Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: mchernan on March 12, 2007, 07:09:24 PM

Title: Does this happen to you?
Post by: mchernan on March 12, 2007, 07:09:24 PM
My in-laws have a huge home, but they never entertain.  They invite us over for the holidays and such, but NOBODY outside the immediate family has ever stepped foot into the house (weird). They do however, invite themselves to our house.  For our anniversary they brought dinner (cold pizza) and stayed until 9:30pm at night.  But then they also invited our Aunt, BIL and his girlfriend.  No problem, these are all people I love anyways but what the heck?  If they wanted to have an anniversary get-together then have it at your own dang house!  Do other people have in-laws that invite a party over to your house? (with 20 hour notice?)
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 12, 2007, 07:14:45 PM
Quote
My in-laws have a huge home, but they never entertain.  They invite us over for the holidays and such, but NOBODY outside the immediate family has ever stepped foot into the house (weird).

People don't build big houses just to entertain.  It's not a requirement based on the size of the house.  I don't see a problem with having a large house and not having outside the family people in.  It's no one's "right" to come into someone's home just because they deem that it's "large enough" to have a party in.  It'd be quite rude to insinuate that someone must entertain because they have a "huge home."

(Perhaps that's not what you were leading to.  If not, you might want to rephrase your post, because it really does sound as if that's what you're saying.  And, that would be wrong.)

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 12, 2007, 10:35:36 PM
The fact that have a "huge house" is irrelevant to the story.  The OP should not have mentioned it, as it means nothing.

The issue is that they're bringing other people to the OP's house.  Period.  The size of their own house shouldn't be an issue.  And, it shouldn't have been stated the way it was.  The post started out on the wrong note.  She said it is "weird" that they don't have outsiders in their home.  This was on the heels of saying that they have a "huge house."  It's not "weird."  It's just not what they want to do with their home - large, small or whatever size said home is.

That's why I mentioned that the OP really should rephrase what she wrote.  Because the way it reads, it's a bit offensive (for lack of better word).  Maybe she didn't mean it the way it sounds.  Maybe it was meant in a less rude way.  But, it wasn't stated that way.

I agree that the in-laws shouldn't be bringing people over.  That part is correct.

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: kiero on March 13, 2007, 12:29:59 AM
I think that huge house is important.  It is an acceptable reason not to entertain if you have a tiny place.  So if she had left that detail out people would have posted things like "Well maybe their house is too small to have people over" or similar...

I think that it is rude not to return invitations.  If you invite them over they should do the same or turn down your invites.  It is also rude (in most situations) to invite yourself to someone else's house.  the only time this is acceptable is with an offer to help.  Like after I had DD people would call up with an offer to bring lunch and to see DD.  I didn't think that was rude.  Also if someone is housebound (or close to it) then it's OK to ask to come over. 
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 12:40:45 AM
Had the post read something along the lines of...

Story about inviting (rudely) other people over to the OP's house....etc etc.  And then a footnote as to "I don't think it's that the in-laws home is too small to host their own parties, and the house could accomodate having people over", it'd be one thing.

But, to start out the post in this way, "My in-laws have a huge home, but they never entertain.  They invite us over for the holidays and such, but NOBODY outside the immediate family has ever stepped foot into the house (weird)." is wrong.

It is, as I've said, not, somehow, a huge house owner's responsibility to host a party because they have a "huge home."  The size of their home does not mean that they are, because of the size, obligated to host parties.  NEITHER is it "weird" that they don't have others in their home just because it happens to be a "huge home."

While I can see what the 2 of you are trying to say, the fact remains that the point is lost when trying to assert that "My in-laws have a huge home, but they never entertain."

I'm completely with you on the fact that in-laws should not be inviting other people into the OP's home.  I'm completely with you in that reciprocating invitations is etiquettely proper (and, that could also be taking the OP out to dinner rather than hosting a party in their home, by the way).  I'm completely with you on the etiquette violations within the post.

Had that not been the initial comment of the poster and had it been a sidenote explanation of why they may have room after all, it'd be one thing.  But, as it stands, the post starts out by saying somehow implying that a huge home means they should entertain and that they are "weird" for not doing so.

Again, as I have said several times now, the OP may have not, in any way, meant to imply what's coming across.  And, I hope that, if this is the case, she reconsiders how she phrased what she said and corrects it.

And, understand that I do get what the 2 of you are saying.  I do.  But, that's not how it's coming across at the moment.  Do you see what I'm saying here?

Edited to italicize a paragraph.  I fear that this point must be getting lost in the shuffle and that you might be missing it.  Hoping the italics helps in that.

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on March 13, 2007, 02:34:09 AM
Huh, we have the smallest house in the County, And we're always entertaining.
It's the size oh your heart that matters, Not the house :)
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 10:26:05 AM
It's the size oh your heart that matters, Not the house :)

Exactly. :)

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Lisbeth on March 13, 2007, 12:02:16 PM
The way I'm reading this is, the OPs in-laws expect her to entertain and invite others to her house, without reciprocating in any way.

Even if the reciprocation is not in their home, it strikes me as rude to expect another person to host for you all the time without compensation.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 12:04:45 PM
The way I'm reading this is, the OPs in-laws expect her to entertain and invite others to her house, without reciprocating in any way.

Even if the reciprocation is not in their home, it strikes me as rude to expect another person to host for you all the time without compensation.

Which, again, I'm not disagreeing with.  I even italicized that to make it easier to see. :)

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: mchernan on March 13, 2007, 03:19:21 PM
It is not WRONG for me to feel how I do, I meant to indicate that it is weird that they have a HUGE house, or any size house for that matter, and nobody outside the family has EVER EVER EVER been invited over.  My MIL and FIL live there with by BIL.  DH and I are the ONLY outsiders over, EVER, for any reason.  They do not hesitate to organize a party at my house, even though my kitchen is so small I cannot open the oven and the fridge at the same time because they area across from one another.  They also are frequent party-goers anywhere else.  I just felt this was rude and wondered if anyone else had encountered a similar situation.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 03:23:43 PM
It is not WRONG for me to feel how I do, I meant to indicate that it is weird that they have a HUGE house, or any size house for that matter, and nobody outside the family has EVER EVER EVER been invited over.  My MIL and FIL live there with by BIL.  DH and I are the ONLY outsiders over, EVER, for any reason.  They do not hesitate to organize a party at my house, even though my kitchen is so small I cannot open the oven and the fridge at the same time because they area across from one another.  They also are frequent party-goers anywhere else.  I just felt this was rude and wondered if anyone else had encountered a similar situation.

I still think (hope) you're confusing two issues and blurring the lines between what is NOT etiquettely wrong and what IS etiquettely wrong.  Because you do have one of each there.

As stated (numerous!) times now, there is an etiquette violation in your story.  They should not be inviting themselves over.  They should not be including others in the invitation.  And, they should be reciprocating invitations - even if that reciprocation is inviting you and your husband out to dinner.

It is not that their "huge home" automatically means that they should be hosting parties in it.  Nor, does it mean that the proverbial "everyone and their dog" should be allowed into it because it's a "huge home."

The two issues are not the same.

(You came to an etiquette forum and asked an etiquette question.  I'm trying to give you an etiquette answer. :)   You may not like the answer, but that doesn't mean that it's, necessarily, wrong.)

Editing to italicize AGAIN, because the point seems to be getting missed.

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 03:32:57 PM
Let me see if I can explain this another way.  Maybe this will make more sense.

Are you offended that they "invite themselves to [your] house"?  Does it upset you that they "brought dinner (cold pizza) and stayed until 9:30pm at night"?  Does it irk you that they brought a "party over to your house? (with 20 hour notice)"?  And, not only that, but is it upsetting you that they have made the assumption that, not only is your home the "place" to party, but they even invite other people over to join in the fun?  Even though your home isn't big enough to host such events?

These are not questions you actually have to answer.  The answers are obvious; they ARE offensive (and rightfully so), because it's upset you the point that you've posted here about it.

Yet, you're willing to dictate how THEY chose to host in THEIR home.  You've decided that their home is "big" enough, so they need to host parties/gatherings/whatever in it.  And, because it's large, they should be allowing other people to come in and view it.

You can't have this both ways!  Either a person's home is sacred and is theirs to determine what to do with or not.  But, be careful in which way you go here. :)

Believe it or not, I'm validating you here and agreeing with you in that your in-laws are doing something quite rude.  I'm just trying to help you see that the rudeness isn't quite what you're describing though.  You're going a little bit further in your outrage than is right.  You DO have a point.  You're just crossing over into the non-rude portion of what they're doing as well. :)

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: hollasa on March 13, 2007, 03:51:30 PM
I think that part of the "weird" comes from the statement that "DH and [OP] are the ONLY outsiders over, EVER, for any reason".

This sounds as if NOT ONLY do they never entertain/throw parties, they never have anyone over for coffee, or to step in to use the bathroom, or anything else like that.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 03:57:19 PM
This sounds as if NOT ONLY do they never entertain/throw parties, they never have anyone over for coffee, or to step in to use the bathroom, or anything else like that.

Unusual to some, perhaps.  Wrong?  No.  Having a home does not mean that anyone who desires to enter may do so.  You may dearly LOVE to see what's inside someone's home.  But, it's not their obligation to appease that desire for you.

Perhaps it's in the connotation of the word "weird."  It's not "weird" for someone not to want others inside their home.  It's their home; they get to decide who may enter it.  If that weren't the case, there wouldn't be a lock on the door.

Your home is yours to do with as you please.  If you decide that no red headed person with green eyes can ever enter your home, it's your decision to make.  An unusual decision, yes.  But, still yours to determine.

Likewise, someone with a house of XYZ square feet is no more "obligated" to have [X number] of people over in a year than person with house of ABC square feet.  There's no set limit as to "you have a house of this size, so you must allow this many people to come into it."  That's absurd.





Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 04:01:38 PM
And, again, I think the question that the OP is asking is really getting blurred.  Perhaps we do need to address the actual etiquette violations in what she wrote, as there are some (I've noted them several times now - you can find them easily as I've italicized them more than once).  Because I'm suspecting that she's really not asking about the size of the house as being a determination of the number of people that should be allowed to enter it (again, I'm hoping that's not the case! :D)

So, as I said before, she's right that the in-laws are doing something wrong.  We need to focus on what's actually wrong in what they're doing vs what's not wrong.
That might help the OP more.

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: mchernan on March 13, 2007, 04:12:27 PM
hehe, Dollyg you just aren't getting it, I said it was weird that they never have had an outsider or family member step foot into their home, for any reason.  I did not say it was wrong, that seems to be your focal point.  I said it was weird, I can think that it is weird can't I? I also indicated that the size of the home was truly not in relation to the amount of entertaining, just a side note that they have a huge (5 BR ornately decorated) home. YOU are the one who is focused on this.  I realize you have posted XYZ number of times but this does not mean your input is the one and only truth.  I ALSO indicated in my OP heading that I was seeking others with similar IL nusances.  You have offered nothing to that effect, therefore I would appreciate no furter postings with your condescending nature.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: lady_disdain on March 13, 2007, 04:16:40 PM
My parents never have anyone from outside the immediate family over at their house either. They don't like throwing parties, specially at home. On social occasions, they prefer to take friends over to a restaurant.

But they never appear uninvited at my house and they would never invite people over to my place or ask me to host for them.

No one has to give parties. But throwing one at an unwilling third party is just plain rude.

Even if the in-laws had no room, they should ask the OP if she minds if they ask a few friends over - and accept that she has every right to say no.

Does your husband back you up on this? He may feel that this matter is unimportant or perhaps have told his parents that it is no problem at all.

Have you tried talking to them? Explain that you feel awkward when people you are not expecting show up, as you might not have cleaned up/have enough food/whatever other fact that your in-laws might accept.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 04:45:56 PM
mchernan, this is an etiquette site, and so posters were addressing the etiquette issues in your post. I don't think DottyG was being condescending, she was simply trying to make a point that didn't seem to be worded correctly, thus the multiple clarification posts. You are of course entitled to your opinion, and may think its weird that your in-laws never entertain, but again, on an etiquette board, its inevitable that others will point out that its their right to do so.

Aquigoth is correct. You cannot forbid someone to post here.  I have been very nice in answering your question.  Even to the point of posting that you do have a very valid complaint and that I've suspected that you merely chose a word that has a different connotation to it than you might be realizing.  I have even gone as far as trying to get things redirected to what I think you're actually asking.

Can you think it's "weird"?  Of course you can.  By all means feel free to feel any which way you choose.  And, I have never said that my point is the only "truth."  But, it is not right of you to say that I am no longer allowed to voice an opinion here.  You posted at an etiquette site.  I have an opinion.  I'm sorry that you don't like that opinion.  My opinion may not even be completely right.  But, it's no less of a right for me to have mine as it is to have yours.

I fail to see where you've found what I've said "condescending" when I've even posted that I agree with you.  Several times, I have stated this.  Directly stated this.  ITALICIZED it even! :D  I have put a tone into my postings to where you would understand that I AM on your side and that I've agreed with you!  That's not condescending!

Edited to add BOLD - the italics weren't working. ;)  Will even say it again, so that everyone is clear on this......THE OP'S IN-LAWS ARE DOING SOMETHING RUDE.  I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH THIS FACT. :)  And, since it appears that there's a slight disagreement between the wording, I'm fine with dropping the issue of the "size of the house as to how many people should be invited in" issue.  If that's the source of the upset, fine.  I'm ok with dropping it.

(And, OP, I actually am a nice person.  Truly I am.  And, it's ok if we don't, always, agree here.  That's the beauty of this place.  We can disagree in one thread and be "best friends" in another one. :)  It's one of the things people like here.  I'm sorry that your 1st thread in here has, in your mind, turned nasty.  That was not my intent at all.  I do welcome you and hope that you look around the place and find it a comfortable - and enlightening - place to be.  We all learn a lot here.  It's a warm and welcoming place that'll become addictive before you know it! :D)

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: DottyG on March 13, 2007, 04:55:50 PM
OP, to ease your mind and to show you that I'm extending the hand of peace (olive branch*) here, I'm going to alert the mods to this thread, just in case I've done something wrong.  I'd never want to do something to make someone unhappy, so I'm willing to do that.  Ok?


* It's an OLIVE BRANCH! :D  I have been sitting here racking my brain to remember what kind of "branch" it is when you try to make peace with someone.  I came up with every kind I could think of, but not "olive"! :D  It finally came to me, so I've edited my post to finally add it in!

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Ticia on March 13, 2007, 05:21:30 PM
You have offered nothing to that effect, therefore I would appreciate no furter postings with your condescending nature.

When you post on a public forum, you run the risk that the public will answer you, and not always in the way you desire. I think that Dotty has brought up some valid points to consider (not just for you, but for everyone in general.) and she has not been condescending in her posts, rather she is frustrated that you don't seem to understand that she is agreeing with you.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: jibby on March 13, 2007, 06:27:01 PM
Your in-laws are definitely rude for entertaining in your home.  What does your DH think about their behavior (sorry if I missed it in reading through the thread)?  He should be the one to explain to them that you both love seeing them, but unless you issue the invitation, no more entertaining is to be done in your home.

As for the size of their home, it is not rude to have the space to entertain and not do so.  If that were true, then the reverse (converse?) would be true, i.e., it would be rude to entertain in a small home. 

Honestly, with the introduction of McMansions, five bedrooms isn't necessarily that big.   ;)   
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Lunadiana75 on March 14, 2007, 10:50:18 AM
Dotty, I think you are overreacting and being unduly harsh to the OP.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Virg on March 14, 2007, 02:46:50 PM
Lunadiana75 wrote:

"Dotty, I think you are overreacting and being unduly harsh to the OP."

I think I must toss my lot in with DottyG on this one.  The original post's etiquette question was functionally, "Do other people have in-laws that invite a party over to your house? (with 20 hour notice?)"  DottyG and others (and I for that matter) concur that this is rude of her in-laws.

However, the post opened with "My in-laws have a huge home, but they never entertain.  They invite us over for the holidays and such, but NOBODY outside the immediate family has ever stepped foot into the house (weird)."  If this is to be taken as a point in the discussion about the in-laws inviting themselves over, then it points out that mchernan feels it's part of the discussion.  If it's simply mentioned as something weird, then it's not a violation of etiquette and therefore it's not relevant.  The problem is that its inclusion understandably implies relevance, and if it's considered relevant then it's impolite on mchernan's part to imply that they're obliged to entertain.  If that's not her intention, then why include it?

Virg
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Twik on March 14, 2007, 04:22:23 PM
I can see an implied relevance - they want to entertain, have room to do it, and yet prefer to use other people's homes to do it. The combination of the three is weird, IMO. Simply having a large house and not entertaining is not.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on March 14, 2007, 05:43:12 PM
Huh, we have the smallest house in the County, And we're always entertaining.
It's the size oh your heart that matters, Not the house :)
I disagree.  We live in a tiny condo in Paradise (Waikiki).  It's 550 square feet including 175 s.f. of lanai (balcony).  We don't have room for a couch or a coffee table.  We have a tiny table & 2 chairs.  We seldom entertain.  I think we have had company to dinner on the average of once a year & we've lived here for 13 years.  We can fit another couple in at the table, but it's tight & I'm sitting on a stool.  I've had more people over to dinner, but I served the food buffet style in the kitchen & half the people sat on the lanai.  I feel uncomfortable and unhospitable inviting people over and asking them to sit in plastic chairs outside & eat off disposable plastic plates.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Midnight Kitty on March 14, 2007, 06:10:36 PM
The problem is that its inclusion understandably implies relevance, and if it's considered relevant then it's impolite on mchernan's part to imply that they're obliged to entertain.  If that's not her intention, then why include it?

Virg

The comment about the size of their house wasn't just included, it came first.  When I studied writing, we were taught to put your best point at the beginning.  In certain circumstances, it is also effective to start with your second strongest argument & end with the strongest as what people read last stays with them.  This may explain why the comment stuck in Dottyg's craw.

I've posted here & on other boards.  I really enjoy a good debate.  "Good" means respectful.  IMHO Dottyg could have phrased her comments a bit more tactfully & the OP could have taken another 5 minutes to calm down before posting her reply.  Dottyg has certainly come back to make amends & I hope OP does too.  Being able to talk through a disagreement & come out the other side with respect for each other is a quality of a civilized person.

My in laws (& my family) live thousands of miles away, so this situation just doesn't apply to me.  I can't imagine anyone inviting people to party in my tiny condo.  I don't mind if people invite themselves over.  We have a friend who cares for her elderly parents.  She'll call & ask if she can come over for a break.  Our best friends, who have 4 daughters, will call & say they are in the neighborhood & ask if it is a good time for a visit.  They live an hour away & we never see our *nieces* enough, so they, too, know that they are always welcome.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: mlogica on March 14, 2007, 07:02:27 PM
I can see an implied relevance - they want to entertain, have room to do it, and yet prefer to use other people's homes to do it. The combination of the three is weird, IMO. Simply having a large house and not entertaining is not.

I agree.  If the OP had said something like, "My in-laws have a large house and they never have anyone over - isn't that weird?" then her comment would have no point.  However, given that they seem to do their entertaining in the OP's home instead of her own, her comment about the size of their house is relevant, since it puts some additional context around the actual etiquette problem of the ILs entertaining in the OP's home.
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: ganjin on March 15, 2007, 09:51:18 AM
I saw the context of the "huge house" as a beginning of an explanation, and as such, it IS an important bit of information.  They have a huge house, but can't be bothered with company, so they intrude on her home and goodwill to entertain people of their own choosing in HER home.   I get that.   I sympathize with that, and agree that they should get better manners or at least a clue.

Saying "You shouldn't have said big house FIRST" is clouding the issue.  They have room, they won't entertain there, and it is irritating that they foist themselves AND what should be THEIR guests off on her.

A lot of posts have been arguing syntax or context, and the size of their house IS important, at least to the poster, because they HAVE room, but make HER their scapegoat, trotting in a bit of food now and then to smooth the waters, and taking her time and hospitality and claiming it as their own, with no trouble to them.

OP sounds as if she wouldn't care if they were hermits, or if they entertained the Sixth Fleet every weekend---she doesn't want to impose her will on them, just so they didn't impose on her so much.  

In a similar situation, I would imagine it would at least occur to any of us:  Why do they bring their company over HERE all the time, inconveniencing me, when they have all that ROOM?

 
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: ninja710 on March 15, 2007, 12:41:34 PM
It does seem odd to me when people don't entertain, even though it seems like fewer and fewer people exercise the gift of hospitality.  And especially, when there doesn't seem to be a good excuse - limited room or funds available for instance.  I do try to keep it to myself, though (the fact that I think it's odd).

My family often entertained relatives and neighbors, and it seems a natural thing to me. My husband has become a very hospitable man, but it wasn't modeled to him at all in his growing up years.  When we were first married, it was difficult for me that he didn't want to invite anyone to our home, and I'm really glad that he was able to turn it around.  We entertained lots of people in our 2 bedroom, 900 sq ft house, and even more now that we have 4 bedrooms and 3200 sq ft.

One family complained that no one in our church had ever invited them to their home.  We had them over for an evening soon after that.  That was at least 15 years ago and they have made no effort to reciprocate. Others who have the same complaint have been to our house for group events at least 5 times (I guess that doesn't count?)  As a result, when people say things like this I am inclined to say, "how many people have *you* invited to your home?"
Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: Mikayla on March 18, 2007, 10:59:03 AM
I can see an implied relevance - they want to entertain, have room to do it, and yet prefer to use other people's homes to do it. The combination of the three is weird, IMO. Simply having a large house and not entertaining is not.

That's a very good way of putting it!   The wording and order may have been a bit off, but I took the comment about the large house merely as a way of pointing out that they don't live in a studio. 

Title: Re: Does this happen to you?
Post by: bibbety on March 18, 2007, 12:58:54 PM
I agree that the combination of a huge house, never inviting people over, and throwing parties at other people's houses is weird. OP, I agree with you, and please don't rewrite your post.

 Now the question is "What do I do about it?"

Your husband needs to say ""Oh that won't work for us" next time they propose a party. And he needs to repeat it over and over.