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A Hauntingly Bad Guest

Last weekend my boyfriend held a really low-key Halloween party at his house. It was the first time most of the small group invited were going to be there, so my boyfriend “Bob” spent a long time cleaning and making sure everything was presentable. He even made snacks in the form of amazing swedish meatballs for the group. Only about six people were expected to come over (so a total of 8 with myself and Bob counted), and at the last minute two of them texted me that they weren’t coming. Bob and I don’t live together, and they never texted him, the host that they weren’t going to make it.

But when the rest of the group got there, one of our “friends,” we’ll call him Steve, was very clearly disappointed there wasn’t going to be a bigger crowd. He had worn a costume he was particularly proud of and I guess wanted to show it off. But Steve had been made well aware that this was going to be a low-key get-together with some friends so I’m not quite sure why this came as such a surprise to him. At one point, pretty early on in the night, he turned to Bob and me and said, “No offense, but we should call more people.” Yes, he actually suggested that Bob invite more people to his home, because Steve wasn’t happy with the group. He also suggested that we move the party to a bar instead. He was only satisfied once he got confirmation from one of the guys he had come with that they could go out the following night to a bar so Steve could show off his costume. The guy he asked to go with him seemed actually to be embarrassed by Steve’s behavior and reluctantly and quietly said yes to going out the following night. Sick of his griping and embarrassing other guests, I turned to Steve and calmly told him that if he didn’t like it here, he was more than free to go to a bar or head out. That shut him up for a little bit.

Also, Steve at one point, got up and said, “Before we drink more,” (they had brought to Bob’s copious amounts of alcohol,) “we want to get something to eat. Where can we go?” Bob let him know about the meatballs cooling in the kitchen, but Steve responded with, “Well I can’t fill up on just meatballs. So we’re going out.”

Oh Steve, your mother would be so proud of your manners. 1101-10


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kahomono October 30, 2013, 3:03 am

    Hey, he left.


  • Liz October 30, 2013, 3:34 am

    Really, 6 people and meatballs? Sounds like a terrible Halloween party and at least one guest was brave enough to let you know about it.

  • Ruby October 30, 2013, 3:46 am

    Yes, Steve was rude.

    But I’m a little surprised that it seems the only food was meatballs.

  • Kimberly October 30, 2013, 6:15 am

    While I think Steve was completely rude and I agree with you telling him he could go elsewhere if he was not happy,

    I, personally, would not invite a group of people over for a Halloween party and serve only meatballs. I agree with Steve in that respect.

  • Mary October 30, 2013, 6:31 am

    The guest was definitely rude. No excuses for him at all.

    However, were the meatballs the only refreshment? I too would have been disappointed if I went to a party and there was only one food since I would usually eat nothing beforehand. But, if that were the case, I definitely would not have said anything about it!

  • Green123 October 30, 2013, 6:33 am

    I can’t help but picture ‘Steve’ as a little kid, jumping around the room going ‘Everybody look at me! Look at my costume! Mummy! Why aren’t more people looking at my costume! Waaahhh!’

    Sadly, as it’s clear he’s actually an adult, it appears he’s just a jerk!

  • HollyAnn October 30, 2013, 6:40 am

    Ugh, I hate that kind of behavior! It reminds me of the time I invited a friend to spend the weekend in New York with my parents. “Jane” and I spent the day in Manhattan and she was hoping to meet an old friend for dinner. However this guy obviously wasn’t too close a friend because he had only made the most vague plans with her, saying that she should call him when we were in Manhattan and they’d arrange to meet then. So she spent the day calling and calling him and never getting an answer or response to her voicemails.
    Finally, she resigned herself to spending the evening in Queens with my family. She did nothing to disguise how disappointed she was at being in boring old Queens with my boring old parents instead of out with her cool friend. My dad even commented on how she looked like she belonged at a funeral. I commend the OP on speaking up to her ungrateful guest and I wish I’d done the same thing with Jane!

  • jojo October 30, 2013, 6:49 am

    Is it just me or does this sound like a student/early 20s crowd? In which case, Steve’s behaviour is pretty much that displayed by most of his contemporaries who think they’re off to a Halloween party and find that it’s not.
    Yes, Steve is immature and inconsiderate but I know few young men who put manners first in the presence of their friends – particularly when alcohol is involved. At least he went out to get food rather than ask for his host to make more, brought alcohol to share and made the effort to dress up for the party.
    I wonder how Bob invited the group to his event? By email, Facebook, phone? How was it worded?
    OP suggests this event was meant to be quite important but none of the invitees seemed to think so. Did they know what an exclusive event it was?
    Perhaps OP was investing more energy and emotion in the party than appropriate?
    After all, if someone said to me they were having a ‘low key’ party for Halloween, I’d assume it was quite a casual affair that didn’t require too much effort and not to bother dressing up. I wouldn’t think that only 8 people were attending, after all Halloween is a time for a little debauched cheekiness and parties at this time of year tend to be quite large.
    Also, if it wasn’t a formal invitation that required some form of RSVP, sending a text to say you can’t attend at the last minute is pretty much par for the course. I would never take a last minute cancellation as a personal insult as you don’t know the circumstances of the no show, their texting OP rather than her boyfriend still got the message through – did they have his number? Maybe they thought he’d be too busy to reply so texted OP? Perhaps they’re OP’s friends and don’t really know Bob very well?
    OP really seems to be quite angry that her idea of a ‘party’ didn’t chime with Steve’s idea of what a ‘party’ might be, yes he should have kept quiet, but each to their own.
    Much as I love small, intimate gatherings, OP’s party does seem a bit formal for a young group.
    Next time it’s probably best to be more explicit as to the nature of the party and how many guests will be in attendance.

  • The Elf October 30, 2013, 6:50 am

    Wow. Just wow. Steve’s job as a guest is to make the best of what he thought was a lame party and then turn down future invitations if the parties will be more of the same. That’s pretty much it. He flubbed that job at pretty much every opportunity.

  • Abby October 30, 2013, 7:13 am

    I am wondering if one, or both, of the guests who cancelled at the last minute (nice, by the way) were perhaps women that Steve was looking to impress, and decided that forgoing a more populated place to hang with a smaller crowd would be worth it if he could advance his cause with one of the women. Once he realized they weren’t coming, he wanted to go somewhere else. Otherwise, I can’t figure out why a guy who clearly wanted to be in a busy place would agree to a quieter venue. If I did my math right, there were 6 people total, including OP and her boyfriend. OP said that Steve heard from ‘one of the guys in his group’ which means that by my count, OP was either the only female at the party, or one of two. Ten bucks says that when Steve said, more people, he meant, more girls.

    If the above is true, sure he was rude, but I wouldn’t take it personally, OP.

  • Charliesmum October 30, 2013, 7:39 am

    Steve was inappropriate, definitely – if he was disapointed in the nature of the party, that is his problem, and he should have either changed his attitude and found a way to have fun – I assume the group were all pretty good friends – or extract himself as politely as possible at an appropriate time.

    I have to assume there were nibbles served along with the meatballs – I can’t imagine having a party without a bowl of pretzels or crisps or something at the least. If the only food being served was the meatballs, however, I have to agree that that’s kind of a party faux pas. I know I would have found that a bit odd. The way your guest handled it, however was dead wrong.

  • Kate L October 30, 2013, 7:54 am

    Wait, was Steve the only person in costume?

    It just seems strange to have a costume party with 8 people. I would probably have excused myself and left.

    @Abby- I think you are right on the money. But we don’t know that the LW is female (unless I’ve misread?). But your theory applies equally well to an all-male group with no single/available men *or* women.

  • Mae October 30, 2013, 7:55 am

    OP- if this was a one-time thing, I would let it go. If Steve has to be the center of attention all the time, I would just not invite him in the future.

    It was clear that he wanted more attention than he got, hence the costume, but complaining and suggesting improvements was rude.

  • L.J. October 30, 2013, 8:02 am

    It’s hard to throw a party these days. No matter how many people you invite, a good number will decide to cancel at the last minute… so they can sit at home, marathon Netflix, and eat microwavable pizza. Then the party looks like a dud, because you’ve obviously prepped for x number of people, but only x/2 showed up. Somehow, things have gone upside down, so now a host has to feel grateful for each guest that shows up, and guests no longer feel any gratitude towards their hosts 🙁

  • Aje October 30, 2013, 8:27 am

    People keep commenting on meatballs being kind of a lame food. Um… guys? When in the history of the world is it okay to tell people that their food isn’t good enough? Every party you go to is a chance they won’t serve food you like/are accostumed to/enough food/too much food, etc. You suck it up, basically.

    You don’t tell them, “Sorry, your food isn’t good enough.”

    And since two people canceled I’m sure there was enough in quantity.

  • Wild Irish Rose October 30, 2013, 8:48 am

    Steve was rude to be sure, but that may have been the alcohol talking. I’ve seen normally very nice people turn into real jerks when they drink. And my philosophy about parties has always been that if you’re not enjoying yourself, you pretend to for a while and then make your excuses and leave.

    As for the food, well, inviting people to your place for a party really does imply that there will be refreshments, even if it’s potluck. I realize one should never assume anything, but when you give a party and invite one or two or six or forty-six people, unless you ask them to bring stuff to eat, it’s not unreasonable for your invitees to assume food will be provided. Meatballs, while delicious, hardly qualify as party food if that’s the only thing being served. Sounds like Bob needs some coaching in how to throw a party.

    Also, a Halloween party really does suggest costumes. I’m going to guess that Steve at least didn’t show up in blackface, like a certain actress did recently and like a friend of mine did a few years back. Yeah.

  • Poster October 30, 2013, 8:51 am

    Am I the only one curious about this costume with which he wanted to impress the masses?

  • Lo October 30, 2013, 8:56 am

    Some people’s idea of a good time is a small celebration of friends and meatballs. So what? Where does everyone get off criticizing the snacks? When I used to host I occasionally got irritating comments about how I had too MUCH food. Can’t please anyone, it seems.

    I would advise for futher gatherings that a small low-key party would be better with close friends. That way you can avoid “Steves”

  • Shalamar October 30, 2013, 8:57 am

    I remember going to a surprise party for a friend’s birthday, and one of the attendees looked at the friend and said “So, what are we going to do? Because this is boring.” That’s right – he expected the birthday girl, who’d had no idea she was getting a party, to provide entertainment.

  • Jen October 30, 2013, 9:08 am

    @Aje, I don’t think people are saying they think meatballs themselves are “a lame food”. The issue for me, and I think others, is that it appears it was the ONLY food available. In my opinion, a good host or hostess has more than one type of nibble or snack available. Though Steve was incredibly rude about it, I do agree that “filling up on just meatballs” is not an appetizing thought.

  • WillyNilly October 30, 2013, 9:18 am

    I’m wondering if there was a major lack of communication going on. I don’t think Steve as polite in his public complaints but perhaps the thought process behind them had some validity.

    To me, a group of 6-8 people is a “small get together” or “gathering”, or perhaps a formal dinner party. But when someone says “low key Halloween party” I assume 20 or more guests and the low key part meaning no formal meal, beer instead of cocktails, etc. In other words to me “low key” refers to the style of celebrating not the number of guests, and in fact often means a larger guest casual guest list – as in friends of friends or dates are welcome without a formal invite.

    Often getting an elaborate costume together is no small endeavor and usually not the most comfortable thing to wear, so to make a great effort and find there is no audience for it is disappointing.

    I also wonder about the meatballs. Not only is no other food mentioned, but the meatballs were apparently not served when guests came, in fact as its not until *after* Steve mentions anything midway through drinking that they are brought up and even then, they aren’t served, they are just mentioned as cooling in the kitchen. In my experience usually the small the guest list, the more food served (or at least more per guest).

  • Kirsten October 30, 2013, 9:21 am

    I completely agree with Aje. This is an etiquette board, surely! Bob made ‘snacks’, the OP never claimed this was the only food, or even said what time the party started. And people here start saying how unimpressed they’d be…really? Shouldn’t we need a little more information before telling the OP the food wasn’t up to standard?

    So far she’s been told her party sounds ‘terrible’, her food isn’t good enough, and had some unbelievable assumptions about her party being ‘too formal’, ‘strange’, made up only of her friends and not Bob’s, that she is ‘angry’ Steve had a different idea of the party instead of being angry at his rudeness, and also that students/young people behave like this in that situation as a given.

    I mean…is this an etiquette board, or isn’t it? Because to be honest, all this sounds to me as rude and presumptuous as Steve was!

  • Library Diva October 30, 2013, 9:23 am

    Agree with L.J. Also, Halloween is a prime party time and a lot of people who may have attended a run-of-the-mill weekend get-together wind up saying yes to someone else first. It’s really unfortunate. A good friend of mine held a party very similar to this one a few years ago. She invited lots of people. Eight attended, and two (a couple) had to go to another party. We had a good time anyway…she had lots of party games planned.

    But yes, I think any etiquette standard would agree that a guest’s primary obligation is to not yell things like “This party sucks!” across the room. Steve was pretty immature. I’m guessing that the only parties he’d ever attended involved a keg and a red Solo cup handed to each guest in exchange for a $5.

  • Jinx October 30, 2013, 9:25 am

    It seems like a fair number of people on here may have been disappointed with the number of people at the party (for being a halloween party) and/or the possibility of meatballs as the only food provided. I would have wanted a larger, more wild party myself.

    And that is perfectly fine etiquette wise. People are absolutely allowed to have feelings.

    I think the point is, you don’t make your feelings known if they are insulting or demeaning towards your host. Even if meatballs were the only food, and Steve was genuinely hungry, he could have said “Wow, thank you so much for having me, I feel terrible, I should have brought some more food” And then whisked himself out to get some before anyone could stop him. Or even made up some sort of BS story that he was trying a new diet and wasn’t eating red meat, but he’d love to go grab some cheese and crackers for everyone.

    Asking to invite more people to someone else house *at the time of the party* is super insulting. You don’t act like you have control of someone else’s house, and you don’t invite people to a party that’s already going on (unless you want them to know how B-list they are).

    I feel for Bob, this may have been the first party he hosted. If it wasn’t, it must have been the first party that Steve attended, since he didn’t seem to know what to expect. Which again, totally fine to feel that way. Absolutely encouraged to go out to the bars to show off your costume the next night with friends. But making your host feel bad is not a good idea. I don’t get the impression of bad intentions from Bob, so it seems a little rude to insult him at his house.

    I think it’s also odd that Bob’s friends texted the OP to say they weren’t coming. Unless they were OP’s friends more than Bob’s friends, which would make that part make more sense. I have good friends that have never texted my fiance (I don’t even think that any of them even have his number), so if it were me in OP’s place, they would either be texting me or no one.

  • Allie October 30, 2013, 9:26 am

    I have to say I disagree with people who say “yes, Steve was rude, but…” There is no “but” in my view. When someone has you over to a party, you NEVER criticize the food, guest list or other efforts. You compliment the host’s effort and suck it up like an adult. Even if you are 5 years old, you should already know (or at least be well on your way to learning) that it is hurtful to criticize your host’s efforts and if you are disappointed you don’t show it. You eat what is provided, you thank your host sincerely and you quietly excuse yourself when it is polite to do so. And BTW, I LOVE Swedish meatballs. If they were, indeed, the only food, I would have enjoyed them immensely. If that’s what the host chose to serve, so be it.

  • SV October 30, 2013, 9:30 am

    I, too, find it strange that some people are commenting on the type and quantity of food being served. This was the party, that is what the host served. End of story. It seems clear that everyone was told it was a small, low key party but that is not what Steve had in mind. These guests had never been to the host’s house before, hence the cleaning and other preparation. And to text the OP to cancel and not the actual host is simply bad manners. I can’t see that anyone did anything wrong at all here, except Steve. He sounds like that classic friend, the one everyone knows at some time or another – the person who has bad manners and no filter on their mouth and who prides themselves on ” being real.”

  • Michele K. October 30, 2013, 9:37 am

    Steve is a real gem of a guest. He shows up and expects the house to be jumping with dozens of guests. When its not, he tries to pressure the host to bring in more guests. He is not happy until one of the other guests gives into the pressure of going drinking later. Then, when he sees what is available for food, he starts complaining again and basically says everyone needs to go eat somewhere before they continue drinking.

    Steve deserves a seat in e-hell for a bit. The two friends who didn’t bother to show up or inform the host directly also deserve a bit of time in the hot seat.

    I would also strike Steve from my guest list. Sounds great to go out drinking with, but not a nice person to come over for a small party with close friends.

    To those who think the food selection was sparse and not enough, we are only getting a bit of information. The meatballs might have been the main snack but there may have been others available. We don’t have enough information to judge this. And even if it was the only thing available, a guest does not turn their nose up at the food and tell the host that it is inadequate in any way.

  • ferretrick October 30, 2013, 9:39 am

    @Aje: I don’t see anyone saying Steve behaved appropriately. However, a lot of people are also pointing out, correctly, that Bob’s hosting wasn’t exactly stellar either. You provide more than one food option at your party so that there’s far less chance that guests can’t find something they like to eat. And if all you are going to provide is an appetizer such as meatballs, you should start the party well past the dinner hour so it’s clear that guests should eat a meal before hand and not depend on the party food to serve as a meal.

  • MyWorldand October 30, 2013, 9:46 am

    I think the error was in calling this a party. Calling it a get together would have been more realistic. A party (to me) is at least a dozen people, and involves a bunch of assorted finger foods and music. A Halloween party (again to me) says costumes and funky creepy foods and decorations that played on the Halloween theme.

    While it was very nice of you bf to make the meatballs, honestly, even for just a get together, I would have served, them along with 3 or 4 other items and had a bowl or 2 of chips and dip.

    Either way it was pretty stinky of Steve to be so openly unhappy. Nobody forced him to stay if he was so miserable.

  • starstuck October 30, 2013, 9:50 am

    on the one hand , serving only meatballs is a little strange. especially if you have any vegatarians among your guest list .personally, i wouldnt host a party if i couldnt afford to feed people. or do a decent spread. doesnt have to be expensive, just a little variety. that being said, i surely wouldnt insult the host if i didnt like the food either. and i dont know why people are going on about the 8 guest . i have small group of friend ive kown for ever, and there have been lots of times that we have partied it up with just a handful of us and had a great time!! if you and your friends are fun people, it doesnt matter how many of them there are. 🙂 that being said, halloween parties are slighty different, cause its a little awkward sitting around as an adult in a costume unless there is a nice size croud to mix with . makes ya feel kinda silly. but that doesnt mean it still cant be fun .

  • Saucygirl October 30, 2013, 9:56 am

    Aje, if the people commenting here had actually been at the party, I’m sure they would have been etiquette correct and not said anything. But they aren’t at the party. They are on an etiquette board responding to someone who is questioning a guests behavior at her party, including how they acted about the food. And no one has said Steve was right in his behavior, either. They (and I), just feel that if you are throwing a party, you have more food at the party then a platter of meatballs that was kept in the kitchen.

    I also think Abby’s theory on few girls is a great theory. Would love to hear from op on that.

  • The Elf October 30, 2013, 10:04 am

    Aje, word. If meatballs it is, you eat meatballs or nothing (and get fast food on the way home). You don’t complain about the food. Optionally, you ask ahead of time and then ask if it’s okay to bring another dish (with enough for everyone). Steve’s behavior was just not acceptable party guest behavior.

    However, I suspect there was other food and meatballs were the homemade, main course food, which is why they were called out specifically in the post. There was probably a bowl of pretzles or chips & salsa, maybe even a cut vegetable or fruit tray with dips.

  • E October 30, 2013, 10:13 am

    @Aje, I don’t think that’s quite what happened, I don’t think that Steve told the OP’s boyfriend that their food isn’t good enough. Since this was a party that involved a lot of drinking, I actually think it was quite smart of them to be concerned with eating beforehand. The OP was unclear, but it sounds as if the ONLY food at the party was the meatballs, which were not even being served when Steve indicated he wanted to go out for food. I think it would have been better for Steve to have said, “I want to have some more food before we keep drinking – is there a shop nearby where we can grab some things and bring them back here?”

  • mrsvandy October 30, 2013, 10:15 am

    Steve was rude. If the party wasn’t what he was expecting he should have mingled for a bit and then made his exit or stayed and said nothing.
    It may be that he really was expecting this party to have way more people and more variety with the food and costumes. This doesn’t excuse him for failing to hide his disappointment.
    If this was a text invite to a Halloween party or even a paper one I can see where he would get the wrong idea. If someone were to text me or even paper invite I would assume a large crowd with lots of food and costumes, unless I was told otherwise. If this was a Facebook invite then he could see the numbers, would know its a more formal and smaller gathering. But then there would be no excuse for his behavior.
    OP all I would take from this is that Steve is not for intimate gatherings. Also to clearly communicate exactly what the party is , be it an intimate dinner or a kegger, be sure your guests are well aware of what you are hosting.

  • Lisa October 30, 2013, 10:19 am

    Agreed, Steve was definitely rude, but there does seem to be some miscommunication on the hosts’ part. This wasn’t an intimate dinner party, it was billed as a “Halloween Party” and as such, people like to dress in costume. If someone says they are having a “party”, I would assume there will be more than 6 people in attendance, and there would be more than one appetizer. How hard is it to add some chips and dip or crudités? None of this excuses Steve’s behavior, and if he was unhappy with the situation he should have left, but perhaps this will be a lesson to the OP and host as well.

  • Tye October 30, 2013, 10:21 am

    I can’t think of anything less awkward than “a really low-key Halloween party.” Halloween is one of those holidays where you’ve either got to go gangbusters or ignore it.

    The LW is giving Steve the side-eye for getting excited about a fun costume, in the spirit of Halloween, and wanting more to eat at a party than meatballs? LW doesn’t like the “copious” amounts of alcohol that Steve brought to share? Really?

    LW and her boyfriend are entitled to have the most sedate Halloween party of all time if that’s what they want, but it sounds like they’re unduly invested in ensuring that other people either have the kind of fun they approve of or GTFO. While what I’m imagining is funny – a bunch of people quietly sitting in a well-appointed living room while wearing elaborate Halloween costumes eating meatballs one at a time – it doesn’t sound like most people’s idea of a Halloween party. Steve sounds like he was pushy and rude and dude should have peaced out to the bar early on, but LW and boyfriend have a lot to learn about hosting and expectations.

  • DGS October 30, 2013, 10:31 am

    Steve was certainly rude and obnoxious, and good riddance that he decided to leave. However, the party doesn’t sound like a fun party…it sounds like perhaps, when it was advertised to friends as a Halloween party, the friends might have assumed that it was going to be a raucous get-together, many people in costume, lots of different nibbles set out, as opposed to a low-key gathering of a few friends on Halloween to eat a few nibbles. Maybe, Steve was misinformed and anticipated an entirely different kind of get-together. He still shouldn’t have behaved boorishly, though.

  • K October 30, 2013, 10:37 am

    re: meatballs: My biggest question is what time the party was. Just meatballs at a party that began at 6pm is pretty different from meatballs at a party beginning at 9 or 10pm. (In my social group in college and my early twenties, finding ANY food at a party beginning after 9pm was a rare delight.)

    Any which way, Steve was obviously rude. It seems clear that he was being petulant and inconsiderate, perhaps treating the party more as a hang-out (at which it likely would be appropriate to suggest a venue or itinerary change) than a hosted party (at which this behavior was not).

    As some people have said, it sounds to me like what might help OP and her boyfriend most in future is communicating invitation details more clearly so nobody is caught off-guard. We know that: at least Steve was surprised by the number of attendees and the food served; OP’s friends thought the party was casual enough to cancel last minute via text, while OP thought the party was more formal; Steve was confused about the dress code; OP sounds surprised/displeased about the amount of alcohol Steve and his friends brought and wanted to consume. Lots of these factors (formality, attire, food, activities) are the types of things you’d expect to see addressed on an invitation.

    My thought is that regardless of how informally invitations are issued (phone, facebook, text, etc.), OP and her boyfriend should learn from this experience how important it is to convey full information about the event so that their future guests come with the correct expectations and, hopefully, better attitudes as a result. After all, some of the best nights in life happen with groups of four to six people drinking on a couch and eating meatballs. Some of the best nights happen at all-out ragers. As a guest, it’s helpful to know which type of night you’re preparing for.

    (Also: I’m surprised and disheartened by how churlish some commenters are being! “Sounds like a terrible Halloween party”? Really? Just a reminder that it IS possible express criticism in a positive way. Despite what some people say, honesty and tact/kindness are NOT mutually exclusive. There’s no need to make judgments about this party; we know nothing except that the guest list was intimate and meatballs and alcohol were served. Anyone who thinks that six people, booze and meatballs can’t make an enchanting evening doesn’t have a lot of faith in how fantastic the six right people’s company can be.)

  • Shoegal October 30, 2013, 10:41 am

    No you should ever say out loud that “meatballs” isn’t enough food to the host but frankly, that is exactly what I would have been thinking. Just meatballs – is just meatballs. What if you don’t even like meatballs? These words wouldn’t have escaped my lips at any party but I would have been I agree with the post that says typically Halloween parties are much larger – and involves customs. To me, it is odd to have a low key Halloween party and I could see where Steve was a little miffed and couldn’t help himself and voiced his expectations aloud. He was rude, for sure but he was probably voicing what every other guest was thinking. On the other hand, I get the impression this was a regular, small, twenty something get together to just drink that just happened to be on Halloween.- The OP says that her boyfriend “even” put out meatballs – like food at these types of party isn’t a usual thing. If that is the case then it is a very casual get together and not altogether a party and I would get too upset about Steve’s behavior.

  • Wendy B. October 30, 2013, 10:52 am

    I’m going to have to echo what everyone else said…only meatballs? It seems to me there were three etiquette faux pas here: the first was the guests who alerted the girlfriend, not the host, about not being able to come (understandable, though, since you’re considered a “unit”), second was providing one food item at a party. Third, of course, was Steve. And he you handled nicely.

    But…only meatballs? Really?

  • Lola October 30, 2013, 11:00 am

    Liz, Mary, as lame as the party sounds with the small number of attendees and only 1 food item, it is the height of rudeness to point it out to one’s hosts. As grown-ups, surely we can handle 1 bad night to spare our friends’ feelings. If the worst thing one can say is that it was a quiet night eating meatballs, that is, I believe, the dictionary definition of first world problems.

  • Justine October 30, 2013, 11:01 am

    I like smaller parties where you actually get to spend a good amount of time with everyone. My SIL thinks the definition of a successful party is the bigger it is the better it is. Trust me, you win with a smaller crowd.

  • Huh October 30, 2013, 11:19 am

    @L.J. – I agree! Because of how small my house is, I have rarely entertained (you can only fit maybe 4 people in my living area comfortably) but I’ve been the one trying to organize dinner meetings for a group I’m part of. It stresses me out every time because I send multiple messages about what day and time works best for everyone, to which maybe half of the people give me any input, finally sort that out and send everyone a message of the time, date and place chosen and inevitably there are still people that never reply, someone can’t come until X time and is angry that we can’t rearrange everything just for them, and some people say they’ll come and then never show. So when I try to arrange things at the restaurant it becomes, “Well, it’s going to be anywhere between 4-14 people.” And some of the repliers don’t show, some of the non-repliers show. Ack!

    I was just at a small low-key Halloween costume party (thought it was going to be my friend writing in for a moment) where it was only my friend’s family and my family! Everyone else canceled. We still had fun, but friend said they aren’t going to have a party next year because of the low turnout.

  • Anonymous October 30, 2013, 11:28 am

    I’d have put out more than one food option, even if it was just chips and pretzels and whatnot, but yeah, Steve was rude to complain that there wasn’t more food. Also, a small party for Halloween isn’t necessarily bad. A smaller group means it’s easier to do something like playing Twister/Jenga/charades/whatever, or having a movie marathon. In those cases, fewer people means more playing time per person for the games, and fewer dissenting opinions on which movie to watch. One more thing, though–was Steve the only person at the party who was wearing a costume? If so, I don’t think that that in itself was rude. Bragging, showing off, and complaining that other people weren’t in costume, was rude, but dressing up in costume for what he believed to be a costume party, was perfectly fine.

  • lo October 30, 2013, 11:38 am

    @Aje, it’s rude to comment on the host’s food choices, period. However, surely I can’t be the only person to attend a party, immediately after work, only to discover that the host has only a plate of meatballs (or equivalent) for quite large number of guests.

    I attended a party like this once. There were about ten people attending and the host had one two-person pizza for everyone. I can tell you that I never went back after that without having a good meal beforehand.

    The point is, if it’s ok to criticize Steve for his boorishness, I think it’s only fair that we do the same to Bob for his underpreparedness/stinginess. Had it been me instead of Steve, I wouldn’t have said a word, but thought twice afterwards about accepting an invitation from Bob.

  • Raven October 30, 2013, 11:39 am

    It sounds like a miscommunication somewhere. Was Steve the only one in costume? Was it designated as a “costume party” or as a “casual small-group thing”? Either way, Steve behaved terribly, and I don’t think OP will miss his company in the future.

    @ Aje – no, you don’t flat-out tell a host that their food is not good enough, of course not. But as a host, you should do what you can to make sure people are adequately fed. I went to a housewarming party once where literally the only food put out was a bowl of chips. There were probably 30 people there, all drinking – nothing in the stomach + booze = a bad idea.

  • Ashley 2 October 30, 2013, 11:48 am

    Well Liz, good thing there was only one opinionated person at the party. As for the OP, maybe it’d be best if Bob didn’t invite Steve to similar parties in the future.

  • lakey October 30, 2013, 11:50 am

    I disagree with commenters who suggest that the number of guests and the refreshments weren’t enough for a Halloween party. It was made clear that it was low key, probably because the boyfriend hadn’t done much entertaining and felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable with it. We get upset with people who attend others’ parties but never reciprocate. One of the reasons people don’t reciprocate is because they feel inadequate for it. This was boyfriend’s sticking his toe in the water to see if he could handle it. It was probably a big deal to him to make meatballs and serve them to guests.

    Would I have done it differently? Sure. Uncomfortable with cooking for other people I would have gotten food from a grocery store deli, which can be very expensive. But for boyfriend this was probably a big step.

  • Timothy October 30, 2013, 12:04 pm

    @Aje: I think the issue isn’t so much that meatballs aren’t good, or that there wouldn’t be enough meatballs. The issue is that the meatballs were, apparently, the only snack food available. Steve definitely could have worded it better, but having only one single possibility for refreshment is bizarre, to say the least. Sure, most parties will have stuff I don’t like. But those same parties have options that I do like. It’s not “Well, if you don’t like meatballs, or don’t feel like meatballs, or want something besides meatballs, tough luck.”

  • June First October 30, 2013, 12:05 pm

    It does sound like a student crowd. And I did wonder if Steve was the only one in costume!

    I can remember being newly-drinking age in college and being impatient to get out to the bars instead of hanging around in someone’s apartment. How rude that must have been, in hindsight. In fact, even in my mid-twenties I remember attending a “low-key Halloween party” and being chided for arriving at 7:30 instead of 7. For whatever reason, I didn’t think I needed to be prompt. Again, hindsight.

    OP mentioned the meatballs were snacks. Not a full meal. We don’t know what time of day (or night) the party was scheduled.
    OP, while Steve was rude, your boyfriend learned a few valuable lessons: Make sure the expectations are clear, have plenty of food, and don’t invite Steve. 🙂