Donut you apologize for taking that donut.

It happens to all of us. It starts as a regular day at the office. You pass by the kitchen on your way to the printer and something catches your eye. You see that lovely, rectangular-shaped bakery box and alarms start going off in your brain as it screams, “DOOONUTS! EAT THEM! QUICK! PUT THEM IN YOUR FACE HOLE!” (If you do not react this way, please stop reading, as I’m too embarrassed for you to continue.)


Meanwhile, on the outside, we try to maintain composure. And this is where it gets interesting. I’ve noticed that it’s nearly impossible for us to simply take a donut and walk away in silence. We feel compelled to make a comment or justify our choice—sometimes even when we’re alone.

The weird thing is, some people really do make comments when you reach into the donut box. Whether it’s The Observer saying, “Getting a donut?” Or The Judger, “I didn’t know donuts fit into your Paleo diet!” Or The Accuser who slyly says, “I saw that.” As if it were a hit-and-run. But are they equally shameful?

Since this realization, I’ve now made a point to not apologize for taking a donut. It’s 200 calories of bliss, and I’m not sorry for any of it.

I’ve developed this theory over years of observance (surprise, coworkers!) and I’ve come to realize there are a few different responses when donuts suddenly pop up in the office. He or she can become:

The “Confused” Investigator

In this Intro to Acting approach, you take on the role of someone who has never seen a donut box. Pretend to be genuinely intrigued about what its contents are. To do this, fumble around the kitchen like you are looking for something and ask questions like, “Oh what’s in here?” and “Are these donuts?” As you open what is clearly a Dunkin Donuts box. Then act surprised to find donuts. You do this because you feel obligated to say something—even to yourself—before you take one.

The Downer

Another approach is to make a slew of self-loathing comments as you take your donut. “Ugh… I’m so bad. I already ate my whole oatmeal… AND I had a pizza last night… but I’m such a slug, I’m going to eat this whole donut…” Whoa girl. This is awkward for everyone. Not only are you body-shaming yourself, but you’re taking this all way too seriously and giving us the details of your spiraling diet. Don’t bring down my donut happiness—put on Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” and you enjoy that doughy goodness!

The Negotiator

This person takes the donut and then lists all the reasons that it’s okay:

“I’m only going to eat half.”

“It’s just a plain glazed.”

“I didn’t eat anything else for breakfast yet.”

“I worked out this morning.”

And those are all great… but you don’t need to justify it! You owe no one an explanation.

The Ninja

This person sneaks into the kitchen to grab a judgment-free donut. They will jump or reroute their hands if you catch them reaching for a donut because they thought they were alone (in fact, they made sure of it). A Donut Ninja knows you must strike quickly and quietly. Enter the kitchen under the pretense of getting water; then, if no one is around, grab one and leave the scene of the crime, fast! The Donut Ninja is also the person who takes that last sad donut scrap that is still hanging out at 4:30 p.m.

The Sad Dieter 

They will linger around the box all day, staring from afar and trying to enjoy the donut vicariously by watching others. They will talk in length about all the reasons they cannot have the donut because of the diet they are on or because they don’t consume trans fats—as well as what bakery has the best donuts and what their favorite kind is… By 3:00 p.m., they will have finally eaten a donut and become self-loathing—talking through their problems with The Downer.

The Illusionist

In an attempt to eat modestly, they will slice a donut in half. Then another. Then another quarter of a donut after lunch. And another quarter around 3:00 p.m. And possibly one last half near the end of the day. This indecisive person will try every variety, but in the end, feel as if they did not eat any donuts at all. Because how can you count calories when you don’t know how many you ate! VOID!

The Rebel

This B.A. will walk straight into the kitchen… take a donut… and leave without caring if anyone saw. A rare white rhino of the office.

The Dracula

Leaving perfect teeth marks, this person takes a bite out of a donut and then, inexplicably, PLACES IT BACK IN THE BOX. An office Dracula is almost impossible to catch, as they are also a master level Donut Ninja—with possibly malicious intent. Like most criminal masterminds, no one quite understands the motivation behind The Dracula, and maybe that mystery is what fuels their evil office deeds. Donut Dracula may be the same person who does not refill the toilet paper and takes the last cup of coffee. A true monster among men.

The Abstainer (AKA The Party Pooper)

You wonder if this person has spent time in Nepal, because they practice monk-like willpower as they abstain from the office’s collective donut jubilee. They may mumble something about not eating fried food or CrossFit or how sweets aren’t their thing. Whatever it is, they just don’t really care about the donuts. I envy this person.

I know I personally have been all of these. Well, besides The Abstainer and The Dracula. Which one are you? What other approaches are there?

Pay attention next time a treat comes to your office. Try being The Rebel and take your donut and leave without saying a word to anyone. Don’t apologize for that donut!

Mary Flenner is Senior Copywriter at AKHIA.