ASK AMY

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: [email protected] amy­dick­in­son.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.

DEAR AMY: I at­tend a pro­fes­sional net­work­ing potluck lunch ev­ery week.

This is our lunch hour and the only op­por­tu­nity some of us have to eat lunch that day. Most of us bring a sub­stan­tial main or side dish to share.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, at­ten­dees bring noth­ing at all, or, as re­cently hap­pened, a group of four co-work­ers from the same of­fice brought a small box of choco­lates.

We are not at risk of run­ning out of food, as most peo­ple bring more than enough, so it seems petty to quib­ble about the amount and type of food some­one brought, but this is puz­zling, es­pe­cially as we are all work­ing pro­fes­sion­als. What is a po­lite, but clear mes­sage to such potluck par­tic­i­pants?

Puz­zled by Skim­pers DEAR PUZ­ZLED: If the group is not at risk of run­ning out of food, then def­i­nitely gen­er­ously share your main dishes and sal­ads with the chocolate-peo­ple. You can as­sume that peo­ple oc­ca­sion­ally sim­ply for­get that the meet­ing is hap­pen­ing, or when they left the house in the morn­ing, they didn’t think they could make the meet­ing, but now they can.

If the same peo­ple con­tinue to ne­glect to bring food, then be­fore you start the next meet­ing, your leader(s) can say, “We’re here to net­work and com­mu­ni­cate; that’s the most im­por­tant thing. But we’re also here dur­ing lunch. One way for us to eat is to ro­tate the task of bring­ing main and side dishes. Or we can each just bring our own lunch and not worry about shared dishes. Can we get a con­sen­sus on how to han­dle this?” DEAR AMY: I won­der if other read­ers were shocked by the ques­tion from “Still Shocked,” whose mother had car­ried on a long­time af­fair with the fam­ily’s high school for­eign ex­change stu­dent. I don’t know if I could re­cover from that knowl­edge. Also Shocked

DEAR ALSO: I agree. Mom wanted to sweep this af­fair un­der the rug, but I agree that it was ob­vi­ously wrong in so many ways, and she should an­swer for it.

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