Author Topic: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?  (Read 4976 times)

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Nebulous

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Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« on: December 09, 2013, 03:24:32 AM »
The pitching in thread kind of reminded me of this...

Matriarch loves Thanksgiving; she is a great cook and enjoys having her family over for the holidays.  Matriarch likes to make sure everyone enjoys the meal and has plenty to eat.  For example, one family does not like turkey and one family has special dietary restrictions let's say vegetarian.  Thanksgiving at Matriarch's house always has three main dishes turkey, another meat, and a vegetarian dish.  Over time, it has become obvious that as the family has grown, cooking for that many people is overwhelming and stressful, especially since Patriarch is in ill health and can't help out much.

Over the past few years, this situation has lead to various families bringing in dishes so Matriarch doesn't have to spend all her time in the kitchen.  This year, Family A brought a meat main dish, one side dish and one dessert.  Family B brought two side dishes and two desserts.  Family C brought one side dish and Family D brought one dessert.  Family F, however, brought nothing. ::)  Family F is the largest family and are the vegetarians.  I also did not see anyone in Family F help out in the kitchen or during clean up.

One of the adults in Family F mentioned that they didn't bring anything because Matriarch already had all the food covered.  I think Family F should have offered to bring a dish when discussing holiday plans with Matriarch.  (Note: Family F has offered and provided a vegetarian main dish in the past.)

Matriarch probably doesn't care, and even if she did, she would never say anything.  I'm trying not to think unkind things about Family F but the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way and I feel that they should have done more to help out.

So was Family F rude or am I just being overly judgmental?

cicero

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 03:39:03 AM »


One of the adults in Family F mentioned that they didn't bring anything because Matriarch already had all the food covered.  I think Family F should have offered to bring a dish when discussing holiday plans with Matriarch.  (Note: Family F has offered and provided a vegetarian main dish in the past.)

Matriarch probably doesn't care, and even if she did, she would never say anything.  I'm trying not to think unkind things about Family F but the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way and I feel that they should have done more to help out.

So was Family F rude or am I just being overly judgmental?
if Family F discussed this with Matriarch, and M said it's ok, then family F didn't do anything wrong. you don't know the situation - maybe there are financial/logistical/emotional/health issues going on that prevented them from being able to offer a dish. the fact that they are "the vegetarians" is not an issue.

not cleaning up, on thanksgiving, when everyone else not only prepared food but are also helping with set up and clean up is rude.

I don't know if you are being overly judgemental - it's possible that there is a back history here that is coloring your view.

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 04:40:42 AM »
If the food was covered, Family F could have brought drinks or snacks.

Margo

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 05:26:36 AM »
I think it is between the family and the Matriarch - do you know they did't offer? If one of them commented that M had it covered then that may have come from them having offered and M having declined.

If you feel that M is overwhelmed genrally I think that you would have to address it at an earlier stage and with all of the extended family - e.g. by speaking to / e-mailing everyone well ahead of the next big holiday, saying that you are concerned that M won't ask for help but that i is a lot of work for her, and proposing that you all make clear to her that you want to help. Regarding the clean up, I think that this is more a 'speak up at the time' thing - not in a "why aren't you doing anything' way but asking everyone to join e.g  "OK, this table isn't going to clear itself - F & Mrs F, can you give me a hand?" or "OK - there are x number of kids/teens - how about [list of names] wash and dry the dishes and [list of other names] put everything away/" As long as you include yourself and your own family as well as the F family you're not picking on them or putting them on the spot.

I don't think it is relevant that Family F are vegetarian. In terms of pitching in to help with tidying etc I think its reasonable to look at individuals, not families - so the issue for me wouldn't be how many of them there are but more about their ages and what it is reasonable for them to do.[/list][/list]

Pen^2

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 05:39:37 AM »
Not bringing food is between Family F and Matriarch. It's possible she really did have everything covered and told them so, which is fine. It's also possible they didn't even ask her and just made assumptions, which would have been rude. Unless you have the full story you can't be sure, so it's not fair to say anything.

Not helping to wash or clean up is rude if it's apparent and known that all the other guests are helping.

Zizi-K

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 07:51:37 AM »
It is highly possible that Family F checked in with Matriarch ahead of time, and since so many others were already bringing things, she told them not to. The real test will be next year: after they showed up this year as the one family that didn't bring anything, will they make a point to next time, or sit back again and let everyone else do the work?

hopeful4

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 08:38:55 AM »
As PPs stated, there may be background info not known to the OP.  If Family F had discussed with Matriarch, not bringing food is not necessarily rude.  However, if other families took it upon themselves to bring dishes to help out and this was known beforehand and Family F made no such offer, it may not be rude but is a little selfish.  As for not helping with the clean up and it was appearent all the other guest were helping, yes, that was rude.  Especially if they knew all the other families brought food and they did not.  That really smacks of entitlement. 

Luci

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 08:52:46 AM »
As far as the cleanup goes, once the tables are cleared and readied for games, I don't want anyone in my kitchen to "help". They are are always saying, "What should I do with this?" which I find very distracting and most of them get in my way, don't load the dishwasher right, leave my fridge disorganized, and throw away flatware. I usually chase people away, and no way can five people work in any home kitchen I have ever seen. This includes dinners for 35 with non-disposable tableware and cloth napkins.

Last summer so many people brought food without talking to me about it that some of it never got touched.

You know the dynamics of how your family tries to work, but I really don't think you should be fretting about family F.

m2kbug

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 09:33:46 AM »
As far as the food is concerned, there could be financial reasons they couldn't bring food for 15-20 people.  It could be that Matriarch told them not to bring anything.  It could be that Matriarch is not comfortable asking people to bring food.  It might be time for one of the kids or other family member to help organize, which could include seeing who can come early to help set up or stay late to clean, and this could be done a bit in advance of Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter or any major event the Matriarch would typically host. 

Usually I just dive in and help, depending on the host.  Sometimes I don't.  Usually I ask and plenty of times no help is desired, or they don't say anything and just tell me to go sit and enjoy myself.  So with that, I don't know what the dynamic is, but I think they could have helped (and probably should have), but I don't know if anything was actually expected of them, at least as far as the Matriarch is concerned. 

It could be that someone could take over a more leadership role before the next event and get people thinking about tasks they can take over to help out and "fill some slots" on who can do what to help out, whether it's setting up, cleaning, dishes to bring, etc. 

NyaChan

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 09:58:15 AM »
I agree with the others - clearly a conversation happened between the hostess and that family which you were not privy to and therefore, I don't think you can really say that they were rude. 

In general (as in not specific to you situation OP), though a hostess' health may not be what it was, this event was not billed as a potluck right?  Can we really expect guests to guess when the host actually means they have it covered or is just being polite but really needs help at a hosted dinner?  Wouldn't it be kind of insulting to assume someone can't handle hosting the event they've invited you to and told you they don't need help with?

TootsNYC

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 10:29:44 AM »


  I also did not see anyone in Family F help out in the kitchen or during clean up.

One of the adults in Family F mentioned that they didn't bring anything because Matriarch already had all the food covered. 

 I'm trying not to think unkind things about Family F but the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way and I feel that they should have done more to help out.


I wouldn't try so hard.

I'd give them a little leeway because Matriarch may have convinced them that their food contributions wouldn't be necessary or would be in the way.

But the clean-up? Yeah, they -could- have helped, and if they were conscientious, they'd have done so to make sure you didn't all think they were "takers," since they clearly saw that other people brought food.

So, maybe don't think -horribly- unkind things, but I don't think you need to excise all negative judgment.

People get judged by their actions (or lack thereof).

But do leave room in your negative judgment for them to improve. Because next year they may pitch in better.

Next year, specifically ask one of them to help all the rest of you at cleanup.
 

z_squared82

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 11:00:06 AM »
I agree it's between the Family F and the Matriarch. Although is it possible they were just clueless?

My uncle with the largest family (seven kids) would remember to bring something, but it might be just one small bowl of jello. It just didn't occur to him that since he brings the most people to feed, he should show up with more food.

shhh its me

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 12:22:45 PM »
  I'd be slow to judge them not bring something.  After all we say "its ok to offer to bring a dish to a family meal but take no for an answer." Since this was the first year Matriarch accepted dishes they may not have known. 

Cleaning up I think its rude not to help with 2 exceptions those with very young children that must be supervised/the infirmed or if they get shooed out.  I have one more sort of caveat My aunt hosts a holiday meal and one of her guest is soo eager to help clear afterwords she sort of dominates the hour after dinner(one person starts cleaning everyone joins in) My Aunt has had to tell her to stop quite firmly. 

Allyson

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 02:00:50 PM »
What about Family E???

Seriously though, I think that not bringing anything could be OK. If there genuinely was enough food, I don't think bringing something just to bring it is necessary. But, some awareness of how the situation looks really should've led to them helping out in the cleanup especially if everybody else was!

esposita

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Re: Thanksgiving - was this rude or am I just overly judgmental?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 02:28:03 PM »
I wouldn't give the food thing another thought. You have no idea what's going on with that as you were not the host.

The cleaning up afterwards is a different story. There would have been nothing wrong with asking someone from that family to help out. But after the fact I don't see the point in bringing it up. Just rehearse a few variations of asking them for assistance for next year.

Then breathe in, and let it go!  :)