Dinners on the deck are a free-for-all

(Monkey Business/Fotolia)

(Monkey Business/Fotolia)

Amy Dickinson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:37 PM ET

DEAR AMY: We have dinners on our deck and serve the meal buffet-style. Guests are served first, and I finish up by covering the dishes with plastic wrap after I have my plate filled.

I am frustrated because guests don't wait for me to join them, but are halfway done with their meal before I even sit down!

Last night I told the women in the kitchen I would cover the dishes and meet them on the deck when I was done. With only one roll of plastic wrap, this was time-consuming.

Should I have asked them to wait until I got there to begin? Or am I asking too much? I do hear them asking where I am, but they are deep into their meal by then.

When I am a guest I wait until the host is seated before I begin eating, but no one seems to notice.

Should I ask my husband to wait? He goes with the group. -- Hungry

DEAR HUNGRY: Some hosts hate to see people wait to eat because they fear the food will get cold.

Depending on your particular arrangement, here's what I think you should do: Bring all the food to the buffet table already covered before the meal (the last person through can simply replace the wrap or lid). Gather all of your guests together on the deck and join them there before serving.

Even if people are already eating by the time you join the table, you or your husband should "officially" start the meal on the deck with a toast or greeting, thanking everyone for coming. This will inspire people to stop stuffing their faces in order to take a polite pause.

Of course your husband should wait for you to be seated before he starts eating (he should also serve himself last occasionally). Eating alongside you is the least he can do to recognize the hard work you've put into the meal.

DEAR AMY: What do you think about unfriending on Facebook?

I'm in my 60s and have recently noticed that the younger generation has a different set of Facebook rules.

One young woman I've known for several years has been to my home; I helped her move, we've exchanged little gifts, and I followed her on Facebook. One day, an hour after posting on her wall, she unfriended me. She told others that she was thinning down her "friends" list.

I don't get it. Am I not her friend now? Do I ignore her when I see her? So far I've greeted her when in a group, but I didn't know what to say beyond that. I sent an e-mail asking her to coffee but got no response, so I'm guessing she really doesn't want my friendship.

Another woman's husband had an argument with her friend and went home and unfriended her and all of their mutual friends.

Without Facebook, they would have argued and that would have been the end of it. I can see hiding or blocking someone's posts, or, as I do, simply not reading them. Unfriending a person seems rather hostile. What do you think? -- Facebook Friend

DEAR FRIEND: Younger people definitely use Facebook differently. They tend to have smaller lists of friends, and are much more tightly controlling this contact.

Yes, just as "friending" seems friendly, "unfriending" seems hostile. In the case of your younger friend, because she is being so unresponsive to you, you should assume that she only wants to have a nodding relationship.

Ultimately you have to choose how to interpret online behaviour, as people exercise a whole new way to demonstrate how very complicated human relationships really are.

DEAR AMY: I enjoyed your "best of" columns while you were on vacation.

As always, these letters from "deep within the vault" are fascinating. For instance, the one from "Head over Heels," who wanted to date the boyfriend of her (not very close) friend? Ten years later, inquiring minds would like to know how that worked out. -- Avid Reader

DEAR READER: I agree! I would love to hear from anyone who has had a letter published in my column. Tell us -- what happened next?

 


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