jello dishes.

            1. That's a Wow From Me*

              So only about 10% of the people eating at the potluck brought something to share? That’s a major scarcity taker mentality!

          2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

            Dang–I remember my mother’s German potato salad. Yum. She hardly ever made it because it took so long, mostly she made her regular potato salad that was pretty good. But a whole table of potato salads sounds scary…

        5. Robin Ridley*

          Yeah, LW, you are in eminent danger of going down in office folklore as that loon who had a major hissy fit when someone else ALSO brought rolls to the office potluck, and then stormed out, refusing to eat any of the food because of the fact that everyone conspired to humiliate them by supplying extra *and cheap ass!) rolls.

          If I were your manager and witnessed any of this, believe me, I would be keeping an eye on you for any further and confrontational behavior.

      2. Aphrodite*

        I agree. Your letter is full of anger, and I suspect your anger has nothing to do with rolls, being accidentally overlooked during a presentation or a Secret Santa. If you have any hope of saving your job you need to figure out (and begin therapy to overcome) what has you operating from this attitude. I will tell you, having been there myself that it may take many years of therapy but it is entirely possible to learn and grow and become a genuinely happy person. Whether that can save this particular job in time is unknown but it can save your life in all ways, including work, if you are determined to understand where your anger comes from and how to change it. I truly do hope you are willing and able to do it because it will be worth it in the end. Best of luck to you!

        1. Ego Chamber*

          Co-signing this so hard!

          My brother is the kind of unnecessary rage machine that would interpret someone bringing the same dish as him to the office pot luck* as an act of aggression and a higher-up forgetting to introduce him in a meeting as an act of war. Boy’s been through too many jobs—even jobs he really, really liked!—because of his irresistible tendency to go full nuclear meltdown at the first sign of “disrespect.” This letter sounds like exactly the kind of thing he’d do and I’d suspect it was him except frankly he can’t write that coherently.

          ____
          *I don’t feel great saying this but it needs to be said: LW2 was upset because someone brought store-bought rolls after they signed up to bring a different brand of store-bought rolls. This isn’t like you made Mom’s recipe homemade potato salad and someone ducked in with a tub of Great Value brand potato-flavored mayo. Take this as a sign that something has gone very, very wrong in how you’re reacting to things and please do whatever you can to address that. (Therapy is amazing and everyone who can go should try it.)

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            From OP2’s reaction, I had assumed OP2 made the Hawaiian rolls from scratch and someone else brought a pack from the store…..but there really isn’t a way to know.
            (And with so many people being squirrelly about someone else’s kitchen habits, bringing a store-bought version is valid.)

            1. Yvonne*

              They might have made the rolls from scratch but they do specify that they decided to “get” Hawaiian rolls to “keep it simple” which in my world anyway doesn’t include making rolls for my office from scratch.

                1. somanyquestions*

                  I agree, if this LW had to do anything at all extra they would have mentioned it as they feel every single thing is an affront.

              1. Oxford Comma*

                Hard agree. If I made homemade chocolate chip cookies and then someone showed up with a package of Chips Ahoy, the reaction and rage are still out of proportion.

                1. Elenna*

                  Honestly, if I made homemade chocolate chip cookies and someone showed up with Chips Ahoy, I’d be like “thanks to anyone who eats the Chips Ahoy as it means more homemade cookies for me”.

                  But okay, I get how someone might be a bit miffed in that scenario. But OP’s rage is still way out of proportion.

                  @OP2: I guarantee you nobody has realized that you stormed out because of the rolls. They’re not thinking “Cheap Roll Guy insulted OP”, they’re thinking “Weird, why did OP leave in a huff like that? Guess they don’t like potlucks.” Unless you told them why you left, in which case they all think you way overreacted, just like the commenters here do.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                I wonder if it isn’t a bit of anxiety, given that it’s a new job and they’re probably feeling like an outsider. Mine manifests as snark and / or a shit fit before morphing to panic. It’s kind of like, if I snark about it, I reduce it to something unimportant or stupid and therefore, it cannot hurt me.

          2. Elitist Semicolon*

            I just gagged at “Great Value brand potato-flavored mayo” and it is the perfect description. Hat-tip to you.

          3. DrRat*

            I was wondering – am I the only one remembering the LW who wrote in a while back who was feeling terribly disrespected because the president of the company sat in her chair for a few minutes while talking to another employee? And went on for 6 paragraphs about how furious she was and how she didn’t get an apology?

            I wonder whatever happens to these people…they must reach a point eventually where no one but the most desperate, awful, low paying companies will hire them after talking to their references. Do they all end up on the Island of Permanently Disenchanted Employees?

        2. valentine*

          I suspect your anger has nothing to do with rolls, being accidentally overlooked during a presentation or a Secret Santa.
          OP2 is assuming everyone is on the same page and playing by the same rules. They think there is only one interpretation for everything and it’s so obvious, there’s no need to discuss it. I think it would help them to read the letter from the guy who was separating the trash and putting stuff on the proper bin, assuming the perp would feel chastised, when, in fact, someone like him who uses the proper bins would be the one deciding whether to handle someone’s trash or put theirs in the wrong bin.

          OP2, whenever something strikes you as odd, you’re going directly to DEFCON 5. People don’t follow the rules and they have poor reading comprehension. What matters, if you’re going to do well anywhere (and I hope you are), is that you move people’s motives and realness as far down and away from your goals and decisions as possible. What do you want your workdays to be like? What do you want this job to do for you?

          If your coworker meant to skip you, he’ll probably do things that really undermine you, like talking over you and repeating what you say as though it were his idea. If the roll person wants to freeze you out, they’ll withhold information. These things are vital to know, but you can’t see them right now because you’re painting them with the broadest brush possible.

          If you’re outraged that people don’t care, this will seem contrary, but the way to right it for yourself is to reduce the amount you care, to recalibrate your Klaxon. (And I hope you do.)

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                Most people do! Except for, hopefully, the people actually using DEFCON in the non-metaphorical sense.

                1. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

                  How can people possibly use it wrongly? Hasn’t everyone seen War Games 4,782 times? WE ARE AT DEFCON ONE.

                  Or maybe that’s just me. :D

                2. RadManCF*

                  I didn’t like War Games much. Too juvenile. I liked Miracle Mile better. The romcom trappings made it awesome.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Honestly if you’re at any level of DEFCON over Hawaiian rolls, it’s time to take a deep breath.

              Then again, I believe Hawaiian rolls played a central role War Games, so who knows.

              1. bubba g*

                Honestly if you’re at any level of DEFCON over Hawaiian rolls, it’s time to take a deep breath

                This made me spit out my drink when reading. Seriously. So funny.

              2. Fluff*

                Unless it’s beignets – and they ate all of them (like that other letter earlier this week). Now that’s defcon1.

            2. Adultiest Adult*

              I learned the correct version of the DEFCON scale from Big Bang Theory, of all places :) [and the fact that people tend to get it backwards].

          1. Curiouser and Curiouser*

            I totally agree. It’s egocentric – everyone should see things the same way I do – rather than egotistic – my way is the best way. Egotistical behavior isn’t great, but we all do it to some extent (why wouldn’t you do what you think is best?), but egocentric behavior is really, really polarizing. It’s hard to be treated like you’re making a mistake by behaving differently than someone else. The anger is really unwarranted.

            1. Ace in the Hole*

              Thank you for this comment… I’ve never seen it broken down that way but it’s really useful for some of the people I’m dealing with in my life.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            My mother is nowhere near this out of line but she does tend to believe that her views on and approaches to things are both obvious and universal, and it’s exhausting even when her reactions are only at a level of perpetual annoyance instead of . . . this. I wouldn’t describe her as generally self-centered but there are areas where she is absolutely blind to the thought that other people might have equally valid ideas.

          3. MsChanandlerBong*

            Oh, that is a good point. I manage a guy who interprets everything in the least-charitable way possible but he thinks it’s the ONLY possible interpretation. I kindly ask him to revise something; he takes it as an act of aggression indicating that I hate him. I make some edits on one of his projects, and he takes it as a sign that I think he’s an idiot. (He’s actually very intelligent and is an expert on his topic, which is why his work sometimes needs editing–we’re writing for a more general audience, and sometimes he gets into the weeds with theoretical concepts, and it needs to be edited down both for length and clarity.)

            I finally told him that he needs to do a better job managing his emotions if he’s going to continue to freelance with us. I can’t ask him for edits and then waste 1/4 of my day reading a 1,200-word diatribe about how asking him to edit his work is tantamount to telling him he’s an idiot.

            1. Le Sigh*

              He’s behaving this way as a *freelancer*? Not that a full-time staffer should either — really no one should! — but it takes some chutzpah to behave that way when you get paid on a per-project basis and lack the same level of employment security.

          4. My Highnessness*

            Except for the defcon level being backwards, I agree with this. The anger seems to come from certain assumptions not being met.

            I can tell you that it is extremely rare for someone not to bring something “simple” to the potluck without checking the list first. (They were not buying rolls AT you.) It’s not unusual for a presenter to make a mistake at a meeting. It’s not insulting to be thought a longtime employee.

            And as for Secret Santa… you haven’t even done that yet, so I don’t know why you’re already offended by it, but I can see where something there might go wrong in your eyes (people give each other gifts outside the Secret Santa plan?) and anger you. Which would be bad. So, maybe don’t unless you develop a little more resilience.

            1. Boop*

              Incredibly curious now…what would buying rolls AT someone look like? Do you throw them into your grocery cart and yell “Haha, Susan, I got rolls too!”? Do you pace back and forth in front of their desk, flaunting your rolls? Do you eat them really loudly in front of them? Stand behind the person talk loudly about how you brought rolls for the potluck?

              1. My Highnessness*

                Apparently, it’s flinging a bag of cheap ass rolls on the buffet table and then hiding behind a ficus tree, watching gleefully as coworkers turn their disapproving eyes on OP.

                I mean, I swear that is how I pictured it when I read the letter.

              2. Notwithstanding the Foregoing*

                “Incredibly curious now…what would buying rolls AT someone look like?..,”

                I am sitting at my desk laughing so hard that I have tears rolling down my face. My coworkers all think I finally lost it! Thank you for the laugh!

              3. DrRat*

                You burst into song, singing “My rolls are better than your rolls, my rolls are better than yoooouuuuurrrrrr rolls” to the tune of the old Ken-L-Ration jingle. (My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog”)

                1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                  And teach the dog to ROLL over.

                  I think I’m getting way too into this, but when the door opens, don’t be surprised when somebody goes thru… :) :) :)

        3. The Other Dawn*

          I agree. I didn’t think about it until I read your post, but this sounds exactly like a former employee. Her reactions were always disproportionate to the situation and I could totally see this behavior coming from her over something as insignificant as rolls, and most definitely the missed introduction. Her issue wasn’t the rolls or the introduction, it was that someone was purposely performing an act of aggression against her and disrespecting her.

          1. ellex42*

            I’m reminded of the aphorism “Do not ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”, except substituting “thoughtlessness” would work just as well. Imagining that these incredibly minor incidents are purposefully directed at LW2 involves an awful lot of paranoia.

            1. Rivakonneva*

              This is so true!

              It took me a few months of therapy to learn to silently chant “Oblivous, not malicious” at bad drivers and line-cutters. They aren’t being rude AT me, they’re just sometimes oblivous to the fact that other real people exist outside their bubble. They have tunnel vision, and honestly don’t see others sometimes.

              It’s not always true, but it’s been a help in toning down my own anger and whines of “It’s not fair!”. I just wish I had learned this when I was younger. :(

              1. aebhel*

                This is true, and I think it also helps to remember that *most* of us are oblivious from time to time–we just don’t realize it, or realize that other people are annoyed by it, *because* we’re being oblivious at the moment. It’s human nature.

                1. Boop*

                  This kind of mentality has definitely helped me forgive myself and others, especially during rush hour! Saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, too.

              2. emmelemm*

                Right – we all have our own tunnel vision sometimes, and we *don’t even know it*. Because we can’t see outside of it, you see. :)

        4. SigneL*

          Just a general thought: this kind of anger takes a great deal of energy. Could you try to redirect this energy? (and, really, people aren’t out to get you.)

            1. SomebodyElse*

              Me too… honestly I got amp’d up just reading it and then the exhaustion hit.

              I’ve worked with and known socially people like the OP, it is exhausting and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The OP will start to get frozen out, left out, intentionally overlooked and sidestepped, because nobody wants to deal with the reactions.

              I am not a jump to councilling kind of advice giver, but this is one the rare times that I think the OP needs to get a handle on their emotions, reactions, and POV before they do irreparable harm to their career and most importantly life.

          1. Amy Sly*

            Paranoia goes hand in hand with narcissism. People aren’t out to get you; you just don’t matter that much.

            1. Quill*

              Social paranoia can also go with rejection sensitive dysphoria… Haven’t read enough to know if it’s its own thing or if it’s just a common symptom of growing up neurodivergent and being rejected from social groups in childhood for reasons that you don’t at the time comprehend often enough that your brain seizes on things like hawaiian rolls as “of course! This is what I need to look out for when anticipating my inevitable rejection!”

              1. Amy Sly*

                True. Narcissism is probably not the right word with its connotations of self-love. Solipsism, maybe? But paranoia does come out of thinking that you’re more important to other people than you really are.

                I dealt with social rejection, and I distinctly remember trying to divide my middle school classmates into “friends” and “enemies,” when the fact was that most of my “enemies” didn’t care. (Like Wil Wheaton advising Brent Spiner on Big Bang Theory that being Sheldon’s mortal enemy didn’t take time out of your day.)

                1. DJ*

                  Yes, I’ve dealt with that line of thinking before (“of course no one wants to be friends because I’m so awful, annoying, etc.”) and when I finally realized that it was just as self-centered as assuming that everyone must think I’m awesome, it made it way easier for me to redirect myself when I head down that road. I think OP2 could really benefit from talking to someone about their anger and paranoia because life is seriously so so so much better when you let go of that and just assume that other people’s behaviors are rarely ever about you.

                2. Ra94*

                  Honestly, it can be either- two different mindsets leading to the same paranoid result. A narcissist would be outraged because they are the most important part of everyone’s lives, and if people aren’t waiting with bated breath for their potluck dish and discussing them in every meeting, they’re disrespecting them. Someone used to social rejection would interpret every tiny incident as proof of their already assumed theory that everyone hates them.

              2. Dust Bunny*

                Oh, my god, I never connected all of that until now. I’m on the spectrum and this very much described me for most of my life. It’s gotten a lot better with age and, I guess, temporal distance from middle school.

              3. Zillah*

                I think it’s probably some of both – Emotional dysregulation/rejection sensitivity is a huge issue for a lot of people with ADHD, many of whom (including me) haven’t really faced a degree of broad social rejection that would explain that.

            2. Only me*

              “You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” David Foster Wallace

              1. thestik*

                I’ve been to a few happy hours that end up proving the opposite, at least for my team. Then again, when business and IT intersect there seems to be some blurring of personal/professional boundaries.

            3. Robbenmel*

              Put another way: People would worry a lot less about what others think of them if they only realized how seldom other people think of them.

            4. MOAS*

              “People aren’t out to get you; you just don’t matter that much.”

              I know this might get buried in the 900+ comments as i’m reading this…but HOLY CRAP.

              Should I be scared I could sympathize? I’ve found myself spiralling into the “their behavior is outrageous!” when it was more benign…but my first instinct is to check myself and ask here if I’m being unreasonable. It was a real huge shift in mindset when I realized that no one is noticing me. I think this stemmed from when I was a kid that no matter what I did my parent & sibling would point out “everyone is looking at you, you did this bad”

              Unfortunate side effect of that has been that when people really DID transgress against me (my report screaming at me in front of everyone, ….I second guessed myself and let them go.

              1. Amy Sly*

                Most of the advice I give is based on what I’ve had to have hammered into myself on the anvil of life. :)

                Life is an awful lot like that scene in the beginning of “Jurassic Park”:
                “You shouldn’t use my name.”
                “Dodgson, we’ve got Dodgson here. *beat* See, no one cares.”

              2. tangerineRose*

                “when people really DID transgress against me (my report screaming at me in front of everyone, ….I second guessed myself and let them go.”

                I think a lot of people would freeze when this happened.

          2. wittyrepartee*

            Yeah, this was my reaction too. Spend that energy on like- 3 hobbies. Think of the number of hats you could knit with that kind of passion!

          3. Veronica*

            (and, really, people aren’t out to get you.)
            Yes, this helped me when I was young. Realizing most people are not my father and were not out to get me. What a huge relief and lifting of burden!

        5. Kelly AF*

          I’m making a wild guess, but I would bet that this LW’s life is full of this kind of drama, and that s/he doesn’t have a lot of stable relationships.

          1. Hummus*

            It makes me rather curious why they are at this new job, and if their old job was this “disrespectful.”

        6. HoHumDrum*

          Hey OP, if you’re reading this: maybe think about whether you’re feeling some anxiety over this new position.

          Sometimes my anxiety manifests as paranoia about others’ intentions in social situations and/or anger at what I perceive, and for me knowing that it’s just my crazy brain trying to protect me from the perceived threat of a new environment makes it easier for me to slow my roll a bit and give others the benefit of the doubt. Being a person with anxiety I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that what I feel often doesn’t match up with reality, and if I’m feeling stressed I know that means I probably can’t trust my reactions/immediate emotions. If you think that might be you, there are methods and strategies you can use to try to be able to approach new situations with less hostility and paranoia.

        7. BigLo*

          This is going to be an unnecessarily charitable reading of OP2, but I read through the lines that maybe she expected her new coworkers to be a lot more celebratory of her start date and it’s snowballed into this extreme overreaction. Especially if you’re new to the work world (although nothing here indicates she is other than perhaps general immaturity in the letter), it can feel really disappointing when you’re expecting a grand introduction, lots of attention, and a warm welcome on your first day and it’s instead business as usual for everyone but you.

          I think OP2 would REALLY REALLY benefit from reading through a ton of posts on this very blog to get a better idea of whether her expectations at work are reasonable. Hit that “show me a random post” button and learn!!!!

        8. It's mce*

          I agree. At my first real world job, I walked into the office and was immediately stopped by staffers. They didn’t know who I was. Things happen and you have to learn to recognize what really matters and what doesn’t.

      3. Kimmybear*

        Agreed. I would have rephrased Allison’s response as, “You are wildly overreacting, and it’s very likely that you are going to get *yourself* fired from this job.” Everything in the letter comes across as blaming others so the feedback needs to be clear that this is the OP’s doing. I wonder if the OP submitted this as an “I need to get this off my chest rant” rather than as a serious, thought out letter.

            1. JessaB*

              The internet does that, you can read it and memorise it but it won’t show up til someone else points it out. it’s like the thing you wanted was invisible before then.

          1. Perpal*

            I know; we aren’t supposed to question legitimacy of letters but perhaps in this case it’s helpful for OP to see how exaggerated their reactions seem; my first question was “are you for real OP2???”

            1. Traffic_Spiral*

              Yeah. On the one hand I *have* on occasion seen people go this nuts – but I always assumed there was something else going on and like, the other hussy that brought the same dish is banging the first woman’s husband, or the person’s parent just died… or something else incredibly significant and the spat over the rolls or introduction-level thing was just the trigger.

              But here… like… nope. It’s just really about some rolls and forgetting that someone wasn’t new.

              1. MatKnifeNinja*

                I personal worked with someone who would go this crackers over…

                People picking “her” baby name.

                Taking “her” wedding date.

                Making her artichoke dip.

                By a car in the same shade of blue as hers.

                I have a relative who can take any action as DISRESPECT and amp it up to Henry VIII level of fury. Anything you do, you can’t win. Say hello. You are patronizing him. Don’t say hello. Disrespect. He’s an unhappy rage head, who will be dead in 5 years from the malignant stress he cause on his body.

                No…there are actual people running around like LW.

              2. Diahann Carroll*

                I don’t think it’s just about the rolls or introduction, though. Maybe I’m being naive, but it sounds like OP may have come from another work environment where people were out to screw one another, so she’s now carrying that paranoia and bitterness over to this new job.

                1. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                  This also occurred to me. Looking back at when I was just a pup in the work world, I now see that incidents I laughed off as jokes were NOT jokes at all, they were slams and insults, or things that happened weren’t unfortunate little accidents, they truly were slights. But I just couldn’t conceive that someone who said that really did mean it the way it sounded, so I didn’t defend myself and became a real target.

                  That having been said, not every coworker and not every job is like that so you do have to learn not to drag the bad stuff with you from place to place.

        1. Baba Wawa*

          That’s exactly how I read it as well. It sounds like OP doesn’t yet feel welcome at their new company and these perceived slights possibly feel greater than they are because of that.

          It sort of reminds me of the character Andrea in The Devil Wears Prada. It took her a moment to realize that “business isn’t fair”, but it isn’t personal either. People are just so wrapped up in their own stuff that these things happen. Making yourself shine by being a great employee will get you noticed, for the right reasons.

        2. MissM*

          I could see it as venting up until the point where they think that stalking out of the potluck was going to make a statement (and presumably change *something*), but most people would just think this person is a little socially awkward for not staying for lunch.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I remember storming off to my room when I was 5 and thinking my mom would come look for me and apologize, and she never did. I still get overly angry over non-slights sometimes, and it is usually helpful to pretend you are telling someone why you’re so angry and offended because it becomes obvious that YOU ARE overreacting and “they” didn’t do anything to you. However, that’s what the OP did in writing to AAM, and they still hit send, so I don’t know if they can be easily helped to reframe the issue.

          2. aebhel*

            Yeah, that struck me as odd. I don’t usually hang around for potlucks for more than a few minutes–both because I’m frequently very busy, and because I have some weird hangups about eating in front of other people. It would never occur to me to interpret this as a statement unless LW actually made a big fuss about it.

          3. Jessen*

            Yeah that struck me as well. I actually think this could be recoverable, just because it might actually not be that noticeable. If I were giving advice (and I am of courses not Alison), I’d probably tell the LW to make some generic noises about new job jitters and keep their head down. And as other people mentioned, consider talking to a therapist about anxiety, or at least considering whether they are possibly having issues with their own anxiety.

            I feel a bit sympathetic, just because my first thought was that LW sounds like they have a very bad case of jerkbrain.

      4. Mazzy*

        It is weird to be skipped over at the introduction part of a meeting.

        They were embarrassed that their new employees they were trying to impress will think that they got cheap and lazy with the potluck item they promised to visit

        These are pretty normal reactions and I’m not sure why everyone is acting like they wouldn’t notice them if they were new to a job.

          1. That's a No from Me*

            If you are not the LW and you think those were normal reactions, that means there are at least two people in the world who believe it’s “normal” to become enraged at something as minor as someone else bringing buns to a potluck because of what people might “think” about the new employee.

            Exactly zero co-workers in a normal workplace would give any thought whatsoever to the quality of the buns brought by a co-worker to a potluck. Who even pays attention to which person brought which item? Anyone who doesn’t like the quality of the buns won’t eat them!

            Just read through the rest of these comments to see how most people respond to this letter.

            1. ConfusedKiwi*

              I mean, I can be too much of a rule-player sometimes and can see a world where I’d get slightly annoyed that someone brought something to a co-ordinated potluck* that I’d said I’d bring. And especially if I was new and trying to ingratiate myself, and I thought new colleagues would think I brought the “ass rolls” because I’d worry what they’d think.

              BUT I would only be slightly annoyed, not raging. Just playing devil’s advocate a little as an uptight foodie who does pay attention to what’s on offer at these types of things.

              *If it’s co-ordinated, it’s not a potluck. See, told you I’m a rule-follower!

              1. londonedit*

                I could see myself being annoyed if I’d made a point of telling people that I was going to make a particular dish – like, if I told everyone I was really proud of my Victoria sponge cake and I really wanted my new colleagues to try it at the potluck – and then someone else, who knew what I’d been planning to make, showed up with a homemade Victoria sponge. Because *that* would feel like one-upmanship, and it would feel insulting. However, that’s not the scenario here, and ‘Oh, someone else brought rolls too’ is mildly annoying, not hugely upsetting to OP2’s level of upset.

                1. CupcakeCounter*

                  This I can see but I also don’t think my feelings would be rage and insult. I would probably cry in the bathroom because “they were mean to me”.

                2. Allonge*

                  And honestly, even this can be a complete accident. I know several people who are… absent-minded enough that if someone else were to go around saying they will bring homemade Victoria sponge cake to the potluck, all the information they retained would be that sponge cake = good potluck contribution. And would be 1000% shocked if they caused upset with it (somewhat reasonably).

              2. Lady Blerd*

                Knowing myself, I would be annoyed especially if it’s something I made from scratch. But I have enough sense to know that no one else but myself will care. I will send an angry DM to a friend of mine who will likely cosign and I will move on.

              3. Fish girl*

                I have been unnecessarily enraged about dumb stuff at jobs before (including potlucks), but that also coincided with a) being at the job for a long enough time that many minor incidents added up to rage and b) having other issues with the job/coworkers that made it harder to take the dumb stuff. If LW had been at this job for a few years and had a similar extreme reaction to the rolls incident, it would make a lot more sense to me. It would be much easier to see that the rolls weren’t the real problem, but was just a stand-in for what actually was going on.

                Like this: “Jane always tries to do my work for me before I get a chance to. And she does a shoddy job too, which makes me look bad. I have to spend time fixing it and explaining to my boss why it wasn’t done right in the first place. Then, she dared to bring the same item to a potluck as me and it tasted terrible! Everyone is going to think that I brought the terrible dish, since I was the one who signed up for it, but it was Jane! This is the last straw!”

                If that was the letter, it would be easy to see that the potluck wasn’t the issue and that’s not what the LW should’ve been focusing on. Maybe there’s something like that going on in the background, but since she’s brand new, it seems less likely. Another possibility is that she just LEFT a job like that and is having a hard time adjusting to the fact that her dysfunctional workplace left her with poor coping mechanisms. 3 years after leaving my bad workplace and I still need to remind myself that CURRENT BOSS isn’t OLD BOSS and I don’t need to come to every meeting prepared for a fight.

                1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

                  Yeah, I worked somewhere where slights like this were intentional/systemic and they actually DID mean something. But most people had to work there for awhile before they picked up on the dynamic and realized what was unintentional or someone who’s just a jerk to everyone and what was part of the systemic pattern of disrespect.

                2. PeanutButter*

                  That Girl from Quinns House – I worked at a place like that too! Fortunately being utterly oblivious to attempted petty slights and oneupsmanship was basically the best response and the people I’ve kept in touch with from there have told me that watching the snakes try and utterly fail to insult me was one of the bright spots about that job.

                  Story time: I’m proud of my baking, and compete and win fairly regularly in small local competitions (grange fairs, etc). I signed up to bring in a pumpkin pie for a holiday potluck and so of course the main group who was (apparently) trying to torment me also brought in pumpkin pies. I was SO EXCITED and had a blast trying all of their pies and guessing at the exact blend of spices, comparing one lady’s vodka crust with another’s graham cracker crust, wanting to know how they kept custards from cracking, bottoms from getting soggy, etc. It turned into a custard pie miniclinic bc when you get me talking about a hobby I can go foreveeeeeeeer. My supervisor at that job later said she’d overheard them planning to bring pumpkin pies to “show [me] up” (??????) but she didn’t say anything because she knew me and knew it would blow up in their faces.

                3. Super*

                  @Peanut Butter what a delightful story. I’m grinning imagining your obliviously ruining their mean fun.

              4. Jamie*

                They didn’t bring the same thing, though. Hawaiian rolls are significantly different that it’s a totally legit thing to bring the plain option if you prefer that and want a roll with lunch.

                1. Clisby*

                  I don’t even see getting mad that somebody else brought Hawaiian rolls, but getting mad over someone bringing a completely different type of roll is just plain nuts. For all we know, person #2 looked at the signup sheet, saw that the only rolls listed were Hawaiian rolls, realized that (news flash!) plenty of people don’t like Hawaiian rolls, and decided to bring an alternative.

              5. My Highnessness*

                I’m an uptight foodie too, but if someone else brought the same as me, I’d say ha ha, bring it on suckers, let’s see which one runs out first!

            2. Mazzy*

              I’ve seen so many ridiculous things in the work place in my career. Your reaction and some of the other reactions are far way out of balance with what the OP actually said. I’m not getting how everyone is agreeing that this OP is so far out there. Again, it’s not about judging what is normal or not normal, it’s the fact that I’ve seen so so many unreasonable or entitled things said or done in the real world that didn’t elicit any sort of response from people, so this OP getting such a reaction here seems way out of balance

              1. MsM*

                It’s not just what OP said, it’s the vehemence with which they’re saying it, and the fact that at no point during the process of writing this account up did it apparently occur to them that they might be overreacting. They don’t even seem to have a question or be looking for advice; they’re just venting in the apparent expectation that everyone will agree with them, when they’re coming across like a child in need of a nap.

                1. El*

                  +1. I’ve been reading this blog faithfully for years and I’ve never seen someone write in with so many exclamation points and so much profanity (and profanity doesn’t bother me; I curse like a sailor in everyday life … would probably not do so if writing in to Alison).

              2. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

                Hi Mazzy. I can see that you have a different perspective on this so I will try to explain how I see it.

                OP perceives what has happened as a personal slight – however most commenters agree that what happened was not directed at her, and could easily happen simply because people are busy, distracted, human, even thoughtless.

                She is is reacting in a way that most people would find petulant, excessive and unprofessional. Storming off / refusing to participate in future work activities is not an adult or professional way to respond to even a genuine slight by an individual colleague.

                Storming off because she was extremely upset in the moment would indicate a worrying lack of emotional control, but the fact that she thinks this is appropriate is even more of a concern, as she will continue to behave this way rather than working on developing control and perspective.

                Personally, I would not want to manage or work with someone who freaked out because someone else brought rolls to a company potluck. Who knows what other minor incident could trigger a meltdown? If someone uses her mug by mistake, someone sits at her desk and moves her keyboard over a couple of inches, someone borrows a pen without asking, someone forgets to invite her to a meeting, she (and any employee) would be expected to deal with in a constructive and professional way.

                1. boo bot*

                  I’m actually kind of curious how this all appeared to everyone else who was present, because I think it’s possible that all the anger that people are reacting to here was not apparent to the people at work.

                  She wrote, “instead of eating with everyone, I got up and went to work while everyone else ate,” which could indeed mean storming out – but it could also mean she just… went back to work. When she got skipped in the meeting, she says, ” I sat there with a smile on my face and pretended I wasn’t upset.”

                  Certainly, I might be misreading, but it sounds to me more like she’s internalizing these things, *feeling* really angry, expressing that anger in her letter, but hiding her anger at work – if that’s the case, I see Mazzy’s point; she’s not really doing anything wrong.

                  That said, this all sounds exhausting and demoralizing, and I think it would probably be super helpful to find ways to express anger in a healthy way, for the letter writer’s own sake.

              3. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

                Well, to my surprise, someone who didn’t put their name on the list brought cheap ass rolls! I don’t know who did it, nor do I care! Well, I did care because to me that was the first slap in the face to welcome me aboard!
                OP neglected to mention that the meeting and potluck were to welcome them aboard – so let’s take a leap and assume that was the reason for the potluck at least. “Cheap ass rolls” is a slap in the face to welcome them aboard? So OP comes across as a bit entitled or has an overinflated sense of importance because bringing in a *different kind of roll* to the one OP brought and is somehow someone disrespecting me over bringing rolls which I said I would bring – that’s taking it WAY too personally for a pot luck. Besides, unless you’re putting your name on what you brought in (look at my contribution and give me plaudits), who even knows or cares?

                Was I wrong to walk out of the potluck and go straight to work? I think that makes a statement as far as I was concerned because I’m not going to hang around fake ass people “Fake ass people” – that’s a whole lot of asses going on here – unless OP works in a donkey sanctuary, this is a lot of venting that is over the top, especially first month in.

                I read what OP was saying – I read it three times in an attempt to understand just what was going on. In the end, I came to the same conclusion as AAM and most of the commentariat so far – this was an overreaction and OP needs to wind their neck in. I’m not sure what else you read into this that has you leaping to their defense?

                1. Traffic_Spiral*

                  Also “cheap-ass rolls?” Why do I have a feeling that the price difference between the rolls is like… $5 or something insignificant?

                2. Elizabeth*

                  Another sign this is an overreaction:

                  ONE coworker brought rolls, causing OP to State she didn’t want to “hang around fake ass people”.

                  She is taking a perceived slight done by one person and applying it universally to the whole group. That seems rather extreme even if the slight had been intentional!

                3. Astrid*

                  (off-topic, but I’ve never seen the word ‘plaudit’ before, and I love it. Thank you for teaching me a new word today! :D )

                4. AnotherAlison*

                  This was such a weird reaction. Perhaps the other person doesn’t like hawaiian rolls and brought other rolls because they do enjoy having a roll with their meal, but not one they don’t like. Or, they just had to grab something they already had at home rather than go to the store, and that’s what they had. So many possibilities.

                  As far as the intros, we do this in our department meeting each month and sometimes people were added the month before they start (like they start on Tuesday and the meeting is Monday before), then not added the first month they are actually there. We also miss people’s birthday’s and anniversary announcements in the monthly list. Sh*t happens. It’s not peronal.

                5. MtnLaurel*

                  Also, people expected to work with (aka “hang out with”) all sorts of unpleasant people, be they fake, mean or whatever. And to make a reasonable attempt at getting along. This is why they pay us to work.

                6. Jamie*

                  unless OP works in a donkey sanctuary

                  You are responsible for laughter and the resulting coffee spill of a stranger in an random office somewhere in the Midwest. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

                7. Dusty Bunny*

                  The “fake ass people” comment reminded me of the thread “what do you need to know when you’re new to white collar work” from earlier this year. It included comments where people came from blue collar backgrounds where they feared coming across as fake, or viewing their new coworkers as fake, and I found that interesting. “Fake” as opposed to what? Being new at job and learning as you go? Making statements or decisions based on the information available at the time, but needing to change course as more evidence becomes available? Sometimes people are just forgetful, kind of dumb or lazy?

                  OP # 2 seems to be assigning a lot of malicious intent to everyone at work. OK, so don’t be a doormat, but also don’t come out with your dukes up, ready for a fight at all times. I also moved from a more blue collar background to white collar work, and had to learn that most people are doing the best they can. And yes, some people are running their own agenda, and some like to stir up trouble, but by and large, we’re all working toward the same goal in my team. It’s not a battle of mortal enemies in the land of cubicles.

                8. BeckySuz*

                  I’m so confused. Honestly to me Hawaiian rolls are also cheap? In the sense that all mass produced store bought rolls would be? It’s all just bread? Not only is the anger about this absolutely irrational, but the language the OP used confuses me. “Cheap ass bread” “fake ass people”. Like has this person never worked in a professional office before? Is this person actually a high schooler sneaking into an office job? They sound so immature. Who’s this mad about rolls??!?

                9. My Highnessness*

                  I did not think the potluck was specifically in OP’s honor. If it had been, she wouldn’t have been expected to bring anything. I read this more as this was OP’s first potluck with these people, and she expected special treatment for that reason, and then some evil roll-buying schnook spoiled it (not realizing that OP would make this about herself).

                10. Gazebo Slayer*

                  @DustyBunny and BeckySuz – the idea of “fake people” is just weird and horribly immature to me. It tells me someone has a degree of solipsism like that XKCD where several people get on a subway car and they’re all thinking “I’m the only conscious human in a world of sheep!” Either that, or that they see any kind of constraint on their behavior or filter between their mouth and brain as “fake” when really it’s called “not being an asshole with atrocious social skills.”

                11. Who Plays Backgammon?*

                  Overreaction, sure–but maybe something more? I’m wondering if OP comes from a place/background where this kind of language and judgment of people is usual? Am I off the mark?

                12. CC*

                  Mrs. Frizzle
                  “Asses and Donkeys Trust? Anyone?”

                  *high five*

                  Do you think Belinda knows that Hawaiian rolls make excellent turkey sandwiches? :D

              4. Lance*

                Just because there are many unreasonable people and occurrences out there that may not get much attention, doesn’t mean we should normalize it. OP’s reactions are outright extreme; walking out of a pot luck at the mere sight of something related to what they said they’d bring, perceiving her name being missed on the slide (which, yes, isn’t great on the presenter) as ‘they don’t want me there’… and then we get to the extreme language. Calling everything a slap in the face, calling the presenter a jackass, calling her co-workers cheap-ass people.

                That’s way too much anger to be placing on such small things.

                1. Ms. Ann Thropy*

                  My first thought was to question whether the letter was real, it then I thought of individuals I know who go around in a general rage, and I think it may be real. I say to OP2, in all sincerity, please understand that your anger is disproportionate and unhealthy, and seek the help of a good therapist. It is possible for you to have a much happier life than you currently do. I wish you good luck.

              5. Lady Blerd*

                People are also reacting to the tone of the letter, not just the incident. Had she calmly explained the situation, commenters would probably be more sympathetic to her even if they still believed she’s in the wrong. I’m petty enough to feel slighted like OP has but as I wrote above, I also have enough self awareness to realize that’s not a normal reaction to what happened.

                1. Question Mark*

                  Right. And she’s now planning to boycott the Secret Santa after storming out on lunch. Not sure why anyone is defending her behavior here….

                2. SomebodyElse*

                  To be fair… no, I don’t think so. They’re rolls. Rolls are something to get mildly annoyed at, hurmphh and get on with life. I’d side eye anyone who expended the level of effort the OP has to keep the slight alive.

                  As for the meeting, again, it’s a momentary thing to be overlooked. The OP’s name was listed, and they guy skipped a line in reading it. The OP was so enraged at the roll thing that it followed them into the meeting.

                  Short of writing the OP as a self-deprecating funny story, I’m going to be firmly in camp overreaction.

              6. Archaeopteryx*

                It’s not just the fact that OP felt bad about the rolls and the PowerPoint Internet – they write this entire letter as though they go through life perpetually unhinged and convinced that everyone is out to get them. It’s not even just the nuclear overreaction, it’s the warped thought process they evince when describing what upset them.

              7. aebhel*

                The level of fury in the OP is super not normal and it’s really likely to get her fired if she keeps it up.

                The reason the OP is getting such a reaction is that *she doesn’t seem to realize* how disconnected from reality and the norm her reaction is.

              8. Senor Montoya*

                Really? OP said: “cheap ass rolls” “slap in the face” (that’s referring to the rolls)
                “Jackass” (that’s the manager doing the ppt at the meeting)
                “pretended I wasn’t upset” “that was another slap in the face! I mean, if you don’t want me working for you, then just say so!”
                “I’m not going to hang around fake ass people” “They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!”

                I think the reaction the OP is getting is right on target.

          2. Allypopx*

            These are not normal reactions. A little miffed, sure. Writing to an advice column about the unbelievable abuse you’re experiencing over what are – at absolute worst – very slight social faux pas? No.

          3. Oxford Comma*

            While I think it’s understandable that one would be put off by being skipped over in introductions of new employees at a meeting, to call it “a slap in the face” and to be upset by “the jackass” is already harsh. It’s awkward and weird, but hardly “a slap in the face.”

            And then the reactions to the potluck are over the top as well. Potlucks by their very name and character are usually chancy affairs. Everyone might pull their respective acts together and bring in something delicious and safe to eat or you get what the OP did. Someone didn’t read the sheet and brought in a package of rolls when she had already signed up to do it. That suggests that not everyone is on their A game when it comes to potlucks, but to jump it being a personal slight and to leave the group who are eating is extreme. If it’s because they think everyone will think they were the ones to buy the cheap rolls, that’s easy to fix, “Glad you’re trying the Hawaiian rolls. I love them and decided to bring in some for the potluck.”

            Maybe if these were all paired with other more substantial issues/red flags, these would be understandable, but a package of “cheap ass rolls” is not a hill for anyone to die on.

        1. Scarlet2*

          It is weird, but it doesn’t warrant the level of anger being displayed here and it’s probably just a stupid mistake. But honestly, I think the initial reaction to the rolls thing is not just completely out of proportion but frankly bizarre. Who gets outraged that someone else brought the same thing to a potluck and then makes a point to leave in a huff and go back to work instead of sharing food with their colleagues?

          1. That's a Yes from Me*

            I agree. I really wonder what is going on with LW2 and if she has never had anything go seriously wrong in life yet. To become enraged and behave that way over the rolls thing is incredible.

            1. Humble Schoolmarm*

              Well, it could be a really sheltered person, but some of my worst professional interactions come from kids who have dealt with much worse in their past and yet “6 boxes of candy isn’t an appropriate snack for class. Please put it in your locker” causes a meltdown.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                This. When I think of the person in my life who walked off several jobs because of imagined insults, he had a terrible childhood and came from a line of angry, abusive men. I think if you grow up in that environment, you’re on constant defense. . .even when you don’t need to be because it’s ROLLS.

              1. Mia*

                Yeah, this is what I figured. The only people I know with a chip on their shoulder about “respect” have had a pretty rough go of it and are just kinda always a little angry.

            2. Atalanta0jess*

              Anyone I’ve ever met who had characteristics like this (and I’ve met a good handful, given I work in mental health) is the exact opposite of what you’ve described. They have had lots go seriously wrong. They have very good reasons to feel like the world is hostile. And yes, that feeling is misapplied, it guides them down wrong paths, and encourages them to act in really unhelpful ways. But it doesn’t come from no where, or from privilege. It comes from hurt.

          2. thatoneoverthere*

            Agreed. I am not trying to be Armchair Doc, but OP I would highly suggest therapy. It sounds like you may need coping skills to try to get through, anxieties you face at work.

        2. Ego Chamber*

          “They were embarrassed that their new employer and coworkers they were trying to impress will think that they got cheap and lazy with the potluck item they promised to visit”

          Hang on. Are you implying that the cheap ass rolls were an attempted act of sabotage against LW2? That’s a reading that makes their reaction a little more understandable, but it also sounds even more ridiculous to me than some rando just ducking in with the first thing they found at the store because they forgot about the pot luck until the day of.

            1. valentine*

              Are you implying that the cheap ass rolls were an attempted act of sabotage against LW2?
              I think OP2 saw it as (if most people don’t know who brought the other rolls) sabotage or (if most people know) one-upmanship (somehow). Definitely as an eclipsing, like the meeting. So, for Secret Santa, I’m thinking the fear is they bring a great gift but get literal trash or they spend the required $50 and see $5 or reused gifts as calling them out.

              1. Mazzy*

                Am I implying sabotage? What!! Why are all the commenters so extreme today! Nothing made you even think that

                1. Allypopx*

                  Not sabotage, but that the OP might take it as sabotage, which isn’t an unreasonable read given the tone. I don’t think the comments are that extreme today, I think they are critical of this LW and you are being a little bit reactive, so the combination is making it feel extreme.

            2. snowglobe*

              I don’t necessarily think Mazzy was suggesting sabotage, but that the LW might have hoped to impress with the Hawaiian rolls, and was embarrassed that their co-workers would think *they* brought the cheap-ass rolls.

              1. Joielle*

                Huh. I guess I could MAYBE see this if OP lovingly handmade dozens of fancy rolls, and then someone else bought cheap rolls and tossed them all in the same bread basket or something… but these are two types of store-bought rolls. I just cannot imagine thinking that one type of store-bought rolls is significantly more impressive than another, AND that a coworker was trying to intentionally damage OP’s reputation by bringing in a less impressive type of store-bought roll?? OP calls it “disrespect” and “a slap in the face” so it sounds like they do think it was an intentional slight against them.

                This is absolutely wild, and if I were OP’s manager I would be looking to fire them quickly, TBH. This attitude is one of the worst to have in a coworker – drama reduces morale for everyone and makes the workplace tense and miserable for absolutely no reason.

                1. soon 2be former fed*

                  I think OP came from a dysfunctional work environment where perhaps she was genuinely disrespected and mistreated. These environments can be horribly damaging. Like an animal who had a bad owner, she is fearful and conditioned to see what may not be there in the new environment. A thicker skin is warranted, or she will create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody will want to work with anyone this defensive and lacking in perspective.

                2. SusanIvanova*

                  They’re like napkins: somebody needs to bring them because you miss them if you don’t have them, but it’s barely a blip on the effort meter.

          1. AA*

            There’s no implication of deliberate sabotage there. I do think it is slightly understandable to be embarrassed that it could LOOK like you cheaped out. The appropriate reaction was not… this, though.

              1. SomebodyElse*

                You mean the commercials have lied to me?!?

                **slinks off to quietly remove hawaiian rolls from my gift registries and christmas list**

          2. T2*

            Hmm. Using bread rolls as a tool to undermine someone…. that’s new.

            I got to say that if they really were out to get you with this grand scheme of public humiliation, you have to admire the fact that they perfectly guess your thin skinned reaction and just happened to pick the perfect weapon to do their foul deeds. It is truly a remarkable display of foresight.

            This is complete sarcasm. I think LW2 might not know the difference.

          3. Jenny*

            No one cares that much about rolls at a potluck. No one would judge someone for store bought rolls at a potluck. That’s crazy.

            1. Foodie*

              The person who brings a homemade dessert gets attention. The person who brings the really expensive entree gets attention. You brought…bread. It may have been really good bread. But almost no one notices the bread. And since many people don’t like sweet bread…or are gluten free…or don’t eat carbs, they won’t care that you brought Hawaiian roles that cost $1 more than normal bread.

              Sorry, OP2. Your outrage is yours only. The only one who looks bad is you.

              1. Jamie*

                The person who brings a homemade dessert gets attention.

                I see word of my cookies decorated to look like ‘weird stuff I do potoo’ from my last potluck has gotten around.

                Fwiw if someone had bought a bag of Chips Ahoy it would never occur to me to care.

                1. Quill*

                  I made gingerbread scientists with bad aseptic technique for a microbio lab cookie exchange a few years ago…

                  People were a tiny bit hesitant to eat them. Probably because the spills of sprinkles down the sides of their lab coats made us all think about our jobs.

            2. Gazebo Slayer*

              Yeah, I would never even notice who brought or was supposed to bring rolls! And if there were two different types of rolls, all the better.

              1. MCMonkeyBean*

                Yes I never know who brought what to a potluck unless someone is actively going around like “try the meatballs I brought in!” or if there are cookies or something I really loved I might ask around to find out who brought them so I could get the recipe. There is no way I would know who brought in rolls, and also *these are two different types of rolls and having them both at the potluck is completely valid!!!!*

                1. iglwif*

                  I have never been to a potluck, work or otherwise, that didn’t include at least two (and usually more) duplicated items. There’s just not that many dishes that meet all the potluck criteria (reasonably easy to make for a crowd, can be transported by bus/subway in reasonable safety, can be safely eaten by most of the people who will be there, will be enjoyed by most of the people who will be there, doesn’t require prep facilities that the venue doesn’t have, doesn’t break the bank for ingredients), someone’s going to duplicate and 8 times out of 10, nobody is paying attention to who brought what.

                  Exception: if you once bring chocolate cheesecake to the December office potluck, then you will spend every subsequent November being asked if you will be bringing that again this year XD

            3. strudel*

              “No one would judge someone for store bought rolls at a potluck”? I don’t know. Potlucks can be weirdly political/touchy in dysfunctional environments. At Old Job, there was a co-worker who got upset that people brought store-made items to his potluck. So he threw another potluck and created rules– you were supposed to join an affinity group with other co-workers to make a dish together, NO chips and salsa allowed, only one person could bring cookies, if you don’t want to make something you should donate cash instead of buying store-bought items, etc. Needless to say, people were reluctant to sign-up, and the ones who did, didn’t want to follow all the rules. The potluck organizer got upset, and vented his frustrations to me. I gently pointed out that the rules were confusing and might be the reason why people weren’t signing up, and told him how great his first potluck was and how everyone appreciated him. He started yelling at me: “you don’t know what you’re talking about!”

              So, yeah. People are weird… The LW’s letter is definitely an over-the-top reaction and is irrational… but I’ve been in so many dysfunctional environments and seen so much petty passive-aggressiveness that a tiny part of me empathizes because maybe that’s the kind of environment they’re coming from.

          4. Mazzy*

            What? Why would you even think that? Comments are really extreme and going to 0 to 100 today, no one remotely implied any sort of sabotage.

            Also, if you’ve ever worked somewhere that tried potlucks, the second thing you described is something that actually annoys loads of people and not just this OP. My current job and my job around 2008 used to do potlucks and sent out a million notifications and got sick of people still “forgetting” and bringing something low quality no one needed. My current job switched to catering to avoid it. You can’t have a potluck based on paper plates, soda, and all of the other cheap/quick stuff people decide to bring in last minute. Again, it’s not the end of the world, but many people commented on it at both jobs, so I’m not going to act like OP is crazy for pointing out something similar

            1. Alli525*

              “Annoyed” is one thing. OP2 is ENRAGED, and that reaction is wildly out of line with any sort of social norms. I get annoyed extremely easily (I’m a rule-follower with control issues) but these perceived slights, even though they all happened in fairly rapid succession, simply aren’t proportional to OP’s reaction.

            2. NapkinThief*

              Oh slight annoyance would be normal, sure. If it becomes a pattern with a particular person, even more so.

              But to jump to salt-the-earth, I won’t even be in the same room with these people and will passive aggressively punish them all for this one person’s oversight (which I will choose to view as obvious, malicious undermining of my own excellent taste) by removing myself and hoping they all notice my pointed exit – THAT is what everyone is taken aback by.

              I mean, I like Hawaiian rolls as much as the next person. But rolls aren’t exactly the centerpiece of any spread, and it’s not a big deal for two people to bring them.

            3. Parenthetically*

              No one is saying OP is crazy for pointing out something annoying. EVERYONE is saying OP needs to dial back their rage, fury, insults, wild accusations of malicious intent, and general hulking out in the face of a day involving, AT WORST, a couple of annoyances ranging from the mildest imaginable (Roll-gate) to an understandable and potentially flattering mixup (“Oh, I forgot you’re new!”).

              OP is freaking out. Absolutely nothing in the letter is worth the level of anger they are demonstrating.

            4. Joielle*

              I mean, “sabotage” is maybe a strong word, but OP calls it “disrespect” and “a slap in the face,” so apparently they think it was some kind of intentional slight against them. Which is… bananas. Nobody is intentionally trying to damage someone’s reputation by… bringing in another type of roll. It’s absurd, and this level of outrage over something vaguely annoying at best warrants professional attention.

            5. Question Mark*

              And she’s so “enraged” she’s planning to boycott the Secret Santa because she wants nothing to do with her coworkers. Come on!

                1. 'Tis Me*

                  Allypopx, not down with kink shaming but does LW2 have Santa’s permission to consent to that on his behalf? What if Santa has a list of conditions regarding whose ass he is inserted into? What if he’s just not feeling it right now?

            6. Jaydee*

              Annoyed is a quick post-potluck gripe with a friend about how, ugh, some people don’t realize you sign up for what to bring for a *reason* and don’t just show up, last-minute, with a cheap ass version of what someone else signed up to bring. That is the ordinary, mild office drama that, as long as it stays at that level, provides an enjoyable seasoning to the stew of workplace life.

              LW2’s reaction is not annoyance. LW2 is taking this ordinary aspect of potluck organization and seeing it as somehow a direct attack on her. As if the coworker’s motivation in bringing the cheap ass rolls was to disrespect her. I don’t know why the coworker brought the cheap ass rolls. Could have been what they always bring. Could have been all they can afford. Could have been laziness at not looking at the sign-up. They could have forgotten about the potluck and run to the store on their way to work that morning and grabbed the first thing they saw that looked appropriate. But I can guarantee they weren’t thinking about LW2 at all.

              LW2 has been at this job for a MONTH and is already well down the path to seeing a full-fledged conspiracy on the part of her co-workers and supervisors to disrespect her. Even in a really toxic workplace, that’s awfully fast to coordinate such an attack on a new colleague.

              I suspect there is something in LW2’s past (bad previous workplace? family dynamics? past experience of bullying? past experience of bias and microaggressions?) that has led her to quickly interpret these slights as something so much bigger. I think she really needs to unpack all that, ideally with the help of a counselor, therapist, or other neutral party, to figure out a way to dial her responses back down before they impact her ability to keep a job.

            7. soon 2be former fed*

              You are being willfully ignorant here. OPs angry rant was over the top. Have you done something like this? There’s really no defense.

              1. Super*

                Yup. No way LW2 would be able to resist getting pulled into this comment board, and apparently she’s going by Mazzy.

            8. Lara*

              It sounds like while someone didn’t sign up (frustrating) they brought a very needed item though so it all worked out for the best (except to OP’s mind).

            9. Mia*

              Being annoyed is reasonable, but jumping immediately to “don’t want to hang out with fake ass people” because of one minor annoyance is wildly disproportionate. How do you not see the difference there?

            10. HoHumDrum*

              ….man I’ve always enjoyed potlucks but now I’m thinking that’s because it’s never occurred to me to consider *any* of this.

              Like I always just bring something I personally think is tasty that I can afford (afford in terms of both time and money) to make/buy and I’ve been assuming everyone else is doing the same. I would never in a million years think about who contributed what (beyond like, “Ooh this thing is tasty who brought it??”). The idea that someone is analyzing what I brought in and interpreting malice is so beyond anything I can comprehend that LW’s reaction did read as insanely over the top to me.

              I say all this not to say that I’m right and LW is wrong, but more to illustrate I think why people are having the reaction you’re seeing. I think it goes to the point, never assign malice to what can be dismissed as incompetence, because plenty of offices are filled with dumbdumbs like me who have no idea that potluck dishes could be interpreted negatively. Why jump to the negative conclusion immediately?

              1. Senor Montoya*

                Yep. I do try to find out who made what and make sure to compliment them on it, especially the stuff that’s not getting eaten…I’m not usually a warm fuzzy person but I feel sad for folks who made something from scratch that’s not getting eaten.

            11. somanyquestions*

              How do you keep insisting this is normal? You really think it’s OK for someone to be furious about things that aren’t actually even incidents, just tiny misunderstandings? How could LW ever function in a job that required any kind of flexibility or customer contact or, I mean, even contact with other humans at all?

              LW’s fury is so out of place Alison is very correct, they will find themselves fired quickly, from this and every job they find until they try to figure out what is inside them making them act like this. It isn’t other people, it’s all the LW.

            12. Observer*

              You’ve just shown why people are reacting so strongly to the OP. As you say, this kind of thing is completely common. And it ANNOYING (to use your word). No one sees it as a slight, much less a “slap in the face”, which is the exact language that the OP used.

            13. Katherine*

              Sure, but OP’s not complaining that the potluck sucked as a whole because people brought cheap stuff. She’s complaining about ONE person, making a comparison to what she brought, and taking it EXTREMELY personally (calling it a slap in the face). If OP’s letter was a general commentary on the demise of the office potluck, mazzy, your comment would make sense. As is, it has nothing to do with OP’s letter or the majority of commenters’ reactions to it.

        3. Candice*

          Those are certainly not normal reactions, and the fact that you think they are is troubling (though given your past comments, not entirely surprising).

          Noticing you got skipped in the introductions is not the problem. Acting as if it is a major insult and worthy of torpedoing your career by over-reacting to it is a BIG problem, and if you don’t see that, there is something very wrong with your thinking. You might want to do some introspection on why you don’t see what everyone else is seeing in this situation.

        4. EventPlannerGal*

          No, sorry, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I would not be having a writing-to-an-advice-columnist, “they can stick their potluck up their ass!” meltdown over someone else also bringing rolls. If you believe that you would or that that is normal, all I can suggest is a period of self-reflection and maybe an anger management class.

          1. Mazzy*

            That is some pearl clutching there. I’m surprised that the comments are so extreme today and judgy. No I don’t want around telling everyone what they do is normal or not. And I don’t think Op’s behavior rose to a meltdown yet. and I’ve seen loads of people complaining at jobs that others didn’t contribute appropriately to a potluck or complaining afterwards that they don’t understand how someone forgot about it since there were so many reminders. I’ve seen very chill and relaxed people complain about this as just a logistical issue / can’t have a potluck if all we have is plates and soda and bread. That’s pretty similar to what OP is describing, so no, it’s not ok to make a big jump and start telling them they have anger issues. Maybe there are some shades of grey?

            1. 0 to 100*

              Mazzy, have you… read the letter? Did you not see all of the exclamation points?

              I quote:
              I thought okay, I will keep it simple and get Hawaiian rolls. Well, to my surprise, someone who didn’t put their name on the list brought cheap ass rolls! I don’t know who did it, nor do I care ! Well, I did care because to me that was the first slap in the face to welcome me aboard!

              Does that not seem like an overreaction to you?

              And add this on top:
              Now there is a Secret Santa and I’m not doing it! I don’t want any part of it. They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!

              Still not an overreaction?

              We can all have sympathy for LW1 feeling chagrined that they were skipped over in the powerpoint, but this is a really extreme reaction to jump to.

              1. Allypopx*

                Yeah these are really not shades of grey…the Santa thing may get into 50 shades of grey territory though

              2. Liz T*

                And I’m still not sure what about the rolls issue makes everyone at the office “fake.”

                I’ve been in a situation where an abusive or gaslighting work environment made me more sensitive to perceived slights or snubs in other work environments, and that could well be what’s going on here. But WOW, the connections here don’t even make sense! Did OP think the boss was lying when he gave the “I forgot you were new” situation, or that those words in someway mean, “I wish we hadn’t hired you?” This is all so bizarre.

            2. JG Wave*

              “We can’t have a potluck if people won’t contribute real food” and “contributing bread to a potluck was obviously a personal insult to me and therefore I refuse to associate with this event” are two totally different reactions.

              Other potluck stories have been about coworkers who contribute inedible food, or promise to bring something central to the meal and end up with a tiny side, which actually have a substantial effect on whether people can eat or not. Having two bags of rolls on the table instead of one (when the other person hadn’t even signed up for the potluck, and so wasn’t obligated to bring anything) has absolutely ZERO effect on anyone else, but OP is taking it as a personal attack.

              Yes, it would be embarrassing to have been skipped at a meeting, but the response was natural and friendly, and judging by OP’s response to the potluck thing, it seems like their judgement is skewed. They’ve been at this job a month and are already acting hostile at the idea of being friendly with coworkers on the basis of a minor oversight and a potluck faux pad; that’s not normal.

            3. NapkinThief*

              We’ve all been annoyed by logistics at a potluck, and even seen letters here about resolving those, but these are not garden variety complaints:

              “Well, I did care because to me that was the first slap in the face to welcome me aboard!”
              – taking an overlap in (nonessential side!) dishes as a personal insult (almost as if premeditated to ruin their experience)

              “So instead of eating with everyone, I got up and went to work while everyone else ate.”
              – taking it so personally that they leave the room and isolate themselves rather than enjoying a potluck they were presumably looking forward to

              “he laughs and looks at me and says, “Omg, I didn’t realize you were new!” To me that was another slap in the face! I mean, if you don’t want me working for you, then just say so!”
              – taking “I didn’t realize you were new” (which could also be taken as saying they mesh so well with the team they seem like they’re a long-standing employee) as a sly way of announcing they are unwanted

              “Was I wrong to walk out of the potluck and go straight to work? I think that makes a statement as far as I was concerned because I’m not going to hang around fake ass people.”
              – as a working adult, “making a statement” by storming out of a room….but still presumably not saying anything? Which leads me to
              – The assumption that all the inner workings of their own mind are clear to all and sundry. Who was supposed to notice this? What were they all supposed to do when they noticed OP was gone? What kind of statement do they think is being made here?

              “ They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!”
              – … seems pretty self explanatory

              This person seems massively over-invested in spinning their own (very self-centered, near-paranoid) narrative about minor slights that are resulting in passive aggressive behavior and an increasingly negative & antisocial attitude.

              No one is saying it’s wrong to be annoyed or feel slighted – but the way in which OP describes this situations and their reactions makes me think they are a few steps away from 100% losing it at work because of a simple misunderstanding.

            4. Ain't No Asteroid Coming To Save Your Ass*

              No. Seriously no, OP2’s reaction is bananas ridiculous, and the comments are virtually unanimous in feeling that way for good reason. It’s batty. Cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Insane in the membrane.

            5. Question Mark*

              There was a sign up sheet. It wasn’t going to be just plates, soda and bread. That’s a bit of a reach to suggest it’s the same situation here.

            6. MCMonkeyBean*

              I’m not sure you have a correct understanding of “what pearl clutching is.” Amongst other things…

              1. MCMonkeyBean*

                Man I wish there was an edit button, that was some weird quotation mark placement I just did lol

            7. Former Academic Librarian*

              That’s not pear clutching. The OP wrote into an advice column, complaining about “cheap ass rolls” and “fake ass people”. That’s a really negative, overreaction regarding the situation. Have I gotten annoyed at company potlucks? Sure. Did I complain to my roommate/significant other? Also sure. But I never wrote into to a widely read advice column to whine abut it!

            8. Cube Ninja*

              Respectfully, your spirited defense of OP here gives me serious concern about your reading comprehension.

              It is not in any way shape or form reasonable to get upset that a coworker brought a similar, but less expensive item for a pot luck.

              It is not in any way shape or form reasonable to get upset that you were inadvertently left out of a list of new hires.

              It is not in any way shape or form reasonable to defend OP2 as being within the realm of professional norms. OP really needs to take a hard look at their outlook on *life*, not just in the professional sphere. The type of attitude and entitlement displayed here is something that will make daily life extremely difficult, let alone continued employment.

              Frankly, if this was my employee, it would give me such serious concerns about their judgment and ability to function in an office setting that I would have a conversation about whether or not this role was a good fit for them.

              1. somanyquestions*

                I don’t know how Mazzy thinks it’s normal to have this much fury at simple interactions. How do they get through life? It’s full of this stuff.

              2. DataDataData*

                One note to point out here – LW was NOT left off the list of new hires, the guy presenting accidentally skipped reading her name. So she was remembered when the presentation was being created and I agree with many other posters – I’d take it as a compliment if he said what he did.

                Agreed on all your notes and others who have spoken up regarding the entirety of the post. It is one thing to be annoyed and file it under “today’s dumb work moment” and entirely another to take things to this level of feeling personally and purposefully attacked. To then launch a personal campaign to remove oneself from the workplace community and teach fellow coworkers some sort of lesson? I’d also give pause to whether this person was a good fit and, if I were the boss viewing this behavior, I’d likely reach out to my HR to try to mediate or figure out next steps.

                You do not have to love every person you work with, but you do owe everyone a chance and to see both sides of each potential misstep.

            9. aebhel*

              I’m sorry, on what planet does the OP read to you as a chill and relaxed person complaining about a logistical issue? They’re calling their coworkers jackasses and fake-ass people. They’re calling it a slap in the face that someone else brought rolls to a potluck. They stormed out of the potluck to make a point. They said their coworkers can take their Secret Santa exchange and shove it up their ass because of this.

              Exactly what about that strikes you as a normal reaction from a reasonable person.

            10. Yorick*

              OP thinks it was a SLAP IN THE FACE for someone else (who she doesn’t know) to bring rolls. That is not a proportionate reaction. Honestly, bringing a different type of bread is not even something to be annoyed about. Then, OP decided to LEAVE THE POTLUCK because she thinks this is an indication that her new coworkers are FAKE ASS PEOPLE. How is that a reasonable response?

            11. EventPlannerGal*

              Nope! Not pearl-clutching in the slightest, but good try :) The things you are describing bear no relation to the content of this letter, which – as it concludes with the writer declaring that their colleagues should “stick Santa up their ass” – I am entirely comfortable describing as a meltdown. Once again, I suggest a period of self-reflection. Perhaps yoga? Aromatherapy? Meditative breathing exercises?

            12. Katherine*

              No, Mazzy “all we have is plates and soda and bread” is not AT ALL similar to what the OP is describing. The OP’s rage was focused on ONE person’s potluck contribution, and the issue was primarily, if not exclusively, that she thought the contribution was a personal attack against her. And if you don’t think storming out of a potluck, when you’re in a new job and presumably want to impress people, because you’re upset that someone brought inexpensive rolls, rises to a meltdown, I’d like to know what does qualify.

            13. SuperAnon*

              Or maybe 99% of readers see the extreme paranoid overreaction and 1% think OP2 was justified.

              Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture which is: GETTING INCENSED OVER A PKG OF BREAD. Not normal.

        5. SigneL*

          I was accidentally not introduced at a church meeting. And yes, my feelings were hurt, but there was no “hidden message” (“we’ll show that Sunday school teacher!”) – someone just forgot. It happens. It happens more often than one would think. How you react tells people something important about you.

          1. BenAdminGeek*

            Please tell me you stormed out of the sanctuary shouting “They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!”. That would really bring this full circle to LW2.

          2. ellex42*

            I wasn’t even *invited* to a recent meeting at work. There’s a lot of big changes going on, I’ve been switched to a different manager (who is also dealing with those big changes), and I’m at the end of the alphabet. It’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I ranted a little to a coworker, then apologized as well, because I really was having a bad day altogether.

            But I sucked it up and behaved appropriately in the meeting, and my manager apologized for forgetting me, and most importantly, I LET IT GO (let it go, i am one with the wind and sky…).

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              Years ago, my manager failed to announce my promotion to the larger team because the staff meeting we were in had gone on too long and she needed to use the bathroom. She was also thoughtless, hated managing, and disliked me, so it may have been a deliberate slight, who knows. And I still told her it was ok, no worries, get me next time, etc. because like you, that’s what you gotta do sometimes. It sucks, you vent a little, you move on.

            2. SusanIvanova*

              When I first started, we were still packed into our overcrowded old building, waiting for our behind-schedule shiny new one to be completed. So I ended up with the team hermit because that was the last available office space. We expected to be moving in a week or so (it ended up being months), so I didn’t mind that he preferred the door closed – he’d been stuck with an office mate for the first time in years, I could deal with it for a couple of weeks.

              Around lunchtime whoever noticed the time first would roam the halls gathering people for lunch, but for my first week they never knocked on the hermit’s door, because they knew he didn’t want to go and they’d forgotten I was there.

              I didn’t take it personally! I just asked if we could compromise and crack the door so people would remember I existed.

          3. President Porpoise*

            After I moved and started attending a new church for seven months, on a weekly basis, the same woman would ask me if I was visiting. And yes, that was offensive. This? This is really not. This is strange mental workings, here.

          4. SomebodyElse*

            When I was 5 I cried because the pizza place organ player didn’t announce my birthday with everyone else’s.

            Since then when I’ve been overlooked or omitted I think… ‘well that sucked’ and forget about it.

        6. pancakes*

          It isn’t at all weird for a person to inadvertently skip over something on one of their own slides in a meeting. It happens all the time.

        7. Aquawoman*

          It’s not about her feelings, it’s about her assumption of that everything other people do is specifically directed at her. Bringing rolls to a potluck is … what people do when they don’t have time/money/willingness to do anything more complicated than that [OR what people do when they hate Hawaiian rolls and want rolls]. She interpreted it as a “slap in the face,” and the odds that someone did it AT her are near zero. Re the meeting, the person running the meeting mentioned one person and not the other. That’s careless/thoughtless but the odds they did it intentionally to show her how disrespected she is, again, pretty much zero. And for that matter, why didn’t she view the person who said “What about Ann?” as being friendly and welcoming instead of viewing everyone as being rude and disrespectful. Feeling embarrassed is fine; thinking people are at-ing her and that they should stick their Secret Santa is ridiculous.

        8. Gaia*

          I do understand being slightly embarrassed to be skipped over. But to be so enraged and to assume it means the boss doesn’t want them to work there? That is a weird read of the situation.

          And literally no one would assume anything about the rolls.

          1. SpaceySteph*

            I agree getting skipped is slightly embarassing. But you could turn it around like you’ve been there for 2 weeks and boss already feels like you’re not new, that must mean you’re doing good, right? Take it as flattery.

        9. Observer*

          It is weird to be skipped over at the introduction part of a meeting

          How does that translate into “you don’t want me to work here”? That is NOT “normal” or reasonable. It’s paranoid and bizarre.

          They were embarrassed that their new employees they were trying to impress will think that they got cheap and lazy with the potluck item they promised to visit

          Because all those new co-workers couldn’t see that there were TWO types of rolls? And Hawaiian rolls are SOOO much more impressive than regular rolls? And how does storming out of the lunch make people realize that they actually got “impressive” rolls.

        10. SpaceySteph*

          But Hawaiian rolls are already cheap and lazy. (assuming store bought which they probably are or else LW would surely have mentioned how she slaved away baking them) If you think you’re impressing your new employer by bringing a couple bags of King’s Hawaiian to a potluck then I have some bad news.

        11. pleaset*

          i might notice and might feel slighted but no way would I think it’s intentional.

          People might forgot about me which is annoying. But going out of their way to diss me? No no no – if you jump to that conclusion in something like this you need to check yourself.

        12. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It would be fine to be miffed. But the level of anger conveyed in the letter, and the repeated focus on disrespect, are super disproportionate to the offense. Frankly, it sounds exhausting to be that upset and to get that worked up.

          For OP: Whenever possible, assume thoughtlessness/ignorance, not malice. And maybe talk to a therapist? It sounds like these experiences are hitting you much harder than they would other folks, and it may help to talk to someone who can help you unpack your triggers.

      5. Byron*

        The reaction is not just disproportionate, it’s so wildly out of line that it’s in another bloody postcode!

        As a Brit, we don’t do potlucks but I get the gist of them and if someone had bought the same item as me, I’d have a good laugh about it.

    1. ooooof*

      #2 – wow

      Are you this hostile about everything in your non-work life? You need to really absorb the saying, “Don’t attribute to malice what you can attribute to ignorance.” Very little in life is all about you, and it must be exhausting (for you as well as others) to live with your attitude.

      I hope you find some peace.

      1. Tin Cormorant*

        I try to always put myself in the other person’s shoes and find an explanation that isn’t “they’re a jerk and they’re trying to indirectly tell me that they hate me specifically.”

        The rolls? Someone probably totally forgot there was a potluck until this morning, and hadn’t even looked at the list. They didn’t want to show up without bringing anything, and figured you can’t have too many rolls. I imagine them stopping by the store on the way in and just grabbing the first pack of dinner rolls they saw.

        The powerpoint? People are distracted sometimes. I give powerpoint presentations sometimes where I’ve got other things on my mind and I’m not even looking at the slides. They spaced out, someone called them out on it, and they may have relived this embarrassing moment a dozen times in their mind since then.

        1. Neutral Janet*

          As I was reading the letter, I expected Allison to say something like this. I thought she would use it as a way to explain workplace norms to someone with absolutely no clue. Seems like she just posted it for the entertainment value and ignored the teaching opportunity.

          1. Lena Clare*

            Woah, why is it Alison’s responsibility to ‘teach’ anyone anything, let alone how to be an adult?

              1. Wine O'Clock*

                Do you mean that you think she needs to spell out “don’t do that” and “stop” even more clearly because the OP is clearly incapable of understanding? Because any reasonable person can surely extrapolate the advice here!

              2. The Other Katie*

                What advice is to be given? The LW threw a strop and stormed out of a potluck their first week on the job because of duplicated dinner rolls. It’s tough to come back from that.

                1. AngryAngryAlice*

                  Not even duplicated! Additional rolls of a different variety!!!

                  And not to add insult to very clear injury for LW (/s), but I didn’t know what Hawaiian rolls were until today and they sound awful to me. LW is lucky there was more than one bread option for people who don’t want sweet bread at a potluck. More possibilities for everyone!

                  But yes I agree… there isn’t a great way to come back from that, especially if LW is the type of person to interpret extremely benign things as insults and “disrespect.”

                2. fogharty*

                  Well, to be fair, the whole “storming out of the potluck” was invented by the commentators. As someone pointed out already, Ann just said she left and went back to work.

                  I hope all the turmoil Ann is feeling didn’t show on the surface. People have said they would fire someone who acted like her… but so far her actions have been to leave a potluck and smile in a meeting. I hope the rage she is feeling didn’t show, and she can work on handling her emotions and sense of proportion, and keep her job.

              3. Lena Clare*

                Giving advice is different than teaching. The letter isn’t a serious workplace occurrence or concern – it’s more to do with acting like an adult first and professionally second. That’s not on Alison to teach, and even if it were there are plenty of letters on this blog where Alison does mention quarry the workplace norms are and how to behave appropriately.

                1. Joielle*

                  Yeah, this is the type of person who eventually takes “boss asking me to do my job” or “boss giving me a polite, work-appropriate correction” as disrespect and quits. I’d be curious to know how long they’ve stayed at jobs in the past.

                  I have a family member like this and they’ve quit like three jobs in the past year (and this has been going on for years). The kicker is, the longer it goes on, the worse their resume looks… so now they’re just working low-level service jobs, and they actually ARE subjected to disrespect now, from customers and crappy bosses alike. If they had just stayed at the first job or two and learned professional norms, they’d be in a much different place and have a lot more options.

              4. Allypopx*

                The advice this person needs would come from a therapist. The workplace advice, from the workplace advice columnist, of you are overreacting and putting your job in danger and need to stop, is plenty.

              5. Elise*

                I think her answer was perfect in its blunt brevity. This person needs to hear that their reaction is wildly out of the norm and they are likely to get fired if they continue ramping up to white hot anger at every perceived slight.

            1. T3k*

              This. As I read #2, they came off almostly exactly how some complaints I get at work go (customer support in the entertainment industry) down to the cursing and taking it WAY too personally and every time we give a response acknowledging their complaint, they just want to argue and curse and call the company stupid over and over.

            2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              My thought as I was reading it was “Uh. Do you even go here?”

              Kinda like the dude who wanted to unmask his “vile” interviewer or whatever, then got furious that his letter was actually POSTED and that people had the GALL to disagree with him or suggest that his letter was an overreaction and full of hyperbole.

              1. LadyCop*

                To be fair, that letter was highly believed to be fake, and Alison kept it up because the discussion is worthy of record.

                This letter is far more lik

                1. LadyCop*

                  Likely legit. And while I’m surprised she didn’t expand on her response, it’s still spot on. She does take opportunities to teach for sure! Just not this time. Probably because we’re a ways from that being possible with this person.

                2. Laure001*

                  Actually, I had the opposite reaction! That interview letter from long ago felt real to me and this one – the potluck one – feels false. Which means speculation is indeed useless, because it must be connected to our personal experience…

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  Wow that thread! That was a bit before I started reading AAM.

                  I spent almost the whole day (between other stuff) reading it. I hope the OP got help.

            3. Mookie*

              They want validation, which will never be forthcoming because this is bananas, and an opportunity to vent.

              LW, nobody at work cares if you eat their food or participate in gift exchanges. They will not respond to your silent treatment. I do recommend continuing that treatment, however, because the alternative seems like it could be volatile. Take a breather, keep your head down, don’t play passive-aggressive games, and just work. Give yourself some time to come to the realization that you are utterly wrong here and are doing yourself no favors acting or feeling like a scorned martyr.

          2. Observer*

            I can see what you are saying. But the real issue here is not that the OP misunderstood office norms but that they are are just wildly over-reacting and letting their ire be seen in general. If it were one thing, I could see explaining it. But it’s ALL ABOUT THEM and it seems like it doesn’t take much to set them off, either. I mean I get that being skipped in the meeting is upsetting. But who goes from there to “don’t want me working for you”? And the manager is supposed to know that OP is already upset because of the rolls? As for being so insulted by the rolls, again, a wild over–reaction even if the person who brought the rolls is the office pot-luck abuser. You don’t have to understand office norms not to assume that this was intended as a :slap in the face” aimed directly at her.

            The bottom line here is that the OP needs to get off their high horse, stop getting majorly offended and stop letting everyone one know how ***-ass they all are.

            1. Data analyst*

              I personally wouldn’t even have been upset by being skipped, since my immediate assumption would be that it was an oversight. In fact the moment of my coworker saying “What about Ann?” I’d interpret as a sign of that coworker caring about me/looking out for me/remembering about me, and that this is a workplace where coworkers pay attention and value their colleagues. And the boss saying “I didn’t realize you were new” = a sign that I’m fitting in so well and doing my work competently and gelling with the team already after just a month, that I’ve already lost my aura of newbie cluelessness.

              As for the rolls: if I brought good rolls and the clueless coworker who forgot to check the sign-up sheet brought the cheap-ass rolls I’d feel inwardly (invisibly!) smug about “winning” with my superior quality rolls.

              1. That's a Yes from Me*

                This is such an awesome way to look at situations like this! I bet you are a positive, happy person. And I wonder how LW #2 copes when things REALLY go wrong!

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  I’m not even a happy, positive person… au contraire … but I would have seen those incidents the same way Data did.

              2. Edwina*

                Yes, I thought the same thing!

                Normal Person: I brought rolls. Someone else did too. Great! Oh, he forgot my name because I fit in so well that he didn’t realize I was new–what a compliment!! And my co worker really cares about me! I’m really doing well.

                Crazy LW: SOMEONE BROUGHT ROLLS AS A DIRECT ATTACK ON ME!!! I STORMED OUT!! THEN, MY BOSS THOUGHT I ALREADY WORKED HERE, I AM SO INSULTED I MUST WRITE TO A COLUMNIST! HOW DARE HE!

                LW, you really, really need to work on framing what you experience in a more normal way. None of what you are saying is based in any kind of fact, none of your reactions are appropriate or warranted. This actually reads like a joke–that’s how off the rails it is.

                As Alison says, you’re cruising to be fired–and for nothing! You obviously fit in fine and are doing your job fine, so you’ll get fired entirely because you are having unbalanced, furious reactions to completely everyday normal non-events. Please, as so many have suggested, see a therapist to get this under control before you torpedo yourself here and everywhere else.

              3. londonedit*

                Totally agree. When I first joined my current company, my boss totally forgot to introduce me to everyone at the first meeting I attended (which was about 10 days after I’d started). At the end of the meeting she said ‘Oh! Everyone! I’m so sorry, I completely forgot to introduce londonedit!’ And she apologised afterwards and actually did say ‘I’m so sorry for not introducing you, I keep forgetting you’re so new! It’s like you’ve been here months already!’ Which I took as a compliment. I’ll admit it was a little weird sitting in the meeting feeling like people might not know who I was, but it really wasn’t the end of the world and if my boss hadn’t said anything I could just as easily have introduced myself after the meeting to the people I hadn’t yet met.

              4. Parenthetically*

                Totally this.

                The thing that distresses me about this letter is that OP clearly has some major personal baggage that causes them to interpret things this way. A parent who took the worst possible interpretation of their actions? Or, worse, a projection of how they would handle things — if they brought cheap rolls, it would be to piss someone off, or if they skipped someone’s name, it would be deliberate, to demonstrate their disdain? And that’s just such a yikes. Regardless, OP very clearly needs to spend serious time with a therapist working through their issues.

              5. irene adler*

                Perfect!
                Just to be a good sport about being overlooked, I’d make some playful comment like “Aww well, I’ll forgive you if you bring the doughnuts for all next Friday.” followed by a little wink.

                Things happen. Folks don’t track everything that goes on (like when new employees arrive). Give them the benefit of the doubt.

              6. Liz*

                I agree with all of this. I’d think exactly the same things.

                I will say though; I got annoyed by my director, when I’d been here for a number of years, and not once, not twice, but three times, in a larger meeting where each director had to give an update of what was going on with their groups, he mentioned and thanked my two bosses, and not me. Because there are ONLY three of us, and to me, and this is based on his other behaviors too, it was like i was an afterthought and didn’t matter, even though i contributed just as much as the other two, but my part wasn’t as “high profile” as theirs.

              7. Observer*

                I hear you. But I’m trying to take the reading that comes closest to what the OP is expressing without going off the charts. And that’s being a bit upset and embarrassed. Would EVERYONE react that way? No. But is it terribly unreasonable? Also no.

                But that’s the issue here – the problem is not that the OP is reacting more strongly and with greater sensitivity than some people. It’s that they are reacting that is totally out of the range or reasonable, realistic or even sane.

          3. Batgirl*

            She addressed the larger issue, the OP’s (hostile) attitude instead of explaining the attitude of people around OP. What happens tomorrow when someone doesn’t see her and hold the elevators for OP? Alison won’t be there to explain every interaction. She just needs to stop being hostile and wind her neck in.

            1. Alexander*

              I got a pretty “spine chilling” vibe to the movie “Joker” for some reason while reading #2….

              1. Anonny*

                I was reminded of the kind of customer who goes into a store and throws a major hissy fit because of some perceived slight like “the retail slaves didn’t compliment my fresh new haircut!”

                1. Vixen*

                  That takes me back….. I still remember my days as a “retail slave” in college…. Some of the customers were really like that.

                  It was always the locals that were the worst. The tourists could be bad, but they were almost always bad in a “lost and overwhelmed” sort of way not a “i’m so much better than you you should worship the ground i walk on” way.

                2. Anon For This*

                  I once missed removing a security tag from some clothes during an incredibly busy Saturday. It was taking longer to resolve than the customer found acceptable, I suppose, so she just started screaming at the cashiers at the top of her lungs, turning red in the face. This went on for literal minutes until I finally got the tag off and she stomped out, telling us she’d never shop there again (sounds great!).

                  I thought it was over until I saw her 16, 17 yo? kid standing there, waiting to apologize for her mother’s behavior. We tried to assure her it was okay and it wasn’t her fault, but she just left to get in the car. That crushed me.

          4. Humble Schoolmarm*

            But this isn’t a specialized workplace norm, or at least not a workplace norm that is dramatically different from social norms. I have a group of junior high students who have the same struggles with blowing up over tiny (and largely innocent) slights (much like this situation, I’ve had students threaten to punch someone who chose the same word for a vocab presentation). I mean, this is so much volatile junior high behaviour (even the wording) that my first thought was that my little Fergusina was either writing from the future or had managed to lie about her age and gain employment.

            The other thing about teachable moments: I have them almost every time Fergusina blows up. What’s upsetting you? Is there another way to interpret this behaviour? (OP, on the off chance that you’re reading, maybe the other roll-bringer has been the bringer of rolls for so long that they don’t even look at the sheet any more and they’re feeling a little put out that you infringed on their territory). Is there another way you can deal with how you’re feeling that’s more productive? 8 times out of 10, the kid doubles down on their aggression and I end up saying something firm, like Allison did here. Since she has the benefit of being an adult talking to adults and an advice columnist, not a teacher, she has every right to skip the middle steps.

            Sorry for the length, this one struck a nerve.

            1. Gazebo Slayer*

              Yeah, I was kinda like this… when I was, like, seven. But I’d outgrown it by junior high – I was a hell child of doom, but a mostly (mostly….) well-behaved teenager.

              1. Quill*

                I was a terrifying tween but usually I flew off the handle over… things that actually seemed somewhat threatening?

                More likely to cry over rejection, more likely to deck someone who pushed me, etc.

            2. iglwif*

              Yeah, I’ve had a lot of these conversations with my kid over the years. My kid is 17 now and has more or less grown out of the behavior OP2 is describing.

            3. HoHumDrum*

              I work with kids and I have to say that constant, simmering anger is often a trauma reaction. I’ve learned to help coach kids through with love because the vast majority of them with rage issues are truly reacting from a deep well of pain and fear.

              Unlike the kids I see, LW is an adult and needs to take ownership of their emotions. It’s on them to seek out healing and coping mechanisms.

              1. Jamie*

                I am glad the kids with whom you’ve worked had your compassion and kindness as they dealt with their pain. It’s crucial when kids are developing to have people like you to offset the trauma they are dealing with. I’m sure many carry your kindness with them.

            4. Batgirl*

              I teach high school too, got the same beseiged teenager vibe and agree with the need for short snappy feedback. When someone’s built a shield out of imaginary offendings, you gotta go at it in one fell swoop like an axe; dont discuss things because they aren’t listening!

          5. Traffic_Spiral*

            This is far beyond “workplace norms” and goes into “stop acting like you’re being played by Colin Mochrie on Whose Line Is It Anyway, and his prompt was ‘coworker who gets ridiculously offended by unoffensive things”.”

          6. Gazebo Slayer*

            I’m not sure how you’d even explain workplace norms (or general social norms) to someone whose reactions are this extreme and irrational. I feel like that would require a lot more than just one of Alison’s short answers.

            1. pleaset*

              I don’t think it’s about norms of behavior. It’s about how we observe reality and other people. At the most fundamental level it’s about not jumping to conclusions about other people’s knowledge and interests. The other people may literally not remember the OP is new or not care about the rolls. So if the OP wants to get mad they don’t remember – maybe that’s OK. if the OP thinks they are intentional slights (the “slap”) – well that’s delusional and he needs to work on it.

          7. WellRed*

            My only concern with Alison’s response is the OP will see it as one more “slap in the face” thereby proving their point that the world is out to get them.

            Otherwise, the response was on point ; )

            1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

              I’m not sure Allison could have phrased it in a way that the OP wouldn’t perceive as a slap in the face.

            2. SomebodyElse*

              And that’s the catch-22… in my experience nothing except agreement will be listened to by people this far out in left field.

              About the only hope is to say something shocking enough or often enough that it gets through.

              If the OP came to the comments at all… it’s going to be like that old Far Side cartoon… what you say to dogs and what dogs hear. It boils down to the OP hearing these comments as “blah…blah…blah…blah…blah…blah…blah…wrong…blah…blah…ASS!…blah…blah…blah”

          8. Anonymouse*

            I’d say this is a bit unfair to Allison. She is a workplace advice columnist who doles out advice to people welcome her input. OP2’s letter did not read like she was in need of advice. The tone of her letter read “Can you believe these ‘fake ass people’ at my new job?” The level of her anger over these annoying but innocuous incidents indicates that she is in need of something other than workplace advice. This level of anger isn’t from this new job; it’s from something much more ongoing and systemic within her. OP2 would do well to find out what that is with a mental health professional, which Allison is clearly not.

            N.B. No one here is calling OP2 “crAzY.” But anyone who’s had a few years at a workplace can see how clearly out of bounds her reactions are to a brand new workplace.

            1. Observer*

              Also, I think they REALLY needed to hear that their job is at risk, without any softening AT ALL. Because it’s pretty clear that they are getting some push back – they did ask “didn’t I do the right thing” by storming out, and it sounds like someone has said something about the Secret Santa, as well.

              So essentially, they need to hear “You are about 2 inches away from getting yourself fired.” without anything else to distract them. Even so, I’m not sure they will listen, but I’d say this is the only way to have even a chance at getting the message to them.

          9. Lucia Pacciola*

            I think Allison has said in the past that the answers she posts are not necessarily (just) for the benefit of the letter-writer. Sometimes they’re a good case study for the audience at large. The “teaching opportunity” seems to have been simply the opportunity to draw a bright line under a really toxic and self-destructive attitude. The advice here would be, “if you find yourself reacting like LW #2, don’t rationalize. Don’t excuse. Don’t pass Go, etc. Just… Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Seriously.”

        2. Djuna*

          Yes, this—remove your own feelings from it entirely and look at the whole picture from the other side. Someone who is new to the company stormed out of a potluck because of something to do with rolls and then we had our team meeting and they got mad all over again because someone spaced on their name on a slide and now they’re just…angry?

          I’m bewildered by how angry LW#2 is, and I’d be willing to bet their team is too.
          I completely understand why Alison’s answer was as short as it was. Sometimes behavior is so egregious that you need to forego the teachable moment and cut through the noise to the simple truth.

          LW #2 – you need to realize that everyone on your team now probably sees you as “that angry lady” and that’s not a reputation you want to have, ever, at work. It can always help to assume the best intentions (“Oops, forgot stuff for the potluck, I’ll bring rolls, we can always use rolls even if someone else brought some” and “Gosh, Ann’s settled in so well it’s like she’s always been here.”) before getting all worked up over stuff. You really don’t want to be going around like a storm cloud and have everyone worried about accidentally provoking you into thundering—I’ve worked with people like that and even with a smile plastered to their face you can feel the anger radiating from them. You’re not hiding your feelings as well as you think you are.

          1. Scarlet2*

            Honestly, I’d be concerned if I had to work with someone who gets into a rage over that kind of stuff. I’d be walking on eggshells all the time.

            1. Camille McKenzie*

              I worked with someone like that and it was indeed a nightmare. “Eggshells” is the perfect way to describe it. I once PRAISED her for something and got my head bitten off.

          2. iglwif*

            I once (briefly) had a team member who was this angry about very small things almost all the time. It was a very, very exhausting and stressful few months.

            It is very, very hard to work effectively with someone who spins every interaction, however benign, as you doing something to or at them.

        3. Harper the Other One*

          Honestly, “I didn’t realize you were new” is equally likely a compliment from someone who thinks your work level is above the typical new employee’s. If the person presenting doesn’t work with you directly, I could easily imagine them seeing the slide, thinking “huh, I just read Jane’s TPS report and it was great – this must be a mistake/left over from a previous meeting” and mentally skipping it.

          1. pentamom*

            It could also be as simple as, “I didn’t realize you were new *since the last meeting.*” If she’s been there 12 days and the last meeting was two weeks ago, it’s completely innocuous if the boss forgot that he didn’t introduce her last time around because she arrived two days later.

      1. CastIrony*

        This isn’t a joke. I know someone at work who would rant like this, but it’s because they’ve been treated badly by their superiors for years. I think OP may have experience in this same boat, and I hope they are happy some day.

        1. Mazzy*

          Exactly this. I’m personally not like this, but I find it sad that so many people are judging this person for being “angry,” when we are not sure that they are, and more importantly, just calling someone angry based on one incidence has never helped anyone. Ever. If they are an angry person, you’re just making it worse. Unless you explain, without judgement or emotional adjectives to describe them, what they could do differently

          1. Scarlet2*

            Well, rage is radiating from the letter. Whatever the reason, they need help with their anger management because it’s going to get them in trouble sooner rather than later.

          2. Ego Chamber*

            Based on LW2’s own narrative, a format in which people generally tend to position themselves in the best possible light, they described themselves as almost constantly being in the grip of rage in reaction to a number of perceived slights.

            Ideally, they’ll get into therapy or an anger management support group or literally anything where they can process their reactions to things and learn rewire the way their brain interprets neutral events.

            Hopefully they won’t decide alcohol is cheaper because I’ve lost family members that way. They were angry people, the drinks never made them less angry but often meant they didn’t have to remember.

            1. Mazzy*

              I don’t see them putting themselves in a good light here, I can see legitimate confusion and being at least a bit upset that they forgot about here being there and new. That can be weird in most work situations . Maybe OP feels ignored and something is going on as well. Maybe the new company hired too many people and so isn’t paying much attention to new hires, and it is making the new hires nervous. I saw that in 2008 and it later ended up being because there was a hiring rush before the recession because insiders knew sales were declining and there was going to be a freeze. Just saying, in that situation and time period I saw some new hires take everything personally, and it wasn’t because they had large psychological issues. Some ended up coasting and then being fired in 2009. I think they felt something was off beforehand. For all we know, OP could be picking up on something they’d didn’t even mention

              1. River Song*

                You seem to really want to give the OP the benefit of the doubt, which is kind. The OP should also learn to give others the benefit of the doubt.
                If the roll thing had happened fo md, if I noticed at all in would assume either that person never looked at the sheet or maybe they go through a lot of bread during their potlucks. Taking enough offense that you refuse to eat with your coworkers is…. extreme. And the only person it is making unhappy is you.

                1. Scarlet2*

                  Although at this point, it’s not even “giving LW the benefit of the doubt”, it’s “completely rewriting the letter to make LW look vaguely rational”. Mazzy keeps pretending that all the other commenters are being “extreme” and “judgy” for seeing anger in a letter that is literally seething with rage and peppered with insults towards her coworkers (including those who really haven’t done anything at all, since *one* single person bringing rolls and *one* presenter making a mistake – so 2 people “slighting” the LW – makes her label *everyone* “fake ass people”). It’s advice column fanfic.

                  Also, no-one should ever proudly say they stormed out of a room to “make a statement” after the age of 13.

              2. Lance*

                In my opinion, at least, legitimate confusion goes way out the window when they’re calling the presenter a jackass, their co-workers cheap-ass people. That’s a very aggressive way to look at the people around you, and goes well past the realm of ‘confusion’.

              3. Batgirl*

                She’s….an adult. Which ordinarily means being able to withstand some nerves and being a bit overlooked and still keep your hair on. Without concluding “they can stick Santa up their ass”. Honestly, that is angry. I’m not going to bother quoting every angry remark but they add up. It also means they should be able to tell us the real other reason they feel upset, if there is another reason, and not rely on someone fan fictioning it for her. Or to be able to proofread what they just wrote and have some insight into what it sounds like; a bizarre and troubling reaction to non events.

              4. Mia*

                I appreciate your desire to give LW the benefit of the doubt, but I think it’s actually a kindness to tell people when their behavior is disproportionate to the situation at hand. Letting LW think that her coworkers are totally trying to ice her out and not just humans who make silly mistakes isn’t going to help her. I definitely think this kind of reaction could be rooted in coming from a previously toxic workplace where people *were* slighting her, but that doesn’t make it any less of an overreaction.

                1. aebhel*

                  This. Telling someone that their reaction is disproportionate (which it really, really is) is a lot kinder than letting them think that this kind of reaction is normal and justified. There could be plenty of *reasons* for that reaction, but none of them makes the reaction okay.

                  And the thing is, LW didn’t say ‘I feel embarrassed and slighted’. Instead, they spent their entire letter raging at everyone they work with and calling them names over some *really minor stuff*.

              5. Sara without an H*

                Mazzy, you seem to be a kind-hearted person, and you obviously have a very different take on OP#2’s letter. So let’s try a thought experiment:

                You are OP#2’s supervisor. You are present when she walks out of the potluck. After the muffed introduction meeting, she comes to you to complain.

                What do you say to her?

                Just curious…

              6. biobotb*

                “A bit upset”? I’m very curious as to what kind of wording you’d have to see before you’d feel that a letter was written with vitriol, if this letter seems only peeved(?) to you.

          3. EventPlannerGal*

            So how do you describe the tone of this letter? Specifically the high emotion, frequent exclamation marks, descriptors such as “cheap ass rolls”, “the first slap in the face”, “why even bother”, “the stupid PowerPoint”, “They can take Santa and stick it up their ass!” etc? Or the part where she specifically says “I’m already mad”? What are you unsure about here?

          4. Foreign Octopus*

            The only way to describe it without judgement and/or emotional adjectives is to phrase it as Alison phrased it, though she was far politer than I would have been.

            Sometimes people just need to be told that they’re acting childish and need to grow up. OP2 cannot go through life reacting like this to all the smallest perceived slights. It’s exhausting for them and for the people around them. If they want any hope of having a pleasant working life in the future, then they would do well to read Alison’s response, this thread, and have a good hard think about why they’re reacting this way.

            And as to your statement that calling someone angry based on one incidence…. This letter is filled with anger and rage over two separate incidents, and I’m willing to bet that there are more we don’t know about.

            Sometimes, we just need to call a spade a spade.

            1. Joielle*

              And really, the only productive advice is to seek therapy (which is not a dig at the OP – therapy is great! I go to therapy. It’s awesome).

              This is a workplace blog, neither Alison nor the commenters are equipped to talk this person through their anger issues, and I would bet there are a lot more layers to what’s going on than we can see here. A therapist is trained to help people figure out why they’re reacting to something in a particular way, and change those reactions if they’re unproductive. I hope OP sees these comments as a wake-up call that something’s not right.

          5. hbc*

            Mazzy, I know you’re trying to be kind to the OP, but the kindest thing to do is point out how completely messed up her judgment and reactions are in this situation so that she can work on them. The person who some day explodes with, “You can stick Santa up your ass because someone else brought rolls to the pot luck!” is not someone who will be employed long, and will maybe last a month longer if they just silently fume about it.

            Honestly, the only thing that she has going for her is that her “punishment” of people is so passive aggressive (i.e.: non-participation in group activities) that it will take a long time before anyone catches on to what she’s doing.

              1. Aquawoman*

                I don’t like it when people do this. Mazzy’s allowed to have a different opinion from everyone else and it’s fine to counter it with your own opinion, but saying that a commenter is the LW in disguise is dismissive of the commenter. Also, fwiw, I don’t think Mazzy is the LW because Mazzy is making their point calmly and without cuss words.

                1. JB (not in Houston)*

                  I also don’t think Mazzy is the LW for the same reason you gave, but I can see why someone would think that.

                2. SomebodyElse*

                  Agreed. I’ve been in the minority here before. And I try to keep that in mind when there’s a minority opinion.

              2. Katherine*

                Mazzy has commented on a number of past letters and been a similar minority of one in her take on the situation. I don’t think she’s LW#2, I think she just sees things very differently.

                1. somanyquestions*

                  I think they are an angry person themselves and see themselves in letters most others find unsympathetic.

          6. Spreadsheets and Books*

            I’m pretty sure that “they can take Santa and stick it up their ass!” is a phrase that is indicative of anger and virtually no other emotion. That is not a normal sentiment to have surrounding an extremely benign workplace practice. I’m struggling how anyone could read this letter as anything other than “unnecessarily angry over basically nothing.” I have never read an AAM letter than used the word ass so very many times.

          7. Gaia*

            Here’s the thing. Maybe the OP isn’t angry. But it is telling that the letter reads “incredibly angry” to nearly 100% of us. If a letter written after the fact seems so incredibly angry, it is pretty likely that OP seemed really miffed in the moment – even if she wasn’t. And that is a problem.

          8. Archaeopteryx*

            Explaining how wildly off-base OP’s thought process is is not judgy. People who think that this kind of paranoid aggression is normal -at least normal enough to write in doing advice column and confidently layout this kind of unhinged self narrative – have gotten so far afield that sometimes the most helpful thing can be to convey a sense of how far they’ve strayed from a normal, healthy, kind way of processing life. It’s not enough just to say that those incidents weren’t worth getting upset about. Saying “Whoa! Slow your (Hawaiian) roll there, buddy!)” is a reaction they need to hear, and probably can’t get as easily from people they know then from semi objective strangers.

      2. Mommie .MD*

        Unfortunately I’ve seen numerous people like this over many years. Living life in such anger and thinking people are out to get you over minor infractions must be sad and exhausting. I hope they get help.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          You feel sorry for them, because it’s obvious that they’re living in an incredibly unhappy world where everyone is out to get them and they’re surrounded by enemies. But at the same time, because they’re radiating such naked hostility towards everyone and everything, you don’t want to be anywhere near them.

          1. Grapey*

            Yeah it’s the same kind of self fulfilling prophecy as when someone says “you probably don’t like me” constantly. I sure don’t when you keep parroting that phrase all the time!

        2. Kix*

          I have a family member who thrives on this kind of behavior. By everyone being “stupid” or “***holes,” she doesn’t have to take ownership of her own faults because it’s never her fault. I don’t think OP2 things her behavior, reactions, etc are exhausting and sad at all because it’s not her fault. I have deep sympathy for those who have to work with her.

      3. PollyQ*

        Even if it’s a fake, it’s got to be based on someone the author knows who’s like this. The combination of the details of the “transgression” and the outrage the person feels ring horribly true.

      4. Bree*

        To be honest, I assumed it was a joke, too. Sticking Santa up their ass really pushed it over the edge for me. It’s like a very clever parody of some of the worst of office politics.

        If it is real, I hope the OP gets some support, because this is about way more than one new job.

      5. Mrs_helm*

        Sadly, I was thinking the exact opposite. #2 has to be from (person I know but won’t name) because this is exactly how she reacts to things all the time. Sorry, but this personality DOES exist in the wild.

    2. Laura H.*

      OP2… oof. Your frustration is valid, however the reaction to said frustration is far from ideal. People are going to be jerks, and very very rarely is it professionally acceptable to return the jerkiness.

      I so wouldn’t burn a bridge here. Or obliterate it… you just started and this really isn’t a good look/ disposition to have.

      1. Gaia*

        Was someone a jerk though? The rolls are quite possibly someone forgetting a dish and forgetting someone else signed up to bring rolls or thinking “hey why not bring extra rolls”. And the presentation…maybe the person giving it forgot this was OPs first meeting? Maybe they thought “OP seems to be part of the group.”

        It takes a pretty uncharitable read of both situations to see anyone as a jerk except the OP.

        1. Mommie .MD*

          No one was a jerk. The rolls are completely innocent. The guy at the meeting just made an admitted mistake.

          1. New Job So Much Better*

            I often grab an extra bag/container of a food item to take along to a pot-luck. I figure someone will want it.

        2. Laura H.*

          I apologize… should have indicated that I meant that more broadly , and wasn’t trying to defend OP’s reactions- those were quite over the top.

          Thanks for pointing that out. :)

    3. Mommie. MD*

      OP 2, I am saying this with kindness. Get into anger management therapy before this out of proportion anger ruins your life. Being incensed over rolls and seeing it as a personal sign of disrespect is not remotely normal. People are casual about pot lucks and it has nothing to do with you. Good luck to you. I agree your behavior is putting your job at risk. It’s way over the top. It must feel terrible to be so upset.

      1. OneWomansOpinion*

        What’s with all the MommyMD spoofs these days? It’s distracting and I accept no substitutes!

        1. The Real Mommy MD.*

          It’s tech stuff lol. I switched to a different server and it seems better. Happy Holidays. I can’t save my log on.

          1. Ego Chamber*

            Have you been on multiple different devices/browsers lately, or are your settings set to clear cookies when you close browser windows as a default? If that’s not it just ignore me! :)

            1. fposte*

              I think she means the option to save your name and email isn’t working for her, so she’s hand-typing in her handle each time.

      2. Borne*

        My experience regarding pot-lucks in the country I came from was always casual. There was never a sign up list for what you would be bringing.

        In North America it seems to be more of a ‘bring and share’ than true potluck, which really means ‘anything that is available or is found by chance, rather than something chosen, planned, or prepared’.

        So some folks might be casual about pot-lucks, making something with ingredients they have on hand; or picking up something that looks suitable on the way.

        Whereas others like to micro-manage ‘pot-lucks’. For example, asking me what I’ll be bringing. How can I say what I’ll be bringing when I haven’t given it any thought? Might just make something with what I have or pick something up on the way.

        1. PollyQ*

          Yeah, “potluck” in the US no longer has its old meaning at all. Some groups are more detailed in their organization of them, but I’ve never seen one that was anything other than “bring and share”. And the reason for the coordination is that if you want to get an actual, rounded meal for a group of people, rather than 7 bags of Doritos, 4 jello salads, and 1 entree, you need to impose a little structure. So “I haven’t given it any thought” wouldn’t fly here, because part of the expectation is that you give it some thought.

          1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

            They are called pitch-ins instead of potlucks in my part of the Midwest. Usually have a sign-up sheet.

          2. UKCoffeeLover*

            Maybe the bringer-of -rolls had also signed up for another dish, and the rolls were an extra side. We don’t know that they were being cheap or disorganised, but in any event at least that person brought something rather than just eating without contributing.

            As for OP2, everyone has said what needs to be said. These comments must be hard for her to hear, and I really hope she is able to look at them and use them in a positive way.

    4. CastIrony*

      OP#2, was your last job full of jerks? If so, I’m sorry, and I hope you find that there really ARE some decent people in the workforce, even though it’s hard to believe.

      1. Chris*

        That was I thought of me as well. I got bullied in school and it took me quite a while to get myself out of that headspace. To get away from “those people over there are laughing, it’s probably about me” to “those people over there are laughing, let’s get over there and find out, what is so funny”, to realize that most people are ok and that the jerks are in the minority.

      2. My Highnessness*

        I feel like, if her last job was full of jerks, then the bar for pleasing her would be a lot lower?

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Not necessarily. People who are used to being in environments where people really are screwing each other over often become defensive as a result and carry that behavior around into every situation they find themselves in, even when it’s not warranted.

          1. CastIrony*

            This. I work in what seems to be a dog-eat-dog job, and one has to do what they have to do to survive.

    5. Mike*

      People bring food to potlucks without really looking all the time. I generally treat the signup as suggestive not prescriptive (unless the organizer makes a point of saying they really need particular things). And let’s be honest, can there really be too many Hawaiian rolls?

      As for the “I didn’t realize you were new”, I’d kind of take that as a compliment that you were able to integrate into the organization so quickly and effortlessly that people don’t realize you’ve only been there a month.

      1. Lizzo*

        Exactly. My company potluck is tomorrow and I am one of 4 people bringing a pound cake. In addition, there will be a plethora of pecan pies, rice dishes, sweet potato casseroles and tons of other food items that will be brought in by more than one employee. In my own department, two colleagues are bringing Mac and cheese and joking over whose will be better. It is a normal part of a potluck and not worth getting worked up over if.

        1. T3k*

          Also, it’s great for variety. One side of my family for some odd reason adds relish to their deviled eggs every time, so I make sure to bring my own sans relish when I visit them so I can enjoy deviled eggs with the rest of the meal (and I’ll gladly eat any leftover ones).

          1. Autumnheart*

            It’s so versatile! I’ve got a pound cake recipe that’s great as-is. Add lemon or orange zest for a slight citrus flavor! Or, replace some of the flour with cocoa powder and make it a chocolate pound cake. Or add some baking spice and a little rum or whiskey and have a spice cake.

            1. LizzE*

              Yes, versatility is key (as is all the butter Iris Eyes noted, lol). I didn’t mention this in my first post because I don’t want to detract from the takeaway that events like potlucks are not worth getting incensed over because of the duplication of food, but all us pound cake bringers are sharing pound cakes that are part of our cultural heritage. One colleague is from Taiwan and is sharing a recipe similar to what she ate growing up; one colleague is sharing a Polish pound cake recipe; another colleague is sharing something from her Southern roots; and I am bringing something my mother from El Salvador taught me to make.

              I doubt the letter writer is going to read this, but I still think it is worth mentioning that people bring foods they are familiar with or have cultural significance to them when attending social gatherings. If people are bringing the same foods to events, it should catalyze a bonding experience over shared food interests and possible cultural similarities and/or distinctions, not lead to animosity.

          2. Lucette Kensack*

            It’s super easy to make, delicious, and garners lots of compliments. The perfect potluck recipe!

      2. MonteCristo85*

        Same. I glance over the sign-up to make sure there isn’t some glaring hole in the menu (ie everyone bringing drinks or sides and no main dishes) but otherwise I just bring something I want to make. I’m a pretty good cook and baker, and I like to spread my wings a bit when I have someone to fee (it gets uninteresting cooking for just yourself).

    6. phira*

      The rolls. Friend. Pal. Listen.
      Please imagine for a moment that you are under an enormous amount of stress. Maybe your partner forgot to send the rent check, or your mom’s in the hospital and you are getting information about her condition slowly and in bits and pieces. Maybe you didn’t sleep last night because your daughter has the flu. Maybe your depression is really bad right now and it’s been a struggle to get through the week. Maybe you’ve been extremely busy with a deadline.
      And then someone asks you, “So what are you bringing to the potluck today?” and you freeze. Potluck? Oh no. You’d forgotten about the potluck. Maybe you didn’t get the email? Uh oh, nope, you did, it was right there in your inbox right before the urgent email you got about a bunch of paperwork your boss needed taken care of. Crap!!
      You don’t have any time, so you say you’ll be right back, just going to run to Starbucks really quickly. You dash to the nearest grocery store of some kind, hoping that there’s something you can contribute. Rolls, okay, rolls, everyone likes rolls. You’ll just get some rolls! So you bring rolls.
      And then you get there and someone else brought rolls and you feel bad but you tried, you did your best, and who could be upset at twice as many rolls?
      Why is the new employee glaring daggers at your rolls?

        1. Alicia*

          This “everyone loves rolls” thing is really unkind to diabetics and people who need to follow a ketogenic diet.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I don’t think it’s unkind and don’t want us to derail on that — it’s just not considering the wide range of dietary restrictions (but really, I think “everyone” in this case just means “many people”).

          2. Ego Chamber*

            This is a weird comment since I was under the impression that there was food at the pot luck other than the 2 bags of rolls. (If it was a rolls-only pot luck, I’d understand your point better.)

            As a diabetic, I have to plan my meals in advance and have a pretty specific understanding of how many carbs are in everything I eat but that doesn’t mean I can’t safely eat a roll if I want to. When I’m doing very low carb I make sure to bring something I can eat, the same as I do if I’m not eating meat, or any other dietary restriction I’m operating under. It’s my responsibility to make sure I’m fed, you know?

              1. Quill*

                I’ve never gone wrong with a salad that has sufficient optional toppings to make sure it’s okay for vegetarians who eat cheese, vegans, people who want nuts and people who don’t…

                1. iglwif*

                  OMG self-assembling salads are my FAVOURITE. The number of totally normal things people put in salads that I can’t eat — but with optional toppings, everyone can eat the same salad without having to awkwardly poke it looking for hidden allergens!

                  Also love self-assembling sandwiches.

            1. ACDC*

              My eyes were severely bruised from eye rolling at the letter, but they straight up fell out of my head with this comment. TGIF

          3. soon 2be former fed*

            It’s not unkind. Long-time diabetic here, and I like rolls. Almost anything can be incorporated into a diabetic diet if portions and carb counts are considered.

            1. LeahS*

              Yup! I’m gonna be way more freaked out if nobody brings anything with carbs because ain’t nobody got time for a blood sugar bottom out. Diabetes = no carbs is a big misconception. But now I’m just getting off topic…

          4. Aquawoman*

            I pretty much can’t eat any of the ingredients in rolls, and I pretty much interpreted that statement as “rolls are always going to work,” which is so true that I’VE brought rolls to potlucks (though I usually bring something I can eat now that there are a lot of things I can’t).

          5. jenkins*

            I eat keto and I am fine interpreting this as ‘almost everyone eats them’. Almost everyone does, after all. I know I’m in a small minority.

          6. Diabetics can enjoy bread rolls too*

            My diabetic child can eat rolls, sweet ones even. Ice cream, cookies and candy too He just has to log it into his monitor to adjust his insulin for it. Science and tech have really done wonders to allow my 9 year old to feel fairly normal. He can’t binge of course but he can have a normal treat in the day and be okay.

        2. MistOrMister*

          I waa going to say, when is more bread ever NOT welcome??? There are a lot of times at a potluck where someone brings not quite enough of something and then people end up taking less than they’d like so everyone can have some.

          1. Daisy-dog*

            And rolls keep! So if your crew did all separately decide to take up carb-free diets without your knowledge, then you can just take your rolls home and enjoy them later. Wouldn’t even make potluck-fearing OP from a few weeks ago worry.

      1. UKCoffeeLover*

        Maybe the bringer-of -rolls had also signed up for another dish, and the rolls were an extra side. We don’t know that they were being cheap or disorganised, but in any event at least that person brought something rather than just eating without contributing.

        As for OP2, everyone has said what needs to be said. These comments must be hard for her to hear, and I really hope she is able to look at them and use them in a positive way.

    7. Chemistry Might Be Able To Help You*

      If #2 isn’t a troll, then I’m reading this wondering if it’s my cousin. The level of overreacting and the level of assuming the absolute worst out of simple oversights and mistakes and thinking everyone has malicious intent and is out to get them is my cousin through and through. I’m going to assume, like my cousin, this person has some unchecked anxiety issues and catastrophic thinking. Maybe therapy will help you realize that mistakes happen and not everyone is out to get you, however if you walk around with the opinion that everyone is you become unlikable and then create a self-fulfilling prophecy in the end, which then leads to confirmation bias and your cycle repeats.

      People often think to bring rolls to potlucks, it’s easy and inexpensive; you weren’t the first person with that idea, and people notoriously disregard potluck lists. Welcome to living in a world with other humans.

      Your name being missed sounds like a simple oversight. Not sure where it went from accidental human error to them not wanting you to work for them. If you dont get yourself in check, you’ll be starting a new job again soon, if you can get hired, and looking for the worst in every person and situation again sooner than you know.

      1. Bee*

        It reminds me of my dad actually. Just visited him over a weekend and he basically kept getting angry with his girlfriend about the pettiest of slights. He’s the sort of person who will assassinate your character over a minor disagreement, like what kind of cheese you like. It’s exhausting to be around.

        I also had an angry phase like this, although I was somewhat aware of how petty I was being with some of my thoughts. Was processing a lot of trauma at the time. I’m sure I still gave off a terse vibe, though.

      2. DawnShadow*

        Though I appreciate your comment and see its value, it leaves me wondering whether perhaps you, and perhaps many of us who read letter 2, could benefit from examining your family dynamics and your role in them a little more closely. Are there really multiple “oversights” of this one cousin? Is it possible that the dynamic even from early childhood was that you were the golden child and they were the scapegoat? Because I can (sadly) understand where your cousin, and perhaps LW2, is coming from. I’m not an angry person but I would get really sad over being the only cousin left out, or laughed at, or at fault, again and again, and eventually I did start to get angry. Now I avoid family as much as possible and my life is a lot happier. It did take me a while to learn different coping strategies, and I agree that therapy for LW2 is indicated. I just think that maybe a little self reflection could be good for those of us who feel she deserves her situation too. It’s very possible this was the way “Ann” was raised and she hasn’t thought to rethink it yet. I hope this is a wakeup call for her. Life is very much better when you don’t feel the need to be angry all the time just to prove you have worth.

        1. MOAS*

          Yea… I’ve been that cousin. Excluded, not thought of/forgotten, also grew up as a mostly “only” child. so…

        2. Chemistry.....*

          No. My cousin is this letter writer. She’s the person who if she goes to get an oil change and later realizes she can’t find an envelope with some benign paperwork in it that’s the oil change place is planning to steal her identity. Only later to find this envelope slipped between the seats.

          If someone calls her to say hi that hasn’t in a while they’re just calling to get gossip fodder and talk about her later.

          If someone is nice to her in a public setting they’re probably talking shit about her.

          She ruminates on the tiniest conversation. She attributes malice to things that are usually just someone being wrapped up in their own lives and not thinking about her. (Someone recently moved without coming by to say goodbye and now she is saying things like they deliberately didn’t want to see me, I’ll never see them again (they moved one state over….) and they were so selfish and mean. As if moving and selling and buying houses isn’t a huge task and as if a 4 hour drive means they will never be back to visit.

          She has severe social anxiety and catastrophic thinking, like I said in my initial letter. We don’t have that type of relationship because I consistently check her on it, with love and encourage and remind her to note these things for her therapist (which she’s only just begun, finally)

      3. RecentAAMfan*

        “unchecked anxiety issues and catastrophic thinking”.
        Eh, could be, but I’m getting more “borderline personality disorder “ vibes myself.

        1. Róisín*

          Let’s not diagnose strangers over the internet, especially when we are not doctors and specifically not this person’s doctor!

        2. Chemistry....*

          Cousin doesn’t have all of the hallmark of borderline. But borderline does also contain those things. Have a family member who is diagnosed borderline. Very similar is some of the reactions to things. And I’m not diagnosing a phantom letter writer, I’m comparing similarities in a very real person I know intimately, for the person downthread who was checking us. And who doesn’t know whether or not we are doctors.

        3. Drowning*

          My thoughts too….we can’t diagnose from here or know for sure, but this entire letter reminds me of my borderline sister

      4. Batgirl*

        +1 to your first sentence. The letter’s nonsensical anger would be too absurd to believe, except we all know someone like this, don’t we?

    8. Pants*

      Assuming #2 isn’t a joke, it sounds like you’re projecting your dislike for this job (or just work in general) onto a couple of benign events. If you don’t really want to work there, leave and find somewhere you’ll be happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. If the situation is that you resent *having* to take this job for whatever reason (e.g., not having the luxury of more time to find the right job), consider this job temporary and vow to improve yourself every day as you find the right fit. Plan on spending a year there growing your skills, building relationships, and strengthening your résumé. In time, you may find that you’re working for a great organization. If not, no foul; you’ll just move on.

    9. M.*

      I have sympathy for the OP because I knew someone who had these same reactions to minor slights. A person close to me did this and I knew in their case it was due to childhood trauma – they experienced a lot of humiliation as a young child and they were very sensitive to even minor rejection.
      I obviously don’t know what the OPs past experience was like but I imagine it must have come from some real hurt or, at the very least, must be very painful now.
      I encourage the OP to seek therapy. Until then, you should probably fake it til you make it – tell yourself you’ll pretend not to be angry as anger makes you feel and appear weaker. Do it in the moment and then if you think it over later and ideally get feedback from a person you trust who has a reputation of being reasonable you can address an issue if upon reflection it still appears to be an issue. But in the meantime, default to “not an issue” and work on accumulating social capital to spend wisely in the future.
      Hugs, and good luck.

      1. Dysfunctional Deb*

        I was that person once. For the very reasons you cited. On behalf of other like me, thank you.

        OP, this is good advice from M.

      2. Smithy*

        I would add to this that if you’ve just left a very dysfunctional work place where those types of actions were genuine reflections of far greater problems – then even if that kind of history doesn’t sound familiar – those wounds can carry.

        Having gone through that – I really do now wish I’d gotten into therapy after leaving old bad job and joining my job at a normal place. Looking back it took me far longer to shake off the reactionary anger than I would have liked. Not only for my professional life but for myself personally as well.

        1. Ali G*

          Yes. You know you are so scarred from your previous workplace when you get into the parking garage and someone is parking in the spot you usually use (note – not reserved for me) and for a brief second you are ENRAGED and HOW DARE THEY!!!! all over the place. Because you see, at my last job, my boss who ultimately pushed me out started coming to work early (she normally came in around 9, I came in by 8) and parking in the exact spot I had been using for years. She did so many awful things to me that someone else randomly parking in “my” spot yesterday almost had me losing my sh!t.

      3. UbiCaritas*

        I was bullied in middle school (bullied hardly describes it – “you’re so ugly you should kill yourself!” multiple times a day for three years). Two things happened to me: I wanted to become invisible, and I somehow thought everything was about me. Years of therapy helped me learn to cope, but it’s hard. Really, most things aren’t about *me*.

        I also learned to keep confrontation as a last resort. Start with a calm discussion. And make sure you know what your real question is (is your question about the rolls, or about the sign up sheet? Asking about the rolls is kind of silly – asking about the sign up sheet, in the sense of “I’d like to understand” may not be)

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Yep, I saw a lot of this in my family growing up, where everything was a personal affront of some sort.

        Family thought this meant they were savvy, they were sophisticated. I guess now we would say “they thought they were woke”? “No one is going to get the best of me, by golly!”

        OP, I am results based. I have to ask myself, “What is going to get me results that I do want?” Did leaving the lunch early get you any results you wanted? I mean other than moving away from those people. What did you think these people should actually do? If you were confronted by a person saying the things you are here what would you do to help them? What would you have seen as acceptable responses to each of these problems?

        OP, it is possible to turn ourselves into people who cannot be consoled. If no one is able to help you see things in a different light what have you gained? What did you win here? Serious question, not snark.

        I have to go back to what my first boss said, “Part of what we are compensated for is our willingness to get along with other people.”

        1. Dysfunctional Deb*

          Oh, that is such a true statement! Your first boss was on target there.

          My mother was a narcissist and I learned from her. I did so many stupid things and failed to recognize dangers, such as sociopathic bosses and unhealthy workplaces.

          I am 68 now, but wonder what I could have accomplished if I’d had a healthier upbringing instead of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse from a mother and alcoholic father.

        2. msjwhittz*

          I do not want to derail here but I really can’t help pointing out that not wanting people to “get the best of” you is absolutely not what woke means at all.

            1. kitsy*

              “Woke” specifically means “progressive on identity issues” (like race, or gender and sexual minorities) or can be used sarcastically to indicate someone who wants to be perceived as progressive in those spheres, so it would not be used in the situation you have used it.

      5. Curmudgeon in California*

        Yes. Reach out to some you trust when you feel dissed, and get a reality check.

        Person overlooks you in a meeting even though you name is on the slide? Probably stressed and/or forgetful. Someone else also brings rolls to a potluck? In a hurry, stressed or forgetful.

        If you’ve been bullied in the past and are oversensitive, give your new coworkers the benefit of the doubt. I know it isn’t easy, but it will serve you better in the long run.

    10. CatCat*

      #2, whoa. Please, please consider therapy. You’re going off the deep and and perceiving things that just aren’t there. There is no insult cabal here. These people aren’t out to get you.

      I have a relative who went through something like this. Doctors have been able to help my relative.

      1. sunday librarian*

        I’m glad I found this under the hundreds of digressions on potlucks and rolls. OP 2, please consider getting a therapist. I used to feel angry over petty things like this, I’ve worked on why, and I’m really such a happier person (and, um, probably nicer to be around).

        Participate in secret santa, it’ll be fun. :)

    11. CouldntPickAUsername*

      #2 I think you’re stressed about something else. I think you’re stuck in angry brain right now for some other reason and that’s making you look very deeply into other things. Angry brain is where you are in this mode where you’re basically lowkey ticked off about something 24/7 and it warps your thinking, spiteful little things start to make sense, everything wears on you.

      First off, you need to detox, TGIF, finish the day the best you can and then just veg the heck out on saturday. Do nothing, let everything drain out. Sit down and figure out what is actually bothering you and try to go back Monday with a fresh face.

      I’ve been there, it can be addictive, it can be easy to maintain, that constant tension in your brain but it’s much better in the long run to go a different way.

    12. Observer*

      The main thing you need to realize is that you do NOT occupy such an important place in the world. Yeah, that’s not pleasant, but it’s also very, very freeing. Because honestly, no one is making such an effort to disrespect you, insult you or slap you in the face. It does mean that sometimes people will make stupid and annoying mistakes, but they are not going to create elaborate schemes to hint to you that you are unwanted. It just takes too much energy. And, honestly, no one set up the Secret Santa with you in mind, and no one is going to care if you don’t take part. Although, they WILL be annoyed if you stomp around and DECLARE and declaim how YOU are NOT going to take part because all of the people in your office are horrible people.

      By the same token, your level of outrage sounds EXHAUSTING. And you are jumping to such wild and wide conclusions that you are really setting yourself up for all sorts of problems. I mean it’s weird enough that you decided that someone bringing rolls even though you were on the list for rolls was an intentional insult of such grace proportions that you needed to make a statement to the while office about it. Going from there to deciding that everyone in the office is so fake and awful that you must make your opinion known and distance yourself is just head scratching. I can’t even imagine the thought process.

      The person who recommended therapy was right. Your behavior and attitude is extremely problematic for you. It’s leading to behavior that is going to make it hard to hold any sort of decent job and if you do this outside of work it’s going to seriously inhibit your ability to form and maintain healthy relationships. It’s also going to totally blow up your credibility – Who is going to take you seriously when you complain of REAL misbehavior? They are going to think of you as the person who throws a fit over inconsequentials. That makes you very vulnerable. Also, you lost the ability to differentiate between real threats that you need to respond to in some way and things that you can and should ignore. So you wind up wasting energy on non-problems but likely miss the real problems.

      And I can’t imagine that any of this is making you happy.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        This is beautiful – and sums up what I would love to have been able to comment in a far more eloquent way.
        +1000000!

    13. Marmaduke*

      The whole roll thing is just… blowing my mind. There are people (my husband included) who don’t like Hawaiian rolls. It’s possible one of your coworkers prefers regular dinner rolls, and brought some to share in case others prefer them too. It’s much, much less likely that they did it in a convoluted effort to shame or disrespect you.

      Is there any chance you have a hostile attributional bias due to a previous unhealthy situation? Do you have some underlying resentment or insecurities related to this job? A little introspection goes a long way!

      1. Kisses*

        I’m not feeling the whole “cheap ass rolls”
        bit either. I’m on SNAP, and if I was able to contribute to a potluck, they would absolutely be “cheap ass”. We don’t even get namebrand for the house.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          The ass rolls could be the most expensive ones in the store, or homemade from a special recipe, and they’d still be ass rolls according to LW2 because they’re projecting negative traits onto the food they didn’t bring. It is problematic as hell that cost is the most damning trait they landed on but that’s a problem for them to sort out on another day (fingers crossed).

          I grew up on the 80s and 90s version of SNAP, I hope things get better for you. :)

            1. Doug Judy*

              I’m making rolls from scratch for Thanksgiving, which will henceforth be known as Fancy Ass Rolls.

              1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

                My Fancy Ass Rolls are garlic-herb drop biscuits. They look rustic, which is shabby chic, which is fancy, right? :)

                1. Jamie*

                  Totally fancy. If you think about sharing the recipe on tomorrow’s open thread I would make your fancy ass rolls.

              2. UbiCaritas*

                I am too! I used to call them “Mom’s homemade rolls” but not anymore! Would it be terrible to shape them so they look like…well, you know?

              3. Traffic_Spiral*

                PLEEEEAASE score a line 2/3rds down the middle of each so that they actually look like butts.

                1. londonedit*

                  ‘Butty’ is a colloquial term for ‘sandwich’ (mainly in the North of England but you’ll hear it used all over really). Can be any type of sandwich! I’m especially fond of the chip butty, which is chips from a fish & chip shop (not fries or even thick-cut chips, chip shop chips are their own slightly soggy slightly crispy delicious sort of chip) stuffed into a heavily buttered roll or between two slices of buttered white bread so all the butter melts. Yum.

              4. Mother of Cats*

                My grandmother passed last year but my whole childhood life was filled with her homemade biscuits, bannock, bread, raisin bread, and split rolls. I loved her split rolls warm from the oven and they were mostly only a holiday offering, whilst we had her homemade bread and biscuits all the time. My grandmother bulk bought flour and yeast, and froze milk on the turn for baking, but she never bought bread. If split rolls are not a thing in your area look up cloverleaf dinner rolls. Same idea by my gran only did two parts not three. So hers did look like asses. I shall ever after today call them my grandmother’s fancy ass rolls when I make them.

                1. Lora*

                  I was today years old when I learned about Split Rolls. Thanks, Mother of Cats!

                  My own specialty rolls are a German bauernbrot dough (multigrain sourdough), rolled into a long coil and then snipped with oiled scissors 4/5 of the way through the roll, and then I pull the resulting chunks to opposite sides like this:

                  roll roll roll roll
                  roll roll roll roll

                  to make it look like an ear of wheat, with the rolls just barely touching so they can be pulled apart. The result can then have ends joined to make a wreath of rolls, or brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame and nigella seeds or whatever. And then I put a bowl of some sort of spread for bread in the center of the wreath.

                  I’m totally cool if youse guys want to bring Costco pretzel rolls as well, though. My mom loves those things more than she loves me, probably: this year she fussed at me to bring pretzel rolls to Thanksgiving at my cousin’s house BEFORE she said, “oh yeah, you’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner too.”

                2. Doug Judy*

                  Cloverleaf is exactly how my grandma makes hers. I usually do some that way for eating and then some split for leftover turkey sandwiches.

                1. RUKiddingMe*

                  I made braided garlic and herb bread last night. Cut into roll size before baking. They kinda look like asses…

          1. RUKiddingMe*

            OP’s focus on the Hawaiian rolls being the good stuff and not cheap makes me wonder if she maybe grew up in an environment with “cheap ass” food as the default and getting something like Kings Hawaiian Rolls was a very big deal treat that happened only rarely. Hence the belief that they are special.

        2. On Fire*

          And, money aside, it takes exactly the same amount of effort to get cheap rolls as Hawaiian. I made bread for my company potluck. Other people brought prepared rolls. Which simply meant there was a variety, and everyone was happy. I echo the previous posters who recommend therapy, as LW2 seems to be at incredible levels of anger.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yes! On behalf of the Hawaiian-sweet-bread-non-fans everywhere. There aren’t many of us, I don’t find.

        1. Carlie*

          Solidarity! I hate Hawaiian rolls, and you can bet your ass (roll) that if those were the only bread on the potluck list, I would bring some whole wheat or ciabatta or even Parker House so I could have some preferable carbs. And it would have nothing to do with the person who brought the Hawaiian. Go nuts, all of you who like it. I’m just bringing an alternative.

    14. PlainJane*

      That is… an extreme reaction to rolls. I mean, everybody wants more rolls.

      Is there something other than the stated things that’s making you feel unappreciated? From the mistake in introducing you, it sounds like the boss thinks you’ve been fitting in pretty well. Is it just that the socialization isn’t quite there, and you feel unliked? (Which could have something to do with a chip on your shoulder.)

      I’m actually not taking it totally lightly. If you’re unhappy about more substantive things, then little things like this can begin to seem really grating. Is the job what you expected it to be? Did they surprise you with some aspect of the pay that was carefully concealed during the interview process? I mean, is there something real going on that suggests these really are disrespectful actions instead of simple mistakes?

      1. Observer*

        So, if the issue is that there is something else going on with the job, the OP really, really needs to figure that out and address THAT without these bizarre over-reactions. Because if someone tries to prove how bad the job is based on these “transgressions” no one is going to take them seriously.

        1. PlainJane*

          Exactly. If there’s a real issue that’s causing this weirdness, then address that. If it’s a real issues elsewhere in OP’s life, address that as well.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        I was wondering what you wondered, Plain Jane. There’s something deeper at play here for the OP to be this upset and feeling like she’s constantly being slapped in the face.

      1. Jen RO*

        You have inspired me to google this as well. Wow, it literally is just bread (maybe with a brioche texture?)…. OP you seriously threw a fit over bread?

        1. Mel_05*

          Hawaiian rolls are slightly sweet. The texture is just regular though. I love Hawaiian rolls, but they are not a thing to be offended over.

      2. t.i.a.s.p.*

        Google tells me bread made with pineapple juice, which I think I would probably like but I know people who wouldn’t touch them (and one who would be allergic to them). If the other person brought regular bread on purpose, it probably was them thinking they would bring something DIFFERENT to LW2 to better cater to different tastes. There are lots of times people bring the same category but different variety of food to a potluck. Totally normal and one of the awesome things about potlucks.

        1. Ego Chamber*

          They’re made with pineapple juice?! I’m glad I didn’t know that before or I never would have tried them. They’re very subtly sweet, the closest thing I’ve had to them was a sweet Japanese breakfast roll (which was also just bread but a bit sweet and it was delicious with coffee).

        2. Jojo*

          My family — and the people I work with too — love them because they are tiny and because you can stick a piece of ham on them and need no condiments. I’m not sure why — they are slighly moist and I guess just sweet enough? Anyway. They are a perfect one- or two-bite tiny sandwich that needs nothing else and can be a whole tray at work or guaranteed to be eaten by even our picky children.

        1. New Job So Much Better*

          Remember their commercial where the husband kept hiding the Hawaiian roles around the house?

      3. Dennis Feinstein*

        Me too! I’m not in America and didn’t know what they were (though I assumed they had pineapple like Hawaiian pizza).

        Googled them and now all I can think about is how much I want to try Hawaiian rolls (and would absolutely have eaten them at the potluck).

        1. Rexish*

          I really wanted them to be a pig in a blanket type thing but with pineapple. But the actual thing soudn good too. Feel like I have to bake now.

        2. Lexicat*

          Whereas, when I googled them I realised I’d hate them, since I don’t like sweet bread. Sounds like OP’s coworker wanted to give people the option for a different type of roll, which is a good thing given that people like different things.

      4. Marzipan*

        I’m quite interested in trying making some – always up for baking something new. So, thanks #2, you’ve introduced me to something I didn’t know about before!

      5. AvonLady Barksdale*

        They’re pretty good (I know people who are obsessed with them), and they’re slightly pricier than other rolls (I think, I don’t eat them often and I never buy them), but they’re still… store-bought bread rolls.

    15. Kisses*

      I almost read the name overlooking as some sort of off handed compliment. She had been there for 2 weeks, maybe they felt like she was part of the team or had been greeted at an earlier meeting?

    16. ENFP in Texas*

      LW#2 – Not everything is ALL ABOUT YOU and not every action that someone else does is A PERSONAL ATTACK ON YOU. Seriously. Being so mad that someone else brought rolls to a potluck that you consider it “a slap in the face”? Get over yourself.

      1. Camille McKenzie*

        I dealt with someone like this and it was indeed a nightmare. Literally everything I said or did was taken as something offensive to the point where I couldn’t even respond to an email without her blowing up at me for being “defensive”. LW2 sounds just as unbalanced as she was.
        Any bets on just how she’ll get herself axed? Either flipping out because her Secret Santa got her some generic gift or being outraged because a coworker said “Hello” instead of “Good morning”?
        I’d recommend therapy, but if she’s anything like the shrew I dealt with, she thinks everyone else is the problem and that she’s the victim.

        1. Long Time Lurker*

          The OP went to the store and bought a bag of rolls and is offended someone else also went to the store and bought a bag of rolls. Thats wild.

    17. ENFP in Texas*

      I should have continued before hitting “Submit” that continuing to think that everyone’s actions are a personal attack on you is going to make it very difficult to function in a group setting like an office.

    18. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

      OP, something additional to consider. This type of behaviour makes you look high maintenance. Most companies do not want high maintenance staff who will be offended easily and fly off the handle for unpredictable reasons. They want people who show up, do their work, and raise concerns about reasonable things in a professional way.

      The other thing I want to share is that I too used to take things really personally. It was exhausting and anxiety provoking. I realised that I was overreacting to a lot of things and make a conscious effort to curb my reactions and reason with myself.

      Quite recently I read about RSD, rejection sensitive dysphoria, which is pretty much this pattern of thinking. It’s something that people with ADHD (like me) commonly experience. It helped me understand some of my responses to other people.

      You might benefit from some introspection about why you react like this. Recognise that these are not typical responses and try to figure out what is driving them. If you don’t, your behaviour is going to drive people away (because family and friends don’t like this type of thing either) or get you fired. Which will exacerbate this behaviour.

      Good luck.

    19. Flash Bristow*

      Just to say, OP#2, Alison is generally kind, generous, gives the benefit of the doubt…

      So for her to respond so clearly makes me think that, hard as it is, you really need to listen to her here.

      I’m sorry. But the sooner you take it on board, the sooner you can move forward.

    20. Something Clever*

      I’m not going to diagnose this person, but I am going to recommend therapy. Alison’s response was perfect!

    21. MistOrMister*

      I am quite confused about being upset that someone brought the same item. I don’t know if OPs rolls were handmade or what, but to be fair, the Hawaiian rolls I’ve seen in the stores are fairly cheap. Which I know is a red herring, but it strikes me as the pot calling the kettle black to complain about the cost of the other rolls. Maybe the other person could literally not afford anything else. Maybe they adore those rolls beyond all reason. It really doesnt matter, they contributed and unless the lunch was nothing BUT rolls, there is no sense in getting upset that there were extras.
      But beyond that, getting up and leaving to make the point that you won’t be disrespected is really very very far outside of any acceptable norms in any workspace. Unless the person bringing the rolls said something like, I brought these because we couldn’t count on OP and/or threw OP’s in the trash to make room for theirs, there is absolutely no disrespect involved. I would keep a whole heck of a lot of distance between mysef and a coworker who got angry at something like this, because I would assume that they would be completely irrational about pretty much everything. Also, OP needs to note, that potluck was really not about them! They admitted there was another new hire and it might have been a generic, when we have new hires we’ll do a potluck, or a monthly potluck or whatever. No one has a potluck specifically for 1 new hire that is THAT person’s party. It might be a,welcome thing but it’s also going to be a team building thing as well.

      Getting skipped at the meeting would be annoying, but again the reaction was over the top. I’ve had a manager skip,me over before and I agree that it is very frustrating. But unless it’s part of a pattern of ill-treatment, it certainly isn’t something to get so worked up avout that you seethe in a rage.

      1. Lexicat*

        It doesn’t seem like the coworker brought the same item, but rather a similar item. Being offended that other people don’t share your taste is ridiculous. Getting up and leaving over someone bringing a similar-but-different thing is incredibly childish.

        If I was OP’s coworker, and I knew they were stewing like this over tiny things, I would lose all respect for them.

    22. Engineer Girl*

      The biggest problem I see is fabricating stories out of whole cloth. OP, you are completely and totally fabricating others motivations. No one really cares enough to purposely insult you. They’re just going about their own lives. They don’t owe you the attention you think you deserve.
      I suspect you feel a need to be the Poor Victim Martyr. Why? What does the anger accomplish?
      It also takes an incredible amount of energy to be perpetually offended. That’s going to take away energy that you can use for your life success.
      If you don’t get help it will destroy you.

    23. Fikly*

      People are almost always involved in their own lives and issues. Very little is about you or directed at you, LW2.

    24. Poopsie*

      LW 2. Sorry, but you need a serious attitude adjustment. The letter doesn’t say if it’s your first job or not, just that you were new at this one, but with an attitude like this if you aren’t already, you are going to rapidly get a rep as a total diva and no one will want to interact with you for fear that you will go on a rampage because they insulted you by offering you a pencil instead of a pen or something.

    25. CM*

      The question is, “In your opinion, what the hell is going on?”

      I think what’s going on is that the OP is feeling excluded and as though their new workmates are behaving like they don’t exist. That’s a really painful feeling, especially if it’s stacking on top of prior experiences.

      I don’t think that passive-aggressively trying to teach them a lesson (by walking out of the potluck or conspicuously bailing on secret santa) is going to create a stronger connection — and I think that that should be the focus: what are you willing to do to build a stronger connection, rather than what would you like THEM to do — because you can’t control them.

      1. Paulina*

        Yes. Even being overlooked by accident doesn’t feel good, especially if it seems to be repeated. But, and I say this from very painful experience: getting annoyed when you’re overlooked by accident tends to make people want to avoid you deliberately. Even if they’re guilty, them feeling guilty won’t make them want to be around you. It can be hard to get past the slights and apparent disrespect to act more positively, but the other path doesn’t lead anywhere good.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        What the hell is going on is that, you, OP are automatically assuming the worst in others. You are defending yourself against stuff that is actually fairly normal stuff and you will see a few times before you retire from working. It’s not a plot against you, it’s just not.

    26. Katiekaboom*

      Is this real? Like, do people like this really exist? And how do they get past the interview stage? This chip on her shoulder is the size of a boulder.

      1. Jaybeetee*

        She reminds me a bit of my ex-MIL, who I swear had a PHD in finding offence in the most innocuous things.

      2. pancakes*

        Think of how different the world would be if there weren’t in fact quite a few people like this! No road rage and a lot fewer brawls and shootings, I think.

      3. Jellyfish*

        I had a former coworker who apparently thought like this. They seethed in silence for many months, so we all thought they had some unusual social quirks, but whatever, as long as they did their job.
        In their mind though, they were making enemies right and left, and all that pent up hostility eventually exploded. They went to great lengths to punish and alienate all the other employees, and they got fired for that.

      4. Mischa*

        They do. My grandmother, whom I love dearly, is the prime example of this. Everything is a personal attack, whether it happens at work or at home. It’s frankly exhausting to be around her for extended periods of time; she’s semi-retired so she has ample amount of time to stew and overthink things, and she loves to complain. Unfortunately, Grandma likes to think she lives by the phrase “never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by thoughtlessness” but in her mind, simple thoughtlessness is malice.

      5. Third or Nothing!*

        Oh yes, people like this really exist. I ran into one at my very first job. She was harassing my coworker (she didn’t work there, her husband did) and while I was comforting the poor soul, I made an unkind remark about the harasser’s behavior. Somehow it got back to her and she comes storming up to me in a fit of rage demanding I apologize. Of course, I did apologize, because it was indeed wrong of me to insult her. But that wasn’t enough. She then said if I was really sorry I’d get down and lick her boots. Excuse me? No way! So she goes out to the parking lot to wait in her car for my shift to be over, presumably to beat me up. I called the police. Never saw her again. Weirdest reaction I’ve ever seen to a small slight.

        OP2, if you’ve gotten this far in the thread, please don’t be that person. That’s no way to live life.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          wth.
          I am sorry you had to deal with that. But I am glad you called the police, because that needed to happen there.

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            Yeah it was pretty terrifying as a little 16 year old being yelled at by a grown woman. I did a scan of the parking lot before leaving work for a long time after that.

        2. Diahann Carroll*

          Lick her boots?! Yeah, I don’t blame you for calling the cops on her – I would have reported her to HR as well.

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            She didn’t even work there so it never occurred to me. Plus I was 16 and quite naive about my rights as an employee.

      6. Anonymous Poster*

        My grandma. I’d say it was for the best that she spent a good chunk of her life as a SAHM, because I can’t imagine her coworkers had a great time, but it actually wasn’t.

        Some people’s BIG FEELINGS can make them lively and charming when they’re in a good mood. They can also keep the negativity at a low boil that isn’t noticeable to new people.

      7. Little Orange Nail*

        I have an ex-boyfriend like this who quit several jobs (suddenly and without giving notice) because “people were out to get him”. They exist and wreak havoc on their loved ones.

    27. SnakeRiverRoad*

      Actually, Commenter #2 is not over-reacting or being obtuse.

      This is super common for folks who have complex trauma. C-PTSD shows up in super- emotionally charged, and seemingly over-reactive, responses. Responses tend to arise during times of enormous duress: a new job, trying to do everything right, feeling ostracized, not having your boss recognize you in a situation where new folks are being introduced.

      Notice, the foundation for these responses all arise from perceptions. Not from facts. For someone who has a secure attachment, watching these reactions in another person can be confusing and seem ridiculous, and therefore judged and sneered at, but the person over-reacting has utterly no control of at all. It is all coming from the nervous system and the way we unconsciously organized to keep ourselves safe when we were young, before our brains were fully online and before we even had language. This is old deep stuff and can come off as very childish, because that’s where it is seeping up from.

      We have all worked with folks (or dated, married, had as neighbors) that seemed like adulting-humans, but certain (and not consistent) situations send them into responses that seem wildly inappropriate, wildy childish or unhinged.

      I was one of those people for many years. Until I worked with a somatic therapist. Before that, I would over react, feel deep shame for my behaviour, immediately make it anyone else’s fault and then either quit, or pretend what I did didn’t happen. Over such small things, like dinner rolls or a boss forgetting my name. It’s big hard, awful stuff if you don’t know why it is happening. Compounded by others (looking at you commenters) heaping on shame and judgement for feelings that feel literally like life or death.

      I would gently encourage the gal to see an attachment therapist or a somatic experiencing practitioner. It could change her life. It did mine. I am now re-training to be a Somatic counselor. Because sometimes, it’s not about the dinner rolls, it’s about being in unmanageable pain that effects every single part of your life and you don’t even know it.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Well, no, she’s still overreacting. She might have a legitimate reason for doing so, but it’s still an overreaction. And it doesn’t absolve her from responsibility for her behavior and the need to address it by whatever route is appropriate. As my grandmother used to say, “It may not be your fault but it’s still your problem”.

      2. Observer*

        There is a good reason why there is a rule against diagnosing people on this site.

        You could be right, but it still would not matter. The OP’s reaction is utterly and completely over the top. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t feel like that to them. The reality is that no one “slapped her in the face”, literally or figuratively by bringing the rolls, walking out of the lunch to make a point is childish (at best), concluding that everyone in the office is “fake ass” is purely a figment of their issues, the boss was almost certainly not being a “jackass” and was definitely not hinting that he “doesn’t wan [OP] working” for him. In other words all of their reactions are totally out of touch with reality but very antagonistic.

      3. Me*

        OP is 100% having an inappropriate reaction.

        It’s really not our job nor helpful to armchair diagnose people. They could have the issue you describe (I do and am in treatment for it and have never lost my shizz over stuff like this at work – my point being anecdotes aren’t helpful) or they could have something else or they could have nothing at all except a flawed perspective.

        The point is OP is out of line and their attitude is going to get them fired. It is on them to address.

        A therapist is a good suggestion to figure out why, but dipping into what you think the disorder should be a no go.

        1. three raccoons in a trench coat*

          +1. I also have CPTSD and have yet to storm out of an event because I thought someone brought rolls at me.

    28. limbonic*

      As for Potluck Person… there’s a saying old and true: “If everyone around you is a jerk, then actually YOU’RE the jerk.” Honestly there always seems to be one person in any workplace who openly whines and complains and thinks everyone else is a jerk (except you, of course, when they’re venting to you…although probably they actually think you’re a jerk too).

      A softer version of that might be “If everyone around you has major issues, then actually you’re the one with the major issue.”

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I like the more obscene version, tbh.

        ‘If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.’

      2. Annabelle*

        My favorite version is for dating – something along the lines of “If everyone you date turns out to be crazy, then maybe it’s not them”.

        1. Amy Sly*

          Despair.com has a great demotivational poster showing a chain with a link stretched to the breaking point. “The only consistent thing in all your dysfunctional relationships is you.”

      3. Anonymous Poster*

        Sometimes everyone around you is a jerk, but this ain’t one of those times. Anyway, it’s worth thinking about when you notice that the common denominator is you.

    29. Temi*

      Well! I am insulted Alison! You answered this lame question before mine! I mean, really?

      I sent you a well thought-out question about a universal scenario in which all your readers may benefit from your wisdom and this is the letter that makes the cut?!</