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Author Topic: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?  (Read 48785 times)

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Judah

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #150 on: November 14, 2012, 04:16:51 PM »
Finally got through the thread! Just wanted to say how interesting and informative it has been - as an Aussie, I too take 'come for dinner' to mean 'come hang out with us for the night'. My partner and I are visiting the US for the first time next year so it's good to know that there's that cultural difference there.

But that's what some posters are trying to get across: For some people in the U.S., dinner = dinner, but for others it doesn't.  I live in the U.S. and I'm in the dinner = evening camp.
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#borecore

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #151 on: November 14, 2012, 04:22:49 PM »
Finally got through the thread! Just wanted to say how interesting and informative it has been - as an Aussie, I too take 'come for dinner' to mean 'come hang out with us for the night'. My partner and I are visiting the US for the first time next year so it's good to know that there's that cultural difference there.

Just to reiterate, I think a few people have argued pretty strongly for their own US experiences, but I do think a greater number of posters have said they expect dinner visitors to stay a good while, so please don't be worried about some strict taboo. Stay as long as you and your hosts are obviously enjoying yourselves!

MariaE

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #152 on: November 14, 2012, 04:23:04 PM »
I've been thinking about this a bit more. If somebody told me, "Come over for dinner" I would hear that as "I'd love to see you, but only have time for the dinner itself, rather than spending an entire evening, but I would still love to see you! :)

Otherwise I'd expect "Why don't you come on over tonight?"

That said, most of the casual get-togethers in my social circle start immediately after work, so it would be more likely to be "meet up at 5, play a few games, help make dinner, eat dinner at 7'ish, lingering over the food, leave at 8:30-9, 10 if it's a weekend".
 
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DottyG

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #153 on: November 14, 2012, 04:35:58 PM »
Quote
so please don't be worried about some strict taboo. Stay as long as you and your hosts are obviously enjoying yourselves!

I agree with this.  I said this in another post, but evenings just have a "flow" about them.  There does seem to be a natural "end" to them a lot of times.  It's not an X number of hours after eating thing; it's just a feeling that things are at an end and people go home.  The difference in that might just be in what the hosts of another culture (again, defining "culture" in many ways - familial, locational, etc) feel the flow is.

And, I do have to say that, if a host says, "Oh, don't go!  I'd love to have you stay a while longer" with a smile on their face, there may be people who think they're supposed to leave who might decide to stay a while longer, too.

I still think that, should one of us extend an invitation to another EHellion here, we might be surprised in that we're actually not going to be offending each other after all - despite this thread.  I think we'd find that we've looked at the trees of this post so closely that we've missed that we'd, actually, be more in tune with each other's hosting style than we think.  (At least, I hope so!  I hope that should I be invited to your home, or I invited you to mine, we'd still be friends afterwards! :D)


 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 04:37:38 PM by DottyG »

stargazer

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #154 on: November 14, 2012, 05:01:32 PM »
Is it just the time AFTER dinner that people are counting?  Because if I got there at 5pm, dinner was served at 5:30, and we were done by 6pm I would probably feel a little rude leaving at 6:30. 

But if I get there at 5pm, dinner isn't served until 7pm, and is a more lengthy affair (more courses, etc) and we don't finish until 8pm, I wouldn't feel rude leaving at 8:30pm because now I've been there for 3.5 hours and surely it should be obvious at that point I'm not just there for a free meal?  Doesn't the time before dinner count for anything?  I apologize if I'm misunderstanding, but what I've read really does seem to focus on the time after dinner before leaving that has people thinking whether others are rude or not.

kherbert05

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #155 on: November 14, 2012, 07:00:59 PM »
In my family we get invitations like this - Come at 1 and we will eat about 2 (that was my Thanksgiving Invite).
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blarg314

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #156 on: November 14, 2012, 08:14:31 PM »
I'm curious how much this is a cultural thing (country-to-country) and how much it is a social group thing (age, environment, kids). In university, hanging out until all hours of the night was common for me. But now, with a job with regular hours and friends with kids, social events tend to end by about 10pm at the latest, earlier when kids are involved.

Are there any people who regularly do dinner events involving children between the ages of about 3 and 10 (ie, young, but beyond the baby age) that go until late at night?  If so, where are you located?


mindicherry

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #157 on: November 14, 2012, 08:52:59 PM »
The general understanding of phrases is something that I notice a lot between countries.  We have a very common turn of phrase here which is "Bring a plate".  Often this will be a large gathering, maybe a school or church function.  People new to Australia will sometimes show up with an empty plate.  But "bring a plate" in Australia means bring a plate of food to share.  Like "come for dinner", it's the way it has abbreviated over time in our society.

 ;D I'd probably have brought an empty plate too! I'd think the hosts didn't have enough dishes for the number of people coming over! But if you said "bring a dish," I'd interpret it as bring food. That's funny.
This thread is hilarious (and enlightening), because it would never occur to me that "Bring a Plate" means anything other than "bring a dish to share" ;)

mindicherry

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #158 on: November 14, 2012, 09:02:29 PM »
I really don't see why 2-3  hours of socializing and eating would be an "eat and run", and resent the implication that if I can't stay over burning the midnight oil I'd be a bad guest. I think people aren't distinguishing well between what holiday meals, dinner parties and casual get-togethers might mean to different people. Maybe a lot of people only throw dinner parties, not more casual events. How often do you see the people you'd expect to stay over for the entire evening? Do they have work, pets or kids to get home for?

If I invite my best friend and her 2 year old over for a casual week-day dinner, I'm not going to mind if she only has an hour and a half before she has to leave.

If I invite friends over for a dinner party, I expect that they will probably be over for at least 3 hours, unless they tell me otherwise.

If I have a big family holiday dinner, I'll be lucky to get some of them out by the next morning- and most will be there from around 2 til well past midnight.

I've found that younger people and people without children (or children who do well without schedules) tend to expect longer evenings of just "hanging out"- I remember pre-kids that's what my friends and I tended to do. Think the typical university lazy night in of pizza and bad movies. Now, however, for most of us we have "career" jobs that we have to get up early for, or packs of small sprogs that need babysitters or early bedtimes- and "come over for dinner" tends to mean an earlier start and end, unless it's a "big" occasion. I have single, younger childless friends who- while not being rude about it, just don't *get* that I can't come over after work and hang out playing wii for 5 hours on a moments notice. It's not that either of us are the least bit wrong, we're just at totally different lifestyle places at the moment. I think as long as guests and hosts communicate, it's not rude to meet for shorter times than a whole evening. If my friends had to give up their whole evening to see me, I'd *never* see them, because between sports practices, recitals, work meetings, doctors visits, shift work, children's bedtimes, sitter limitations.... it would never ever happen.
Here's my deal....

If I invite people over for anything other than an impromptu BBQ on a school night ("what do you have in the freezer?  I have this! let's just throw it all on the grill so that the kids can keep playing!"), I go through a great deal of time & effort planning the dish, shopping, cooking, etc.

I don't "do" formal dinner parties - ever. But I have done plenty of dinners with friends where I spent upwards of $100-$200 in order to have a great meal with great friends.

And if any of those friends ditched out after 90 minutes because they were "only invited to dinner"?  They would be forever be assigned to my "Applebees friends" (where I NEVER go)

inviting someone for dinner at your home is not the same as inviting someone to dinner at a restaurant (where you are expected to be out in 90-120 minutes).


DottyG

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #159 on: November 14, 2012, 09:06:42 PM »
I think "ditched out" is a loaded term for what the other side has described they thought was the correct and polite thing to do. That seems to imply a rudeness that isn't there and isn't really a nice thing to say.

If I'm going to be called out for using the word "games", I think the same applies here.


mindicherry

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #160 on: November 14, 2012, 09:12:56 PM »
I really don't see why 2-3  hours of socializing and eating would be an "eat and run", and resent the implication that if I can't stay over burning the midnight oil I'd be a bad guest.

I don't think that's what the 'don't eat and run' crowd are saying, though.

For me, it hinges on the amount of time spent after the meal.

If you (not you you, you general) leave 20, 30 minutes after you put your fork down, I can see how that implies 'I've socialised with you for just long enough to eat your food, and now the food is gone I'm leaving' and that to me is what comes over as rude.

I don't understand your reply!

If I get to my friend's house at 6:30, dinner is served at 7:00, we eat for 60 minutes (nibbles, main, dessert) and then I leave 30 minutes after I put my fork down that's 2 hours.  So if you are saying it is rude to leave 30 minutes after dinner you are exactly saying staying for 2 hours is rude.  That's absolutely what you are saying.

And like Rohanna, I don't see that as "eat & run" nor do I think its rude.  It might be different then what you are used to.  It might not be what you thought in your head about the invite when you said "come for dinner", but its not "eating and running" nor is it rude.

I really what it boils down to is "dinner" does not actually mean "evening" in normal language.  Sure for many posters dinner = evening in their heads, and perhaps in their experience, but thoughts are silent and experiences aren't universal, so really the burden of clear communication is on the person issuing the invitation.  If you want to invite someone for the evening, including a dinner meal, why not just be 100% clear and say that?  Why play the coy game of "I'll say 'dinner' but I'll mean 'evening' and expect people to know the difference without me saying so."
Because that is what this forum is for - to understand etiquette rules.  You may think that I should say "Come for dinner.  Just so you know - if you leave less than 45 minutes after you put your fork down, I will think you rude"

I say - I long ago learned which of my friends have the same viewpoint as I do and which don't.  The ones that won't pressure me to have dinner on the table or make me feel like a fast-food restaurant are the ones that I will invite back to my home.

And it is not rude of me to feel that way about who I want to invite to my home for dinner....just as it isn't rude for them to think that 2 hours or less is a reasonable amount of time when if comes to "come to dinner"

mindicherry

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #161 on: November 14, 2012, 09:21:07 PM »
Or we could all just be nice to each other and realize that the people we invite over are not rude just because they don't stay until 1 AM.

Honestly, this thread makes me not really want to accept an invitation to a dinner if I'm visiting somewhere.  Because it sounds like hosts are going to apply whatever "norm" they choose and automatically assume I'm rude if I don't comply with it if I don't know about it.  I shouldn't have to spend hours of research before accepting an invitation to supper.  If you like me enough to have me over, I would assume that you like me enough to realize that I'm not going to be rude to you in exchange.  If you don't like me enough to be understanding of me, then don't invite me to start with.  (That's coming across snarky, and I'm not intending it to.  I'm trying to say that the people that you invite should be people that you know aren't going to be rude.)
No - and I assume that you don't have to worry about this in your own family/social circle, because you KNOW what is expected.

But if you are invited to an entirely new environment, just do a little research with mutual friends and family about what is expected of you (such as, I am going to a luncheon at a home this Sunday for my brother and his new wife at the home of the wife's stepparents.  Aside from the foreign-to-me religous aspect, I needed to know how long I was expected to be there to line up a babysitter.  With that family - is a lunch a 2-hour deal?  4-hours?  Does it turn in to dinner)

DottyG

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #162 on: November 14, 2012, 09:23:04 PM »
Wait, how did religion get into this? ???

We're on a totally different topic than I thought.


DottyG

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #163 on: November 14, 2012, 09:27:24 PM »
And, I disagree to some extent. The reason that I know when to leave with my friends and family is what I've said several times now. It's the flow of the evening. Sometimes that flow means I'm there late and sometimes it means that I leave earlier.  I've said this before, I can usually "feel" when it seems right to leave - be that at 8 o'clock or 1 o'clock.

My point has been this arbitrary "x number of hours" thing seems odd. I don't judge my dinners at someone's house by the number of hours I've spent there since I put my fork down. It's based on other things.

And I still kind of resent the "ditching out" comment if I end up leaving earlier than someone thought I should. That is attributing a rudeness that I more than likely wasn't portraying. And, if a host felt that way, I wouldn't be accepting any more invitations anyway - it's an attitude that I'd be hurt by as the guest. :(


« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 09:30:07 PM by DottyG »

Sharnita

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #164 on: November 14, 2012, 09:29:05 PM »
Althogh, anybody rember saying people didn't need to worry about being judged when the invites gad nothing to do with religion? Apparently accepting but staying the wrong length of time could result in a lot of judgement from some people.


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