Author Topic: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?  (Read 8404 times)

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NyaChan

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How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« on: August 12, 2012, 04:54:31 PM »
A family in our community recently returned from a 2 year period of living in China for work.  We've known them for over 15 years and were very close before they left.  The couple watched me when I was a kid before they had their own, and I baby sat their kids once they had them.  The kids and Dad seem to be adjusting well, but the Mom, Shazie, is having some problems.  My mom had already mentioned to me that Shazie had on multiple social occasions gone on and on about how much better China is and how our small town was so boring and the people so ignorant for not realizing how dull their lives are. 

We recently had a gathering for about 6 families, so roughly 25 people at our house with kids included.  Shazie and her family were one of the guests.  The guys ended up socializing in the basement while the ladies were on the main floor.  Our house has a kitchen that opens into a family room on one side and has a doorway with no door that leads to the dining room on the other side.  Right between the family room and the kitchen is a double door to an enclosed porch where we have a couple of couches and a coffee table.  The younger girls were hanging out at the dinner table in the kitchen and the "moms" were in the dining room - all except Shazie.  She took her food and her younger daughter into porch and sat in the near dark, as in no light in the room except what shined in from the kitchen/family room area, eating and feeding her child.

I noticed it out of the corner of my eye and went and sat and chatted with her for a while until my mom came looking for me to make sure that I had gotten to eat, which I hadn't so I went to get food and then socialized with the girls again.  During that conversation, just as my mom had told me, she started bashing our town and the people here that don't realize just how limited their lives are and how she can't believe that the same people are still here.  At one point she even referenced my mom and I defended her by reminding Shazie that my mom has lived in quite a few different cities and countries which Shazie then accepted and apparently removed my mom from her list of ignorant people.  After I left, she just stayed out there though her child had long since stopped eating and was just playing.  My parents do not have a rule against food in the family room, there was room in the dining room and the completely empty family room for Shazie to feed her child either while socializing with the other guests or quietly if that was necessary for her child.  Eventually she came out to get dessert, but instead of going to be around any other guests, she just stood behind the island in the kitchen and ate her dessert by the sink. 

After they left, my mom said that she didn't know what to do and after having directed everyone to the dining room and gone back to tell her a couple times, Oh Shazie we are all sitting in the dining room, why don't you join us, or Shazie, there's plenty of room in the dining room and getting no results, she just didn't know what to do.  Now I'm kind of at a loss for what was going on with her and wondering what should we have done.  Everyone at the party rather studiously avoided mentioning her so it was like an elephant in the room and I felt really awkward about it as if we had messed up somehow as hosts  :-\  What do you guys think?

gramma dishes

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 05:02:56 PM »
I think you did not mess up as hosts.

I think Shazie messed up as a guest. 

snowdragon

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 05:46:08 PM »
What Grandma Dishes said.

Stop inviting Shazie, she obviously does not want to be with other people right now.

MacadamiaNut

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 06:06:41 PM »
So... basically she just came for the food? :o

I would simply not invite her to any more gatherings.  It is very rude not to take cues from your host about which rooms you should occupy during their party.  You didn't turn on the lights in the porch.  That's a pretty big hint that she shouldn't be in there.  And let's not forget the very direct invitations to the dining room from your mom.

As hosts, you did nothing wrong.
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rose red

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 06:40:09 PM »
Sounds like she's really miserable being so far from home.  Many of my own relatives have experienced these feelings, but they never ever showed their misery, isolation, and boredom in front of others, especially at a party. 

You were fine and did more than enough to try to make her feel welcome.

doodlemor

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 07:55:01 PM »
I also would hesitate to invite Schazie to any more large gatherings. 

It might be a kindness, though, to ask her to smaller gatherings or activities.  It might help her to adjust to her new surroundings.

chibichan

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 08:10:21 PM »
I kind of understand Shazie . It's a culture shock of sorts when you return home to Small Town after living overseas .

I experience the same thing whenever I return to Small Town for vacation . It's actually depressing at times to see that the people you were so close to are stuck in the same rut they were in during high school ( we are all in our 50s now ). 

It takes a concerted effort to realize that it's their chosen life and they are happy with it . You are not a better person because you chose to live abroad . They are not lesser people because they didn't . However , the gap is still there .

I would cut Shazie a little slack for a short time . Yeah , she was rude but if the family has just returned to Hometown to live , she may be picturing a boring future after China . Add to the fact that , while abroad , her family was most likely somewhat isolated as foreigners . I have also experienced discomfort in large groups of people that I previously had no problem with .

I would not , however , cut her any slack on the bashing . Tell her straight :

 " Shazie , not everyone has the means, opportunity or desire to live abroad . This does not make them lesser people and it is unfair of you to label them that way . What if the hometown folks labeled you as stuck up or " thinks she's too good for our little town ? How would you feel if you had a friend who went to live abroad , then came back and labeled YOU as ignorant ? "

She will need some help re-integrating herself into her old life . If she doesn't re-adjust her thinking , she will just become more isloated and find that most of her former friends will be thinking " Well if that's the way you feel , go back to China then ."   
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gramma dishes

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 08:35:34 PM »
NyaChan ~~ Was Shazie originally from China?

NyaChan

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2012, 08:54:21 PM »
No, she is Pakistani and immigrated to the US a long time ago, almost 20 years I think.  All of her kids were born and raised here.  She lived in China for a year or so as a child though when her father worked had a temporary job there.  This recent stint in China was always temporary.  The company that her husband works for is the same as my dad's - it is multinational and they do send workers to other countries for short term assignments & pay for their house in the US while they are gone, the move, and accommodations including language lessons, translators, schools, etc. in the country they stay in for that period. 

gramma dishes

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 08:56:49 PM »
Okay, I guess that rules out homesickness.   :D

However, as a side note, it sounds like her husband and your Dad work for an awesome company!

rose red

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 09:49:25 PM »
Oh, I didn't read carefully enough and thought she just moved here and not that she returned.  It's still rude to make sure all the others are made aware of her misery though.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 10:40:58 PM »
She is acting horribly.  I can't imagine having a guest ridicule a hostess while she is taking advantage of her hospitality.  I think the best you can do when she makes those comments is say something to the effect that your sorry she had to leave China, or up your sorry she is so miserable.  However if she ever starts degrading your mother to you again you are perfectly within your right to let her know that you think it best she leave since she is deriving so little enjoyment spending time socializing with your family and friends.  You cn even ask if criticizing a person while a guest in their home is acceptable in China as she may have forgotten it is not an acceptable practice in your country.

cicero

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 03:25:39 AM »
sounds like she is going through some kind of culture shock and/or depression. (as someone who was born in one country and lived most my life in another - i can understand that)

you - as hosts  - did nothing wrong. Shazie needs to get a grip on herself because she is going to lose all her friends/neighbors with her behavior.

I would continue to be friendly but i think that she can't handle large gatherings right now.


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Iris

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2012, 03:46:48 AM »
You and your mom did absolutely nothing wrong. Shazie is behaving like a horse's behind. I have a friend who has recently returned from living in China for a lot longer than Shazie and her manners are nothing like this. That being said, their family did choose to settle in a major city because most places felt very small after China.

However, I have heard her tales of the 'bad visitors' that go to China. Apparently because people can afford domestic help etc there it brings out the worst in some people and turns them into snobs of the worst kind. I wonder if Shazie was one of these people and has brought her attitude home with her?
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Betelnut

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Re: How to handle a guest that doesn't seem to want to be there?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 09:17:52 AM »
I agree with Cicero--she sounds depressed combined with a bit of culture shock.  I also agree that it can be a bit of an eye-opener to see your home town after being away for awhile.  I'd give her some time to settle in before totally writing her off.
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