Reading about your double booked dinner guests reminded me of a similar sticky situation.
Having relocated across the country, we found we were only two hours from some old friends of ours. We hadn’t seen them in years but had sort of kept in touch with Christmas cards and social media. They’d always been great company, and we were delighted when they suggested we come over for dinner on a Saturday night. Given the length of the drive, and the fact we might have a glass or two (!), they offered to put us up for the night.
The dinner was splendid. They’d invited several local friends who turned out to be great company, the food and wine were superb and all in all, a great success.
We were the only couple staying overnight, and when we came downstairs the next morning it was obvious the hosts had gone to a lot of trouble for us – freshly baked bread, poached eggs, home made jams, all delicious. We sat and ate and chatted, all agreeing what a great time we’d had and, now that we lived close by, we could do this more often. By now it was drifting into late Sunday morning, so we started to say our goodbyes and thanks, and to make a move.
This is where it went slightly wrong. The hosts were dismayed. It turns out they’d planned an extravagant lunch for us as well. The fridge was still packed with delicious food, more than they could eat. They’d planned for us to spend the whole day with them, lunch and tea, and head off in the evening. We hadn’t expected that, and had made plans for the afternoon.
They were a bit put-out, we were a bit embarrassed, but what could we do? Fortunately the awkwardness subsided into a profusion of apologies and promising to stay longer next time. We left in a cloud of only slightly strained goodwill and bonhomie.
It’s clear there was a difference in our expectations, and it’s not going to ruin our friendship. But I’m wondering what other people’s expectations would have been? Should I have made it clear that, though we were pleased to stay the night, It didn’t mean we’d be spending the next day with them? If you’re invited to dinner, and to stay the night, is lunch automatically included? 0206-15
What a treasure to have friends whose hospitality is quite generous!
Upon accepting an invitation to be a house guest, I find it helpful to be upfront in my communication to inform my hosts when I will be arriving and departing if the invitation appears to be rather open ended. It then gives them the opportunity to appeal for you to stay longer.