(Closed) How NOT to Host a Dinner Party (horror story)

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 121
Member
346 posts
Helper bee

I see both side of the story, if this were the Caribbean (where I’m from) the entire party and your host’s attitude would be completely normal and inline. Frankly, if you complained about not being served at an appropiate time you would have been told to order your own food as well. But, as I’ve become more Americanized the situation sounds out of place. So I do see both sides of the story. I chalk it up to cultural difference and misunderstanding. I will say I think your host was passive aggressive with the utensils as I can picture my grandma doing the same thing to a guest who had an attitude all night. 

Post # 122
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee

Overjoyed:  I 110% agree with you. This “dinner party” sounded like a total shit show. My take away: Drive myself to parties or don’t go farther than Uber will pick me up. 

 

Post # 123
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee

blackinthesuburbs:  My family is from the Carribean and the actions of the host would have been seen as disgraceful by us. Table is set and food is ready before guests arrive. While family would remove shoes, we don’t require it of new friends, etc. As we understand it make make them uncomfortable. We may ask guests to pour the wine or say grace. Otherwise we expect them to relax and enjoy the gracious hospitality. Telling a guest to order food would show as an extreme failing of the host for not being able to provide the very thing they themselves invited a housefull of people for. But again, maybe that’s just us.

Post # 124
Member
12127 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

SoonAsYouCan:   “Like I said before, my friends and I are no Martha Stewaarts so we pick someone’s house, everyone brings something and we all help set up, cook, and clean up. And we have a great tie doing it! We aren’t hosting a super fancy souiree with fine china and champagne. It’s just friends getting together. Same with my family. We’re casual about it and I would never turn my nose up at a friend who needed help in the kitchen when she is, after all, feeding us. I guess my circle is just trashy and rude though lol.”

Then you are all co- hosts and your home was only the venue. This wasn’t the case for OP, who was invited to this event, not part of its planning. And if it was a group organized event, and it became obvious that OP never  got the memo, then everyone else should have treated her like the guest she was. 

Fine china and champagne have zero to do with gracious hosting. 

Post # 125
Member
346 posts
Helper bee

Xu:  Maybe our experiences differ. I’ve never once been to a  party back home where food is ready to be served when I arrive, shoes are left on in the house or guests are expected to “relax”. Nah. We also don’t call them dinner parties. But, then again our experience may differ.

Post # 126
Member
11643 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

Well. I was once “invited” to a friend’s family thanksgiving and before the meal the parents billed me per setting. (it was expensive and I don’t even eat meat but was billed for two turkey dinners.)

I wish I were kidding. 

No I didn’t go and yes I was planning on bringing a dish to serve. 

#rudetday

Post # 127
Member
2341 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Nightmare! The whole thing was so off. Even if inviting people for “dinner” at 1.00pm and eating at 5.00pm is a thing (who knew?) not plying you with snacks and drinks as soon as you arrived was just rude. The whole breasticles in the kitchen, testicles chilling and watching sport on the couch is ghastly too. I can’t believe the bloke didn’t give you a drink when he served the other male guests. Stepford Wives without the manners.  

Sounds like a long afternoon. 

BalletParker:  Yours takes the biscuit!

Post # 128
Member
187 posts
Blushing bee

 

SoonAsYouCan:  

 

But isn’t it really snobby to ask a guest to set the table then go in behind them to “correct” it? 

 

 

Post # 129
Member
356 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Im not sure why everyone is hounding OP – there are some hard a fast rules here the host broke. You greet your guests and introduce yourself, make them feel welcome. Usually when you have guests over, even if people dont wear shoes in your house, when people dont know each other it is customary to keep your shoes on because bare feet is very weird around people you dont know. And third, you dont demand people help you and berate them for not cooking your food! Especially a complete stranger. OP is right on with all of the things she said.

Post # 130
Member
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

seriously bees that are reprimanding op?  The men get to watch football while the women work? Sounds like bullshit to me.  And I feel sorry for anyone who has to have a thanksgiving (or thanksgiving type meal) where men do nothing and women do everything.  That just sounds sad and backwards.  

Post # 131
Member
45 posts
Newbee

OP, that story is sitcom-level ridiculousness!

It seems to me like these are the two relevant problems:

  1. Your friend failed to communicate the nature of the party. Whether this was an honest misunderstanding or a lack of thoughtfulness on her part, it put you in a crappy position. You were told that you’d be eating at 1pm…why would you assume otherwise? You weren’t warned of the shoes-off rule and the cold floors when other guests clearly had been…how were you to know? Regardless of what’s “typical” or “correct” dinner party style/etiquette (and obviously we can see that it varies, just based on this post), it’s always good etiquette to communicate the correct and necessary details of an event to which you’re inviting someone. Your friend set you up for a long, awkward slog of an afternoon by failing to do this.
  2. The hosts failed to make you, their guest, feel welcomed and comfortable in their home. Especially since you were a new acquaintance, they should have taken the time to properly greet you and welcome you to their home! I don’t care how busy they were. Not doing so is pure rudeness. If they expect guests to take off their shoes, and to help prepare the food, etc., that is their perogative (not how we do things in the places I’ve lived, but everyone is different–fine). However, they should have been prepared to offer an alternative to guests who didn’t know their no-shoes rule in advance (offering extra socks or slippers, or just plain making an exception for their new guests, especially after being directly informed of the guest’s discomfort!). They should have prepared or had others bring along appetizers and drinks to enjoy while prepping the main meal. It sounds like what happened instead is that your hostess was unprepared and acted aloof and passive agressive as a result. Rude, rude, rude!

(And that misogynistic setup, too–hell no to that noise!!!)

Bottom line: Don’t listen to the naysayers, OP. Individual customs and traditions change friend-group to friend-group, but you got dicked over by people who ignored the basic priniciples of hospitality! I would have peaced out with my takeout.

Post # 132
Member
2348 posts
Buzzing bee

Overjoyed:  Ugh, you’re getting way more shade (shade means negative judgement) than you deserve. This was NOT a typical American dinner party or Thanksgiving. This particular person was just not a very good/experienced hostess. 

I think the whole not wearing shoes thing is the hostess’ perogative, but the timing and everything else was quite thoughtless. 

When guests arrive at my home I have at least 2-3 appetizers at the ready in case people are hungry. I never allow more than 2 hours between appetizers and entrees. 

Here’s the thing: A lot of people are new to hosting guests. They didn’t grow up doing it and they don’t know what to do. I’m a Middle Eastern American girl and I grew up cooking, serving, and hosting from the time I was little. When I was 5 years old I had a tiny set of baking dishes and spoons. By the time I was 16 years old I probably could have hosted a pretty good dinner party. 

I have had many people tell me that they love coming to my house because they feel so taken care of. I consider that a compliment of the highest order. However, I have learned not to expect much from other hosts. It’s not a matter of judgement it’s just that not everyone is good at everything. I’ve gone to parties with no food whatsoever or not nearly enough food to feed everyone to satisfaction. 

In my opinion hosting guests is no longer seen as an art form (in American culture), but it is. Making guests comfortable requires experience, careful planning, skill, and thinking of others before yourself. Here’s my advice: host the type of events you would like to attend and expect very little of other events before you attend. 

My husband has one work friend (a guy) who is a truly excellent host. He cooks, cleans, plans impeccibly, and serves people well. He is great at anticipating the needs of others (a major key to hosting) and he always throws fantastic parties. I very much look forward to events at his house and he has told me that our parties are his favorite to attend.

Continue to be the fantastic host that you are, and be kind and polite when you are not treated as you would treat people in your home. It’s the only classy thing to do and most people really don’t know the difference. However, in time you’ll find kindred spirits who appreciate catering to others and treating people to a wonderful, well-planned evening. 

 

Post # 135
Member
2734 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

jbella:  yes, that is very rude.

Look, my original point is that maybe OP shouldn’t have judged her friends super harshly because some social circles do have meals/parties like this (come over early, all help out cooking and setting up, etc). It seems as if all the other friends at that party understood this was how it would be. So to bash the “host” when it seems like it was the plan all along, is harsh. No one else complained, no one else came unprepaired as far as foot wear, no one else came hungry. Why is it so terrible of the “host” to have her dinner this way when OP was the only one not prepared for it? I think it’s worse of the friend who brought her to not inform her to A) wear socks, B) eat lunch beforehand and C) expect to eat later

I agree with those that say if you invite people for a “dinner party” and are “properly hosting” you have appetizers, drinks, table set prior, and dinner is on you. I get that (even in our “everyone helps” parties, we still have drinks and appetizers). I get it. But, I’m just saying that there ARE friend-parties that are casual, like my friends and I do, where everyone pitches in. And it seems to be the norm in their circle sooo…. why so much hate, ya know?

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