Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Is it rude not to help the hostess?

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Hope this is in the right spot..

DH has been best friends with Jay since high school, and we both are very close with his family, especially Jay's mom, Dina.  Jay has been married to Cate for 8 years, and they all live together in a three flat, along with Jay's brother and sil.  All parties are held in Jay's mom's part of the three flat.  End of background.

Every single party we attend, Cate does absolutely nothing to help her mil.  She does not help put food out, clear dishes, absolutely nothing.  She just sits there while Dina runs herself ragged.  Now, Jay himself helps his mom by washing dishes, etc.  Also, DH and I always help her too, because we are close to her. 

In my family, it is unthinkable to not at the very least offer to assist the hostess, so Cate not offering to assist her mil in any way is very strange to me.

So, is Cate wrong for never helping ?  Or, am I the one who is way off on this?

I think it's hard to know, from here. Maybe Cate and Jay have an agreement where Cate does all the assisting at her mother's/parents' gatherings, and Jay helps at Dina's?

Library Dragon:
It depends on Dina.  If it were me I would rather (general) you not help.  It gets in my way.  If you insist on helping I will let you because I don't want to hurt your feelings. My family knows this and stays out of my way.  It looks like they aren't helping, but are in fact doing exactly what I want.

When we had events at my IL's I did much of the prep work for any gathering, including most of the food.  When everyone arrived I got out of MIL's way and let her receive the compliments.  I didn't do clean up because I had already worked very hard.

I don't think it's necessarily rude. When I'm hosting, I really would prefer that you stay the heck out of my way.

I also agree with the idea that there might be some sort of understanding or prior arrangement.

Do you know them well enough to know the whole dynamic between Dina and Cate? For all I know, Dina may have asked or told Cate to stay out of her way. I don't think there's an absolute rule on this, so maybe Cate is being inconsiderate and Dina wants the help...or maybe not.


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