A colleague shamed me for ordering meat at a work dinner

Dear Amy: I recently attended a professional conference.

The participants from my company were the president, the executive director, a colleague and myself.

The president and CEO invited my colleague and I to dinner.

At these large conventions, it is rare to be able to sit down for more than 20 minutes and eat a balanced meal. This made dinner really enjoyable for us and I enjoyed it.

Before ordering, the conversation turned to, “What are you going to have?”

When I stated that I wanted the chicken soup, I was reprimanded by my colleague who exclaimed, “These people are vegetarians!” (signaling to the president and general manager). This was not stated discreetly.

Was I wrong to order the meal I wanted that would last me for the five hours of events after dinner?

Do my dietary restrictions and concerns take a back seat when the boss foots the bill?

– Need protein to function

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

Flaunting this knowledge is professionally risky – and rude.

By bringing you to this conference, the people who run your company have given you and your colleagues the opportunity to represent the organization in a positive and responsible manner. Loudly scolding another person at lunch is antisocial.

Your colleague’s rudeness made you feel uncomfortable. This behavior also highlighted a food choice that some people might consider personal, possibly also making them uncomfortable.

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

Your coworker’s efforts to shame you are extremely unappetizing.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO 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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