(Closed) Can being too hospitable be a bad thing?

posted 3 years ago in Guests
Post # 2
49 posts
  • Wedding: April 2018

IMO, being too hospitable can only be a bad thing if you are waiting for a “Host of the Year” award at the end.

I took an etiquette course in college (super random, I know) and the one thing the teacher always highlighted is that the gracious host will do everything in their power to make others comfortable. They should not feel entitled to guests being polite. That is beyond their control. What they can and should do – always – is make sure guests feel comfortable to eat or not eat, talk or not talk and eventually leave at their convenience…


Post # 3
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

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lilly1 :  

Well, hospitality is a very culturally-relative thing. I don’t think other peoples’ way of handling it need bother you , you do what you  think is right  when you are a host (or a guest) . 

Post # 4
687 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Well… your parents are the hosts and they’re not complaining… so… why is it bothering you so much?

And I think it might be a cultural thing. Your parents are Chinese; Chinese culture generally is big on giving and hosting (e.g. loads of food in Chinese weddings). 

You said your DH’s family aren’t fluent in English — well, it’s difficult to maintain conversation when language is a barrier. And the fact that the uncle and wife were never talkative people… what could you expect?

And as the host, I would be totally understanding if guests had to leave early because they have to work the next day.

Post # 5
28 posts
  • Wedding: January 2018 - Mexico

It’s so funny, as I was reading this I thought “they must be Chinese.” I have been dealing with this exact internal turmoil. I’m Chinese and my mother tries so hard to be the hostess of the year and gifts the most random things to people who don’t reciprocate, and it gets awkward. Or she forces food on people and makes them uncomfortable. So then when I tell her why it’s awkward and how to better conform to societal norms, she says she’s just trying to be hospitable, at which point I feel like a terrible person for making her feel bad. But at the same time, I think she needs to have some empathy and learn social cues.  It bothers me because I know other people have thought this behavior is odd, so I guess I want to protect my mom from that kind of judgement because it’s something she could tone down just a tad.

Post # 6
1269 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
lilly1 :  I feel like the majority of your post was focused on making it clear that your partner’s family don’t fit your expectation of good guests at social gatherings, so I kind of don’t get why the question ‘Can being too hospitable be a bad thing’ is the main point here.

Your parents seem okay with the situation, so what’s really bothering you? Are you embarrassed by your parner’s family? Are you concerned about having to host them yourselves in the future?

I think you can only be ‘too hospitable’ if that’s outside of your comfort zone, or requires you to sacrifice you or your family’s time/resources/happiness in excessive amounts in order to do so. Otherwise, I think it’s very gracious to go out of your way to accommodate your guests, especially if there may be cultural differences or language barriers etc. 

Be careful about making assumptions about why people act the way they do in social situations. It seems like you think some of your partner’s family deliberately don’t contribute to the conversation because they don’t want to, but they might simply be very introverted, or have social anxiety, or be caught up enjoying listening to what everyone else is saying. 

I hope you still had a lovely Christmas day and that you get to have both you and your partner’s family together for many future celebrations. 

Post # 7
3821 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Your parents are adults, let them do what they want. Maybe cooking all that food makes them happy. Also quiet and awkward does not equal aloof. Maybe they don’t know how to talk in such big gatherings – plus there’s a language barrier! Also how much they eat is none of your business. I think you should stop judging your partners family and enjoy yourself.

Post # 8
13728 posts
Honey Beekeeper

Your parents can entertain however lavishly they like and invite whomever they like. If your partner’s family does not want to attend they are not obligated. It is polite for the host to make an effort to make them comfortable, and introduce them to others, and on their end for guests to make an effort be sociable. 

Post # 9
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

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lilly1 :  lol DH and I are sooo your parents! I love to host and I love to cook. And my husband makes his own wine so there’s that…. and there tends to be too much food and DH (Italian) still worries we won’t have enough….so I can see this scenario so easily at our house. Please don’t worry about this or them. Several points: 

1. Good hosts want their guests to be comfortable. If they’re quiet, let them be quiet. Some people don’t warm up to others so quickly or easily and it takes awhile (sometimes years is awhile!) for them to open up around people they don’t know too well. Some people have social anxieties and feel awkward in larger groups/ certain groups. We try to make sure everyone feels included and welcome, but we don’t push them out of their comfort zone. 

2. We’re happy you came by. If you have to work the next morning or divide yourself between us and another function and leave early or if you had other commitments and arrived late, we don’t take offense. 

3. If you don’t speak English, Italian or French (our languages), I’ll pull DH away from you or elbow him in the ribs and remind him that speaking louder in English doesn’t actually make him understood in English. I’ll ask the friend or relative who brought them to translate for me and also do our best between us via smiles/ hand gestures etc. 

4. We will have lots of food and drink available but as hosts we won’t push people to have more than they want (I’m a perpetual on/ off dieter myself so I’m especially sensitive about this. We also ask in advance as much as possible re food allergies) And we make sure no-one drinks & drives (stay overnight, have a designated driver, or get your ass in a cab or uber) or over-indulges to an extreme. 

5. We don’t host with the notion that we’re ‘owed’ anything. We’re happy to throw parties or get togethers without needing to be reciprocated (lol I’m like Monica on Friends, I’ll simply be happy to host again). 

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