Author Topic: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request  (Read 7348 times)

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etiquettenut

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2014, 01:53:29 PM »
Quote
I agree, please see the bolded.
What I'm saying is that the way she handled it was rude. She made her aunt uncomfortable with an abrupt and repetitive answer rather than a polite steer, not the refusal to watch the channel.
ETA: I also added this in my post, which I would expect someone to do in the situation that they absolutely would not have that channel in the house

I disagree with this. The aunt made herself uncomfortable by refusing to accept the answer she was given by her host, pressing for more information than was needed, and being deliberately obtuse as to why the OP would not want to watch that channel. If she was unhappy with the answer she should have stopped asking the question. It is obvious to everyone on this board (and anyone familiar with the channel*) why the OP would not want to watch this channel; forcing her to say it is only fixing for a fight. I'm with those who think the aunt was pressing so she could argue about it.

I don't think she was uncomfortable anyway. I think she was unhappy she didn't get her way.

*I'm not saying that everyone should disagree with it, just that it's obvious that if you don't like a particular channel that leans one way, it's because you lean the other way.

please have a look at my post above the one you quoted - I stated there that I also agreed with your point that aunt was fixing for a fight.

My point was that OP was fixing for a fight herself by choosing to make a stand about watching the channel rather than smoothing things over by giving another reason for not doing it. She is perfectly entitled to do so, but I still think it's not polite to speak to someone staying with you the way OP describes.

Aunt's rudeness is obvious, but I think announcing "we will not watch that channel" is prompting someone to ask why. Repeating those same words over and over is not going to defuse the situation, it's treating her aunt like a child with no provocation - sure aunt may be highly politicised and keen to start a debate, but OP set up a situation where aunt was prompted to do so. I don't actually think OP did it on purpose, but yes, her behaviour was rude IMO because making the point about not watching the channel became more important than her aunt's company.

note I am not saying now, nor have I ever, that OP should've watched the channel. I'm saying that the way she approached not watching it was to treat her aunt - whose behaviour she knew and should've anticipated - in a manner that I find rude.

I'm on the verge of repeating myself ad infinitum and I've seen other posters get told off for doing that, so I'll step away from this thread now. :)
edited to fix quotes

The OP was only forced to take a stand by the aunt, who was refusing the perfectly reasonable response of, "I will not watch that channel in my home." The OP was deliberately trying to avoid language that would be taking a stand and provoke her aunt. The aunt was trying to force her to take a stand by pressing, "why" and being obtuse. The why is obvious. Why should the OP have to make up a lie just to appease the aunt?

Again, this is where we disagree. You believe the situation was of the OP's making because she didn't provide an explanation that was acceptable to the aunt. Conversely, I believe that the situation was of the aunt's making because she WAS provided a reason, it just wasn't good enough for her.


Softly Spoken

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2014, 02:42:50 PM »
I think this is a situation similar to the post on the main site, about the wine guzzling guest.

IMHO, the balance of etiquette is: a host offers the guest a choice, and a guest chooses from what a host offers.

When I was little I remember my parents telling me that "Your Friend/Playdate is the guest, so they get to choose." But they were always choosing within the boundaries of what was being offered.

So if a host offers a list of drinks, a guest is rude to ask for a drink that is not on the list. It is the host's choice what to offer.

If a host and guest decide to watch television, the host is responsible for politely setting any boundaries regarding viewing choice.

There are some who seem to feel that a guest's preference trump's a host's. I feel this belief is a slippery slope that can only lead to doormattery and snowflakiness. A gracious guest should be just as determined to not be a bother as a gracious host is to cater to their guest. There is a difference between going out of your way for a guest and giving in to a guest. A guest can ask for anything, yet should expect nothing and demand even less.

The experience of having to deal with something you don't care for is a little different than not getting something you want. I feel that the OP actually endured a more negative experience as her aunt's guest - from what she described she was not given a choice when it came to television viewing and the fact that it was her least favorite channel only added insult to injury. In contrast, OP gave her aunt a choice of basically anything but the channel in question. Compare it to the aunt only offering one food item, and OP offering a full buffet that just happened to not have one food item that OP never has in the house anyway. Would it be nice if OP went out of her way to provide that one thing? Maybe, but it would be at her own discretion and not out of obligation to etiquette. The aunt was offered the metaphorical equivalent of a full buffet, and put all her attention and effort into complaining that she couldn't have the one thing she happens to want. That is rude.

I really don't understand guests who expect a host to be uncomfortable on their behalf - it is selfish. My friend hates horror movies so guess what - we don't watch horror when we have movie nights. Even if it is my choice, I wouldn't pick a movie I know she will hate - that's just sadistic.
That being said, my friend does not make a big deal about how much she hates horror movies. If I suggested a horror movie and was treated to a lecture about how awful they are as a genre and how could anyone possibly like them etc. I would feel annoyed. So I could see how aunt was maybe stung if OP said "I don't watch that channel in my house" - that may have been taken as judgement of the channel and a subsequent judgement of people who do watch it. The fact that OP suffered through the channel while visiting aunt may have complicated matters - aunt possibly assumed that OP's silence meant acceptance when it was really just silent suffering/ignoring what OP disliked.
Regardless, aunt was rude to question OP's rules about television - though OP may have let her dislike of the channel in question mar her ability to be a completely gracious host.

This is a good reminder that being a polite host not only involves providing for one's guests, but also being prepared to politely reject their requests.

Whether we're guests or hosts, we often get so caught up in saying "yes" that we forget that "no" is still allowed and should be respected.
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melicious

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2014, 03:00:21 PM »
I think this is a situation similar to the post on the main site, about the wine guzzling guest.

IMHO, the balance of etiquette is: a host offers the guest a choice, and a guest chooses from what a host offers.

When I was little I remember my parents telling me that "Your Friend/Playdate is the guest, so they get to choose." But they were always choosing within the boundaries of what was being offered.

So if a host offers a list of drinks, a guest is rude to ask for a drink that is not on the list. It is the host's choice what to offer.

If a host and guest decide to watch television, the host is responsible for politely setting any boundaries regarding viewing choice.

There are some who seem to feel that a guest's preference trump's a host's. I feel this belief is a slippery slope that can only lead to doormattery and snowflakiness. A gracious guest should be just as determined to not be a bother as a gracious host is to cater to their guest. There is a difference between going out of your way for a guest and giving in to a guest. A guest can ask for anything, yet should expect nothing and demand even less.

The experience of having to deal with something you don't care for is a little different than not getting something you want. I feel that the OP actually endured a more negative experience as her aunt's guest - from what she described she was not given a choice when it came to television viewing and the fact that it was her least favorite channel only added insult to injury. In contrast, OP gave her aunt a choice of basically anything but the channel in question. Compare it to the aunt only offering one food item, and OP offering a full buffet that just happened to not have one food item that OP never has in the house anyway. Would it be nice if OP went out of her way to provide that one thing? Maybe, but it would be at her own discretion and not out of obligation to etiquette. The aunt was offered the metaphorical equivalent of a full buffet, and put all her attention and effort into complaining that she couldn't have the one thing she happens to want. That is rude.

I really don't understand guests who expect a host to be uncomfortable on their behalf - it is selfish. My friend hates horror movies so guess what - we don't watch horror when we have movie nights. Even if it is my choice, I wouldn't pick a movie I know she will hate - that's just sadistic.
That being said, my friend does not make a big deal about how much she hates horror movies. If I suggested a horror movie and was treated to a lecture about how awful they are as a genre and how could anyone possibly like them etc. I would feel annoyed. So I could see how aunt was maybe stung if OP said "I don't watch that channel in my house" - that may have been taken as judgement of the channel and a subsequent judgement of people who do watch it. The fact that OP suffered through the channel while visiting aunt may have complicated matters - aunt possibly assumed that OP's silence meant acceptance when it was really just silent suffering/ignoring what OP disliked.
Regardless, aunt was rude to question OP's rules about television - though OP may have let her dislike of the channel in question mar her ability to be a completely gracious host.

This is a good reminder that being a polite host not only involves providing for one's guests, but also being prepared to politely reject their requests.

Whether we're guests or hosts, we often get so caught up in saying "yes" that we forget that "no" is still allowed and should be respected.

Great post!

MommyPenguin

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #63 on: January 08, 2014, 04:17:11 PM »
Based on some of the posts here, it sounds like some people seem to believe that it is a requirement to provide TV for one's guests, and that one is also required to let them watch whatever they want, regardless of whether it's something you want to watch?  That just seems so insane.

I mean, if I had guests who didn't like Jane Austen movies, I wouldn't put on a Jane Austen movie while they were visiting.  If I was a guest in somebody's house, I wouldn't insist on watching BBC so I could see some Jane Austen movie when it was airing.  And there's unlikely to be any sort of philosophical or moral objection to Jane Austen movies from anybody, it's just that it's impolite to turn on something that your guests aren't interested in when the purpose of a visit is to *visit*, and it's equally inappropriate for a guest to insist on watching something that their host doesn't want to see.  When you have a larger group, sure, things get a bit more hazy, as sometimes a group of people will opt to watch something and the rest will do something else.  But in a one-on-one situation?  No, just no.

baglady

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #64 on: January 08, 2014, 08:13:31 PM »
I think there is a lighthearted way to approach the subject without coming off as heavy-handed and judgmental. I'm not saying the OP was either of those things, but that her aunt might have taken her "Not in my house!" decree that way.

"Oh, auntie, you know I'm Other Political Persuasion, and watching that channel will only upset me. Do you really want to ruin a lovely visit with an upset and maybe a political argument? Why don't we watch ___ comedy show/DVD instead and have some laughs?"

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.

Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay, if you aren't planning to use the office TV while she's there. With so many people upgrading to flat-screen TVs these days, you can get a decent old-school TV set for a song. (Trust me, I have two of them gathering dust in my back room, thanks to a neighbor who keeps upgrading and giving me his old ones.)

If it's the channel I'm thinking of, I totally understand the "Not in my house" mindset. I don't want it on in my house either. But unless you are a Nielsen household, you're not actually giving the channel any tangible support by simply having it on in your home for a guest to watch.
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TootsNYC

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #65 on: January 08, 2014, 08:18:18 PM »

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.


That would not be acceptable to me. This is my home, and while I want my guest to feel welcome, I am not going to abandon the main living space in my own home in order to get away from the optional activity my guest is indulging in.

The OP pointed out that in her home, the TV was in the main, open living area.

Quote
Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay,

This would probably not have been satisfactory to the aunt. People who are used to having the TV going always in the background don't want to hide out in the other room either!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 08:27:48 PM by TootsNYC »

sammycat

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #66 on: January 09, 2014, 01:28:05 AM »

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.


That would not be acceptable to me. This is my home, and while I want my guest to feel welcome, I am not going to abandon the main living space in my own home in order to get away from the optional activity my guest is indulging in.

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Twik

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #67 on: January 09, 2014, 10:45:03 AM »
I think there is a lighthearted way to approach the subject without coming off as heavy-handed and judgmental. I'm not saying the OP was either of those things, but that her aunt might have taken her "Not in my house!" decree that way.

"Oh, auntie, you know I'm Other Political Persuasion, and watching that channel will only upset me. Do you really want to ruin a lovely visit with an upset and maybe a political argument? Why don't we watch ___ comedy show/DVD instead and have some laughs?"

If she insists on her political channel, you can always go watch TV in the office, find something else to do elsewhere in the house, or stay in the room but read and listen to music with headphones.

Another alternative would be to put a TV in the guest room. You could even reroute the cable from your office set to the guest room TV for the duration of her stay, if you aren't planning to use the office TV while she's there. With so many people upgrading to flat-screen TVs these days, you can get a decent old-school TV set for a song. (Trust me, I have two of them gathering dust in my back room, thanks to a neighbor who keeps upgrading and giving me his old ones.)

If it's the channel I'm thinking of, I totally understand the "Not in my house" mindset. I don't want it on in my house either. But unless you are a Nielsen household, you're not actually giving the channel any tangible support by simply having it on in your home for a guest to watch.

I don't think she has to be lighthearted about it - she needs to be polite but firm. I can't imagine anything that would be less etiquette-approved than leaving your guest alone with the tv while you go off to do something in another room, or put on headphones. Aunt has absolutely no right to "insist" on a channel, or even having the tv on in the first place.

It's rude of a guest to commandeer their host's tv, particularly because the guest has the option to leave, if the viewing is too excruciating, but the host cannot. It is not rude for the host to say, "I'm sorry, but I'd prefer the tv to be off," and make it so.
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jaxsue

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #68 on: January 09, 2014, 11:08:15 AM »
This thread reminds me of a childhood friend I had. When I was at her house, she said, "It's my house, I get to choose first." When she was at my house, it was, "I'm a guest, I get to choose first." Even at a young age, the irony wasn't lost on me (and, TBH, quite spoiled). Unfortunately, some adults are the same way.

When I am at someone else's home, I don't turn on their TV and I don't dictate what will be watched. Trust me, I've had to put up with shows that are torture to watch (a marathon of AFV's, recently. Ugh).  :P My late father and my X-FIL, however, always took over the TV when they were at my house. It didn't matter if FIL was there for only dinner, he would turn on the news or a fishing show. To make it worse, they'd both turn them up to a high volume. There were times I really, really wished my main TV wasn't in the living room!

esposita

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #69 on: January 09, 2014, 11:28:49 AM »
This wasn't a situation where the guest was hypocritical. The OPs wishes were not made known at Aunt's home so she had no way of knowing that the OP didn't want to watch.

A person cannot make a stand without the expectation of some pushback from people who don't agree with them. If you (general) don't want to "get into it" with someone for any reason, then in most cases a gracious deflection is the appropriate course of action.

"That won't be on in my home" (not a direct quote, but the same idea) are fightin' words because it comes with an absolute, which implies a type of moral judgement. There is a time and a place for that, but you have to realize that you can't make judgements like that in a vacuum when someone doesn't agree.

There have been several phrases given that could have put the emphasis on a positive alternative. There have also been suggestions for phrases that sort of disguised the OPs convictions in with other, slightly less strong convictions, in order to to soften the interaction and take the punch out of the phrase that she used.

Should the OP have to? Not really. A host should be able to say "Not in my home." But when you're dealing with someone who likes to argue, one of the alternative phrases would take the wind out of her sails and make for a more peaceful visit for everyone.

jaxsue

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #70 on: January 09, 2014, 12:16:23 PM »
This wasn't a situation where the guest was hypocritical.

Agreed. Some of the posts did remind me of the situation I mentioned, though. As for TV viewing, it is so subjective that can be a minefield. I don't turn the TV on when I have guests over, generally, unless it's a TV event (Super Bowl, for example).

VorFemme

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #71 on: January 09, 2014, 04:33:01 PM »
Two ways of looking at similar situations - based on past experience.

Twenty-five years ago, Ambrosia Hino used to play with the neighbor kids (sisters).  Their "rule" was that the group played what the host chose at their house and what the guests wanted to when they came over to our house.  I suppose, in a way, it was "our two votes trump your ONE vote".  I got tired of it - but there weren't that many kids in her age range in the neighborhood.  We moved to another state when Ambrosia Hino was 9 - so the sisters were much younger than the OP and her relative.  Disagreements that got too vocal ended up with a parent sending the guest(s) back to their own home.

Didn't matter if it was the tv, a video game, or the Monopoly game got too heated...the argument was ended by sending everyone to their own corner (home).  Not viable when traveling a long distance for a visit, though.

++++++

To cast the situation another way, , we'll say that the hostess wants to watch the "How to Cook Meat Channel" at all times.  The OP's preferred channel is "The Vegan Kitchen" channel.

She was gracious enough to allow her hostess to watch the meat channel in her own home but draws the line at having HER television switched to that station in her vegan (in this example only) home. 

I could see someone being polite to the host because it is their tv and they can watch what they want....although I can also see getting a tad upset at having someone else's philosophy as the background noise to the entire visit, except when the tv was turned off for people to SLEEP (if it was ever turned off).

I can see the guest wanting to watch their favorite show/station - but the host gets veto power in some situations - young children so no "for mature audiences only" subject matter; wrong religious, philosophical, or political views; or just wanting the tv OFF for a chance at quiet conversation without the distraction.....if we wanted to avoid all controversy - that would pretty much leave only the weather channel....and there might be people who don't want to watch it, either.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 08:50:44 AM by VorFemme »
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doodlemor

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Re: s/o host's choice of TV show: guest's TV request
« Reply #72 on: January 09, 2014, 11:32:35 PM »
About 20 years ago, when my children were teens, they were much more rebellious after watching MTV.  We called the cable company, and they blocked it from our house for free.  I don't know your circumstances, misha, but maybe it would be possible for you to turn your annoying channel off or block it before aunt or any of the like minded relatives visit again.  Wouldn't that be a surprise for your rude guest!

If this is the channel that I'm thinking of, I can't stand it either.  It seems to me that the talking heads on that network are using "Propaganda 101" techniques to sway the beliefs of the unwary.