Author Topic: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?  (Read 15634 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #45 on: November 13, 2012, 10:52:42 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.

Interesting. I'd never serve (or expect) pre-dinner drinks or apps for a casual get-together. They are for formal dinner parties only.

Same here.

Jones

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #46 on: November 13, 2012, 10:53:41 AM »
I am reading the answers and smiling because, TBH, I would feel uncomfortable staying at almost anyone's house past 9 pm. If I want to socialize, it needs to be much earlier than that, or my host will see me fall asleep on the couch.

But I am grateful for this thread. I don't have a lot of friends from other cultures, and this reminds me to watch the sensitivity in the future should I get to know someone from somewhere else, who acts outside my norm.

TootsNYC

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #47 on: November 13, 2012, 10:56:45 AM »
I've never thought you should leave right after coffee. (where I grew up, people drink coffee WITH their meals)

And the socializing is the point, to me.

True, a big chunk of it DOES get done AT the dinner table. So the "time left for socializing" is a silly concept for me. Every single time I've gone to someone's home (or had them to my home), we've been socializing since the moment the guest walked in the door.

But I would expect to linger for a little while after dessert simply to continue the conversation.
 

So yes, I do sort of expect a dinner invitation means "the bulk of the evening"--minimum 1.5 hours, depending, but generally more. I wouldn't assume "stay until almost bedtime," however. No matter what we were doing, I would expect to leave by 10pm. If I lived in a more suburban area, I might expect to leave at 8:30.

Three hours is plenty. (If houseguests, like fish, start smelling after 3 days, then dinner guests begin to develop an odor at three house. Some "fish" keep better than others, of course.)  (to me, two hours is minimum)

And it would *always* be rude for a guest to plot down and watch TV!!!!

Sharnita

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #48 on: November 13, 2012, 11:01:04 AM »
Side note - does everyone consider dessert a de facto part of dinner?  Dessert and coffee are mentioned in a lot of posts and in my experience they might or might not be part of the dinner.

MrsJWine

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #49 on: November 13, 2012, 11:06:13 AM »
To me, it means, "Come over for however long you feel like it starting at X time, and we'll eat at Y time." But I really only feel comfortable inviting over people who I know like us. We do invite acquaintances over from time to time, but I'm a total stress case about it. However, I don't think I've ever had anyone over I was so insecure about that I would take them leaving earlyish to mean they just came for the food. As long as there's some socializing, I would just assume they had to get home to go to bed, or to run an errand, or because they get tired easily being out with other people. A typical "come over for dinner" around our place usually lasts 2-3 hours, I think, but if someone could only stay for an hour or an hour and a half, that would be fine.


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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2012, 11:15:42 AM »
To me this whole thing can be chalked up to what's typical in your social circle. With most of my friends and family, a dinner invitation includes hanging out before and after dinner unless the host/hostess or guest has explicitly said they have a time constraint. If I were invited to dine at the home of someone I did not know as well, I'd err on the side of not overstaying my welcome. I'd probably intend to hang out for awhile after dinner to socialize but not stay much more than an hour or so after dinner. That is probably a cultural thing being in the U.S. Visiting other countries I might not do that.

This is true in our circle as well.  For a typical "come over for dinner," it usually lasts about 2-3 hours.  It's considered rude around here to stay longer than an hour after dinner, unless there's a specific activity mentioned. 

MariaE

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2012, 11:15:50 AM »
Side note - does everyone consider dessert a de facto part of dinner?  Dessert and coffee are mentioned in a lot of posts and in my experience they might or might not be part of the dinner.

Thanks! I was just coming here to ask the same thing. Neither dessert nor coffee would be a norm in my social circle. They might be offered, but they might just as well not.

Pre-dinner drinks, apps, dessert, coffee all scream 'formal dinner' to me. Not a casual dinner with friends.
 
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StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2012, 11:17:23 AM »
Side note - does everyone consider dessert a de facto part of dinner?  Dessert and coffee are mentioned in a lot of posts and in my experience they might or might not be part of the dinner.

Thanks! I was just coming here to ask the same thing. Neither dessert nor coffee would be a norm in my social circle. They might be offered, but they might just as well not.

Pre-dinner drinks, apps, dessert, coffee all scream 'formal dinner' to me. Not a casual dinner with friends.

For us desserts and coffee are always part of dinner, whether it's formal or not.  Maybe our social circle just have a very sweet tooth.   ;D

Judah

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2012, 11:20:25 AM »
Side note - does everyone consider dessert a de facto part of dinner?  Dessert and coffee are mentioned in a lot of posts and in my experience they might or might not be part of the dinner.

Thanks! I was just coming here to ask the same thing. Neither dessert nor coffee would be a norm in my social circle. They might be offered, but they might just as well not.

Pre-dinner drinks, apps, dessert, coffee all scream 'formal dinner' to me. Not a casual dinner with friends.

Pre-dinner drinks, apps, dessert, and coffee are all standard for any but the most casual dinners, in my experience.  Now, I'm talking about having company over, not the everyday family dinner.  But yes, anytime I've had guests to dinner, if it wasn't a spur of the moment thing, we have pre-dinner drinks, apps, dessert, and coffee.
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Jones

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2012, 11:24:56 AM »
Coffee is a big No-no in my area, even those who drink it (I do) I don't think drink it after 4 or 5 pm. "Would you like a glass of water or juice?" will be offered but generally turned down after the meal.

Dessert or apps is a Sometimes, but not at all regular, thing. After I started surfing this site a year or more ago, I started offering snacks to visitors, even the most casual drop-ins from church. I was met with surprise for the most part, and little enough gratitude; most didn't take any("After that dinner I couldn't fit in another bite!" or "Oh, we're only staying for a few minutes, just wanted to talk about X."). I quit offering desserts this last spring, and no one has commented on the lack. I do have a basket of candy I keep out that occasionally is nibbled at by someone other than my family.

Bijou

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2012, 11:26:19 AM »
If someone asked me over for dinner, I would go for dinner, stay a respectable time afterwards (maybe an hour)  and then leave.  If they say to come over to visit for the evening and that they'll also be serving dinner that's quite another kind of invitation. 
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shivering

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #56 on: November 13, 2012, 11:27:47 AM »
I'm from the Northeast U.S. While it does depend on the circumstances of who is inviting, the day of the week, etc., "come over for dinner" to me means that dinner is the main part of the evening.

A 6:30 dinner invitation to me means that dinner is served around 7 and we'll do most of our socializing at the table. I'd expect to leave around 9 or 9:30. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but if it's "come over and spend an evening" type of night, in my experience, the host will usually say, come over  around 6:30, we'll have dinner and drinks or dinner and hang out.

This is an interesting thread. The guests who leave early think they're being polite by not overstaying their welcome, while the hosts think it's rude to eat and run.

 

mlogica

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #57 on: November 13, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »
In my social circle, most invitations for dinner are fairly casual and "why don't you come for dinner?"  means "come over for a meal and hang out afterwards for some unspecified period of time".  In my experience, the "hang out afterwards" almost never involves watching TV or a movie; it's just more conversation.  These gatherings most often happen on weekends so can easily run until midnight, which is about the point the first person says, "I'm tired and need to get going" and that usually triggers the rest to do the same.  I think it would be difficult for anyone to actually overstay their welcome, because this is the way it's always been and it's what I expect on the occasions that DH and I are hosting.

FWIW, DH and I, and the majority of our social circle, are in our late 40's and early 50's, and most people either don't have children or the children are adults themselves.  So that dynamic isn't a factor in determining what time we meet, what time we actually eat, and what time we call it a night and go home.  And these dinners are not "dinner parties", really.  Some are a litle more formal than others but they're all pretty relaxed.  And whoever is hosting always provides some kind of snacks beforehand, or has made arrangements with one of the guests to bring snacks.  There's usually something sweet afterwards, but not often a formal dessert.  Maybe cookies or brownies with the after dinner coffee/drinks.  Typically everyone brings something to drink, but that's more a courtesy than anything else, because the hosts always have enough food and drinks for everyone.  There is the occasional exception, like a spontaneous end of summer BBQ that was specifically "BYOB".

On the relatively rare occasions that we host or are hosted for dinner on a week night, it does tend to be more "arrive at X time, eat dinner shortly afterwards, leave within an hour of dinner".  But that's usually because the dinner part is incidental to something else; e.g.:  "when you come over on Thursday night to drop off those things you got for me at Costco, stay for dinner; I'll make some of that spaghetti that you like."

elephantschild

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #58 on: November 13, 2012, 11:59:44 AM »
Interesting topic. We're in the Northeast and had a slight clash even within the families when DH and I were first married.

To my MIL, coming for dinner meant, for example, come to the house about 5 p.m. Then she'd press snacks and drinks on people. Declining, even politely, seemed to horrify her.

My family and I soon realized why, in part ... it would likely be hours to dinner. The first time my folks went to dinner at her house, they declined the sweet stuff when they first walked in the door ... and then were ready to eat the placemats by the time dinner was actually served. Still getting the feel for DH's family myself, I didn't think to warn them. :P

Now, a meal with my family ... when guests arrived, the person getting the food ready would emerge to politely greet the guests, then return to the kitchen. The meal would be served within 30 minutes; apologies forthcoming if much later. There were generally no snacks or drinks beforehand. (I later learned MIL thought this was rude of us, although the meal was likely to be within 20-30 minutes, not 2-3 hours.)

To this day, with Thanksgiving and the like, DH and I have to remind each other that "at 1 p.m." to me means eating by 1:30 at latest, whereas with his family, it means "we'll probably eat by 3 or 4 p.m. Probably." :)

(Both families also socialized afterward, although to varying degrees.)
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Hmmmmm

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Re: What does "come over for dinner" mean to you?
« Reply #59 on: November 13, 2012, 12:08:26 PM »
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.

Interesting. I'd never serve (or expect) pre-dinner drinks or apps for a casual get-together. They are for formal dinner parties only.

Same here.

Really?  Even for the smallest, most causal get together we usually have something out when guest arrive and a drink (alcoholic or non) is in their hand within 5 min.  On this past Sunday my sister and her DH over for a casual Sunday meal to try out a corned beef I had cured.  But I still had a plate of cheese and olives set out even though we ate within 30 minutes of their arrival. 

But I also never plan to serve my guests before 30 minutes after the set start time, longer for more formal parties.  The 30 min leeway makes sure that if they are running late, it's not going to impact my meal.  And usually everything is already made other than any last minute prep needed like dressing a salad or letting the meat rest before carving.