Author Topic: Is it rude not to help the hostess?  (Read 6980 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 11:23:00 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.  :)

It's the way it works in a lot of families, but not an absolute etiquette rule.

shhh its me

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 11:23:17 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!

Not rude, but remember rude/not rude is not the only factor in a relationship.   To be honesty the closer the relationship the less it becomes about rude/not rude. 

katycoo

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2013, 11:52:26 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!

Not rude, but remember rude/not rude is not the only factor in a relationship.   To be honesty the closer the relationship the less it becomes about rude/not rude.

^^ yes, and there's also a difference between not offering every time and not offering ever.

CakeEater

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2013, 03:50:59 AM »
Plus, it really irritates me that it's the female relatives who are supposed to help. If the son, you and your husband are helping, how much space is there for another person anyway?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2013, 07:32:26 AM »
Cate's actions would not be looked upon favorably in my family. At close family gatherings, ( which is what it sounds like the OP is describing) everyone pitches in. This does not apply in other hosting situations.

My DH's sis sounds similar to Cate. She never offers to help out at her parents, our house or her other brother's house. And she never hosts. When most family events were at her mom 's i didnt say anything even when i was in the kitchen with my DH washing dishes. But now most events are at our house. So we now assign her jobs. Even my kids do it because they realized how unfair it was that she never did anything.
 "Lisa, you rinse the dishes and I'll load."
 "Lisa, please fill the glasses with ice."
 "Lisa, would you help me clear the table."

In my SILs case, she was never required by her parents to do any chores. Her 2 older brothers were, but I think because there was a large age gap, they were the ones doing the work while the "baby" sat. And after they went off to college, it never changed. Plus the "our little princess" syndrome was well at work in that family.  At 40, she is finally getting over that.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2013, 07:35:53 AM »
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.  :)

It's the way it works in a lot of families, but not an absolute etiquette rule.
In my family, everyone, male and female help. My dad did, my uncles, and now my husbands and BILs. And unfortunately, they always get the grossest chores.

menley

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2013, 07:41:48 AM »
This is funny because it was one of the few key differences between my family and my husband's. In my family, the hostess (usually my mom, but sometimes one of my aunts) expects all of the women to help with cooking and preparation, and the women AND the men all help with cleanup. In my husband's family, his mother doesn't want help in the kitchen and no one is expected (or wanted) to help cook or clean.


My mother was horrified when, after asking me about my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws (we were just dating then, though), she found out that I hadn't helped in the kitchen or brought a dish to share. I told her that his family operates differently than ours but my mother was so insistent that my MIL just have just been pretending not to want help and was secretly upset that I didn't help.  I felt awful, sent an apology note to my husband's mother, and made a complete nuisance of myself trying to help out in the kitchen the next time I was over at their house... until finally my MIL said that she knew many people felt differently, but that her kitchen was HER DOMAIN and that she really didn't want any help in it.


Long story short... I wouldn't assume that there's any rudeness unless the hostess specifically requested help and Cate still just sat around.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2013, 07:44:16 AM »
This is funny because it was one of the few key differences between my family and my husband's. In my family, the hostess (usually my mom, but sometimes one of my aunts) expects all of the women to help with cooking and preparation, and the women AND the men all help with cleanup. In my husband's family, his mother doesn't want help in the kitchen and no one is expected (or wanted) to help cook or clean.


My mother was horrified when, after asking me about my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws (we were just dating then, though), she found out that I hadn't helped in the kitchen or brought a dish to share. I told her that his family operates differently than ours but my mother was so insistent that my MIL just have just been pretending not to want help and was secretly upset that I didn't help.  I felt awful, sent an apology note to my husband's mother, and made a complete nuisance of myself trying to help out in the kitchen the next time I was over at their house... until finally my MIL said that she knew many people felt differently, but that her kitchen was HER DOMAIN and that she really didn't want any help in it.


Long story short... I wouldn't assume that there's any rudeness unless the hostess specifically requested help and Cate still just sat around.
But the hostess cheerfully accepts help from everyone else, so it doesn't sound like she doesn't appreciate help.

camlan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2013, 07:51:53 AM »
I'm curious--do Jay's brother and SIL attend these parties? How much do the brother and SIL help out? Because if the other daughter-in-law is running around helping, then Cara's not-helping stands out even more.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Cara helped out a lot before the party--cooking, cleaning, setting things up, with the understanding that the preparation work was her contribution and she doesn't need to help out during the party.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


lowspark

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2013, 09:05:18 AM »
In this specific situation, I'd say Cate is in the wrong. Since Dina always hosts and Cate never does and since Dina is clearly accepting of help by other members of the family, then yeah, Cate should be helping or at the very least, offering to. If I were Dina, I'd just assign some tasks to Cate.

I host a lot of parties/dinners and I prefer to do everything myself. I'm one of those whose kitchen is my domain so I don't want guests doing dishes or putting food away or whatever. There are certain specific tasks I need done only at certain specific events I host where I'll assign those tasks to certain specific people. Other than that, I'd prefer that everyone just relax and enjoy themselves and let me do things the way I want.

By the same token, when I go to someone's house for a party or dinner, I seldom offer to help. I figure it's reciprocal. I've allowed them to sit back and relax and be served at my house so it's my turn to sit back. I know everyone's style is different so they may very well want help in the kitchen but I don't see myself as rude for not pitching in. It's not obligatory, it's voluntary.

I do think this case is a bit different though, based on the dynamic described in the OP.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 09:44:46 AM »

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.   

I love this expression, and know quite a few people who it fits!

that being said, I know in my family, at least with my mom, its expected that I would help, or at the very least, offer.

I can still remember one christmas in college, when my parents and I flew from NJ to OR to spend the holidays with dad's side of the family. We all had Christmas dinner at my Grandmother's house, and after it was all done, I immediately got up, and started clearing the table, and doing the dishes. Grandma had a very small kitchen, and no DW. there were probably 12-15 of us, and only ONE of my cousins came and offered to help me. The rest just sat on their butts

My mother told me she was proud of me for doing that, but also appalled at the general lack of manners, and the fact none of my other cousins but one made any effort to help.

Thipu1

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2013, 09:53:42 AM »
We offer to help and then accept whatever the answer is. 

Every host is different and everyone has pretty specific ideas about her/his kitchen.  SIL will let me help peel potatoes, French beans or set the table but that's about it.  Her adult children never volunteer.  In their own words, 'we never do it right'.

metallicafan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2013, 10:31:21 AM »
I'm curious--do Jay's brother and SIL attend these parties? How much do the brother and SIL help out? Because if the other daughter-in-law is running around helping, then Cara's not-helping stands out even more.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Cara helped out a lot before the party--cooking, cleaning, setting things up, with the understanding that the preparation work was her contribution and she doesn't need to help out during the party.

Most of the time Jay's brother attends, his contribution is that he cooks something for the party.  Jay's SIL doesn't always come, I don't know why, it's kind of strange.  I have seen her cleaning up at the end of the night.

Cate does not cook at all, and she's not much of a housekeeper from what I see of their place.   I could be wrong, but I highly doubt she is helping to set up, etc. 

wolfie

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2013, 10:55:07 AM »
I'm curious--do Jay's brother and SIL attend these parties? How much do the brother and SIL help out? Because if the other daughter-in-law is running around helping, then Cara's not-helping stands out even more.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Cara helped out a lot before the party--cooking, cleaning, setting things up, with the understanding that the preparation work was her contribution and she doesn't need to help out during the party.

Most of the time Jay's brother attends, his contribution is that he cooks something for the party.  Jay's SIL doesn't always come, I don't know why, it's kind of strange.  I have seen her cleaning up at the end of the night.

Cate does not cook at all, and she's not much of a housekeeper from what I see of their place.   I could be wrong, but I highly doubt she is helping to set up, etc.

And that could be exactly why she doesn't help. I never help cook at my parent's place. I hate cooking and I while I am a passable cook I am really not that good at it and my mom is a wonderful cook so why would I want to ruin what would be a good mean? Cleanup 0 usually someone beats me to it and I do all the cleanup at my house so I am not too concerned about not doing it at my parent's house. I clear the table and put away leftover but only one person can rinse and put in the dishwasher at a time.

If she isn't a cook and doesn't clean well what kind of help could she possible offer?

camlan

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Re: Is it rude not to help the hostess?
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2013, 10:59:39 AM »
I'm curious--do Jay's brother and SIL attend these parties? How much do the brother and SIL help out? Because if the other daughter-in-law is running around helping, then Cara's not-helping stands out even more.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Cara helped out a lot before the party--cooking, cleaning, setting things up, with the understanding that the preparation work was her contribution and she doesn't need to help out during the party.

Most of the time Jay's brother attends, his contribution is that he cooks something for the party.  Jay's SIL doesn't always come, I don't know why, it's kind of strange.  I have seen her cleaning up at the end of the night.

Cate does not cook at all, and she's not much of a housekeeper from what I see of their place.   I could be wrong, but I highly doubt she is helping to set up, etc.

So one of Dina's daughters-in-law doesn't show up much, and the other one, Cara, shows up, but doesn't help?

My take would be that there are MIL/DIL issues in this family. Perhaps the DILs have been told not to help. Perhaps they have tried to help and been snubbed.

If none of the family members are complaining about the DILs' behavior, I would chalk this up to family dynamics. Every family works out its own solution to things.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn