Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: TootsNYC on January 03, 2014, 10:37:57 AM

Title: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: TootsNYC on January 03, 2014, 10:37:57 AM
Over on the Family & Children board, GlitterIsMyDrug had this scenario with her New Year's Eve party:

Quote
Then I text one of "Sure I'll make I think, maybe, but I'll totally be there if I can" people. Yes or No. Saying "No I can't make it" won't hurt my feelings. I get "Yes, but could you come and get me?", could I come and...what? How will you get home? No never mind, no I'm not coming to get you, no I'm not sending Partner or one of my other guests to come get you. Our city ran all public transportation until 2am for free, which I told her about and that it was up to her if she wanted to come. She said she'd "let me know", she never came, never called, never texted. I got a text from her this morning apologizing for not coming.

I've been pondering this. I know Glitter isn't the first person to have this happen to her--I've seen it in other posts over the years.

What makes people do this? Why do they think this is reasonable?

I see this as a bit different from the MIL who wants you to pick her up from the train station--you're family, you ask family for help, and some people don't think about taxis, etc., they get a lift to and from airports, etc.

But this is different--it's a guest, and it's the sort of thing where everyone else is expecting to show up under their own steam. What makes people think that a host has any obligation to pick them up?

I have a theory. And I was thinking of Glitter's specific situation, and remembered this:
Quote
Then I text one of "Sure I'll make I think, maybe, but I'll totally be there if I can" people. Yes or No.

I'm wondering if what goes on is that we've begun to redefine hosting and inviting people.

It used to be that hosting was considered a tremendous gift that someone gave you. And you were (and felt!) obligated to reciprocate, so you would invite them somewhere. And you wrote thank-you notes afterward. And you accepted what you were given graciously (unlike the crasher who said, "don't you have any better beer?").

But I've nowadays heard people say, "She wouldn't throw those parties if she didn't want to," and they say, "I have to go to a party."

And one of my favorite hobby horses: Hosts sometimes say "thank you for coming to my party," as if they were a merchant thanking customers for shopping there. (It's my favorite hobby horse because I used to do it, and I've had to consciously stop myself, and instead say, "I'm so glad you could join us," or "it was nice to see you." Subtle, but sometimes semantics matters, and I think it does here.)

And when Glitter followed up with the person who had been so wishywashy (rude in itself), the message she maybe have unknowingly sent was, "It's important to me that you come to my party, so important that I'll go out of my way [i.e., chase an already-iffy, essentially-already-"no" RSVP] to make it happen."
   And so subtly, subliminally, the guest gets the message that their attendance is a big favor for their host. And that's why (again, subtly, subliminally) they think it's reasonable to suggest that their host go to some inconvenience to make it happen.

   When these things come together (or sometimes when only one of these factors in), the guest feels overvalued. (The MIL at the train station may feel overvalued as well, actually--add in that family often feels *obligated* to attend kids' bday parties, etc., so maybe it is very similar, in that the guest feels more valuable than the host.)


What do you think--am I onto something? Is there any truth in my theory?

And if so, how do you head it off?

(One thing that might save you pre-party time is to treat any "iffy" RSVP as an automatic "no," and to never chase them. Though for planners, that's tough! And of course, sometimes you really would like your friend to come!)


Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: lowspark on January 03, 2014, 11:06:51 AM
As far as chasing guests, yeah, I've been in that spot before. More times than I like. I have a particular women-only party every year and *most* people I invite absolutely love it and look forward to the invitations and reply fairly promtly. I mail the invitations via snail mail and give a deadline for replies so if I don't hear from someone, I sort of feel like I have to chase them down.

Because it's one of two situations:
1. A regular attendee who didn't reply. So I gotta wonder, did her invitation get lost? She always replies and usually comes so something is definitely amiss.
2. A new person I've never invited before. Again, gotta make sure the invitation didn't get lost since it's going through the mail and who knows if I messed up the address since it's the first time I've snail-mailed something to this person.

I do put a note on my invitation to this particular party that if you want to be invited next year, you must reply, whether it is affirmative or negative. This makes me feel even more like I have to chase down the delinquents. Their lack of response makes me suspect that something is askew.

However, I do make a note of those who I've chased down if their reply is such that they got the invitation but simply hadn't bothered to acknowledge it. I had one friend who fell into the first category. She came to my party and participated fully and enthusiastically for years. (She lived in another city and used to travel to make the party so I only talked to her occasionally and only saw her when one of us made the trip to visit the other.) I don't know what happened but three years in a row I had to chase her down. Normally I would have stopped after the first time and just scratched her off the list. But she was a good friend and I think she had a lot going on in her life, etc. After the third year, though, I just gave up. I figured she'd contact me if she still wanted to continue the friendship.

Your point about not thanking people for coming to your party, so as not to say that they are doing you a favor, is interesting. I've never thought of it that way. I think that by coming and participating in the event, they are sort of doing you a favor. A party is a success based on the people who come and how much they add by being there. If you throw a party and no one shows up, it ain't gonna be much of a party. So yeah, I do thank my guests for coming. Their presence most definitely added to the favorable outcome of the event.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Figgie on January 03, 2014, 11:13:51 AM
I quit having formal dinner parties.  Not because people failed to RSVP (everyone I invited was very good about that), but because people started treating the meal as if it were a restaurant meal and they could order what they wanted and reject what they didn't want.

I ended up spending way too much time trying to deal with other people's food issues and that pretty much sucked all of the joy out of hosting for me.  The only "hosting" I do nowadays is to provide a place for potlucks.  :)
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: jaxsue on January 03, 2014, 11:26:19 AM
Count me as someone who is  :o at the request that I pick them up for a party/dinner. It reminds me of a family reunion I was attending that required me to fly from NJ to Toronto. I flew to the big airport, had to rent a car, then drive through a city that, although I've visited a thousand times, is quite different when you're driving it yourself. I got a request - 3rd hand - to pick up a cousin in Toronto, then drive her to the reunion 1 hr north (she has agoraphobia and doesn't drive). Time was also tight, as in every minute was planned out.

Fortunately, my mom agreed that the request was ridiculous (cousin could catch a ride with other people), and I politely declined to pick cousin up. Yes, this is more complicated than picking someone up for a dinner party, but it's the same principle. I could see if the person asking is elderly or has medical issues that make driving difficult, and is close by. But IME the request has seemed rather *special.*
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: EllenS on January 03, 2014, 11:35:23 AM
I think the blurring of lines between social and business functions is involved here, too.  We see posts on here all the time about hosts or HC's who expect wedding guests to "cover their plate", i.e. pay for their meal with an appropriately priced gift.  And this extends to family charging for cooking a holiday meal, or party invitations that turn out to be MLM sales presentations, or fundraisers, or overgrown "birthday girls" or "birthday boys" who voluntell friends to pay for their dinner in a restaurant.

The restaurant and hotel business is now referred to as "the hospitality industry". Hospitality is not supposed to be an industry.  The greeter in a restaurant is now called a "host" or "hostess," but they are not hosting anything - in fact, they are often the most junior member of staff.  Customers at hotels and restaurants are called "guests", even though they are paying.

Society's expectations toward what it means to be a host or guest are a complete mess.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 03, 2014, 12:21:09 PM
FYI - there is another thread started on the same topic:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=131826.msg3080404#msg3080404

 :)
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: gen xer on January 03, 2014, 12:28:00 PM
As a general rule I think it is rude to ask somebody to do something that you can do yourself.  I would be thrown if someone asked me to pick them up and if you are hosting you most likely wouldn't have the time to be someone's chauffeur.

I guess you have to ask yourself a few questions: "Why are they asking?  How important is the event?  Are they an entitled person in general or is this an unusual request?  How important is it that person be there?

For example.....my MIL can drive but likes to have someone pick her up an drop her off from family events like birthdays, holidays etc.  My SIL and myself think it's kind of entitled but DH and his brother don't seem to mind doing it so fine.  Because of this I can see how there could be a sense of "This party will not happen without me and someone will be jumping through hoops to make sure I'm there" with some people....because we've made it happen that way.  I know that if someone told my MIL ( she's not a bad person...but she is a little high maintenance and needy ) that she had to get herself to a family event not only would she not attend but there would be hell to pay.

I guess if you don't want to set a precedent don't even entertain the notion because yes....some people do overvalue themselves.

Honestly it would be a case by case basis for me.  I won't say I would never do it....but I sure wouldn't want to project an air of desperation either.

As far as thanking your guests for coming though....I don't see a problem.  They made the time and effort to attend so yeah....I do appreciate that.

Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: jaxsue on January 03, 2014, 12:28:49 PM
FYI - there is another thread started on the same topic:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=131826.msg3080404#msg3080404

 :)

And this is one of the biggest problems with not having a "search" option. Mods, will that option ever come back?
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: lowspark on January 03, 2014, 12:30:37 PM
I think it's back.
But really, although the two threads are titled similarly and are a spin off of the same original thread, the discussions are aimed in two different directions.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: DCGirl on January 03, 2014, 12:38:06 PM
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: MrTango on January 03, 2014, 12:43:57 PM
If I invited someone to an event and they asked me if I could pick them up, my response would come down to two relatively simple questions:
1) Do I value their presence more than I dislike the inconvenience of picking them up?
2) Will I be able to pick them up without negatively impacting my preparation for the event?

If the answer to either question is "No," then that's the answer I give to the person.

The one person who nearly always gets a "Yes" answer to question #1 is my nephew who is 18, but does not drive and lives in an area where there is very little public transit.  If his mother isn't coming to an event I'm hosting and I'm able to make it work, then either LadyTango or I will pick him up.

One other thing I want to comment on: The OP seems to put a lot of effort into tracking people down.  I'm not saying that it's wrong of her to do that, but I feel it's unnecessary.  If I don't hear back from someone by my deadline, I assume that they aren't coming and plan accordingly.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: bah12 on January 03, 2014, 01:03:19 PM
For picking people up for a party, I guess I don't see anything wrong with stating that a ride is needed for attendance.  It really annoys me when people complain that they have limitations (car isn't working, no babysitter, etc), but don't really do anything to change it.  So, if I invited someone to a party and they had transportation issues, I wouldn't be offended if they said "I'd love to come, but unfortunately my car is in the shop and I don't have a way to get there.  Do you know of someone else that's coming that could possibly pick me up on the way or would you be able to give me a ride if it doesn't interfere with your planning?"  As long as they accept "no" as an answer, I dont' see an issue with asking.  Sure, I wouldn't like it if someone called me up the day of and said "come get me at 7", but my friends just aren't like that (those kinds of people wouldn't have been invited to my party to begin with).

As for the non-commital ones, my parties usually don't require that I have exact 'yeses' or 'nos' so I pretty much ignore the one person who can't figure out if they want to come or not (again, I don't have the experience that my friends are like this all the time).  I do remember many many moons ago when DH and I were receiving RSVPs for our wedding and one of the guests responded positively to coming and indicated a +1 (maybe).  It was DHs friend so I just had him call the offending party up and say that since we were catering/paying by the head we kind of needed a definite on that plus one. This person indicated that they were hoping to find a date before the wedding, but considering they didn't have one before the RSVP deadline, they'd just come solo.  There was no arguments, no whining, nothing. 

Finally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with thanking people for coming to a party.  Maybe I don't do parties right (and I don't care), but I don't really see my hosting as some great sacrifice/gift on my part and don't expect reciprocation.  Just like any gift (if we use that analogy), I give it because I want to and not to get something in return.  I thank people for coming to my parties, because I'm thankful for their time and their company. I enjoy my parties just as much as the next person and part of what makes them enjoyable is the quality of the people that attend them.  They thank me for the invite, I thank them for coming and we all end up happy.  I really think that when hosting gets to the point that it stresses you out and makes you resent your friends for not being appreciative enough is the time that you either need a new group of friends or you need to take a break from hosting.  Just my opinion.   
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Raintree on January 03, 2014, 02:07:44 PM
I have a dear friend who assumed I would go pick her up when I invited her for dinner. I gently explained that I would be busy getting dinner ready, and she did manage to get there on her own steam. We live in a city that is safe for walking and also has plenty of public transportation. I did drive her home as it was late, and the "party" consisted of just her and me. But generally I think the onus is on the guest to figure out how to get to and from the party. And it's OK to ask to hop in with another guest who is going your way, IMO, as long as you don't complain they are leaving too soon or too late and you are ready when they are ready and generally don't cause them extra hassle.

I once organized a larger gathering in a place that was admittedly a bit complicated to get to. Still, I thought everyone would should be perfectly capable of figuring out how to get themselves there given the directions and transportation options I outlined on the Facebook invitation. Most people managed just fine. But I was subjected to one person messaging me with, "Nobody wants to carpool with me; I don't want to drive out there on my own, how will I get there, I don't want to go X way or Y way, oh woe is me, I asked Susie to carpool and I couldn't get an answer...." People!!! I'm busy putting this party together; find a way to get yourselves there or decline, but don't involve me in these exhausting details. Incidentally, Susie showed up on her own steam using public transportation.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: YummyMummy66 on January 03, 2014, 02:24:19 PM
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.

In this case, honeslty, I think the host/hostess should be made aware of this situation if not already aware of it and how this person makes her guests uncomfortable.  The hostess needs to tell her guest that if she wishes to attend the event, she needs to have arrangements to and from the party and not put her other guests on the spot.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: DCGirl on January 03, 2014, 02:59:16 PM
I have a very good friend who throws an amazing holiday party every year.  She cooks for days, then hires servers and a bartender to help her make the actual event happen.  We have a mutual friend who does not own a car.  She used to request that the hostess pick her up, and the hostess would usually send her mother (who comes in from out of state for the party) to do so, but the mother is no longer driving these days due to age-related vision issues.

So, she now takes a cab from the closest subway station (three exits down the highway, so not that close) to the party, but then spends much of the party hitting up other guests for a ride back to the subway at the end of the evening.  One year, she got to DH before I could tell him to politely decline, and we were treated to complaints that she wasn't ready to leave yet when we went to collect her as we were ready to leave (tough luck, sister, we had a long drive home) and the fact that she didn't know how to give us directions from the highway to the subway station.  DH is now under strict instructions to say "no" when he sees here.

In this case, honeslty, I think the host/hostess should be made aware of this situation if not already aware of it and how this person makes her guests uncomfortable.  The hostess needs to tell her guest that if she wishes to attend the event, she needs to have arrangements to and from the party and not put her other guests on the spot.

If it happens again next year, I definitely will.  Because we did it once in the past, she seems to think that makes us just that much more willing to do it again.   I lost count of how many times I said, "I'm afraid that won't be possible" this year.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: AzaleaBloom on January 03, 2014, 07:09:46 PM
I have known people throughout the years who don't/can't drive.  While I can't say it was universal, there was sometimes a tendency to have no understanding of what they were actually asking.  It their mind, it was "Oh, it's only 20 minutes away!"  They don't realize that it's 20 minutes to pick them up, 20 minutes to get back, 20 minutes to take them home, and 20 minutes to return - nearly an hour and a half total. 

That having been said, it falls on the person being asked to say "no."  It also falls on the person without transportation to find their own way.  I lived for a short time as an adult without a car.  I took public transportation, walked, and sometimes missed out on things.  When I did get a ride, I was always very appreciative and made it clear how grateful I was.

Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: TootsNYC on January 03, 2014, 07:22:28 PM
I think the blurring of lines between social and business functions is involved here, too.  We see posts on here all the time about hosts or HC's who expect wedding guests to "cover their plate", i.e. pay for their meal with an appropriately priced gift.  And this extends to family charging for cooking a holiday meal, or party invitations that turn out to be MLM sales presentations, or fundraisers, or overgrown "birthday girls" or "birthday boys" who voluntell friends to pay for their dinner in a restaurant.

The restaurant and hotel business is now referred to as "the hospitality industry". Hospitality is not supposed to be an industry.  The greeter in a restaurant is now called a "host" or "hostess," but they are not hosting anything - in fact, they are often the most junior member of staff.  Customers at hotels and restaurants are called "guests", even though they are paying.

Society's expectations toward what it means to be a host or guest are a complete mess.

I think you're right, EllenS. (Someone here at EHell even used the word "catering" to describe entertaining guests in your own home. A slip, I'm sure, but sometimes semantics matter.)

I'll confess, I was often grateful that people come to my house (which is *totally* backward!!) because I'm in a outer borough.

And, we will often drive people from other boroughs home (whether we're getting together in our house or at a restaurant), because trying to get to our place from Brooklyn, is a 90-minute ordeal (it's 20 mins in the car, so even both ways, it's still markedly less time), and they'd probably turn down the socializing opportunity completely.
   But if I felt taken advantage of, we'd stop!

I sort of see bah12's point--but only sort of.

I'd tweak is as indicated.

For picking people up for a party, I guess I don't see anything wrong with stating that a ride is needed for attendance.  It really annoys me when people complain that they have limitations (car isn't working, no babysitter, etc), but don't really do anything to change it.  So, if I invited someone to a party and they had transportation issues, I wouldn't be offended if they said "I'd love to come, but unfortunately my car is in the shop and I don't have a way to get there.  Do you know of someone else that's coming that could possibly pick me up on the way or would you be able to give me a ride if it doesn't interfere with your planning?"  As long as they accept "no" as an answer, I don't see an issue with asking. 


I think there is something wrong with asking the phrase I crossed out.
I think it's OK to alert your host to your travel difficulties, in case she has a suggestion for solving them. But to directly ask her to come pick you up, when she's already giving you another gift? Not cool--if she can pick you up, she'll offer. Don't directly ask her.

I think you misunderstand me:

Quote
I really think that when hosting gets to the point that it stresses you out and makes you resent your friends for not being appreciative enough is the time that you either need a new group of friends or you need to take a break from hosting.  Just my opinion.   

I'm not stressed or resentful. But I don't thank people for coming, not anymore. I'm not a merchant, I'm the one who did them the bigger favor--the only person who should be thanked is me. And I hadn't heard any of my own friends say it, but others have said, "She wouldn't invite me if she didn't want me there" (which is true, of course) as if somehow -they- were the ones doing the big favor by showing up.
   So of course I express my enjoyment of their company, pretty effusively, but I don't say "thank you for coming." There's something about that literal phrase that sets my teeth on edge when it comes from the host's mouth.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Allyson on January 03, 2014, 07:26:01 PM
I can't drive due to vision issues. I live in a city with decent public transportation, but it stops running before midnight. I try *really* hard never to impose on someone, but among my social group, I think because it started up when many people didn't drive, it's kind of the norm for drivers to take people home after an event. I am always very appreciative of people doing it for me, and offer gas money if it's not right on their way.

I can't think of any situation where I'd call someone up to drive me *to* a place, but I have said stuff like "Ok, the last bus is soon, so I'm going to head off now" fully intending to do so! But in my group, more often than not someone will say "oh don't worry, I'll give you a lift home". I'll ask my good friends ahead of time if they mind driving me home from a place. But in that case I would *never* hold them up in any way, like by whining they're leaving too late/early or what have you.

Asking for a ride from the host *to* their house seems really odd to me, and if for some reason I had to do it (no public transit for instance) I'd make sure to arrange it ahead of time, not call the day of.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 03, 2014, 09:31:04 PM
Interesting post, TootsNYC!

I do think it's rude to expressly ask the host to pick you up and take you to their house. It's putting the host on the spot, and more than likely interfering with their preparations.

However, I think it's ok to explain to the host that you'd love to come to their party, but have no way of getting there. Hopefully, the host will OFFER to pick you up, or recommend several other feasible options (eg catching the ABC train to West Street, etc, or putting them in touch with another guest who lives nearby and would be happy to give them a ride, etc).

As for the issue of thanking the guests for attending, I'd guess this is because these days, people are so busy, and seem to have so many other competing priorities. The fact that they chose YOUR event to attend may motivate many hosts to thank their guests for coming.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: EllenS on January 03, 2014, 10:36:08 PM
I do thank my guests for coming, though, because to me that means "I am happy you came, it was a better party because you were here."
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: kareng57 on January 03, 2014, 10:44:08 PM
I would never, ever make this request.  I'm only a short-distance driver (I don't do freeways) and I figure that it's my problem if that means I can't attend parties.

However - longtime good friends wanted me to attend their Boxing Day party.  The husband was willing to pick me up ( a half-hour away) and drive me back.  They're understanding that this is still a difficult time of year for me - my Dh died during Christmas time two years ago.  As it happened, they also invited my sons and one of them provided transportation anyway.

But - if I had taken Hosts up on their offer - does that mean that I would have been impolite?
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Iris on January 03, 2014, 10:53:53 PM
I would never, ever make this request.  I'm only a short-distance driver (I don't do freeways) and I figure that it's my problem if that means I can't attend parties.

However - longtime good friends wanted me to attend their Boxing Day party.  The husband was willing to pick me up ( a half-hour away) and drive me back.  They're understanding that this is still a difficult time of year for me - my Dh died during Christmas time two years ago.  As it happened, they also invited my sons and one of them provided transportation anyway.

But - if I had taken Hosts up on their offer - does that mean that I would have been impolite?

Not at all - it's an offer.

I picked up a friend for my NYE party. However, she had already arranged other transportation of her own volition when I decided that given the number of small children coming it might be better to drop my dog off at his sitter's house for the party. Since the sitter's house happens to be right around the corner from friend's house I rang and offered to pick her up. So she got a ride, I didn't have to go out of my way, and the person who was driving her didn't have to anymore. Win-win!
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Mel the Redcap on January 03, 2014, 11:14:42 PM
I think you're right, EllenS. (Someone here at EHell even used the word "catering" to describe entertaining guests in your own home. A slip, I'm sure, but sometimes semantics matter.)

That was me. ;D I was half asleep and I think I was originally writing something about 'catering to' your guests' needs, changed it, and totally flaked on finding better wording.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on January 04, 2014, 01:02:53 AM
As a non-driver, I hardly ever ever ask for rides to events.  In fact, I never ask for rides unless I really have no other option, and I insist on compensation of some kind, whether it's paying for gas or buying dinner or whatever.

I've declined events due to transportation issues.  Usually I will ask my host if there's bus service nearby (or I'll use the MyCity transit site to figure out for myself if taking public transportation is feasible) or I'll just say, "I'd love to attend but the buses don't go there," or "The buses don't run that late" or whatever.  If I can afford it, I may take a cab.  But I never ask a host to pick me up.  If they offer, I will accept, but if someone offers me a ride to and from an event, I certainly won't complain I'm not ready to leave when they are, since they're doing me a huge favour already. 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's not rude to accept if someone offers, but I do feel it's a little out of line to ask for a ride.

ETA on the matter of saying "Thank you for coming".  I'll either say "Thanks for coming" or something along the lines of "It was great to see you!" and I use them interchangeably.  "Thank you for coming" to me means, "I appreciated and enjoyed your company."  And of course you should always thank a host.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Marbles on January 04, 2014, 01:43:41 AM
I'm the one with the MIL who called for a ride from the train station. It really was an imposition. She did it several times, but I think my DH talked to her about it because she has driven the past two times she has come to visit (which takes about the same amount of time).

To fill out the picture of her asking:

Before we had kids, we'd invite MIL down periodically to have dinner, just the three of us, and she'd take the train to our local station and we'd pick her up. No problem.

Now, MIL and FIL have been divorced nearly 40 years, but they still hate each other. However, they do know how to avoid each other at parties. DH and I hold two parties each year to which we invite both of his parents -  each of our sons' birthdays (we split holidays). To make it easier for MIL and FIL to circulate in patterns that avoid each other, we make it a big crowd, typically 25-30 people (usually around a 2:1 ratio of adults to children). Hosting that many people means a lot of cooking and prep work.

The last time she called to be picked up from the station, my boys were 2 and 3.5, which meant they needed a lot of supervision. DH and I usually split the hosting duties by tag-teaming one person cooking or setting up, while the other one ran around desperately trying to keep the kids from making a huge mess before the guests arrive. So, having him get the surprise phone call (sometimes she'd leave a VM when she got on the train to give us notice!) to run out even for a short jaunt was not appreciated. (I think one time I made him take the kids with him in the car, just to keep making progress on the party. Getting two excited toddlers fastened into car seats did not make the errand faster.)

I'm surprised MIL even asked us for help. She is very independent. She lives 2 miles from a train station, up a very steep hill, which she walks regularly. We live a mile from the station on the flat, with bus service that runs from the station to 2 blocks from our house. There are always taxis at the station, too.


*Once we had kids, she stopped reciprocating invitations. She loves trying new restaurants, so that was her primary way of hosting.  We get the impression from BIL and SIL that she doesn't really like kids, and I can see that she might not want to dine with infants or toddlers. It makes me a bit sad she doesn't want to do anything else with us either.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Isilleke on January 04, 2014, 11:41:13 AM
I'll ask my good friends ahead of time if they mind driving me home from a place. But in that case I would *never* hold them up in any way, like by whining they're leaving too late/early or what have you.

Snipped out the relevant part.  I don't mind driving around, especially when you all live somewhat close and are going somewhere a bit further away. But the last time I did this, my passenger had to work till 8PM, which meant we didn't arrive before 9.30PM and then she insisted we leave at 1AM because she had things planned the next day. I was a little peeved for this, because well
- the party we were invited to started at 6PM and I could have been there but chose not to so we could go together (my friend lives with 5 other people we don't know and it was their housewarming, so out of 30+ people she would have known 2, I knew about 10 I think)
- she could have told me beforehand she didn't want to stay very late
- especially since my friend throws the kind of parties that don't end before the sun comes up.

Maybe it's because I'm of the opinion that the driver decides. As in, when I'm the passenger I just go with whatever he/she decides, since they are the ones driving. Sure, it may be early/late for me, but e.g. if they feel that they are getting too tired to drive responsibly at a later time, I say let's go already!

Back on topic. I never had this situation before, but I'm starting to integrate in a new group and it seems there is one person who does this all the time and no one ever comments on it. They all think it's the most common thing to do apparently  :o.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Dragonflymom on January 04, 2014, 02:21:20 PM
I quit having formal dinner parties.  Not because people failed to RSVP (everyone I invited was very good about that), but because people started treating the meal as if it were a restaurant meal and they could order what they wanted and reject what they didn't want.

I ended up spending way too much time trying to deal with other people's food issues and that pretty much sucked all of the joy out of hosting for me.  The only "hosting" I do nowadays is to provide a place for potlucks.  :)

I've had to deal with a lot of this too, especially from people doing paleo, low-carb, dairy-free, or whatever.  It is incredibly frustrating.   I'm tired of the PA comments about what I serve. Christmas dinner was a struggle to accommodate everyone.  Next year I'm scaling back more and people with issues can bring things that work for them.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Dragonflymom on January 04, 2014, 02:29:09 PM
I think it's a kind of entitlement in asking the hostess for rides (I was the one who started the other thread :)  ).  When it has happened to me I feel put on the spot and felt mean saying no.

I can see how it could go along with other increased expectations of hosting, like everybody expects all their different diets they are on to be catered to (I can understand religious/ethical choices, but I think expecting hosts to cater to whatever trendy weight loss diet guests are on and complaining if the host doesn't is ridiculous and entitled).

I have gotten to that point where I've found hosting stressful enough and resenting it enough that I'm ready to take a break.  And also just stop inviting the worst offenders.

The people who have been the worst at either asking for rides or otherwise making special snowflake demands about my hosting seem to very rarely, if ever, host themselves.  And the worst offenders have never invited me to anything so I wonder if they ever host at all and have any idea how entitled they are being.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: bah12 on January 06, 2014, 10:48:31 AM
I think the blurring of lines between social and business functions is involved here, too.  We see posts on here all the time about hosts or HC's who expect wedding guests to "cover their plate", i.e. pay for their meal with an appropriately priced gift.  And this extends to family charging for cooking a holiday meal, or party invitations that turn out to be MLM sales presentations, or fundraisers, or overgrown "birthday girls" or "birthday boys" who voluntell friends to pay for their dinner in a restaurant.

The restaurant and hotel business is now referred to as "the hospitality industry". Hospitality is not supposed to be an industry.  The greeter in a restaurant is now called a "host" or "hostess," but they are not hosting anything - in fact, they are often the most junior member of staff.  Customers at hotels and restaurants are called "guests", even though they are paying.

Society's expectations toward what it means to be a host or guest are a complete mess.

I think you're right, EllenS. (Someone here at EHell even used the word "catering" to describe entertaining guests in your own home. A slip, I'm sure, but sometimes semantics matter.)

I'll confess, I was often grateful that people come to my house (which is *totally* backward!!) because I'm in a outer borough.

And, we will often drive people from other boroughs home (whether we're getting together in our house or at a restaurant), because trying to get to our place from Brooklyn, is a 90-minute ordeal (it's 20 mins in the car, so even both ways, it's still markedly less time), and they'd probably turn down the socializing opportunity completely.
   But if I felt taken advantage of, we'd stop!

I sort of see bah12's point--but only sort of.

I'd tweak is as indicated.

For picking people up for a party, I guess I don't see anything wrong with stating that a ride is needed for attendance.  It really annoys me when people complain that they have limitations (car isn't working, no babysitter, etc), but don't really do anything to change it.  So, if I invited someone to a party and they had transportation issues, I wouldn't be offended if they said "I'd love to come, but unfortunately my car is in the shop and I don't have a way to get there.  Do you know of someone else that's coming that could possibly pick me up on the way or would you be able to give me a ride if it doesn't interfere with your planning?"  As long as they accept "no" as an answer, I don't see an issue with asking. 


I think there is something wrong with asking the phrase I crossed out.
I think it's OK to alert your host to your travel difficulties, in case she has a suggestion for solving them. But to directly ask her to come pick you up, when she's already giving you another gift? Not cool--if she can pick you up, she'll offer. Don't directly ask her.

I think you misunderstand me:

Quote
I really think that when hosting gets to the point that it stresses you out and makes you resent your friends for not being appreciative enough is the time that you either need a new group of friends or you need to take a break from hosting.  Just my opinion.   

I'm not stressed or resentful. But I don't thank people for coming, not anymore. I'm not a merchant, I'm the one who did them the bigger favor--the only person who should be thanked is me. And I hadn't heard any of my own friends say it, but others have said, "She wouldn't invite me if she didn't want me there" (which is true, of course) as if somehow -they- were the ones doing the big favor by showing up.
   So of course I express my enjoyment of their company, pretty effusively, but I don't say "thank you for coming." There's something about that literal phrase that sets my teeth on edge when it comes from the host's mouth.

I think we just have a fundamental disagreement on what hosting is.  To me, it is not a gift that I grace my guests with.  It's a mutually beneficial arrangement.  I absolutely love cooking/hosting.  It gives me a real high...but as awesome as my home and food may be, my parties would still suck if great people didn't show up.  They provide a key ingredient to the success of my events...and they are the one thing I can't control about the evening.  So, when they accept my invite, come over and have a good time, have great conversation with me and say super nice things about my party, yeah, I'm going to thank them. 

And I really think that it's about how you (general) just look at the whole thing. If I saw it as an "event" that I have to organzize and take all the criticism/praise for vs. a "hanging out with my friends" in my house (one of my most favorite places to be), then I might be a little more stressed out, because it would seem like work.  I don't think you should feel obligate to host, obligated to have things a certain way, etc.  Just decide what kind of party you want to have, communicate it to your friends and don't be afraid to say "no" if they ask for something you aren't willing to provide.  That's why I don't stress out if someone asks me for a ride (and there's a difference between asking and demanding).  I really think that if you (general) have an issue with saying "no" that's a problem you need to work on...it's not fair to expect that your friends will never ask you a favor so that you never have to face the fear of letting someone down.  I also don't really see having a party as a gift so huge that asking for anything other than invite is seen as entitled.   

Here's the thing.  If I came to your party and you never "thanked" me for showing up, I seriously doubt I'd notice.  But I would notice an attitude that you're doing me some huge favor and just gave me some enourmous gift that I have to be adequately thankful for...and it wouldn't leave me a great impression.  And while I'm sure you don't project that at your parties, I do think having a discussion on whether or not it's ok to thank guests for coming to your party is a bit extreme.  Of course it's ok!  And I promise that if any of your guests seem too entitled, it's not because you said "thank you".  It's because it's who they are....not saying thank you isn't going to change it.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Petticoats on January 07, 2014, 09:06:46 AM
It boggles me that anyone would ask the hostess to pick them up, because (even apart from the rudeness and air of entitlement) the hostess is the one who has the most to do before the party! She's the *least* available person the guest could ask.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: bah12 on January 07, 2014, 12:29:07 PM
I have known people throughout the years who don't/can't drive.  While I can't say it was universal, there was sometimes a tendency to have no understanding of what they were actually asking.  It their mind, it was "Oh, it's only 20 minutes away!"  They don't realize that it's 20 minutes to pick them up, 20 minutes to get back, 20 minutes to take them home, and 20 minutes to return - nearly an hour and a half total. 

That having been said, it falls on the person being asked to say "no."  It also falls on the person without transportation to find their own way.  I lived for a short time as an adult without a car.  I took public transportation, walked, and sometimes missed out on things.  When I did get a ride, I was always very appreciative and made it clear how grateful I was.

I know at least 3 people who don't drive.  One has never even had a driver's license, and the others simply can't afford cars.  All of them get around better than most people I know with cars!  They  know all of the busses and cabs and metro lines, and how to use them. One of those friends has traveled to Europe every year, for years.  And she has never driven a car in her life. 
So, I'm sorry, there's no excuse for not getting around.  There's (almost) always a way.

THe people I know who don't drive are the same way.  I'm assuming when you are used to having to find alternate transporatation, you get pretty good at it....much better than someone who is used to driving themselves and suddenly find themselves without a car.

Yes, the person without transportation has the responsibility to find it.  Obviously.  It just blows my mind that "asking a friend for a favor" alternative is not one of them.  Maybe it's the type of friends I have (ones that don't regularly look for ways to take advantage of others), but I really don't get all uptight about someone asking if they can have a ride to one of my parites...as long as they tell me about the issue as soon as it's an issue (not at the last minute) and don't pout if I say "sorry, I have too much to do and don't have time" then I see no reason to care so much.

I can only think of two times that someone asked me for a ride.   One time I couldn't do it and after they asked someone else who also couldn't do it, ended up not coming.  The other time, DH went and picked them up while I was cooking and another friend generously offered to drive them home so we wouldn't have to (without us asking).  Neither time was a big deal to anyone.  I mean I get that sometimes doing someone a favor is not possible or is a huge inconvenience, but I think attempting to make some black/white rule about what you are and aren't allowed to ask someone to do is too much.  It's not a black/white issue.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: lowspark on January 07, 2014, 01:30:01 PM
For me what's black and white is the timing of the request. When the invitation is issued or anyway, at minimum, several days in advance? OK. At least at that point, there's time to try to figure something out. An hour before the party starts? Nope.

To be honest, there's no way I'd be giving a ride to anyone for a party at my house. There's just way too much to be done in preparation for me to abandon it long enough to drive to and from someone's house. The best I can offer would be to suggest the names of other people who are coming and might be able to help out.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: bah12 on January 07, 2014, 01:35:47 PM
For me what's black and white is the timing of the request. When the invitation is issued or anyway, at minimum, several days in advance? OK. At least at that point, there's time to try to figure something out. An hour before the party starts? Nope.

To be honest, there's no way I'd be giving a ride to anyone for a party at my house. There's just way too much to be done in preparation for me to abandon it long enough to drive to and from someone's house. The best I can offer would be to suggest the names of other people who are coming and might be able to help out.

Well, yes...I agree that timing does matter.  For me, I find that reasonable people will bring up issues when they occur.  So, at the time of the RSVP is what I think would be most reasonable.  Or, as soon as the transportation becomes an issue.  You just found out your car isn't getting out of the shop when you thought two days before the party...let me know then. You break down on the way...yes, call me! 

And yeah, if you can't/aren't willing to give the ride, then say "no".  Just because it may not be rude to ask, it still doesn't obligate anyone else to give.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Emmy on January 07, 2014, 04:20:53 PM
I think this to be a rude request, especially at the last minute.  I may consider it if they don't live too far away and I can pick them up early enough to help set up for the party and will stay until everyone leaves.  Hosting is plenty of work and often things need to be done at the last minute.  In most circumstances, I think guests can find another way to the party or decline if they feel it will be too much work.

A friend and I were going to meet a group of friends at a restaurant for a New Year party several years ago.  The restaurant was a little over an hour drive away.  We got a call from another friend.  He wanted us to pick him up for the party.  Picking him up would have been at least a half hour out of the way.  This friend had a car, but just didn't want to drive to the party.  We suggested he come to friend's house and we could all ride to the party together.  Nope, he wanted us to come and pick him up.  We told him we wouldn't do that.  I was pretty put off that he expected us to give him door to door service out of our way so he didn't have to do any driving.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: bah12 on January 07, 2014, 05:50:29 PM
I think this to be a rude request, especially at the last minute.  I may consider it if they don't live too far away and I can pick them up early enough to help set up for the party and will stay until everyone leaves.  Hosting is plenty of work and often things need to be done at the last minute.  In most circumstances, I think guests can find another way to the party or decline if they feel it will be too much work.

A friend and I were going to meet a group of friends at a restaurant for a New Year party several years ago.  The restaurant was a little over an hour drive away.  We got a call from another friend.  He wanted us to pick him up for the party.  Picking him up would have been at least a half hour out of the way.  This friend had a car, but just didn't want to drive to the party.  We suggested he come to friend's house and we could all ride to the party together.  Nope, he wanted us to come and pick him up.  We told him we wouldn't do that.  I was pretty put off that he expected us to give him door to door service out of our way so he didn't have to do any driving.

I think my beef is that basically rude/entitled people ruin it for everyone else.  My friends simply don't do the things that are described here (I've run into those people but they aren't my friends).  And I often wonder "who are these people" that you all keep talking about?   What you describe is entitled at best.  What I describe, which is someone letting me know as soon as they have a transportation issue that they have a transportation issue.  I host a lot of parties and it honestly wouldn't phase me for a friend with a legitimate problem to make a request.  If I can help, I will and if I can't, I won't.  It doesn't offend me for someone to make a request that I can't accommodate.  I have no problem saying "sorry, but I can't." Or saying "Yes, but I'll need to pick you up two hours early and you are on set up/clean up duty."  I just don't think that because there are certain circumstances that exist that make the request rude, that all similar requests are therefore rude...just like how I think even if something is considered universally rude, there is always an exception of a circumstance out there that will make it ok.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: mrs_deb on January 09, 2014, 09:51:39 AM
I don't mind being asked to give someone a ride, if it's pretty much on my way, and I'm going anyway, but as the host?  How does that make sense?  Let's see...a lot of people are coming to my house, I have to get ready for them all to arrive, and yet you want me to stop what I'm doing, put on my coat and shoes, leave my house, get in the car, go get you, and come BACK to my house? 

I do have a friend who doesn't drive after a certain time of day due to medication issues, and I don't mind giving her a ride 99% of the time, but not to parties or meetings at MY house!
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Arila on January 13, 2014, 10:47:16 AM
I had a bit of a brainwave about this topic over the weekend. We had committed to attending a regular game day at a friend's house on Saturday afternoon. I try to RSVP "early" (they send out the invite/reminder a week in advance), because I know it's hard for them to get enough responses to know how much to have for dinner.

As Saturday afternoon approached, I didn't want to go anymore. Not that I had a problem with the people or entertainment, I just felt inclined to do something else. I got to thinking that "back in the day" there wasn't all that much to do for fun at home. Certainly, nothing to keep occupied without expending effort (piano or gardening etc - enjoyable, but take effort). Now there are so many things to do to keep "entertained" that I no longer need to go outside the home to keep occupied. Watching Netflix is almost limitless, and I don't even have to get dressed! If I want to socialize, I can get on facebook, etc.

I got started thinking that this might be related to the subtle shift that Toots was talking about. Used to be that hosting was called "entertaining" and the socializing and everything else WAS the entertainment. Now there are more options. And, I think a lot of the etiquette rules may have come about when there was only one person working, so there wasn't quite so much in the way of chores packed into the few precious hours of the weekends.

So, there's my thoughts. Less time, and more options/requirements on how to spend it  means it's harder to get a good sized group of people to all do something together somewhere.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: TootsNYC on January 13, 2014, 03:10:43 PM
Quote
And, I think a lot of the etiquette rules may have come about when there was only one person working, so there wasn't quite so much in the way of chores packed into the few precious hours of the weekends.

I don't think so.

I don't think that how many people were working, etc., etc., has the tiniest thing to do with the role of host and guest, or etiquette rules. People were just as busy--even rich ladies did mending, etc.

I believe that it is/b]true that "visiting" and "socializing" were probably high up on the list of fun things, simply because there wasn't much else to do.
     And so now, in the electronic age, people don't value it as much as they did, now that they can stay home and have Socializing Lite on Facebook, or play XBox.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Vall on January 15, 2014, 08:52:35 AM
I understand what you mean about thanking guests for coming to my party.  I've never really thought about it before but now that I have, it does seem strange to me.  I'm going to have problems saying that phrase again when hosting.  The words just don't sit well with me now.

Other phrases like, "It was great seeing you", "I'm glad you were able to make it", and "I'm so happy that you came" (or something similar) seem like better choices to me.

~~off to ponder the subject more~~
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Iris on January 15, 2014, 03:43:41 PM
I say "thanks for coming" and it doesn't bother me. Without guests my party would be pretty lame :). In other words I've always subscribed to the view that being a guest isn't all sitting back and accepting hospitality - you make the effort to be pleasant, to include any 'lonely' looking people without the host having to foist them onto you, to ignore any boorish people and generally help the evening go smoothly.

An example - At our last party a friend of ours traveled over an hour to get there and later let us know that it was his first time out in a group for several weeks because he had witnessed something dreadful and suffered PTSD. He then danced the night away with us and had a great time. I was pleased that he'd made the effort to come and touched that he saw our house as a safe place and appreciative that he came ready to get support from his friends and then allow himself to have a good time, so he got a thank you.

Actually this thread has made me realise that without noticing I give guests different farewells. Those who are excellent guests or make a special effort to come get thanks, others get "it was lovely to see you"and so on. I must be careful that I don't rate guests via their farewell.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: TootsNYC on January 15, 2014, 04:20:51 PM
I must be careful that I don't rate guests via their farewell.

Why not? Those people who were picky guests, or critical, or not very involved in helping you "create" the party (I agree w/ you, that's their 'job'), deserve the accurate feedback of a "not quite as effusive or detailed as hers" farewell.
Title: Re: s/o "your child isn't invited"--guests who ask you to pick them up
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 15, 2014, 05:24:05 PM
I don't have an issue with thanking a guest for their attendance. But as I've thought about it, I realized it is not a phrase I use often as a host. Our goodbyes tend to be more along the lines of:

Guest: Thank you so much for having us. It was a great night.
Host: Oh, you are so welcome. I'm glad you were able to join us.


But if they joined to celebrate a special event for a family member, I probably would thank them for coming. Last year my DD graduated, I thanked the family members who came to the graduation ceremony and the party afterwards. Similarly brides and grooms traditionally thank guest for coming to their wedding.

And like Iris, if someone really took a lot of effort to join an event, I'd probably thank them for making the effort.