Author Topic: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash  (Read 3850 times)

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BeagleMommy

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2013, 12:43:04 PM »
POD to those who've said to follow the norm of the group you're with.

My family has always had a kind of "feeding frenzy" approach to family dinners.  Mom says "Everything's ready" and we descend, en masse, until all the dishes are gone.

My SIL's family is very formal.  Mother puts the food on the table and father serves from the head of the table.  Even with pizza.  It had to be removed from the box, placed on a tray and father would distribute slices one at a time.

SIL had never eaten off a paper plate until she came to our house.  She got used to our "every man for himself" ways eventually.

cwm

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 01:03:26 PM »
In dad's family, we usually waited until the elders got their food. Mostly because they were/are well into their 80s and 90s and can't really stand the strain of waiting in line for food. They'd get theirs, and if they wanted more of something, they'd ask whoever they were sitting with and someone else would go get it for them.

Mom's paternal family, kids always went first. It got them out of the way and into the other room. Then again, we didn't have a set meal time either, it was always more food being brought out or more family members showing up, so we didn't really have a line to get food either.

Mom's maternal family, everyone wants to be polite and wait for everyone else. I've learned that when they announce the food is ready and to help yourselves, I'm almost always one of the first ones through because someone has to be, and I don't mind being that first person through. Everyone in that family is more worried that everyone else should go first, they don't want to look greedy, etc. so they just wait. Besides, in that family, we always end up with about five times as much food as we need, so we don't have to worry about anything running out.

OP, it sounds like it's just different family dynamics. Nobody is "wrong" at all. If it really makes you uncomfortable to jump into the line at your DH's family gatherings, then wait a bit. It's still not wrong to do that. He can take the lead in your family, but if you're really not comfortable elbowing in to the front then don't. As long as nobody's offended by you waiting, it shouldn't be a problem at all.

girlmusic

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 05:33:56 PM »
OP - my family is like yours and DH's family is like your DH's family. When I joined DH's family 8 years ago, I did what I was taught - ask the infirm elders if they would like me to get them a plate and/or if they would like help before getting anything for myself. I did this out of respect - and they LOVED it even when they refused my help.  It caught on and now DH's younger sisters do it too.


Julsie

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2013, 06:55:13 PM »
I agree that there are differing approaches to the buffet line and they can all be "right".  But I do not think the same holds true for seats.  In my opinion, it is inappropriate for children to take a chair when there are not enough seats for all of the adults... and it is rude for their parents to let them.

Lynn2000

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2013, 07:13:33 PM »
I agree that there are differing approaches to the buffet line and they can all be "right".  But I do not think the same holds true for seats.  In my opinion, it is inappropriate for children to take a chair when there are not enough seats for all of the adults... and it is rude for their parents to let them.

Seems kind of rude, too, that there aren't enough seats for everyone! At least, I'm thinking of my family holiday meals--indoors, serve yourself from the buffet, sit at a table. The guest list is more or less set and if extra people showed up, the host would be running around dragging desk chairs up to the table so everyone would have a seat.
~Lynn2000

flickan

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Re: inlaws are more relaxed than my folks-- how to deal with etiquette clash
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2013, 07:36:45 PM »
I agree that there are differing approaches to the buffet line and they can all be "right".  But I do not think the same holds true for seats.  In my opinion, it is inappropriate for children to take a chair when there are not enough seats for all of the adults... and it is rude for their parents to let them.

For clarification the issue with "too few seats" is one that comes up only at one event during the year which is a very large house party with snacks and drinks, not a full sit down dinner.  The family hosting  (relatives of my spouse) is in the habit of inviting a very large number of people over and people come and go as they like.  As he puts it, it's basically every man for himself when it comes to seats and kids and adults both rush to take seats once they're free because there are never enough for everyone.  It's almost like a game I guess, but it's very much not what I'm used to.  My spouse has since clarified for me that the elderly family members are not expected to have to fight for a seat, but it's something you see all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and their many kids doing.  As a child I was taught to immediately relinquish a seat and stand or sit on the floor if an adult needed a place to sit.  But he says it's all in good fun.  Again, very different backgrounds.