Author Topic: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?  (Read 4480 times)

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dearabby

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I need some help understanding the etiquette when dealing with a pretty informal weekly gathering at my house. For the past couple of years, a group of friends have been getting together at my house to watch the show “Game of Thrones”. This is a fun group, but after last year, I was feeling a bit burnt out on hosting & I think it was because I was overextending myself.  I’ve addressed two things that were bugging me and need help on the third:

The question I have is about seating. We need to either drag over dining room chairs or throw blankets/pillows on the floor. There are a couple of people that always claim the best spots.  I don’t mind sitting on the floor every once in a while, but every time was kind of peeving me.  When I have a dinner party, I take the proverbial short end of the stick (the chipped plate, the squished spot, the over-cooked piece, etc), but wonder if this applies with this kind of regular, informal group. So my question is this: Should the host always take the worst accommodations, or should I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite chair? Is there a way to tell the couch hogs to take a turn on the floor or just let people sit where they want?

WillyNilly

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 04:16:30 PM »
No one should always get the best seats while others always get the worst. I'm sure its not just you who is uncomfortable and resentful of the uncomfortable seating while week after week the same aggressive folks get choice seating (as a gust after about 3 times, I'd probably stop attending).

I definitely think once in a while its ok to leave something on a seat to claim it or to announce, "oh sit anywhere, except the blue chair, its easiest for me to host if I'm in that chair." After all presumably you are the one who gets up most often to refresh snacks and drinks, or answer the door for late arrivals, etc. Or even just "make yourself comfortable, anywhere is fine, although I planned on the blue chair for myself."

But I don't think you should get the best seating every week either. Everyone should rotate around between better and worse seats... although if any of the seats are truly uncomfortable I think you shoudl eliminate them and perhaps invite less people over.

bah12

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 04:18:31 PM »
Personally, I would be put off by a host who announced that he/she had a "spot" I wasn't allowed to sit in.   While I don't necessarily think that hosts automatically have to give up all comforts for the sake of their guests, when it comes to seating, I see it as a first come, first serve thing.  If you're first to the couch, then have a seat.  But if you're busy hosting and are one of the last ones to settle down for the show, then I do think the best thing to do is take what's available.

Another option would be to reduce the party size down to what you can accommodate in comfortable seating.  There are times/events when pulling in dining room chairs to watch a show is ok.  But for most of my movie nights, I only have a few people over...that way, there's room for us to sit comfortably on the couch or sprawl out on the floor if that's our preference.  I think even sitting on a couch that is overly crowded is uncomfortable for the lenght of an entire movie or sports game. 

MindsEye

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 04:21:58 PM »
I don't think that I would go so far as to mandate turn-taking on the sofa and floor... but I do think that you are within your rights to say something like "This is my house that I am opening up to you guys, so this is my chair and I am the only one who gets to sit there."  Your house = your rules, and your rules can extend to reserving your favorite seat.

When I was in grad school I was part of a similar informal group... we got together on a weekly basis to watch Firefly (and other of Joss Wheadon's masterpieces) and the host always had his armchair and his afghan and his pillow that were his and his alone, and everyone else respected that and arranged themselves around the host's favorite seat. 

Frankly I am astounded that you think that the host should always take the worst accommodations.  And if that is the line your guests are giving you, then they aren't very good or gracious guests. 

It is your house after all.  What would the rest of the group do if you decided to stop hosting? 

Maybe if you are getting really burned out, you can also suggest rotating where you all watch Game of Thrones, or that it is someone else's turn to take over hosting entirely?

amylouky

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 04:27:19 PM »
I think I would restrict my invite list to the number I could comfortably seat. Inviting someone over to sit on the floor just seems off somehow. I know I wouldn't be physically able to sit on a floor for that long (back issues) so if that were all that was available I'd probably have to miss the show.  Is it possible that some of the couch hogs have similar issues?
If not, and your group is okay with sitting on the floor, then I don't think it would be out of line to suggest a couch/floor rotation. Or maybe draw names for the better seats?

Kaypeep

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 04:34:04 PM »
This sounds like a regular, informal meeting so I'd say you are fine.  I'd put a sign and mark it DearAbby THRONE and tape it to your spot until you're ready to sit down.  If you're paying for the HBO subscription and letting these people come over to watch something they can't see themselves on their own set, then I think it's reasonable.  Sort of like the owner/driver of the car being able to pick which radio station is played.  As long as you're not making anyone else unnecessarily uncomfortable, I'm fine with this.  (Spoken as someone who now has HBO herself, but spent years without it and thus had to go to a friend's house ever Sunday for years to watch "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City".)

NyaChan

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 04:52:37 PM »
I am of the opinion that when you have guests over, the host should give them the best spots.  I am inviting people into my home and their comfort to me is more important than me getting what I would prefer.  If I was worried that a dish might run short, I would take less or none to ensure that the guests would be able to have a full serving of it.  I'd take the piece of pie with the broken crust, the slightly burned piece of toast, and yes, sit on the floor if there wasn't enough room.  I would never have a guest sit on the floor while I comfortably sat on the couch.  Even if I or that friend didn't care, my mother would smack me upside the head if she found out about it  ;)

There are of course cases where exceptions should be made - I have only once been asked to move from my spot in someone else's home.  I just happened to sit in the only chair which was comfortable for their elderly grandmother's back.  I was asked nicely to move and given an explanation why & I had no problem whatsoever moving in that circumstance.

rashea

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 04:59:20 PM »
I have different rules for a casual and regular get-together than I would for a one time event. I think it's a good idea to try and get people to rotate sitting on the floor for something that happens every week. In part because otherwise the host(ess) burns out on the event and decides to just watch the show alone.

On the other hand, can you get a few bean bag chairs or something to help ease the seating? Or invite fewer people?
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Lynn2000

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 05:15:29 PM »
Ultimately I think it's your house, your rules. And I do think there's an element of "know your audience."

But honestly as a guest I would be a bit put out by the host claiming a particular "good" spot in advance just because they wanted it, or suggesting everyone do a "seat rotation." To me that would indicate the host is inviting more people than they can comfortably accommodate, and I would probably stop attending rather than risk having to sit on the floor for an hour (which would be very uncomfortable for me). I would think, if you want the freedom to sit anywhere in the room, don't invite other people over (or invite fewer, so there's a higher percentage of "good" spots). Does that make it actually rude, though? I don't know, maybe not.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 05:25:20 PM »
I agree with other PP's who think the host should give up the "best" for their guests.

But I'd be very annoyed with a guest who always sat down in the "best" spots and not allow other guests a chance to be more comfortable, if everyone in the group is of similar physical ability. I think I'd probably call him out on it. "Sheldon, you sat there last week. Would you take a turn on the floor and give someone else a chance at that chair?"

I can hear Archie Bunker whining "Get out of my chair."

Bijou

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2013, 05:45:44 PM »
I think it is a host's responsibility to make sure their guests are comfortable.  That includes having enough comfortable seating to accommodate everyone.  I would never claim a comfortable seat as my own, unless I had specific problems that required my sitting in a certain chair.   
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TootsNYC

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2013, 06:32:46 PM »
I agree with other PP's who think the host should give up the "best" for their guests.

But I'd be very annoyed with a guest who always sat down in the "best" spots and not allow other guests a chance to be more comfortable, if everyone in the group is of similar physical ability. I think I'd probably call him out on it. "Sheldon, you sat there last week. Would you take a turn on the floor and give someone else a chance at that chair?"

I can hear Archie Bunker whining "Get out of my chair."

I agree with this.

And I'll say that if YOU, OP, have been starting to feel resentful over the seating, then you are sending yourself messages that you're doing too much, that you have allowed yourself to be taken advantage of.

You are sending up warning flares, and I want to encourage you to honor them.

I think also when you feel that you really *are* doing a bit of a favor for people (instead of offering them the gift of your hospitality, as you would were the invitation/impetus to come directly from your idea and your hospitable urges), that it's much easier to feel that you deserve a perq or two.

So if the group is sort of imposing on you, then it's not that bad for you to now and then say, "I get the blue chair tonight."

katycoo

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 06:38:35 PM »
I think that at regular gatherings like this, people tend to sit in the same spot every week, and return there without too much thought.  Someone with a 'good' spot may not consciously be taking the good spot on purpose every week.

If you (or anyone else) wants a different spot, I think its on you to take it. Head into the TV room early.  Have food and drinks out already so you can take your seat quickly before other people do.

Sharnita

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2013, 06:48:16 PM »
As a giesy, I don't e,pect my hozt who jas cleaned, provided food and drink, welcomed me into their home to also take the inferior seat all the time, too.

MrTango

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Re: Hosting question. Can I pull a Sheldon and claim my favorite spot?
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2013, 07:02:55 PM »
In my house, I always get first dibs on my chair.  It doesn't matter who else is there.  I've never really considered whether that is "rude" or not, but I don't intend to change.