Author Topic: Is it rude not to help the hostess?  (Read 7293 times)

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metallicafan

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Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« on: September 03, 2013, 08:48:41 PM »
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?



MorgnsGrl

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 09:01:54 PM »
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

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 09:12:31 PM »
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.

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sweetonsno

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 09:14:56 PM »
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.

Yvaine

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 09:15:15 PM »
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.

NyaChan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 09:24:04 PM »
I can think of a lot of reasons why she isn't helping, so I don't think this is per se rude.  For all we know, maybe Cate doesn't like to entertain but was overruled by Dina & her husband with "You don't worry about a thing.  We'll do all the work."  Maybe Cate is hopeless in the kitchen or at housework, maybe Dina doesn't like her to help, maybe Cate just doesn't see the need to help as she is apparently attending in the role of a guest, not a host (since you consider Dina to be the hostess of the gathering). 

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 09:28:13 PM »
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.

Yes I do, and unfortunately the dynamic is not very good. 

I have never gotten the vibe that Dina is adverse to having anyone help her.  I always help her and I know she appreciates it. 

NyaChan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2013, 09:33:04 PM »
For my part, as I think about it more, I don't think it is rude for a guest to not offer to help the host in general.  I don't invite people with the expectation that they will assist me in throwing my party.  I can see it rising to the level of being rude - i.e. some domestic emergency where any considerate person would have offered to help, but for the most part, an offer is sweet, but not rude if it doesn't happen. 

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 09:37:19 PM »
Just to give another example from my own perspective:

I am not that fond of my own sil.  Deep down I'm sure she feels the same about me.  But, when one of us hosts a party, we are the first ones to ask one another if we need any help, because that is just how it's done in our family.  Maybe I'm the one who is nuts for helping.......... ::)

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 10:15:00 PM »
If the relationship is decent, I would expect a DIL to help her MIL at a party, especially in a somewhat shared space.  But if the relationship isn't great, I can see the DIL not helping or the MIL asking telling her not to help.

My SIL was more of a hinderance than a help.  My mother would have referred to her as a 'fart in a mitt'.  No idea where that expression came from but refers to somebody being a bit scattered and not able to get much done in any kind of order or timeframe.  So I could have seen my mother telling my SIL, 'I got it; you relax.'

And since my Mom has been gone for 10 years and my SIL is my STBXSIL, I don't have to worry about it anymore.   :)
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katycoo

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 10:19:50 PM »
I disagree with the premise that if a guest does not offer to help the host that they are impolite.

Offering to help is a nice thing, but its not their job.  Certainly the dynamic between the two is relative.  A more distant guest would be less likely to offer (or have any offer taken up) than a close relative or friend.  That also said, a close relative or friend of mine would also ask for my help if they needed it.  Has Dina ever asked cara for assistance?

I get the impression that you are noticing that Cara does't offer Dina because it seems that you and Dina have opinions about her which are pehaps less than positive.

Venus193

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 10:44:03 PM »
It may depend on your relationship to the hostess.  If you are related -- or know each other so long DNA makes no difference -- it could be.

In general, I don't think declining to offer to help is rude.  I usually prefer to do it all because kitchens in my part of the world don't have room for two cooks (or whatever).

What is rude is being guilt-tripped into helping.

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 10:58:38 PM »
These responses are interesting.  I've had it drilled into me that when your mother, mother in law, or sister in law, basically any close relative is hosting a party, that the female relatives always help the hostess.  Always.  That is just the way it is done.

Is it really true that you are not rude if you don't hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess?  I feel horribly guilty if I don't offer assistance.  Not being snarky, that's a genuine question.  :)

amylouky

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 11:08:43 PM »
Hmm. I've kind of given up trying to help my MIL when she has get-togethers.. I used to, but she'd hover over me watching and almost literally wringing her hands. I finally came to the conclusion that however I was washing the dishes/chopping the veggies/slicing the ham, it was never going to be the way that she wanted it done, and I was stressing her out more by doing it than if she just did it herself.
Now, I do help take out garbage, clear the table, refill drinks, and greet people as they arrive. But I guess to someone seeing me sitting on the couch socializing while MIL puts out the food or washes dishes, it would probably look like I wasn't helping at all.

katycoo

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 11:11:44 PM »
These responses are interesting.  I've had it drilled into me that when your mother, mother in law, or sister in law, basically any close relative is hosting a party, that the female relatives always help the hostess.  Always.  That is just the way it is done.

Is it really true that you are not rude if you don't hide yourself in the kitchen with the hostess?  I feel horribly guilty if I don't offer assistance.  Not being snarky, that's a genuine question.  :)

Absolutely not rude.  I am close to my ILs and do offer help but I've pretty much never been taken up on it, or when i have its a short job so I'm never hiding in the kitchen.  if I can already see 4 people flapping about I just stay out of their way.  Too much help makes things worse!