Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: misha412 on January 05, 2014, 09:15:58 PM

Title: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 05, 2014, 09:15:58 PM
I didn't want to cut in on the other thread for a related question.

I had a conflict with a relative about a certain TV channel. When I was hosted at her home (long weekend, staying in her guest room), she and her immediate family turned on a certain TV channel that I loathe. I did not say a word and just ignored what was on the TV. I read a book, talked with another relative, etc.

When I hosted her in my home (two day visit, her staying in my guest room), we settled down after dinner to watch some TV. She requested that I turn the TV to the channel that I loathe. I said that no that would not be possible.

She wanted to know why. I said "I will not watch that channel. Is there something else you want to watch?"

She got upset because wanted to watch that channel, and no other. She kept pushing me for a "better" reason. I repeated that I will not watch that channel. Then I asked if she wanted to watch a movie or play a game. She kept pushing and I kept refusing. In the end, we ended up watching a DVD and then went to bed. She left the next day on schedule, but with a decidedly cool air about her.

(The TV in question is in the great room and the only one she had access to. The only other TV in the house is in my office and I generally do not go into my office except when I am working. The office TV is small and the only seating in the room is two office chairs, not really comfortable for casual TV viewing. I didn't want her in my office as I keep sensitive client data in there.)

Was I rude for refusing to put on her requested channel?

Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 05, 2014, 09:20:38 PM
No. She was rude to keep pushing it.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Delete My Account on January 05, 2014, 09:21:49 PM
Nope. It's your house and you're paying the cable bill, so you get to choose what channel you're watching. You graciously held your tongue and watched what she wanted when you were in her home; she should have extended the same courtesy to you.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 05, 2014, 09:29:40 PM
It's more than the bill.

It's that in your own house, you get to choose the mood. And what the TV shows is often a huge factor in setting the mood (especially if you mean the channel I think you mean).

Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: gollymolly2 on January 05, 2014, 09:31:58 PM
I feel like the answer for both threads is the same. Absent unusual circumstances, hosts and guests should watch something they can both agree on. I think it's usually bad hosting to play something that your guests don't like, and vice versa. So I think you were fine. And I think the way to handle this situation is to say "Im not a big fan of this, could we watch something else? Like maybe [alternate suggestion]"
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: EllenS on January 05, 2014, 09:40:57 PM
I would probably try to dance about a bit and diffuse the appearance of outright conflict, by saying something like "oh, I usually go to bed at [time], you can watch it all you want after that."

I mean, outside of pay channels or ones that you have blocked, I don't think it's fair to try to ban something your guest wants to do if you don't have to watch it yourself.

But, I agree with PP's that guest was being rude to keep pushing, and it seems rather childish for her to make such a snit about it.

PS - I don't have regular TV, but can't you block any channel you want with parental controls? Then if it ever came up again, you just "don't get" that channel.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 05, 2014, 09:43:34 PM
The one exception to gollymolly2's sensible idea:
Hosts get to choose what *type* of thing will happen when they are hosting.

So, if the host doesn't want the TV on, no TV. Sorry, guests. If the host wants to play a game, a good guest finds one that's fun.

The activity is just too important in terms of setting the atmosphere.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Delete My Account on January 05, 2014, 09:46:57 PM
The one exception to gollymolly2's sensible idea:
Hosts get to choose what *type* of thing will happen when they are hosting.

So, if the host doesn't want the TV on, no TV. Sorry, guests. If the host wants to play a game, a good guest finds one that's fun.

The activity is just too important in terms of setting the atmosphere.

Agreed. Being a gracious host has its limits, so I don't see how watching a channel that one LOATHES falls into that category. Particularly when misha412 put up with it when she was being hosted in her guest's home.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: gollymolly2 on January 05, 2014, 09:47:13 PM
The one exception to gollymolly2's sensible idea:
Hosts get to choose what *type* of thing will happen when they are hosting.

So, if the host doesn't want the TV on, no TV. Sorry, guests. If the host wants to play a game, a good guest finds one that's fun.

The activity is just too important in terms of setting the atmosphere.

Oh, I totally agree. My starting assumption was that both parties wanted to watch tv, there's just a disagreement as to what to watch.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 05, 2014, 11:37:53 PM
Thanks for the input everyone.

I know that I could have worded my refusal in a gentler manner, but on this subject I am quite adament. In my own home, said channel is not going to be on.

I saw the suggestion of setting up parental controls and saying the channel is not available. That doesn't work for me. I shouldn't have to lie to a guest.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Margo on January 06, 2014, 05:09:30 AM
I think you were fine.

(I also don't think it would be a lie to say that the channel isn't available. It's true - it's *not* available in your home, because you will not have it on! - whether the lack of availablity is because you don't subscribe, because you've used parental controls to block it, or because you will not have it on, the bottom line is that it is not an option ;-)

also agree that your relative was rude to push after you had said no.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: laceandbits on January 06, 2014, 05:58:02 AM
I seem to be a lone voice on this one, so maybe it's a cultural thing.  Are any of the other replies from the UK?

Deep breath, I think both OP and her relative were wrong when they were acting as host; surely a gracious host would allow the guest to choose what they watched, or at the very least put it to them in the terms of "I'd really like to watch this episode of my serial between 8 and 9, but if there's anything you'd like to see at any other time, or if you'd prefer to have the radio, or music or nothing at all, please say. 

However, having been put in that position as the guest first I can see why OP stuck to her guns when the tables were turned.  The relative is pretty clueless that she thinks it OK to watch TV and ignore her guest, but when as a guest she spoke up to say can we watch ....., perhaps that indicates she thought that OP would have done the same if she'd minded one way or the other. 

Now, that would have been interesting.  If OP as guest had said, could we watch something else as I really hate this channel, this presenter,  this programme and the relative had said sorry, it's my television, my choice.  Then OP would have been really justified to take her stance, but would relative have been thick skinned enough to ask.

Don't really understand though why you'd have a visitor and then want to watch TV or a DVD.  For example, if there's an important episode of a serial, unless you both want to watch it, can't you record it or watch it later via the computer?   Nearly all our programmes are available for a week.  The only time I can think that the television goes on when I'm visiting or hosting is occasionally to watch the news, we're too busy talking and crafting and catching up the rest of the time.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: camlan on January 06, 2014, 06:03:32 AM
Thanks for the input everyone.

I know that I could have worded my refusal in a gentler manner, but on this subject I am quite adament. In my own home, said channel is not going to be on.

I saw the suggestion of setting up parental controls and saying the channel is not available. That doesn't work for me. I shouldn't have to lie to a guest.

You have every right to control the tv in your own home.

However, about the bolded. Even if you are adamant about not watching that channel, you *might* have gotten a better reaction from your guest if you had started with a more gentle refusal. If you started with something along the lines of "No, absolutely not. That channel is never, ever watched in this house and it never will be!" you might have made your relative feel bad/awkward/embarrassed about asking for that channel, and as a result, to make themselves feel better about it, they pushed more than they otherwise would have. (This is all conjecture--it is also possible your relative would have pushed no matter what you said.) But you might have put her on the defensive with your stance, and she reacted because of that.

If you start with a less adamant tone, you might get better results. "Oh, I'm not interested in that [which is true]. How about we watch X or Y instead, or I have a new DVD I haven't seen yet?" This does not push your guest's buttons, doesn't make her feel as if her choices are being attacked, and gives her choices as to what to watch.

Then, if she continues to push, you gradually get firmer and firmer in your response. But you build up to the "Never in this house!" reply, instead of starting with it. This way, the guest is being made aware, bit by bit, that they are approaching a line that you have, instead of being hit in the face with that line the first time they mention the prohibited channel. As they become aware of the line, a good guest will back down.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: iridaceae on January 06, 2014, 06:13:42 AM
For example, if there's an important episode of a serial, unless you both want to watch it, can't you record it or watch it later via the computer?   Nearly all our programmes are available for a week.

Some people have neither recording devices nor Internet. I have neither.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Margo on January 06, 2014, 07:07:10 AM
I seem to be a lone voice on this one, so maybe it's a cultural thing.  Are any of the other replies from the UK?

Deep breath, I think both OP and her relative were wrong when they were acting as host; surely a gracious host would allow the guest to choose what they watched, or at the very least put it to them in the terms of "I'd really like to watch this episode of my serial between 8 and 9, but if there's anything you'd like to see at any other time, or if you'd prefer to have the radio, or music or nothing at all, please say. 
 

I'm in the UK.

I think   it is gracious to give a guest the option to say no. I don't think it is incumbent on a host to let a guest dictate what is watched if their preference is something the host dislikes.

I personally turn the TV off if I have  a visitor, and as a guest would never assume that I would get to watch TV, or to pick what is on, in someone else's home. I think that if the TV is actually on already, and the programme being watched comes to an end, it is OK for a guest to ask, once, whether it would be possible to change to a different channel, if there is something they particularly wish to see.

And I think that even if you have politely asked your guest if there is something hey'd like to watch, I is still OK to say no if they pick something you find offensive or upsetting (as opposed to merely boring) 


Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Another Sarah on January 06, 2014, 07:29:19 AM
I seem to be a lone voice on this one, so maybe it's a cultural thing.  Are any of the other replies from the UK?

Deep breath, I think both OP and her relative were wrong when they were acting as host; surely a gracious host would allow the guest to choose what they watched, or at the very least put it to them in the terms of "I'd really like to watch this episode of my serial between 8 and 9, but if there's anything you'd like to see at any other time, or if you'd prefer to have the radio, or music or nothing at all, please say. 

However, having been put in that position as the guest first I can see why OP stuck to her guns when the tables were turned.  The relative is pretty clueless that she thinks it OK to watch TV and ignore her guest, but when as a guest she spoke up to say can we watch ....., perhaps that indicates she thought that OP would have done the same if she'd minded one way or the other. 

Now, that would have been interesting.  If OP as guest had said, could we watch something else as I really hate this channel, this presenter,  this programme and the relative had said sorry, it's my television, my choice.  Then OP would have been really justified to take her stance, but would relative have been thick skinned enough to ask.

Don't really understand though why you'd have a visitor and then want to watch TV or a DVD.  For example, if there's an important episode of a serial, unless you both want to watch it, can't you record it or watch it later via the computer?   Nearly all our programmes are available for a week.  The only time I can think that the television goes on when I'm visiting or hosting is occasionally to watch the news, we're too busy talking and crafting and catching up the rest of the time.

I'm in the UK, and I was brought up to behave that the host chooses the activity and the guest gets to choose how it's carried out. If the activity was a board game, the guest picks the game. If the activity is TV, the guest picks the programme. However that cames with the caveat that both guest and host try to pick something that is mutually enjoyable - stating an opinion is not rude and "I don't like that programme, could we pick another?" is a perfectly acceptable thing to say as long as it is also used within reason.

 I think in OP's situation, her relative was incredibly rude by not paying attention to her guest and picking up the cues (although OP could have said something) to change the activity or ask OP what she would like to watch.

But OP, yes, I do think it was rude to flat-out refuse to watch the channel. You didn't appear to explain why at any point, which might have helped (I know we don't JADE, but there are limits). A compromise of "I really dislike it, but if you have a specific thing you really want to watch, you watch that and I'll do something else for an hour" would have been a lot more polite.
It might have actually made her more amenable to changing it for the pleasure of your company rather than sparking tension the way your response did, and I fail to see why - if the only reason you didn't send her to watch the office TV was that there was sensitive data in there - you didn't do the reverse and go watch something else in there yourself.

It's tricky, because you were coming at it from the situation of just having been stuck with not enjoying the activity, and the temptation is to play turn-and-turn-about, so I understand why you didn't want to accede, but it seems you didn't express a preference when you were in her home so she wasn't called upon to change the channel. That's not to say she shouldn't have noticed by herself, but you had an opportunity to be a better host than she was and you didn't take it.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: staceym on January 06, 2014, 07:41:23 AM
I agree that you were not rude for refusing to watch that channel.

But, if I were close enough to someone - close enough that we visit and stay over at each other's houses - and they told me that they will not watch a channel I would not just say "okay", my first response would be to ask why and yes I would ask again to find out the reason you wouldn't watch.  Not because I'm being childish; but I won't watch is not an answer; I would be really interested to find out why.  Unless of course it was the Playboy channel or some such and then I would know the reason without asking.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: siamesecat2965 on January 06, 2014, 08:20:48 AM
I have the same situation with a relative, and I suspect its the same channel too! she loves it, watches it all the time in HER home, and when she does, and I'm there, I simply read, play on my phone or whatnot. She knows I loathe the channel, so she's fine with me not paying any attention to it in her home.

When she comes to visit me, she will turn on the tv, to that channel, if we are not sitting and watching tv. Like in the morning when I get up, and am making coffee, getting dressed etc. but when she goes to take her shower, I turn it to what I want to watch. I personally would prefer to not have the tv on at all, but she's one who has to have it on, so I just suck it up, as she is my guest.

But we both have an understanding that she likes this channel, and I don't, and can compromise.

In the OP's case, I think she was fine to refuse to have it on, and the guest was rude to keep pushing the issue.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: metallicafan on January 06, 2014, 08:41:14 AM
I am curious to know what type of show it was that the person wanted to watch.   Was it a religious channel, or about politics? 
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 06, 2014, 09:02:58 AM
There are some channels that I get on my TV because of the particular cable packages I purchase that I absolutely won't watch, even if a guest requests them.

I don't think the OP was rude at all; her guest was rude to push the issue when the OP indicated that she wouldn't watch that channel.  Guest was also rude, or at the very least, oblivious, when acting as host in her own home.  A good host should notice that a guest is uncomfortable watching a particular program and changed the channel.

If someone has a show that they absolutely must watch every week then they need to figure out how to watch it without affecting anyone else.  Either they record it or watch it later on the internet.  If they don't have either of those options, then they should plan to watch it at home and only have guests who also wish to watch the program.

And I say this as a rabid TV watcher.  I don't insist on watching anything at anyone else's home or even in my own home, if I have a guest.  If there is a show I'd like to catch, I'll ask a guest if they'd like to see it.  If they don't, we watch/do something else.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: poundcake on January 06, 2014, 09:06:47 AM
If it is the channel most of us think it is, I'd wager that watching it would also prompt uncomfortable comments or potential arguments.

I would have an alternative. "Oh, instead of watching television, I thought we'd play a couple hands of gin rummy while listening to Air Supply's greatest hits! Doesn't that sound fun?"
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Twik on January 06, 2014, 09:15:34 AM
I think a basic rule about who controls the television should be "The host controls the television (or lack thereof), except when the host's choice is actively distressing to the guest".

To use the driving example, one time I was driving with a friend, and developed a migraine. After an hour of listening to Alanis Morissette non-stop, I was forced to beg him for mercy, and he graciously switched to something that didn't make me want to jump out of the car into traffic.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 06, 2014, 09:40:22 AM
Thanks for the input everyone.

I know that I could have worded my refusal in a gentler manner, but on this subject I am quite adament. In my own home, said channel is not going to be on.

I saw the suggestion of setting up parental controls and saying the channel is not available. That doesn't work for me. I shouldn't have to lie to a guest.

Was she pushing because she wanted to understand your reasons for disliking the channel?

If I were with say a sister and said "Let's watch Sponge Bob" and she said "No, we don't watch Nickelodeon in our home." I'd ask why. And if she said "sorry, it's not possible we don't watch Nickelodeon" I'd ask again why don't you watch Nickelodeon. It wouldn't be so I could argue with you about it but curiosity on why it was banned.

Example:
I do not shop at largest US retailer ever. If someone says something like "Oh, you can get a great deal on that at largest US retailer" I'll respond "I don't shop there." I don't give my reasons unless someone asks. But if they ask, I share my reasons I don't keep repeating "I just don't". I guess I might if for some reason I don't want to share my reasons with this particular individual, but I've never ran across that before. But I know that the vast majority of the US shops at this retailer and my choosing not too is out of the norm and it generates curiosity. (Well, 15 years ago it generated a lot more curiosity but these days I think there are a lot more people who don't.)
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 06, 2014, 09:50:07 AM
OP here. Thank you all for your replies. This particular situation happened about 9-10 years ago.

A bit of B/G:

The relative in question is my aunt. She and my mother (her sister) were never close, mainly due to age difference (15 years apart). Becuase of their lack of closeness when I was growing up, my relationship with her is not close. The visits in question were done more for family obligation reasons, than personal enjoyment.  /BG 

I am in the U.S. The TV channel in question is a major news channel that has a very distinct point of view (POV). It is a POV that my aunt and members of my extended family embrace. It is not my POV.

The TV channel is only part of a larger situation involving this family. When I am in their homes, I do not participate in their discussions revolving around topics related to their POV. These discussions happen almost every time I am in their presence and it can go on for quite some time. Any opposing POV to theirs is met with derision and somtimes name calling (Yeah you can't choose your FOO). I am not a person who wants to get into heated POV arguments in what is supposed to be a visit with family.

I think the reason I was so adament with this relative over the TV request was because I had been made so uncomfortable in her home quite a number of times with the POV TV channel and discussions. Yeah, it is a bit of tit for tat, but it is my home and I don't think a family visit should devolve into a POV argument.

All of this accumulated into becoming a major reason why I do not visit them any more. The said relatives live about a 3-hr drive from my home and I have not seen them in over 5 years.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: sunnygirl on January 06, 2014, 09:52:19 AM
(UK here) - I think the OP was fine in what she did. If I was in that situation with a friend who was reasonable, I probably would explain my issue with the channel. But there are people who are not reasonable and with whom it's better not to engage in that kind of discussion.

Incidentally my only TV is in my bedroom, meaning watching is something I do only with pretty good friends, and leaving it on in the background isn't an option.

Some people have neither recording devices nor Internet. I have neither.
Just out of curiosity how are you able to post here if you don't have Internet access - do you go to the library or an Internet cafe?
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: MariaE on January 06, 2014, 10:47:46 AM
Some people have neither recording devices nor Internet. I have neither.
Just out of curiosity how are you able to post here if you don't have Internet access - do you go to the library or an Internet cafe?
Internet at work/school would be my guess.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: laughtermed on January 06, 2014, 07:33:19 PM
MY MIL favors this one political channel and plays it during most of the day. When we visit, DH jumped on her about her choice of news and politics. I got after him and said all he had to do was ask to change the channel and that his mom would have been with that.  I jumped in and said I'd rather talk and catch up and we could enjoy it more without the TV on. That saved the day.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: rose red on January 06, 2014, 07:54:22 PM
If my guest want to watch a program, then I would suck it up and do something else for the hour or two.  But if they want that channel on for two full days of their visit, then no dice.  I have over 50 channels and they can pick one we can both enjoy.  Your relative was rude to keep pushing.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: iridaceae on January 06, 2014, 11:40:10 PM
Some people have neither recording devices nor Internet. I have neither.
Just out of curiosity how are you able to post here if you don't have Internet access - do you go to the library or an Internet cafe?
Internet at work/school would be my guess.

Yep; mostly at work. Sometimes the laundromat or a restaurant with WiFi.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: cb140 on January 07, 2014, 03:53:46 AM
From the UK too. The difficulty I have is that I generally would not ever be having the TV on at all when guests were present,so it wouldn't really arise. I *think* if I had a guest and they insisted on watching a programme I really didn't want to see I would not say no, because that might seem like being a bad hostess, but I would probably leave the room while they watched it if it was something I felt very strongly against (eg I could not watch a programme about animal cruelty, or a film or tv show that was very violent). It would definitely make me think less of them, and I doubt I would ever invite them again.

But there may be some cultural differences because first of all I don't really get the concept of an entire channel being off limits (wouldn't it depend on the programme, not the channel?) and secondly, just wouldn't really happen that the tv would be on at all when we have guests (and similar in other peoples houses that I have been to). Obviously an exception if the gathering is for the purpose of watching tv,like a Doctor Who marathon or Wimbledon finals or something. Also,we do have TiVo at home so that may make a difference. If my favourite programme was on when I had guests, it would be recording anyway - no dilemma.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: siamesecat2965 on January 07, 2014, 07:40:40 AM


But there may be some cultural differences because first of all I don't really get the concept of an entire channel being off limits (wouldn't it depend on the programme, not the channel?) and secondly, just wouldn't really happen that the tv would be on at all when we have guests (and similar in other peoples houses that I have been to). Obviously an exception if the gathering is for the purpose of watching tv,like a Doctor Who marathon or Wimbledon finals or something. Also,we do have TiVo at home so that may make a difference. If my favourite programme was on when I had guests, it would be recording anyway - no dilemma.

In some cases yes, it will depend on what is specifically on, but if its the channel I think the OP is talking about, no matter WHAT program is on, its all skewed to one POV. Which the OP doesn't care for. Therefore she didn't want her tv tuned to that particular channel.  So no matter what time of day, or what specific program is on, I can see how someone (including myself) might not want that particular channel on, at all.

Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Two Ravens on January 07, 2014, 08:11:21 AM
From the UK too. The difficulty I have is that I generally would not ever be having the TV on at all when guests were present,so it wouldn't really arise. I *think* if I had a guest and they insisted on watching a programme I really didn't want to see I would not say no, because that might seem like being a bad hostess, but I would probably leave the room while they watched it if it was something I felt very strongly against (eg I could not watch a programme about animal cruelty, or a film or tv show that was very violent). It would definitely make me think less of them, and I doubt I would ever invite them again.

But there may be some cultural differences because first of all I don't really get the concept of an entire channel being off limits (wouldn't it depend on the programme, not the channel?) and secondly, just wouldn't really happen that the tv would be on at all when we have guests (and similar in other peoples houses that I have been to). Obviously an exception if the gathering is for the purpose of watching tv,like a Doctor Who marathon or Wimbledon finals or something. Also,we do have TiVo at home so that may make a difference. If my favourite programme was on when I had guests, it would be recording anyway - no dilemma.

The channel in question (I believe) is a 24-hour news channel, that features (mostly) one-sided political commentary.

I know several people who leave it on all day long. I was recently getting my car serviced and it was the channel that was on in the waiting room. I was really tempted to cover my ears. (Lesson learned; next time, bring ipod.)
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: esposita on January 07, 2014, 09:05:56 AM
As a host, you have every right to decide what will be displayed on your television. Absolutely.

But you have to realize that she probably feels the same way you do about the news channels that you may prefer; that they are one-sided, and her opinion is just as valid. You can be a gracious host, and teach her by example, by not playing the stations she dislikes while she visits you, and telling her "I will not watch that channel in my home, but I respect that you would rather not watch the others, so how about we find something more neutral?"
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: EllenS on January 07, 2014, 10:55:43 AM
I think the problem may have arisen precisely because of the nature of the channel (if it is one of the two I am thinking of). They are exclusively devoted to politics and the political ramifications of news stories, and yes they both have strong, opposite POV's that are polarizing. I don't know of many people who are neutral toward them(except cynics like me who assume ALL news is warped).

Aunt probably took the "no Channel X" statement as a personal criticism of her political beliefs.  I doubt it would have been such an issue if the program had been sports or entertainment.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: artk2002 on January 07, 2014, 11:13:02 AM
But OP, yes, I do think it was rude to flat-out refuse to watch the channel. You didn't appear to explain why at any point, which might have helped (I know we don't JADE, but there are limits). A compromise of "I really dislike it, but if you have a specific thing you really want to watch, you watch that and I'll do something else for an hour" would have been a lot more polite.
It might have actually made her more amenable to changing it for the pleasure of your company rather than sparking tension the way your response did, and I fail to see why - if the only reason you didn't send her to watch the office TV was that there was sensitive data in there - you didn't do the reverse and go watch something else in there yourself.


Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

As a host, you have every right to decide what will be displayed on your television. Absolutely.

But you have to realize that she probably feels the same way you do about the news channels that you may prefer; that they are one-sided, and her opinion is just as valid. You can be a gracious host, and teach her by example, by not playing the stations she dislikes while she visits you, and telling her "I will not watch that channel in my home, but I respect that you would rather not watch the others, so how about we find something more neutral?"

Where in the OP does it say that she was going to watch some channel that the guest didn't want to watch? You're criticizing the OP for doing something that she didn't (apparently) do. Besides, the OP is gracious enough when she is a guest to put up with the offensive channel, without comment; one would hope that her aunt would return the courtesy.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: esposita on January 07, 2014, 11:37:01 AM
But OP, yes, I do think it was rude to flat-out refuse to watch the channel. You didn't appear to explain why at any point, which might have helped (I know we don't JADE, but there are limits). A compromise of "I really dislike it, but if you have a specific thing you really want to watch, you watch that and I'll do something else for an hour" would have been a lot more polite.
It might have actually made her more amenable to changing it for the pleasure of your company rather than sparking tension the way your response did, and I fail to see why - if the only reason you didn't send her to watch the office TV was that there was sensitive data in there - you didn't do the reverse and go watch something else in there yourself.


Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

As a host, you have every right to decide what will be displayed on your television. Absolutely.

But you have to realize that she probably feels the same way you do about the news channels that you may prefer; that they are one-sided, and her opinion is just as valid. You can be a gracious host, and teach her by example, by not playing the stations she dislikes while she visits you, and telling her "I will not watch that channel in my home, but I respect that you would rather not watch the others, so how about we find something more neutral?"

Where in the OP does it say that she was going to watch some channel that the guest didn't want to watch? You're criticizing the OP for doing something that she didn't (apparently) do. Besides, the OP is gracious enough when she is a guest to put up with the offensive channel, without comment; one would hope that her aunt would return the courtesy.

I wasn't criticising. I was just offering an alternative to "That won't be possible." By explaining that she is respecting her guest's wishes, OP lets her guest know that its more than just a quirk or something.

I see nothing to indicate that Aunt knew that the OP didn't want to watch that channel at the aunt's home. Aunt cannot return a courtesy that she doesn't know was extended. If the OP said something like I suggested, it would have been a gracious way of letting Aunt know that she didn't even want to watch it at Aunt's house. This is especially helpful if asking to change the channel at the aunt's house would have spiralled into name-calling. This way, OP has opened a dialogue with the idea that everyone should be behaving thoughtfully and with respect to others with differing political beliefs.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 07, 2014, 12:42:42 PM
I think the aunt was rude for pushing to watch the channel after she had been told no. The OP says they had settled down after dinner specifically to watch TV; but when the aunt kept pushing for the channel the OP didn't like, the OP offered her alternatives, such as watching a DVD or turning the TV off to play cards. The only other suggestion I might have offered was that aunt could watch her channel for a set amount of time while I went off to do something else--like, "Well, I'll go read in my room for an hour and you can watch TV. Then maybe we could play cards." I'm the sort of person who would actually love that, because I would want to have some time on my own instead of being constantly in the other person's presence. But, it also depends on the logistics of the situation--if there's nowhere the host can go where they won't hear the TV, for example, or if they have no other appropriate activity they could do for an hour.

I think ultimately, a host can control what activity happens in their own home, but a guest can control whether they participate or not. So a host can come down and say, "The TV WILL be turned to this channel/TV show now!" but a guest can say, "Okay, I will go to my room for a while then." I think it would be rude for the host to respond, "No, you MUST sit and watch this with us." If the TV is in the guest's "room" (like they're sleeping on the living room couch) I think the host needs to either NOT insist on that particular use of the TV, or they need to provide the guest with an alternative place to go (like maybe the host's bedroom). The tone of this interaction can also vary greatly: it could be tense and uncomfortable, and be the last visit ever between these two people; or I could also imagine it being handled very graciously. "Oh, I like to watch my show at 9, but I know it's not for everyone, so can I make you comfortable in the other room with some tea and a good light for reading?"
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Mikayla on January 07, 2014, 02:43:28 PM

Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

This is one of my very rare disagreements with you, but I think there's a lot of wiggle room between merely saying "no", and JADE-ing.  Obviously, the aunt was a lot more rude than OP in pushing this, but if I had been the OP, I would have done more than simply refuse without comment. 

Heck, she could have simply said that she finds *all* 24/7 news channels distracting/annoying and she stopped watching them years ago.  It didn't have to be a comment on that particular one.





Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 07, 2014, 03:06:16 PM
As a host, you have every right to decide what will be displayed on your television. Absolutely.

But you have to realize that she probably feels the same way you do about the news channels that you may prefer; that they are one-sided, and her opinion is just as valid. You can be a gracious host, and teach her by example, by not playing the stations she dislikes while she visits you, and telling her "I will not watch that channel in my home, but I respect that you would rather not watch the others, so how about we find something more neutral?"

My aunt would not have taken the above statement as a diplomatic way of saying no. She would have taken it as an opening to begin pushing for why I don't agree with her.

I know my aunt's opinion on the news channels I watch. She has never said it directly to me against my selection, but has made plenty of less-than-nice comments on "people who watch X."

I choose not to have news channels of any sort on when I am hosting anyone. It can cause too much tension and division.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 07, 2014, 03:10:14 PM
I think the problem may have arisen precisely because of the nature of the channel (if it is one of the two I am thinking of). They are exclusively devoted to politics and the political ramifications of news stories, and yes they both have strong, opposite POV's that are polarizing. I don't know of many people who are neutral toward them(except cynics like me who assume ALL news is warped).

Aunt probably took the "no Channel X" statement as a personal criticism of her political beliefs.  I doubt it would have been such an issue if the program had been sports or entertainment.

You are correct. If it had been a sports or entertainment channel, it would have been zero issue for me or for her.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: misha412 on January 07, 2014, 03:18:34 PM

Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

This is one of my very rare disagreements with you, but I think there's a lot of wiggle room between merely saying "no", and JADE-ing.  Obviously, the aunt was a lot more rude than OP in pushing this, but if I had been the OP, I would have done more than simply refuse without comment. 

Heck, she could have simply said that she finds *all* 24/7 news channels distracting/annoying and she stopped watching them years ago.  It didn't have to be a comment on that particular one.

As I said to the suggestion of putting said channel on parental control and claiming I couldn't get it, saying something as suggested above would not have been the truth at the time of this incident. That would not work for me.

I feel that I should not have to lie or JADE in this situation.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Mikayla on January 07, 2014, 04:17:03 PM

Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

This is one of my very rare disagreements with you, but I think there's a lot of wiggle room between merely saying "no", and JADE-ing.  Obviously, the aunt was a lot more rude than OP in pushing this, but if I had been the OP, I would have done more than simply refuse without comment. 

Heck, she could have simply said that she finds *all* 24/7 news channels distracting/annoying and she stopped watching them years ago.  It didn't have to be a comment on that particular one.

As I said to the suggestion of putting said channel on parental control and claiming I couldn't get it, saying something as suggested above would not have been the truth at the time of this incident. That would not work for me.

I feel that I should not have to lie or JADE in this situation.

But you just said in the post above that you don't put news channels on when people are over.  So use a minor rewording, and then it's not a lie. 

My only point here is I personally would have offered *something* up by way of explanation.  Otherwise, it turns into exactly what happened here -- a tug of war over what to watch. 

You asked in your OP if you were rude, and I do not think you were.  But I would have handled it differently.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: AnnaJ on January 07, 2014, 04:43:45 PM
But you just said in the post above that you don't put news channels on when people are over.  So use a minor rewording, and then it's not a lie. 

My only point here is I personally would have offered *something* up by way of explanation. Otherwise, it turns into exactly what happened here -- a tug of war over what to watch. 

You asked in your OP if you were rude, and I do not think you were.  But I would have handled it differently.

Given the *extremely* well-known views of the station, I don't think an explanation is really necessary.  I also have relatives who are fans of that station, they know my POV, and they absolutely know why I don't like that station, no need for me to explain.  Luckily we tend to joke about our different viewpoints, so we don't have a problem...if they have that station on when I visit, I just stagger around moaning, "A hit, a palatable hit!"  All is good.
 
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 07, 2014, 04:51:09 PM

Knowing what channel it is, I don't find the OP's refusal to watch it or to explain why at all rude. Some of the people who watch that channel are extreme in their outlook and an explanation of why the OP wouldn't watch it would produce the same issues as actually watching it. This was one of those situations where "Don't JADE" was very appropriate. Giving a reason would only turn the situation into a very uncomfortable political debate.

This is one of my very rare disagreements with you, but I think there's a lot of wiggle room between merely saying "no", and JADE-ing.  Obviously, the aunt was a lot more rude than OP in pushing this, but if I had been the OP, I would have done more than simply refuse without comment. 

Heck, she could have simply said that she finds *all* 24/7 news channels distracting/annoying and she stopped watching them years ago.  It didn't have to be a comment on that particular one.

As I said to the suggestion of putting said channel on parental control and claiming I couldn't get it, saying something as suggested above would not have been the truth at the time of this incident. That would not work for me.

I feel that I should not have to lie or JADE in this situation.

It doesn't sound to me like you were rude, which is what you asked. But you said she was cool to you the next day, and this seemed to bother you, and I think people are just suggesting ways your wording or stance might have been softened so that she wasn't cool to you later. It kind of sounds from your description that no matter what you said or did, aside from giving in and letting her watch that channel, she was going to be mad at you and try to start a debate/rant, so maybe there was nothing else that could have been done in that situation except stick to your rights as the host/homeowner, realizing there might be negative consequences later anyway.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 07, 2014, 05:03:32 PM

But OP, yes, I do think it was rude to flat-out refuse to watch the channel. You didn't appear to explain why at any point, which might have helped (I know we don't JADE, but there are limits). A compromise of "I really dislike it, but if you have a specific thing you really want to watch, you watch that and I'll do something else for an hour" would have been a lot more polite.
It might have actually made her more amenable to changing it for the pleasure of your company rather than sparking tension the way your response did, and I fail to see why - if the only reason you didn't send her to watch the office TV was that there was sensitive data in there - you didn't do the reverse and go watch something else in there yourself.


I'm pretty sure I know what channel/program she is talking about, and I think a too-honest explanation of "why" would actually have created a worse fight.

And I think that the guest suspected the true "why," and that's why she was tense about it.

I would think the OP would need a not-quite-thoroughly-true reason, like "I find all-news/news-commentary programming to be really intrusive."

But it also sounds like the OP feels her rejection of that particular programming to be a bit of a "stand I'm taking," and so that sort of "true but not the *real* reason" might feel like lying.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: EllenS on January 07, 2014, 05:41:08 PM

But OP, yes, I do think it was rude to flat-out refuse to watch the channel. You didn't appear to explain why at any point, which might have helped (I know we don't JADE, but there are limits). A compromise of "I really dislike it, but if you have a specific thing you really want to watch, you watch that and I'll do something else for an hour" would have been a lot more polite.
It might have actually made her more amenable to changing it for the pleasure of your company rather than sparking tension the way your response did, and I fail to see why - if the only reason you didn't send her to watch the office TV was that there was sensitive data in there - you didn't do the reverse and go watch something else in there yourself.


I'm pretty sure I know what channel/program she is talking about, and I think a too-honest explanation of "why" would actually have created a worse fight.

And I think that the guest suspected the true "why," and that's why she was tense about it.

I would think the OP would need a not-quite-thoroughly-true reason, like "I find all-news/news-commentary programming to be really intrusive."

But it also sounds like the OP feels her rejection of that particular programming to be a bit of a "stand I'm taking," and so that sort of "true but not the *real* reason" might feel like lying.

I think OP was fine to say "no", but yes I do think there are ways it could have been done to be less confrontational/more gracious.  Perhaps, "Too much news gets on my nerves" or "let's not have politics, it's not very relaxing" or "I don't feel like watching news right now, let's watch that dancing show or that movie about elephants"

And if she insists, you could say "can't we find something we're both into?" without coming right out and saying it is X channel you don't like. 

There are a lot of things you could say that are true, but also deflective.  Maybe you tried some of this and she barreled through it, but it is an option.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 07, 2014, 06:26:21 PM
I agree.

The OP would need to be a bit ready for it; i think when we get fixated on our strong objections, we lose our mental flexibility to see other ways to get the same end result.

Of course, the other person would have to go along with the refusal with good grace, and in my experience, people who keep this channel on as background noise get pretty insistent on it.

Part of it is that *any* constant background noise can come to be something that a person really wants t have around all the time. People who leave the TV on to -any- channel sometimes find themselves wanting the TV on.

But if it's the channel I suspect, there's an "adherence" issue as well.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: blarg314 on January 07, 2014, 06:43:31 PM
I have the same situation with a relative, and I suspect its the same channel too! she loves it, watches it all the time in HER home, and when she does, and I'm there, I simply read, play on my phone or whatnot. She knows I loathe the channel, so she's fine with me not paying any attention to it in her home.

When she comes to visit me, she will turn on the tv, to that channel, if we are not sitting and watching tv. Like in the morning when I get up, and am making coffee, getting dressed etc. but when she goes to take her shower, I turn it to what I want to watch. I personally would prefer to not have the tv on at all, but she's one who has to have it on, so I just suck it up, as she is my guest.


I know a few people like this. When you're at their home, it's their home so they set the rules. But when they visit you, you're the guests and you have to give them what they want.  ::)

Knowing what the channel is, I'm pretty sure that there wasn't a way to explain why you didn't want to watch it without starting a fight worse than what actually happened.  Personally, I can last about 10 minutes  before I start swearing and throwing things at the TV - at someone else's house, I'd cope with earphones and a laptop or iPod, or waiting in another room, but it's not playing in my home, any more than I'd comply with a request to turn on the Playboy channel during lunch.

Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 07, 2014, 06:46:09 PM
Well, there is a way.

"I just don't like to have people on the TV talking at me. I'll happily watch an entertainment show, or even a talk show, but the whole talking-heads thing is not a mood I want in my home."
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: esposita on January 07, 2014, 08:49:42 PM
Since we all seem to know what channel it is, and since its of a political nature, can we please stop with the negative generalized comments about people who watch it/agree with it? As a disclaimer I am not a fan of it myself, but broad statements about a political group or the sources of news they choose are not true to the nature of this forum.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Yvaine on January 07, 2014, 09:33:16 PM
Since we all seem to know what channel it is, and since its of a political nature, can we please stop with the negative generalized comments about people who watch it/agree with it? As a disclaimer I am not a fan of it myself, but broad statements about a political group or the sources of news they choose are not true to the nature of this forum.

I'm not really seeing much of that here?  :-\ To me, most of the comments seem to be saying that people who are heavily into politics tend to like to argue about it, no matter what affiliation they have. And that saying "Channel X is not allowed in this house" can be touchy because the guest may read it as criticism of the whole affiliation or of themselves as people, and so it's a good idea to have a diplomatic way of putting it.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Sharnita on January 07, 2014, 10:08:22 PM
For the sake of hypotheticals, let's say there are a variety of news networks but one leans heavily left and the other heavily right.  As a host I wouldn't turn on either channel for a guest who literally watched it all day long. I would be wary of either so I don't think it is one or the other but the ongoing stream of polarizing rhetoric of either side.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Another Sarah on January 08, 2014, 05:39:12 AM
Ok clearly there's a cultural thing at play here - I wouldn't have a clue that a particular channel has a particular leaning, and it seems there is a ridiculously biased channel I'm just not getting the scope of.

But I do still think OP was rude. I understand why better now, but I do still think it's rude behaviour - just as rude as OP's Aunt's behaviour.

Good etiquette for entertaining a guest in your home involves making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.
I think OP's dismissal of Aunt's request was abrupt and not necessary. I think that makes it rude, and clearly it affected aunt's relationship with OP or aunt would not have been colder to her later on.

OP didn't go into this with her eyes shut - she knew aunt was strongly keen on this channel and that the subject would come up. She decided that she wasn't going to put up with the channel in her own home - fair enough, not a problem, politeness doesn't demand that she does.
But there were other routes for her to take than just sitting and refusing to watch.
She could have chosen to take herself out of the situation the way I originally suggested,  by giving aunt the remote and leaving her to it for a couple of hours.

She could have made light of the refusal by using some of the other suggestions people have made and changed the subject for an amicable agreement on what to watch.

OP might have been taking a stand - good for her and I applaud the sentiment - but that is politicising the discussion just as much as actually standing on a soapbox and denouncing the channel. By doing it, she is opening the door for Aunt to start picking at why the channel is banned - and I think Toots is right, aunt was trying to pick an argument. (Good for OP for not giving in to it btw) If she really wanted to avoid the politics involved, she would steer away from the channel using another reason or she would remove herself from the situation.

OP's stand was using Aunt's time as a guest to make a political/personal point - "I am not of that leaning, I hate that channel and you watched it on-stop when I was at yours".
It wasn't about entertaining aunt, finding a compromise or even standing up for herself. The time to stand up for herself was by asking aunt to change the channel when OP was a guest and seeing what transpired, or when aunt wanted to stay. OP didn't have to have aunt stay, knowing the subject was going to come up.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: EllenS on January 08, 2014, 05:54:00 AM
For the sake of hypotheticals, let's say there are a variety of news networks but one leans heavily left and the other heavily right.  As a host I wouldn't turn on either channel for a guest who literally watched it all day long. I would be wary of either so I don't think it is one or the other but the ongoing stream of polarizing rhetoric of either side.

In fact, there are at least 2 such channels.  I just think one of them is more widespread/popular/well-known and therefore gets more flak about its bias.

Quite true that the content of the channel only matters to the discussion, inasmuch as the aunt took rejection of the channel as personal criticism, along the lines of an ongoing family tension.  Which is why I think it would be a good idea in future or with other relatives, to attribute the "not in my house" to some also-true but indirect reason.  Might not work, but it's worth a try.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: veryfluffy on January 08, 2014, 08:36:17 AM

Good etiquette for entertaining a guest in your home involves making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.
I think OP's dismissal of Aunt's request was abrupt and not necessary. I think that makes it rude, and clearly it affected aunt's relationship with OP or aunt would not have been colder to her later on.

OP didn't go into this with her eyes shut - she knew aunt was strongly keen on this channel and that the subject would come up. She decided that she wasn't going to put up with the channel in her own home - fair enough, not a problem, politeness doesn't demand that she does.
But there were other routes for her to take than just sitting and refusing to watch.
She could have chosen to take herself out of the situation the way I originally suggested,  by giving aunt the remote and leaving her to it for a couple of hours.

I don't think that good etiquette compels someone to have a product or service in their own home, to be made available to guests, which goes against their values and beliefs.

Let's imagine this wasn't political content, but instead, say, the "adult activities" channel. I can't imagine that any host would need to hand over the remote and leave their own sitting room, so that their guest could get a fix of their preferred viewing pleasure.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: siamesecat2965 on January 08, 2014, 09:10:40 AM
I have the same situation with a relative, and I suspect its the same channel too! she loves it, watches it all the time in HER home, and when she does, and I'm there, I simply read, play on my phone or whatnot. She knows I loathe the channel, so she's fine with me not paying any attention to it in her home.

When she comes to visit me, she will turn on the tv, to that channel, if we are not sitting and watching tv. Like in the morning when I get up, and am making coffee, getting dressed etc. but when she goes to take her shower, I turn it to what I want to watch. I personally would prefer to not have the tv on at all, but she's one who has to have it on, so I just suck it up, as she is my guest.


I know a few people like this. When you're at their home, it's their home so they set the rules. But when they visit you, you're the guests and you have to give them what they want.  ::)
 

Yes, this is my relative to a T! I will say she's pretty good if I simply turn the channel, as we both know, and can accept that we have different viewpoints on many things.

What's funny too, is she sort of "takes over" too, which irks me, but again, I've found with her sometimes you can't be subtle, and need to simply tell her, hey, quite it. She'll put her bags and other stuff where its in the way, and I just move it.  My apt is smalll, so not much room. She likes to spread out, but is fine if I move her stuff. She's really just clueless.

And last year, she and her SIL came to spend the weekend with me, and SIL confided in me recently that she was uncomfortable since other relative took over, spread her stuff everywhere, and she felt cramped. I told her do what I do, and just move it. If her suitcase is in the way, I move it. and so on.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Another Sarah on January 08, 2014, 09:11:09 AM

Good etiquette for entertaining a guest in your home involves making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.
I think OP's dismissal of Aunt's request was abrupt and not necessary. I think that makes it rude, and clearly it affected aunt's relationship with OP or aunt would not have been colder to her later on.

OP didn't go into this with her eyes shut - she knew aunt was strongly keen on this channel and that the subject would come up. She decided that she wasn't going to put up with the channel in her own home - fair enough, not a problem, politeness doesn't demand that she does.But there were other routes for her to take than just sitting and refusing to watch.
She could have chosen to take herself out of the situation the way I originally suggested,  by giving aunt the remote and leaving her to it for a couple of hours.

I don't think that good etiquette compels someone to have a product or service in their own home, to be made available to guests, which goes against their values and beliefs.

Let's imagine this wasn't political content, but instead, say, the "adult activities" channel. I can't imagine that any host would need to hand over the remote and leave their own sitting room, so that their guest could get a fix of their preferred viewing pleasure.

I agree, please see the bolded.
What I'm saying is that the way she handled it was rude. She made her aunt uncomfortable with an abrupt and repetitive answer rather than a polite steer, not the refusal to watch the channel.
ETA: I also added this in my post, which I would expect someone to do in the situation that they absolutely would not have that channel in the house

Quote
She could have made light of the refusal by using some of the other suggestions people have made and changed the subject for an amicable agreement on what to watch
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: etiquettenut on January 08, 2014, 11:58:34 AM
Quote
I agree, please see the bolded.
What I'm saying is that the way she handled it was rude. She made her aunt uncomfortable with an abrupt and repetitive answer rather than a polite steer, not the refusal to watch the channel.
ETA: I also added this in my post, which I would expect someone to do in the situation that they absolutely would not have that channel in the house



I disagree with this. The aunt made herself uncomfortable by refusing to accept the answer she was given by her host, pressing for more information than was needed, and being deliberately obtuse as to why the OP would not want to watch that channel. If she was unhappy with the answer she should have stopped asking the question. It is obvious to everyone on this board (and anyone familiar with the channel*) why the OP would not want to watch this channel; forcing her to say it is only fixing for a fight. I'm with those who think the aunt was pressing so she could argue about it.

I don't think she was uncomfortable anyway. I think she was unhappy she didn't get her way.

*I'm not saying that everyone should disagree with it, just that it's obvious that if you don't like a particular channel that leans one way, it's because you lean the other way.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Mikayla on January 08, 2014, 12:20:39 PM
But you just said in the post above that you don't put news channels on when people are over.  So use a minor rewording, and then it's not a lie. 

My only point here is I personally would have offered *something* up by way of explanation. Otherwise, it turns into exactly what happened here -- a tug of war over what to watch. 

You asked in your OP if you were rude, and I do not think you were.  But I would have handled it differently.

Given the *extremely* well-known views of the station, I don't think an explanation is really necessary.  I also have relatives who are fans of that station, they know my POV, and they absolutely know why I don't like that station, no need for me to explain.  Luckily we tend to joke about our different viewpoints, so we don't have a problem...if they have that station on when I visit, I just stagger around moaning, "A hit, a palatable hit!"  All is good.

Actually, I agree with you!  In fact, my sister and BIL put a certain channel on during 9/11 and haven't turned it off since.  And we, too, handle this with humor.  I'll start yelling about brain bleach, or even changing the channel and hiding the remote.

But in OPs case, it doesn't sound like this was an option.  And certainly if someone I didn't know well happened to be in my home and wanted it on, I doubt I'd yell for brain bleach. 

I think Toots came up with another good option to use rather than a flat refusal.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Another Sarah on January 08, 2014, 12:31:12 PM
Quote
I agree, please see the bolded.
What I'm saying is that the way she handled it was rude. She made her aunt uncomfortable with an abrupt and repetitive answer rather than a polite steer, not the refusal to watch the channel.
ETA: I also added this in my post, which I would expect someone to do in the situation that they absolutely would not have that channel in the house

I disagree with this. The aunt made herself uncomfortable by refusing to accept the answer she was given by her host, pressing for more information than was needed, and being deliberately obtuse as to why the OP would not want to watch that channel. If she was unhappy with the answer she should have stopped asking the question. It is obvious to everyone on this board (and anyone familiar with the channel*) why the OP would not want to watch this channel; forcing her to say it is only fixing for a fight. I'm with those who think the aunt was pressing so she could argue about it.

I don't think she was uncomfortable anyway. I think she was unhappy she didn't get her way.

*I'm not saying that everyone should disagree with it, just that it's obvious that if you don't like a particular channel that leans one way, it's because you lean the other way.

please have a look at my post above the one you quoted - I stated there that I also agreed with your point that aunt was fixing for a fight.

My point was that OP was fixing for a fight herself by choosing to make a stand about watching the channel rather than smoothing things over by giving another reason for not doing it. She is perfectly entitled to do so, but I still think it's not polite to speak to someone staying with you the way OP describes.

Aunt's rudeness is obvious, but I think announcing "we will not watch that channel" is prompting someone to ask why. Repeating those same words over and over is not going to defuse the situation, it's treating her aunt like a child with no provocation - sure aunt may be highly politicised and keen to start a debate, but OP set up a situation where aunt was prompted to do so. I don't actually think OP did it on purpose, but yes, her behaviour was rude IMO because making the point about not watching the channel became more important than her aunt's company.

note I am not saying now, nor have I ever, that OP should've watched the channel. I'm saying that the way she approached not watching it was to treat her aunt - whose behaviour she knew and should've anticipated - in a manner that I find rude.

I'm on the verge of repeating myself ad infinitum and I've seen other posters get told off for doing that, so I'll step away from this thread now. :)
edited to fix quotes
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: etiquettenut on January 08, 2014, 12:53:29 PM
Quote
I agree, please see the bolded.
What I'm saying is that the way she handled it was rude. She made her aunt uncomfortable with an abrupt and repetitive answer rather than a polite steer, not the refusal to watch the channel.
ETA: I also added this in my post, which I would expect someone to do in the situation that they absolutely would not have that channel in the house

I disagree with this. The aunt made herself uncomfortable by refusing to accept the answer she was given by her host, pressing for more information than was needed, and being deliberately obtuse as to why the OP would not want to watch that channel. If she was unhappy with the answer she should have stopped asking the question. It is obvious to everyone on this board (and anyone familiar with the channel*) why the OP would not want to watch this channel; forcing her to say it is only fixing for a fight. I'm with those who think the aunt was pressing so she could argue about it.

I don't think she was uncomfortable anyway. I think she was unhappy she didn't get her way.

*I'm not saying that everyone should disagree with it, just that it's obvious that if you don't like a particular channel that leans one way, it's because you lean the other way.

please have a look at my post above the one you quoted - I stated there that I also agreed with your point that aunt was fixing for a fight.

My point was that OP was fixing for a fight herself by choosing to make a stand about watching the channel rather than smoothing things over by giving another reason for not doing it. She is perfectly entitled to do so, but I still think it's not polite to speak to someone staying with you the way OP describes.

Aunt's rudeness is obvious, but I think announcing "we will not watch that channel" is prompting someone to ask why. Repeating those same words over and over is not going to defuse the situation, it's treating her aunt like a child with no provocation - sure aunt may be highly politicised and keen to start a debate, but OP set up a situation where aunt was prompted to do so. I don't actually think OP did it on purpose, but yes, her behaviour was rude IMO because making the point about not watching the channel became more important than her aunt's company.

note I am not saying now, nor have I ever, that OP should've watched the channel. I'm saying that the way she approached not watching it was to treat her aunt - whose behaviour she knew and should've anticipated - in a manner that I find rude.

I'm on the verge of repeating myself ad infinitum and I've seen other posters get told off for doing that, so I'll step away from this thread now. :)
edited to fix quotes

The OP was only forced to take a stand by the aunt, who was refusing the perfectly reasonable response of, "I will not watch that channel in my home." The OP was deliberately trying to avoid language that would be taking a stand and provoke her aunt. The aunt was trying to force her to take a stand by pressing, "why" and being obtuse. The why is obvious. Why should the OP have to make up a lie just to appease the aunt?

Again, this is where we disagree. You believe the situation was of the OP's making because she didn't provide an explanation that was acceptable to the aunt. Conversely, I believe that the situation was of the aunt's making because she WAS provided a reason, it just wasn't good enough for her.

Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Softly Spoken on January 08, 2014, 01:42:50 PM
I think this is a situation similar to the post on the main site, about the wine guzzling guest.

IMHO, the balance of etiquette is: a host offers the guest a choice, and a guest chooses from what a host offers.

When I was little I remember my parents telling me that "Your Friend/Playdate is the guest, so they get to choose." But they were always choosing within the boundaries of what was being offered.

So if a host offers a list of drinks, a guest is rude to ask for a drink that is not on the list. It is the host's choice what to offer.

If a host and guest decide to watch television, the host is responsible for politely setting any boundaries regarding viewing choice.

There are some who seem to feel that a guest's preference trump's a host's. I feel this belief is a slippery slope that can only lead to doormattery and snowflakiness. A gracious guest should be just as determined to not be a bother as a gracious host is to cater to their guest. There is a difference between going out of your way for a guest and giving in to a guest. A guest can ask for anything, yet should expect nothing and demand even less.

The experience of having to deal with something you don't care for is a little different than not getting something you want. I feel that the OP actually endured a more negative experience as her aunt's guest - from what she described she was not given a choice when it came to television viewing and the fact that it was her least favorite channel only added insult to injury. In contrast, OP gave her aunt a choice of basically anything but the channel in question. Compare it to the aunt only offering one food item, and OP offering a full buffet that just happened to not have one food item that OP never has in the house anyway. Would it be nice if OP went out of her way to provide that one thing? Maybe, but it would be at her own discretion and not out of obligation to etiquette. The aunt was offered the metaphorical equivalent of a full buffet, and put all her attention and effort into complaining that she couldn't have the one thing she happens to want. That is rude.

I really don't understand guests who expect a host to be uncomfortable on their behalf - it is selfish. My friend hates horror movies so guess what - we don't watch horror when we have movie nights. Even if it is my choice, I wouldn't pick a movie I know she will hate - that's just sadistic.
That being said, my friend does not make a big deal about how much she hates horror movies. If I suggested a horror movie and was treated to a lecture about how awful they are as a genre and how could anyone possibly like them etc. I would feel annoyed. So I could see how aunt was maybe stung if OP said "I don't watch that channel in my house" - that may have been taken as judgement of the channel and a subsequent judgement of people who do watch it. The fact that OP suffered through the channel while visiting aunt may have complicated matters - aunt possibly assumed that OP's silence meant acceptance when it was really just silent suffering/ignoring what OP disliked.
Regardless, aunt was rude to question OP's rules about television - though OP may have let her dislike of the channel in question mar her ability to be a completely gracious host.

This is a good reminder that being a polite host not only involves providing for one's guests, but also being prepared to politely reject their requests.

Whether we're guests or hosts, we often get so caught up in saying "yes" that we forget that "no" is still allowed and should be respected.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Delete My Account on January 08, 2014, 02:00:21 PM
I think this is a situation similar to the post on the main site, about the wine guzzling guest.

IMHO, the balance of etiquette is: a host offers the guest a choice, and a guest chooses from what a host offers.

When I was little I remember my parents telling me that "Your Friend/Playdate is the guest, so they get to choose." But they were always choosing within the boundaries of what was being offered.

So if a host offers a list of drinks, a guest is rude to ask for a drink that is not on the list. It is the host's choice what to offer.

If a host and guest decide to watch television, the host is responsible for politely setting any boundaries regarding viewing choice.

There are some who seem to feel that a guest's preference trump's a host's. I feel this belief is a slippery slope that can only lead to doormattery and snowflakiness. A gracious guest should be just as determined to not be a bother as a gracious host is to cater to their guest. There is a difference between going out of your way for a guest and giving in to a guest. A guest can ask for anything, yet should expect nothing and demand even less.

The experience of having to deal with something you don't care for is a little different than not getting something you want. I feel that the OP actually endured a more negative experience as her aunt's guest - from what she described she was not given a choice when it came to television viewing and the fact that it was her least favorite channel only added insult to injury. In contrast, OP gave her aunt a choice of basically anything but the channel in question. Compare it to the aunt only offering one food item, and OP offering a full buffet that just happened to not have one food item that OP never has in the house anyway. Would it be nice if OP went out of her way to provide that one thing? Maybe, but it would be at her own discretion and not out of obligation to etiquette. The aunt was offered the metaphorical equivalent of a full buffet, and put all her attention and effort into complaining that she couldn't have the one thing she happens to want. That is rude.

I really don't understand guests who expect a host to be uncomfortable on their behalf - it is selfish. My friend hates horror movies so guess what - we don't watch horror when we have movie nights. Even if it is my choice, I wouldn't pick a movie I know she will hate - that's just sadistic.
That being said, my friend does not make a big deal about how much she hates horror movies. If I suggested a horror movie and was treated to a lecture about how awful they are as a genre and how could anyone possibly like them etc. I would feel annoyed. So I could see how aunt was maybe stung if OP said "I don't watch that channel in my house" - that may have been taken as judgement of the channel and a subsequent judgement of people who do watch it. The fact that OP suffered through the channel while visiting aunt may have complicated matters - aunt possibly assumed that OP's silence meant acceptance when it was really just silent suffering/ignoring what OP disliked.
Regardless, aunt was rude to question OP's rules about television - though OP may have let her dislike of the channel in question mar her ability to be a completely gracious host.

This is a good reminder that being a polite host not only involves providing for one's guests, but also being prepared to politely reject their requests.

Whether we're guests or hosts, we often get so caught up in saying "yes" that we forget that "no" is still allowed and should be respected.

Great post!
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: MommyPenguin on January 08, 2014, 03:17:11 PM
Based on some of the posts here, it sounds like some people seem to believe that it is a requirement to provide TV for one's guests, and that one is also required to let them watch whatever they want, regardless of whether it's something you want to watch?  That just seems so insane.

I mean, if I had guests who didn't like Jane Austen movies, I wouldn't put on a Jane Austen movie while they were visiting.  If I was a guest in somebody's house, I wouldn't insist on watching BBC so I could see some Jane Austen movie when it was airing.  And there's unlikely to be any sort of philosophical or moral objection to Jane Austen movies from anybody, it's just that it's impolite to turn on something that your guests aren't interested in when the purpose of a visit is to *visit*, and it's equally inappropriate for a guest to insist on watching something that their host doesn't want to see.  When you have a larger group, sure, things get a bit more hazy, as sometimes a group of people will opt to watch something and the rest will do something else.  But in a one-on-one situation?  No, just no.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: baglady on January 08, 2014, 07:13:31 PM
I think there is a lighthearted way to approach the subject without coming off as heavy-handed and judgmental. I'm not saying the OP was either of those things, but that her aunt might have taken her "Not in my house!" decree that way.

"Oh, auntie, you know I'm Other Political Persuasion, and watching that channel will only upset me. Do you really want to ruin a lovely visit with an upset and maybe a political argument? Why don't we watch ___ comedy show/DVD instead and have some laughs?"

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.

Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay, if you aren't planning to use the office TV while she's there. With so many people upgrading to flat-screen TVs these days, you can get a decent old-school TV set for a song. (Trust me, I have two of them gathering dust in my back room, thanks to a neighbor who keeps upgrading and giving me his old ones.)

If it's the channel I'm thinking of, I totally understand the "Not in my house" mindset. I don't want it on in my house either. But unless you are a Nielsen household, you're not actually giving the channel any tangible support by simply having it on in your home for a guest to watch.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: TootsNYC on January 08, 2014, 07:18:18 PM

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.


That would not be acceptable to me. This is my home, and while I want my guest to feel welcome, I am not going to abandon the main living space in my own home in order to get away from the optional activity my guest is indulging in.

The OP pointed out that in her home, the TV was in the main, open living area.

Quote
Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay,

This would probably not have been satisfactory to the aunt. People who are used to having the TV going always in the background don't want to hide out in the other room either!
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: sammycat on January 09, 2014, 12:28:05 AM

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.


That would not be acceptable to me. This is my home, and while I want my guest to feel welcome, I am not going to abandon the main living space in my own home in order to get away from the optional activity my guest is indulging in.

POD!
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: Twik on January 09, 2014, 09:45:03 AM
I think there is a lighthearted way to approach the subject without coming off as heavy-handed and judgmental. I'm not saying the OP was either of those things, but that her aunt might have taken her "Not in my house!" decree that way.

"Oh, auntie, you know I'm Other Political Persuasion, and watching that channel will only upset me. Do you really want to ruin a lovely visit with an upset and maybe a political argument? Why don't we watch ___ comedy show/DVD instead and have some laughs?"

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.

Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay, if you aren't planning to use the office TV while she's there. With so many people upgrading to flat-screen TVs these days, you can get a decent old-school TV set for a song. (Trust me, I have two of them gathering dust in my back room, thanks to a neighbor who keeps upgrading and giving me his old ones.)

If it's the channel I'm thinking of, I totally understand the "Not in my house" mindset. I don't want it on in my house either. But unless you are a Nielsen household, you're not actually giving the channel any tangible support by simply having it on in your home for a guest to watch.

I don't think she has to be lighthearted about it - she needs to be polite but firm. I can't imagine anything that would be less etiquette-approved than leaving your guest alone with the tv while you go off to do something in another room, or put on headphones. Aunt has absolutely no right to "insist" on a channel, or even having the tv on in the first place.

It's rude of a guest to commandeer their host's tv, particularly because the guest has the option to leave, if the viewing is too excruciating, but the host cannot. It is not rude for the host to say, "I'm sorry, but I'd prefer the tv to be off," and make it so.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: jaxsue on January 09, 2014, 10:08:15 AM
This thread reminds me of a childhood friend I had. When I was at her house, she said, "It's my house, I get to choose first." When she was at my house, it was, "I'm a guest, I get to choose first." Even at a young age, the irony wasn't lost on me (and, TBH, quite spoiled). Unfortunately, some adults are the same way.

When I am at someone else's home, I don't turn on their TV and I don't dictate what will be watched. Trust me, I've had to put up with shows that are torture to watch (a marathon of AFV's, recently. Ugh).  :P My late father and my X-FIL, however, always took over the TV when they were at my house. It didn't matter if FIL was there for only dinner, he would turn on the news or a fishing show. To make it worse, they'd both turn them up to a high volume. There were times I really, really wished my main TV wasn't in the living room!
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: esposita on January 09, 2014, 10:28:49 AM
This wasn't a situation where the guest was hypocritical. The OPs wishes were not made known at Aunt's home so she had no way of knowing that the OP didn't want to watch.

A person cannot make a stand without the expectation of some pushback from people who don't agree with them. If you (general) don't want to "get into it" with someone for any reason, then in most cases a gracious deflection is the appropriate course of action.

"That won't be on in my home" (not a direct quote, but the same idea) are fightin' words because it comes with an absolute, which implies a type of moral judgement. There is a time and a place for that, but you have to realize that you can't make judgements like that in a vacuum when someone doesn't agree.

There have been several phrases given that could have put the emphasis on a positive alternative. There have also been suggestions for phrases that sort of disguised the OPs convictions in with other, slightly less strong convictions, in order to to soften the interaction and take the punch out of the phrase that she used.

Should the OP have to? Not really. A host should be able to say "Not in my home." But when you're dealing with someone who likes to argue, one of the alternative phrases would take the wind out of her sails and make for a more peaceful visit for everyone.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: jaxsue on January 09, 2014, 11:16:23 AM
This wasn't a situation where the guest was hypocritical.

Agreed. Some of the posts did remind me of the situation I mentioned, though. As for TV viewing, it is so subjective that can be a minefield. I don't turn the TV on when I have guests over, generally, unless it's a TV event (Super Bowl, for example).
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: VorFemme on January 09, 2014, 03:33:01 PM
Two ways of looking at similar situations - based on past experience.

Twenty-five years ago, Ambrosia Hino used to play with the neighbor kids (sisters).  Their "rule" was that the group played what the host chose at their house and what the guests wanted to when they came over to our house.  I suppose, in a way, it was "our two votes trump your ONE vote".  I got tired of it - but there weren't that many kids in her age range in the neighborhood.  We moved to another state when Ambrosia Hino was 9 - so the sisters were much younger than the OP and her relative.  Disagreements that got too vocal ended up with a parent sending the guest(s) back to their own home.

Didn't matter if it was the tv, a video game, or the Monopoly game got too heated...the argument was ended by sending everyone to their own corner (home).  Not viable when traveling a long distance for a visit, though.

++++++

To cast the situation another way, , we'll say that the hostess wants to watch the "How to Cook Meat Channel" at all times.  The OP's preferred channel is "The Vegan Kitchen" channel.

She was gracious enough to allow her hostess to watch the meat channel in her own home but draws the line at having HER television switched to that station in her vegan (in this example only) home. 

I could see someone being polite to the host because it is their tv and they can watch what they want....although I can also see getting a tad upset at having someone else's philosophy as the background noise to the entire visit, except when the tv was turned off for people to SLEEP (if it was ever turned off).

I can see the guest wanting to watch their favorite show/station - but the host gets veto power in some situations - young children so no "for mature audiences only" subject matter; wrong religious, philosophical, or political views; or just wanting the tv OFF for a chance at quiet conversation without the distraction.....if we wanted to avoid all controversy - that would pretty much leave only the weather channel....and there might be people who don't want to watch it, either.
Title: Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
Post by: doodlemor on January 09, 2014, 10:32:35 PM
About 20 years ago, when my children were teens, they were much more rebellious after watching MTV.  We called the cable company, and they blocked it from our house for free.  I don't know your circumstances, misha, but maybe it would be possible for you to turn your annoying channel off or block it before aunt or any of the like minded relatives visit again.  Wouldn't that be a surprise for your rude guest!

If this is the channel that I'm thinking of, I can't stand it either.  It seems to me that the talking heads on that network are using "Propaganda 101" techniques to sway the beliefs of the unwary.