Dear Amy: My wife, children and I were invited to my sister’s home for a holiday family dinner with about 20 other relatives.
The dinner hour was made known to us in advance and, as we live several states away and had an unavoidable activity for our son that morning, we let my sister know we would arrive as close to the dinner hour as possible.
Well, we hit traffic and were late by 30 minutes. We had been in near-constant contact with my sister throughout, so she was aware that we were running behind.
When we arrived, the entire group was outside the home, engaged in an activity, and we were told, “The leftovers are in the kitchen.”
My family ended up standing in the kitchen, picking at cold leftovers and making the best of it. We stayed calm, but internally we were upset that the group saw fit to eat without us, knowing that we were on the way!
I realize that the food was served when hot and that we were the ones who were late. Does the fact that the hostess invited us and knew we were running late justify our hurt at the group not waiting for us to participate in a family dinner, or are we overreacting to an unfortunate situation?
— Cold Turkey in Maryland
Dear Cold Turkey: I think it’s reasonable to expect a person to delay a dinner for a few minutes if you are caught in traffic and have let them know your ETA (which, these days, is very easy to do — down to the minute).
However, your expectation that your sister would hold a dinner for 20 people is impolite. Some families run on a tight timetable, where others are loose. You no doubt already know which category your family falls into.
You were the people running late. Your message to your sister should have been: “We’re so sorry. We don’t want to inconvenience everyone else; please go ahead, and we’ll catch up when we get there.”
I’m not sure why you and your family would choose to stand in the kitchen, internally sulking, when you could have taken your plates outside and enjoyed the fine Maryland weather with your other relatives. Arriving late is one thing, but you don’t get to sulk when you do.
Dear Amy: My co-worker and friend is spending a lot of time and money playing pickleball and going to pickleball tournaments.
This seemed to be a healthy activity at first, but it has evolved into a time-consuming and expensive obsession — to the detriment of business and family. I am starting to worry where it will end, especially since we rely on him doing his job well for the business.
We’re noticing slips in his work (and I’m worried others can see this too) and he’s frequently distracted, not prepared, and is shuffling more work off to others, which is making us nervous and irritated. He also seems to be struggling financially, and the additional expense of coaching, travel and tournaments has to be adding more stress to an already stressed-out life.
Do we say something to him at work? Is there any hope? I’m worried for him, but also for the business. He has a history of similar behaviors with other activities.
Dear Anonymous: I recently heard about the modified-tennis game, pickleball, for the first time from a seatmate on a plane. It does seem like a very healthy — and addictive — game.
I’m not sure why you would share your reasonable concerns regarding your co-worker’s performance at work with me rather than with him.
His supervisor should speak with him, be completely frank about his job performance, and suggest strongly that his job will be in jeopardy if he doesn’t step up.
Your co-worker’s financial issues outside of work should remain his business.
Dear Amy: You recently responded to a letter from someone who complained about others “vaping weed” in a restaurant. The letter writer (and you) seemed to assume that weed had a distinctive smell when it is vaped. It does not.
Maybe everybody should mind their own business, and you should do your research!
Dear Upset: I have vaped nicotine and know it does not have an odor. To research this question, I consulted various vaping message boards, many of which noted that vaping weed DOES have a distinct odor.
Regardless, no vaping of any kind should occur in a restaurant.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: email@example.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.)
Copyright 2019 by Amy Dickinson
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