Ask Amy: A colleague shamed me for ordering meat at a work dinner

Ask Amy: A colleague shamed me for ordering meat at a work dinner

Dear Amy: I attended a professional conference recently.

The attendees from my company were the president, the executive director, a co-worker, and myself.

The president and executive director invited my co-worker and myself out for dinner.

During these large conventions, it is rare to be able to sit down for more than 20 minutes and have a balanced meal. This made the dinner event really nice for us, and I appreciated it.

Prior to ordering, the conversation turned to, “What will you have?”

When I stated that I wanted the chicken soup, I was scolded by my coworker, who exclaimed: “These people are vegetarian!” (gesturing to the president and executive director). This was not stated discreetly.

Was it wrong of me to order the meal I wanted and that would sustain me for the five hours of events taking place after dinner?

Do my dietary restrictions and concerns take a back seat when the boss is picking up the tab?

– Need Protein to Function

Dear Need Protein: Your co-worker took the opportunity to demonstrate an advanced level of personal knowledge of your bosses, in order to curry flavor (excuse the pun) with these professional superiors.

Flaunting this knowledge is professionally risky – and rude.

In bringing you to this convention, the people who run your company have given you and your co-worker an opportunity to positively and responsibly represent the organization. Loudly scolding another person at lunch is anti-social.

Your co-worker’s rudeness made you uncomfortable. This behavior also highlighted a dietary choice that some people might consider personal, possibly also making them uncomfortable.

I hope your bosses responded to this by letting you know that they have no beef with you regarding your own choices.

Your colleague’s effort to suck up by shaming you is extremely unappetizing.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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