I don't want to be guilted into explaining why I don't give blood!
August 26, 2008 12:11 AM   Subscribe

How do I get coworkers to stop asking me to donate blood?

I work at a place that is very pro-blood drive. As a concept, I think that's great. It's when my coworkers continually ask me to donate blood that I am less thrilled.

Usually my coworkers will ask me to give blood, I will politely refuse, and they will ask why or try to persuade me to give blood despite my refusal. These are wonderful people who just want everyone to donate blood like they do--but I have reasons why I cannot that I don't really want to share with everyone I work with.

My reasons for not giving blood:
*Under doctor's orders, I can't--the medication I am on can pass through the blood
*Due to this medication, I have to get blood drawn every month anyway and am not eager to up the number of needles entering my body
*I have very small veins and it take quite a lot of effort and pain to find a vein that will give blood (we're talking one arm that has no veins they can use and the other arm they can only get blood from the top of my hand)
*I got a piercing in a foreign country recently (against Red Cross regs)
*I faint every month when they draw my blood, and one time I was rushed to the ER with a concussion. Needless to say, I don't like needles.

What's the best way/best explanation that will help my coworkers understand why I don't give blood while also preserving some of my privacy?
posted by librarylis to Human Relations (59 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, I can't. (which is very different to I won't.)
If they ask why?
Doctor's orders.
If they ask why?
Doctor's orders.
If they say, oh, so you sick or something.
Just smile and say something like that.
posted by b33j at 12:17 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's the best way/best explanation that will help my coworkers understand why I don't give blood while also preserving some of my privacy?

Just answer: "It's against my religion." And leave it at that. Most Americans will respect that answer without needing or wanting to know more.
posted by three blind mice at 12:20 AM on August 26, 2008


"Sorry, I'm ineligible to donate."
posted by bunji at 12:23 AM on August 26, 2008 [21 favorites]


In the past when I've been pestered with this question I've always answered, "Sorry, I have a defective public service gland."

I think it defuses the situation with a little humor, YMMV.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:26 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I used to donate blood whenever a drive came though campus and I was able. I have had some medical problems that make it hard for me to do so. Sometimes it was medicine related, other times not.

Turns out, now that I am clear to donate whenever I want, I usually feel sick during or after, sometimes to the point of not being able to complete the donation. Often it leads to my not even trying... sadly.

Anyway, usually I would just tell friends that asked me to participate in their club's campus drive that I couldn't because my doctors would rather I didn't - which was true. If I didn't feel like divulging even that much I would just say I couldn't for private reasons and it was enough. Sometimes you run into people who are persistent or nosy and you just have to repeat, "private."

I would think your co-workers would respect you enough to let it go.
posted by Kimothy at 12:28 AM on August 26, 2008


Tell them you've traveled recently to Central America.

Tell them you've got the hiv.

Tell them that it grosses you out.

Tell them you don't give nothing away for free.

Tell them it arouses you too much.

Tell them you were created in the image of God and that any incursion or deletion of your precious bodily fluids is an affront to the Almighty.

Tell them that the color red makes you mad.

Tell them to go fuck themselves.
posted by wfrgms at 12:30 AM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I used to work at a blood clinic, and there are lots of pretty benign reasons why people are ineligible to donate. You could say you have low iron, you could say you travelled to an exclusion-zone like Africa, you could say you lived in Britain or France for an extended time. (These are restrictions in Canada)

I understand this is all about your privacy - you want a response that will get you off the hook discretely and quickly. You could tell people that you donate with friends and family on your own schedule, so your eligibility doesn't line up with your office's visits. You could say you donate plasma instead of whole-blood. But if people are pushing you over "doctor's orders", they may be impossible to get rid of easily. Not to derail, but if you have co-workers who won't accept that you can't donate and you don't want to chat about it, maybe you need to have a stern word with them or have a supervisor do the same.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:35 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tell them "I'm using it."
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:45 AM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't understand why it's reasonable to be unwilling to tell your co-workers a bunch of stuff that you've just told the entire Internet. If I were in your position, I'd print out the list of perfectly good reasons from your question and tape it to my desk.
posted by flabdablet at 12:52 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I assume the piercing is private? Otherwise it seems like an obvious and airtight excuse.
posted by IvyMike at 12:57 AM on August 26, 2008


I do donate on occasion and even did the plasma donation thing for $$, but I have to keep myself from laughing because I know they're not going to hit the vein on the first couple of tries. I have two big bruises on both my arms from a recent hospital stay, finally told the nurse to go get somebody good after laying there and having him poke and prod a needle around inside both of my arms.

OMG stop poking needles in my arm moron. Even the good people have a hard time. Bloodmobile... hah!

Good enough excuse. I actually enjoy giving blood and maybe sickly enjoy watching and feeling somebody poke a needle in my arm, it's sorta LOL funny. But you can get by with the "they can't hit me" defense.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:58 AM on August 26, 2008


You should speak to the blood bank that runs your workplace blood drives. Blood banks understand that it is inappropriate to try to persuade or pester someone into giving blood. In fact, the last time I gave blood, I was taken along afterwards into a private room and handed two barcodes. I was to stick one on the consent form. One was for "yes, use this unit of blood that I just gave." The other was "No, I don't want this blood used. I was guilted or peer-pressured or otherwise coerced into coming here, I lied on the form so that others could see me donating blood, and the blood should not be used."

For example, it seems that some unscrupulous employers have used the ability to donate blood as a way to avoid hiring an HIV positive person without having to ask an illegal question during the workplace interview: "We only hire people with a demonstrated track record of public service. Come donate blood with me on my lunch hour and we'll talk more about what it means to work here."

There are real reasons not to use peer pressure to make people give blood. The blood bank needs to know that peer pressure is being used in this workplace and it needs to take steps to safeguard their blood supply by ensuring that participants understand the etiquette about appropriate and inappropriate ways to encourage blood donation.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:01 AM on August 26, 2008 [19 favorites]


Just tell them you're ineligible, its not a lie but it doesn't reveal any private information. You don't need to tell them any more than that.
posted by missmagenta at 1:04 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I mean, to be honest, the "piercing in a foreign country" thing both disqualifies you and is pretty tame/irrelevant in my opinion, so I think that you've inadvertently answered this question for yourself. If anyone particularly cares, I'd say to tell them that... get's the job done. You don't even have to be truthful about what the piercing was! I've never known the Red Cross to bend any of its restrictive guidelines, so it's not like your co-workers, if feeling particularly moralistic, could credibly ask you to beg for a special dispensation or something wacky like that. That should answer any questions and leave all of your private medical stuff private. Anything after that is just nosy meddling that you're free to blow off.
posted by Keter at 1:06 AM on August 26, 2008


You are not obligated to explain anything--your reasons are your own business. However, it is sometimes difficult to address the questions with an answer that will not cause conflict, but will stop further questions.

If you're female, tell them your iron is too low. This is a very common problem that prevents many women from donating blood (obviously, some men have low iron too, but this is a much more common problem in women, for obvious reasons). I highly doubt that anyone would question you further, as they will surely stay away from prying into a "woman problem".

I used to give blood regularly, along with my co-workers, but recently had to stop due to my own medical reasons (unfortunately, a miscarriage). I definitely didn't want to share this information with my co-workers (nobody knew I was pregnant as I was only 7-8 weeks along when it happened), and I honestly didn't know how to address it because I found out AT THE BLOOD DONOR CLINIC, where I was rejected and had to wait at the juice-and-cookie table until my co-workers had finished donating. They did ask why I couldn't donate, and I blurted out a reason that I'd previously overheard from another unsuccessful would-be donor: "My iron is too low." Much to my relief, nobody batted an eye--or asked any further questions.

Good luck to you!
posted by parkerama at 1:14 AM on August 26, 2008


A simple "I'd love to, but I'm not eligible. Thanks for asking though!" ought to cover it. No need to delve any further than that. There are tons of reasons you might not be eligible, including not having enough to eat or drink earlier in the day, so you can always fall back on that if you're talking to a particularly Nosy Nelly.
posted by platinum at 1:18 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Tell them last time you donated blood you felt faint and they asked you not to return.

Or tell them they do blood donation near your home and you just gave last week.

Tell them you have received blood and as such you're ineligible to give further blood (true in my country). You know, from that injury you got when you were shot while jumping your burning motorcycle over a police barricade.

Tell them you need all the blood you can get to sustain an erection of your freakishly large NSFW.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:55 AM on August 26, 2008


I don't understand why it's reasonable to be unwilling to tell your co-workers a bunch of stuff that you've just told the entire Internet. If I were in your position, I'd print out the list of perfectly good reasons from your question and tape it to my desk.

Actually, I have given all of the answers listed in my question to one coworker or another at one time or another. The problem with these responses--and the reason why I'm not willing to "tape the list to my desk"--is that they invite further questions.

I'm ok telling perfect strangers information that is not particularly detailed. I am not comfortable telling my coworkers the details that the responses listed tend to provoke.

The point about the piercing--which is in perfectly plain sight--works well for me, though I hope the other advice works well for others in this position who don't have a convenient piercing.
posted by librarylis at 2:16 AM on August 26, 2008


The one thing I would not do is simply say "I'm not eligible". That would get the rumor mills grinding. Many of your co-workers would assume you are HIV positive.
posted by megatherium at 3:39 AM on August 26, 2008


The only point of your list that is important is the first, you take medication that makes you ineligible. That rules you out without all the rest. And that's all you need to tell people (i.e. you're ineligible), even the medication part of the sentence is optional.

I actually wonder if you've given too many reasons, diluting the message. Then it starts to sound like you're just making excuses rather than really genuinely unable to. Particularly the stuff about how it makes you feel bad and you have bad veins, they're totally legitimate reasons which should be respected but can actually come across as you just looking for an out from something you don't want to do. Stick with the first reason, you are medically ineligible and are not allowed to give blood regardless of how you feel about it, and leave the rest out. You could use the piercing thing but keep in mind they usually only make you ineligible for a certain amount of time, your co-workers sound zealous enough to count it down for you. I ran into this when I'd been using a tattoo as an excuse.

If someone asks further questions just look at them slightly quizzically and ask calmly "why do you want to know?". Most people will give it up then because the only answer possible is straight nosiness, but for those who persist just follow up with "why would you ask that?". Repeat this response, calmly and non-confrontationally, until they get the message and stop asking. Then change the subject.
posted by shelleycat at 3:40 AM on August 26, 2008


"I'm afraid of voodoo."

I find that tends to end that conversation quickly.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:48 AM on August 26, 2008


Actually, I have given all of the answers listed in my question to one coworker or another at one time or another. The problem with these responses--and the reason why I'm not willing to "tape the list to my desk"--is that they invite further questions.

As others have said, "I'd prefer not to talk about it" and its variations are perfectly valid responses to these kinds of questions. Say it with a smile. Be polite about it, but learning to set these kinds of boundaries will help with every situation like this.

Sure, you can find a convenient excuse for pretty much anything, but people will respect you more, you'll respect yourself more and nobody sane is going to in the least offended by your decision to keep specific personal information to yourself. There's nothing wrong with making up an excuse, but honesty and effective boundary-setting will serve you better. And hey, this seems like a low-risk way to try it out.
posted by xchmp at 4:47 AM on August 26, 2008


I am anemic and I can't donate all the time so tell them you are anemic. Of course, they might then start telling you need to eat iron rich foods.

I love to donate at work because we get 4 hours of leave to "recuperate."
posted by govtdrone at 5:09 AM on August 26, 2008


Tell them with a straight face that you don't weigh enough. This is particularly best if you are considerably over the 110 limit.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:25 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tell them, flat out, that it is none of their business. That you've answered these questions for co-workers before, and you're done answering them.

And then tell them that you've decided that the next time a co-worker continues to pry into why you're not giving blood at the office, you're going to notify HR and call your attorney, Then you, the HR rep, your attorney, and your nosy co-worker can sit in an office together along with your boss and discuss why the co-worker insists on knowing your reasons.
posted by magstheaxe at 5:44 AM on August 26, 2008


The general Miss Manners line is to just say you can't "Oh I'm sorry that's just impossible" and then be confident that any further questions are rude on the part of the asker. It seems like really you just have a problem with busybodies in your workplace and your relationship to them and their prying questions. So generally speaking the way to go forward with this sort of thing is to

1. give a flat aswer that doesn't invite further questions and refuse to acknowledge further questions [my favorite reply is "that's a little personal, don't you think?"] or,
2. shame them into never asking you again

The second option not only doesn't work but also has the side effect of making you a paraiah at work which is rarely a good idea though can work in some circumstances. It seems like your best bet is to come up with ONE answer, repeat it ad nauseum, keep your personal reasons to yourself and be confident and assured that you're doing the right and appropriate thing. A few simple brief answers

"Can't"
"Ineligible"
"Phobic"
"Anemic"
"Lived in Africa"
"Doc says no"

If you're concerned that they think you're not enough of a trooper or something you could always make snacks or something for Blood Drive day, I know some people get really rah rah about that sort of thing so if you suspect that they're accusing you of not being civic-minded you could try that route. Good luck, I know this sort of thing is a pain in the ass.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


you have a lot of good reasons for not donating blood--including the best one: you don't want to. your coworkers won't understand this, and if you're not donating for a medical reason, it's none of their business.

it's been my experience that before you donate blood, you meet one on one with a nurse who'll ask you the current list of questions. that is when you should say you can't (or won't) donate.

so the next time they pester you, go ahead and sign up. once you get with the nurse, tell her you can't, and she'll still process you like you did. keep doing this until you coworkers stop asking.
posted by lester at 6:00 AM on August 26, 2008


There are real reasons not to use peer pressure to make people give blood. The blood bank needs to know that peer pressure is being used in this workplace and it needs to take steps to safeguard their blood supply by ensuring that participants understand the etiquette about appropriate and inappropriate ways to encourage blood donation.

In addition to everyone's advice on how to deal with your coworkers (incidentally, it's shocking how persistant and nosy they are!), I'm repeating this because it's important. Your coworkers are doing a disservice to the blood bank.
posted by Pax at 6:18 AM on August 26, 2008


I immediately thought of the Miss-Mannersly approach too -- follow up questions greeted with "I can't imagine how that would be interesting to discuss/won't bore you with the details." Your first reason is the most airtight in terms of not inviting debate -- I'd stick to that.

If people are pestering you for details, it may just be as simple as giving them a conversation-ending look. There are two that I would use in this situation: the cool direct gaze and the bemused eyebrow (basically, a mild WTF look.) The idea is to imply that this is a bizarre and inappropriate question, as if a co-worker was quizzing you publicly on the effectiveness of your tampons or on your bowel habits.
posted by desuetude at 6:28 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Say that you are a Jehova's Witness (or used to be one but now only practice it on your own).....For them it is not allowed to give blood under any circumstances.
posted by The1andonly at 6:29 AM on August 26, 2008


Just say "I'd love to, but they won't take it.". I, for instance, can't donate because I am from the UK, and thus I might have mad cow disease (although I've been a vegetarian for 20-odd years).
posted by baggers at 6:34 AM on August 26, 2008


This is what you say: "I have a whole list of reasons, some more interesting than others. The first is that I'm under doctor's orders, I can't--the medication I am on can pass through the blood."

Then you say: "Do you want me to keep going down the list?"

If they say "yes" say "Okay. Due to this medication, I have to get blood drawn every month anyway and am not eager to up the number of needles entering my body. I also have very small veins and it take quite a lot of effort and pain to find a vein that will give blood (we're talking one arm that has no veins they can use and the other arm they can only get blood from the top of my hand)."

"Would you like to hear all of the other reasons?"

"I got a piercing in a foreign country recently (against Red Cross regs)"

"I faint every month when they draw my blood, and one time I was rushed to the ER with a concussion. Needless to say, I don't like needles."
posted by dydecker at 6:37 AM on August 26, 2008


Another avenue might be to approach HR or whoever fulfills that role with your concerns; it is part of their job to handle this sort of thing, whether it's pressure to donate blood or pressure to buy overpriced fund raising crap for someone's kids. As Ikkyu2 stated so well, there are good reasons not to pressure people into donating and someone (not necessarily you) needs to politely explain this to your co-workers.
posted by TedW at 6:38 AM on August 26, 2008


If they still want to know why you don't want to give blood, your co-owners are not only a bit insane, they are boring too
posted by dydecker at 6:38 AM on August 26, 2008


I never give blood at work during blood drives. I just tell the truth: the concept of blood leaving my body freaks me out. I used to think it was just because I was seeing the vile fill with blood but, after looking away or closing my eyes, it still freaked me out. I've never had anyone push me any further on it.

I wouldn't go into a detailed explanation because it's nobody's business. If they continue to bug you about it, just state that you've already explained why you're not giving blood. I think the key is to say it confidently. When I have other adults harass me about a personal choice I usually just say something like "What is this, an after school special? No, I don't want to smoke pot!".
posted by bda1972 at 7:01 AM on August 26, 2008


you could say you travelled to an exclusion-zone like Africa

Why would someone tell such an elaborate lie? Seriously, her coworkers probably knows all the days she takes off. When would she be able to fit in a trip to Africa?

Just say you cant for medical reasons. That's really it. No need to concoct stories about the congo and the time you saw a white lion on safari.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2008


Do you have any tattoos? My understanding is that you can't give blood within 12 months of getting inked. If you do, just tell them "well I would but I just got this right here a few months ago and I'm still ineligible."

You could optionally just tell them that you recently got a tattoo, as long as you don't mind that perception. Or hey, you could go get a tattoo...perhaps something along the lines of NO I DON"T WANT TO GIVE BLOOD would get the message across nicely.
posted by baphomet at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2008


I am not comfortable telling my coworkers the details that the responses listed tend to provoke.

Just say "Id rather not talk about my health" if there is a follow-up. Be assertive. Don't be a liar.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:08 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just pick a reason and stick with it so it doesn't become a sport to see what excuse you'll use this time. The one I used to use (it was true at the time) was "I can't, because of low blood pressure." Nice and boring, doesn't lend itself to follow-up nosiness.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:11 AM on August 26, 2008


"Listen, please stop badgering me about this. I have my reasons for not donating, they are not going to change, and I am tired of having to explain them all the time."
posted by kindall at 7:20 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is a larger issue not being discussed in this thread, and perhaps way off topic, but this workplace pressure to give blood is extremely problematic gay men. Any male who has had sex with a man even once since 1978 is ineligible to give blood. (Regardless of HIV status.) As an openly gay man, I engage in this discussion each time I am asked to give blood anywhere, but I can imagine that, for men trying to keep their sexuality to themselves, the constant questioning about why they are not giving blood would be very frustrating.
posted by hworth at 7:23 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have some weird rare blood type that every blood bank seems to really love. I used to donate regularly, but then they started calling me sooner than 59 days. Finally I got sick of that and started telling them that I'd been become part of a religion that practices rituals in the forests involving small woodland creatures and lots of unprotected sex with other men.

Haven't heard from them since.

Yes, it was rude and possibly uncalled for. But so are the questions about my sexual orientation and hassling me prior to the 59 day limit.
posted by krisak at 8:20 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tell those Vampires you work with that it's not in your job description to give away your blood. I don't think you need to answer these idiots honestly. The reason(s) you do not give blood is your business. For example, you can tell them you prefer to sell your blood online rather than just giving it away. You could give an answer like, "yeah I just don't think that's something I'm going to do (shake head slowly, looking up)." You can also tell them your iron level is consistently too low despite what you eat or what supplements you take. They always turn me away for lack of iron, which sucks because I'd love to donate blood and I otherwise could do it. Oh yeah, and then tell them it's against your religion and would they like to hear a bit about your religion and consider joining your church? That always gets people to "drop it" no matter what the topic.
posted by mamaraks at 8:28 AM on August 26, 2008


Any male who has had sex with a man even once since 1978 is ineligible to give blood [in the US].

Any female who has had sexual contact with a man who has had sex with other men since 1978 is also ineligible.

"A while back, I was dating a guy until I found out about the boyfriend he had on the side, and until the Red Cross changes the rules about gay men, I'm not allowed."
posted by toxic at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2008


If you are comfortable telling them the first reason, do that, and if they press on and ask what the medication is or what your condition is or whatever, do as mentioned above and say "Why would you want to know that?" or "That's a bit personal, don't you think?". Just look at them like you're absolutely puzzled as to why they would continue pressing you for further information. I mean, you should be puzzled, because it's rude of them to ask.

I'm sure they're all nice people and don't mean to be rude, and they're just getting all excited about the blood drive, but pressuring people who are ineligible to donate wastes everyone's time. If they were successful in getting you to arrive and talk to a nurse, you'd be disqualified anyway, which would waste the nurse's time (and your own). Perhaps pointing this out to them might help them understand why they should leave you the hell alone already.
posted by bedhead at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2008


Pressuring people who aren't eligible not only wastes time, it wastes a lot of resources. Blood banking is a business, and while "bad blood" is written into the bottom line, there are very real risks involved with putting a needle into someone who shouldn't be giving blood. Regardless of which bar code sticker they slap on the bag.

And the risks of putting contaminated blood into another person are serious. It's a shame that we are racist about deciding whose blood might be diseased, but medications are potentially just as dangerous as disease.
posted by bilabial at 9:43 AM on August 26, 2008


hworth brought up exactly what I was going to post about.

I wouldn't tell them big convoluted stories. Just say "I can't - doctor's orders" and stick to it.

And if you're comfortable doing this, maybe you could take one of them (or an HR rep) aside and point out that although they are really enthusiastic about getting everyone on board the blood donor train, the ineligibility guidelines bring up really personal issues. They are putting their coworkers on the spot. Maybe those coworkers aren't ready to come out in the office. Maybe those coworkers have herpes or other sexually transmitted diseases. Maybe they are secretly pregnant and keeping it mum until they're sure. Maybe they had or have a certain type of cancer and don't want to discuss it. Maybe they're just afraid of needles and are embarrassed by it.

These people need to realize that even though they are doing super duper good work by rallying donors, they *also* need to respect people's privacy and personal lives. Get people psyched about blood donation, but do *not* badger them about it.
posted by cadge at 9:49 AM on August 26, 2008


ikkyu2 is onto something though: there may be other ineligible people in your office who are being peer-pressured into giving blood. So asking the red cross to send a neutral, anonymous but forceful message about not pressuring people to give blood sounds like it would be good on several levels.

I can't give blood because I lived in England during the mad cow epoch. So you could add that to your list as well.
posted by Rumple at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2008


"They won't let me - I take medication that could pass through the blood, and you can't be too careful. It's a good thing too, because I have fainted while having blood drawn before!"
posted by KAS at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2008


I second the 'I gave once and I fainted and they told me not to come back' excuse. It's concrete and fairly dull.

It happened to me once. I went home and slept for twenty hours. I just don't want to risk that happening again. They should respect you not wanting to risk it, too.
posted by toomuchkatherine at 12:04 PM on August 26, 2008


I have a friend who can't donate because she has low blood pressure. She tried a couple of times and both times her blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels.

I would just say "The doctor says that I can't. I have low blood pressure." It doesn't make you sound weird or diseased, and you won't have to pretend that you lived in England.
posted by defreckled at 12:06 PM on August 26, 2008


"Thanks for inviting me. I know how important blood drives are, but I'm unable to participate." covers all the bases, but go a step further "I volunteer at the homless shelter instead." Turn the conversation to a new, interesting subject that gives you an 'out' on the socially responsible part of blood donation. If you don't volunteer or give money, find some marginally related topic that you can use to divert the conversation. Persistent questioners will be more obviously rude if they pursue it, and that makes it easier to say "Oh, it's a long story, and I hate to go into it." over and over and over again.
posted by theora55 at 12:16 PM on August 26, 2008


Being too vague and mysterious might just lead them to silly speculation about your reasons. Even just saying "medical reasons" will lead curious/gossipy people to wonder what condition you could possibly have, as you mention above. Since your colleagues are aware of your piercing that ought to be sufficient to shut them up, at least for the short term.

Have a look through the Red Cross Blood Donor eligibility criteria and pick the most innocuous excuse that is closest to your situation. You want one that's permanent and will get them off your back full stop without prompting further questioning or speculation.

I like the excuse that your blood pressure tends to be low, and you passed out the last time you donated and were advised not to donate in the future.

I lived in the UK for several years in the early 90s and an not eligible to donate blood. My daughter was in the UK from the age of 13 - 19 months old, and that's enough to have made her ineligible to donate also.
posted by goshling at 3:48 PM on August 26, 2008


tattoo. where you can't see it. no, i won't show you. it's personal. i said that 12 months ago? what, do you think anybody with tatts stops at just one / doesn't keep adding to it?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:55 PM on August 26, 2008


Tell them you tend to pass out.

They can't really argue with that and, if they do, you can treat them like the obnoxitrons they are.
posted by metajc at 6:00 PM on August 26, 2008


Sorry, forgot to include explanation ... I had coworkers who peer-pressured me into giving blood a few years ago. I passed out. I tried a second time and they actually coulnd't get the blood out of me and I passed out again. And I'm a guy and it was sort of embarrassing. Now I tell people that I can't give blood because I'll pass out uncontrollably. People with lower than average intelligence make a joke of it. Others do not.
posted by metajc at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2008


You know, last Christmas I had lunch with a table of 10 women, and I was the only one there eligible to give blood (and I do so regularly). Some were anemic, others are on medication ... I don't know all the details (and didn't ask because I'm polite) but the experience brought to my attention how fortunate I am to be able to donate.

So anyway, you *should* be able to tell them, "I am ineligible to donate blood," or "I can't; doctor's orders" and whether you're pressed for details during *that* conversation is one thing (shut them down by indicating that you'd rather not discuss your medical details in the work place) but that should stop them from pestering you in the future.
posted by iguanapolitico at 7:05 PM on August 26, 2008


At a certain point, you might want to start pointing out "Haven't we had this conversation before? Is it really necessary to ask me again? The answer is the same - I can't. I really don't need to explain myself to you at all, let alone more than once."
posted by timepiece at 2:31 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm positively phobic of needles. As in, I skimmed the answers because I can't read about veins and puncturing them and I HAVE TO STOP THERE, without getting nauseated. I have to look away during injection scenes in movies. If I were in your place, my coworkers would learn quickly to leave me alone and not talk about that in front of me. Just claim ACK PHOBIC SHUSH. Maybe it'll make my believability suffer, but it'll work for you!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:40 AM on September 5, 2008


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