Author Topic: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?  (Read 19929 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Quest_

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 08:19:07 AM »
I'm in Australia. Amongst my peer group, to "come over for dinner" means to come over for the meal, but stay around for a few hours chatting, watching a movie, or playing board/video games.

KenveeB

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8751
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 08:27:28 AM »
If I intend someone to come over to eat dinner, with a bit of socializing before and after, then I invite them to "come over for dinner." If I intend for them to come over for a whole evening and dinner is only one part of that, then I'll invite them to "come over for the evening". And if I hold an actual "dinner party", then I expect more socializing before and after the meal than just "coming for dinner," usually with cocktails or wine.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21686
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 08:29:28 AM »
If there were a movie/video involved I would mention the name(s) when I extended the invite.

Samgirl2

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 233
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2012, 08:32:08 AM »
I'm in the UK.  Amongst everyone I know, whether its a formal or informal dinner, 'come over for dinner' means come and spend the evening with us. Unless it's specified otherwise, e.g. come over for dinner before we head over to the movie, something like that. Same with Sunday lunch, they would probably end up staying the whole afternoon.

Amongst my friends, and also observing my parents friends as I was growing up, guests come over a little earlier than dinner. If it's informal, more like, 'come share my food' then guests often end up offering to help, or at least having a drink in the kitchen with the host, or sitting in the living room with others if there's a number of guests. Then you eat, then you move back to the comfy seats and watch a movie, play a game, chat, share a drink.  The only difference if it's a formal dinner would be on the level of helping out and the type of food served really. 

Of course if it's a week night people will start leaving around 9.45-10pm and it could be anytime if it's a weekend.

If someone came only to eat and then left it would be considered rude, like you didn't actually want to be with the host/other guests.  Unless, again, specified in advance - maybe the guest says they have an early start etc. But they really should say in advance.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 08:46:00 AM by Samgirl2 »

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6791
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2012, 08:38:47 AM »
I'm in the US south.  Come over for dinner on a weekend means come over, have drinks and apps, dinner will be about 45 min to an hour later and then you'll socilaize till people will call it a night.  Ive been to some where it starts at 7 and everyone is gone by 9:30 and others where the last guests werent out the door till 1am.  I never plan another activity to attend after being invited to dinner.  But as a host, I have people arrive around 7, serve around 8, and then a guest says around 9:30 they need to leave because of an early commitment the next morning, I'm not insulted at all.  To me your minimal time commitment for a dinner invitation is around 2 hrs, 30 min before, an hour at the table and another half hour after.  An afternoon BBQ would be longer.

A week night invitation, I'll serve within 30 of start time and figure most want to be home early. As a host, I would be distressed if my guests arrived at 6 a d didn't leave till midnight on a week might.

The hostess in the other thread was rude because the guests had stated they had a set time schedule which was implied would be adhered to. 

cheyne

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1078
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2012, 08:54:05 AM »
It may also depend on your work hours and lifestyle.  I never accept invitations for a weeknight.  I am up for work at 5 am, so I am showered and ready for bed at 9 pm.  Since I work until at least 5 pm and have chores and work to do at home, that doesn't leave much time in the evening for socializing. 

A weekend invite for me means getting all my own household/outdoor work done before leaving for the evening.  I haven't stayed at anyone's home longer than about 3 hours for years.  When I was younger I could stay up late and still function in the morning, but it does get harder as I get older.  When I invite guests to my home, I extend the invite for 6:30, serve at 7 and expect that the evening will wrap up around 9-9:30.  Of course, none of our friends are "party-ers" anymore and most follow that schedule anyway.  When one has livestock, they still need to be taken care of around the same time every day-weekends are no exception.

I look forward to retirement (or at least cutting back on work hours) so I can get things done during the day and have more time for friends and family. 

staceym

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 462
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 09:00:21 AM »
I also think  (in the US) it is how the invitation was handled...

if it is "I'm going to make spaghetti tomorrow, why don't you come over for dinner' -  that is exactly what it means, come over for spaghetti dinner.  Now, if they tell me to come over at 6, I do not expect to eat exactly at 6 - but I go expecting it to be a few hours of dinner and chatting - not an all night thing.

if the invitation is - "what are you doing tomorrow night?  Why don't you come over and hang and I'll make some dinner and maybe we can do a movie or games or ...whatever", then I know that this is more than just dinner and will be an all night thing.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21686
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 09:03:33 AM »
Good point cheyne.  I do accept weeknight invites on occassion but often from people who have similar schedules to mine so they would have similar time constraints.


staceym, I agree.  That is pretty much my idea of saying what you mean and in my experience it tends to be what actually happens. If there is a movie in the works somebody will mention it. 

MariaE

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4751
  • So many books, so little time
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 09:05:23 AM »
I also think  (in the US) it is how the invitation was handled...

if it is "I'm going to make spaghetti tomorrow, why don't you come over for dinner' -  that is exactly what it means, come over for spaghetti dinner.  Now, if they tell me to come over at 6, I do not expect to eat exactly at 6 - but I go expecting it to be a few hours of dinner and chatting - not an all night thing.

if the invitation is - "what are you doing tomorrow night?  Why don't you come over and hang and I'll make some dinner and maybe we can do a movie or games or ...whatever", then I know that this is more than just dinner and will be an all night thing.

Exactly the same goes for Denmark. NZ is more like the UK.
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

mindicherry

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 09:08:45 AM »
I (in the US) was taught to leave after coffee or soon after you left the dinner table.  That's what "for dinner" meant. 

That's interesting. So in the case of my US friend, who literally did come over 'for dinner', he's thinking he's being polite, while I'm thinking 'wait, you only came for the food?!'

To me - and most of my circle - dinner is really the precursor to the rest of the evening. The main part of the hanging out is done after the meal. So I found it very odd that he would leave just as it was getting into 'full swing', as it were.

Quote
Not sure of UK culture, but I've been to meals in other countries where "for lunch" would mean maybe getting back home at dinnertime.  I think this is just cultural.

Yes, that's true. If I invite someone for Sunday lunch, I budget for them to be there for most of the afternoon, probably heading home around tea-time.
And to me, your US friend was rude....and I'm in the US as well ;-)

Perhaps this comes down to, not a US/UK/Australian/NameYourCountry thing, but just how you were raised and how you choose to live your life. 

We tend to be very relaxed and casual in our social circles and naturally like to hang out with/socialize with people who are the same.  Someone who insisted (for lack of a better word) or got angry that dinner wasn't on the table within 20 minutes of their arrival would likely not be invited back.  They may still be nice people, but they would become "meet at a restaurant friends", not ones that I would host in my house because I don't need or want that pressure (when my whole point of inviting someone to dinner is not just to feed them, but to hang out and relax and socialize).

Weeknight dinners DO tend to be a more rushed event (and more often than not, mean just ordering a pizza or throwing burgers on the grill) and it is understood that they will be earlier evenings due to people needing to get up for work/get the kids to bed for school.  But if it is a weekend dinner and a guest showed up, ate and then left?  They would be considered very rude in my circles!

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2012, 09:09:06 AM »
I think there's a minor yet profound difference between saying "come over for dinner" and "come over, we'll have dinner, we'll catch-up..."  I have dinner with a family member (outside my household) every week.  Sometimes more family comes sometimes less and  its just us.  But its just dinner.  I also meet a few girlfriends, 2 different sets, at least twice a years of a "girls dinner".  Again we meet at a restaurant, have a few drinks, a meal, maybe a drink or two more, but for the most part when dinner is over we go home.  Dinner is dinner.

But certainly I also am invited to socialize for extended lengths of time that might include dinner, as well as sitting around the living room chatting, or going to bar afterwards to hang out longer, etc.

It might be a cultural thing insofar as time.  I'm at work for 9 hours a day plus 2 hours of commute. I want to have 1 hour between waking up and leaving in the morning and I want 7-8 hours of sleep at night.  I need to fit laundry and grocery shopping and housework into my weekly schedule.  This kind of time crunch is normal for the folks I know.  We honestly don't have several hours to sit around socializing much as we might like it.  We might only have 3 hours on a weeknight evening.  So to do dinner works - its 2 birds with one stone (evening meal + social time) but its still a rather fixed amount of time. 

Of course on a weekend or for a special occasion we extend things for many more hours, but for a casual weekday dinner?  I think 3 hours is pretty generous an amount of time.

CrochetFanatic

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 903
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2012, 09:14:30 AM »
I think it's rude to be like, "Hey, free food!" and leave as soon as the food is gone, but I don't really know anyone who does that.  Sometimes, though, there are extenuating circumstances.  A person leaving early might be tired or feeling unwell, but had promised to make an appearance.  And sometimes conversation just dies, and things get awkward.

dharmaexpress

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2012, 09:34:04 AM »
I think it's extremely variable how people interpret a dinner invitation, based on this:

When I was taking cultural anthropology, we had a long discussion about what it means when someone says "Dinner is ready."  In my house, that meant hot food was on the table or on its way, and you were to present yourself post-haste, ready to eat (hands clean).  With my SO at the time, it meant start getting ready to sit down in about 10-15 minutes.  We had some disagreements when I had dinner ready and was seated myself and he was still not there...hadn't quite finished what he was doing in his office.

Neither of us realized it was a regional or cultural thing until that discussion in my class.  Sure enough, we were from two different areas - he was from a midwest farm family where you needed to do some stuff to transition to dinner; I was from a west coast urban area.

Unless I know someone is rude in general, I just assume this kind of thing is based on different backgrounds and expectations.  (Incidentally, to me a dinner invitation means spend the evening and eat at some point, but you offer snacks with drinks prior to the meal.)

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6224
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2012, 09:49:43 AM »
Eventually host says "i have an early start tomorrow" or "well it's getting late" and guests take their cue and begin to gather up possessions and say goodbye.
Saying goodbye can take a long time and if guests have travelled any distance the host will wave to them from the front door as they drive away!

I'm going all the way back to this one. Oh, my! I do find it astoundingly rude that people would stick around so long that the hosts have to tell them to leave. How awkward for all involved in any situation I have been in. (Central US all of my life.) Guess I just learned something!

I also hate those 1/2 hour good-byes, but that is just me. You said you must go, we enjoyed your visit. So long. My husband on the other hand, will walk the guests to their cars and stand and chat in the freezing cold or mosquitoey heat for ages.

As for our own situtation, we have had variations of all of the above posts depending on where we were in life and place and I find them all, except overstaying one's welcome, acceptable and polite.

When we were doing yard work at our recreational property, for example, I often would wash up, put on an apron, fix lunch for us and our neighbors (soup and sandwich and chips and cookies, usually), we would have a lunch and get back to work. Now that's fast food! I gave us all more time to socialize over a campfire later in the evening.

Now, it's usually come at X, we'll eat at X:30, socialize until you must leave, which can be many hours. Sometimes we do end up going out for a light meal or ice cream if it has been many hours. Sometimes the guest will say after the after-dinner drink that it's an early day tomorrow, thanks, it was delicious, got'ta go, 'bye. It's all OK with me.

Gumbysqueak

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 389
Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2012, 09:56:03 AM »
As a person from USA Colorado it is incredibly rude and strange if someone stayed after a dinner party. I host parties and dinner parties. Parties include drinks and appetizers and stay as long as midnight. Dinner parties typically start at 6:30-7 pm. First course starts at 8 and by the time desert is served and people chat it is 10 pm. It is rude for a guest at that point to plop down on the couch and start watching TV.