Author Topic: Reciprocation of Hospitality  (Read 2588 times)

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Mikayla

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2014, 11:29:10 AM »
Since I'm the one who said reciprocity isn't always expected, I should have clarified what I meant.  I've been both the hostess and the guest in these situations, and in both cases there was an age difference. 

For example, one of my longest term best friends is about 9 years older than me and when we met at my first job, we were worlds apart.  She had 3 young kids and loved to throw nice parties.  I lived in a small 2 bedroom with my roomie.  I babysat for her all the time, we took tennis lessons together, etc.  But my roomie and I weren't ready yet to throw nice parties, and with 3 small kids, she was limited in what she could do outside the office. 

She invited me to every event she threw, whether it was mostly work crowd or a different group.  I finally reciprocated with a NYE event several years later.   It was just the nature of our friendship.

shhh its me

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2014, 11:35:09 AM »
   This may seem counter intuitive but your mom might benefit from inviting people once to those more one on one small group things.  As a get the ball rolling sort of thing.

 The large annual outdoor party , with a potluck component,  that ties in with national holiday and a community event might be throwing people off in their internal checklist....Susie invited me for coffee = I'll invite Susie for doughnuts next week , Bob and Mary had us for dinner = We'll invite Bob and Mary for dinner/to a show/for lunch, went to Toms for a BYOM BBQ =invite Toms to pay your own way church fish fry etc.   OP's mom invited me to large party with dozens of people , lot of food  I bring a bit of it , holiday and fireworks = ermmm

DavidH

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2014, 12:12:44 PM »
In general, I think if you have no intention to reciprocate, it's rude to repeatedly accept invitations from a person.  Shhh its me makes a good point that the type of reciprocation for a large event is somewhat different from that for a smaller occasion, and that inviting them to a smaller event would be a way of initiating a closer friendship if that's what she wants.

For the specific cases:

Example 1: The beautician; I'd continue inviting her since the relationship is something between friendship and employer employee.

Example 2: A couple that my father used to work with; I'd drop them since they don't seem particularly interested anyway.

Example 3: Our next door neighbor; I'd invite them since it would be awkward for them to see the party and not be invited this year.  If your mother wants a closer relationship, she can always invite the neighbor for coffee on another occasion.  If that is also not reciprocated, it's time to reevaluate.  One thing to consider is does the neighbor ever host parties.  If not, then I'd be more inclined to give them a pass on reciprocation.

Example 4: The couple who are good friends of one of my mom's best friends; I'd invite them through D as another poster suggested. 

2) Is it rude (or petty) not to invite people to an annual party if they are regulars on the guest list?  It's not rude, but it is awkward.  One invitation does not guarantee a permanent place at the annual gathering, but 3 or 4 in a row suggests that baring a change in the relationship, an invitation to the next event with be forthcoming. 

3) If my mom does choose not to invite these people, how should she respond if they inquire about the party? Beandip or scaling back is probably the best option, or maybe take that opportunity to issue the invitation claiming that she hasn't sent them out yet, since it indicates that they do value attending.

GSNW

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2014, 01:31:59 PM »


So basically, I don't think the same sort of reciprocity should be expected for, say, an invitation to a small dinner party, and an invitation to a large informal party. In the first case, it's closer to one to one, in the second, I'd say there is less expectation that you should get a dinner invitation in return. A closer reciprocity would be you invite someone to your July 4 party, they invite you to your Christmas open house. However, not everyone is able to hold large bashes, so the reciprocity can be expressed other ways, like bringing a contribution to the party.


I really think this makes the most sense.  I have invited people over for large parties where I wouldn't necessarily want to socialize with them on a more 1:1 basis (we aren't that close, don't have THAT much in common, whatever).  I wouldn't expect them to reciprocate with a dinner invitation. 

blarg314

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2014, 07:21:50 PM »

The update changes things, I think.

If you invite people over, but then ask them to bring something, then the expectations of reciprocity are significantly lower than for a fully hosted event. So I wouldn't really expect a return invitation from people where an exchange of hospitality was already the norm.

TootsNYC

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2014, 07:41:44 PM »
I think that while the bringing of food means these people aren't totally "takers," and is a *form* of reciprocity, she should trust her instincts.

It's been too many years of her feeling that these people are not truly becoming part of her social circle.

She should leave off the people she's thinking of leaving off.

If anybody asks, she can say, "We're scaling back this year."

The tough part is if people are just assuming--does a person feel obligated to let them know, preemptively, that they won't be invited, so they'll need to make other 4th of July plans?

I suppose she can let everyone know that she's not sure she's going to have the party, and they should look for other plans. And then change her mind closer in, but alert people that she *does* invite that the guest list is smaller, and that she'd appreciate them not putting her on the spot with people who weren't invited.

But it almost seems as though the only place that's likely to be a problem is with the friends of the friend.

mj

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2014, 02:12:34 PM »
The way I see reciprocal hospitality makes it hard for holiday type events.  I see the potluck contributions as being the reciprocal hospitality.

Reason being is that if your mother is the one who host 4th of July every year, another guest cannot reciprocate by hosting another 4th of July.  It's your mothers event, and in a way she's claiming ownership unless she's up for others taking turns hosting 4th of July.

What I read in the OP is more describing that the guests are mostly not desired at the 4th this year, not necessarily a reciprocal hospitality issue.  They just aren't close or are friends and in the past the invites were issued based on other circumstances.

I think when someone has, for lack of better words, claimed a holiday to host as it appears your mother has - it does make for some tricky situations.  Not that your mother is in the wrong, but if the friend of her good friend is no longer invited, the friend will find something different to do and good friend may go with.  That's just the nature of these types of holidays, the traditions only last so long and there is a lot of ebb and flow with guest lists when there is one specific host for certain events.  I think your mother just has to be prepared that if she's looking for specific reciprocal hosting, than she does need to let others host the 4th then. 


mime

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2014, 07:13:18 PM »
snip...
Large annual parties can be tricky....I can be good enough friends with someone to be able to socialize with them at a party with 50-100 people but not know how to sit and have a one on one dinner with them for 2 hours. A large party isn't something everyone is expected to host.  And, since its at least a little bit of  a pot luck the reciprocation can be maintaining a friendly relationship....ie invite to go have coffee sometime dutch treat. I would even consider a couple phone calls , sending a Christmas card and acknowledging birthdays on FB maintaining the friendship.   


I appreciated this statement, as well as your entire post. I was one of the people that said it is not rude to accept invitations and not reciprocate, and that a host shouldn't be expecting something in return for hosting.

The more I think about it, though (and as I read the other responses), I am really agreeing with the idea that a guest should respond in some form, but not necessarily by hosting something themselves. The host attempts to nuture a relationship by inviting a guest, so the guest should do something on their end to tend to that relationship as well. A guest who never reaches out in any way, shape, or form does seem ungrateful-- not just ungrateful for the party, but for the whole relationship. Makes sense to me.

MurPl1

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2014, 12:01:26 PM »
...
And like I said in the OP, reciprocity to me just means extending SOME sort of invite. My mom's a big walker, everyone knows this, someone could invite her on a walk. Or suggest all meeting for a movie, or one of the copious free events in my hometown. I think it just makes my mom feel like people only like her for her nice house and parties, which I know for a fact is not true because my mother is truly the greatest person in the world.

Hopefully next time we talk I can share some of your perspectives and help her make a decision. Thanks!

This right here is what the issue of reciprocity comes down to for me - do you want to spend time with me or are you just coming to my very cool event?

We have a large Halloween party each year and there are definitely people we've dropped because it's clear they could care less about DH and I and are really only there to check out the decorations and say they were at our party.   And there are others who we don't get social invites for dinner or to parties, but I do get lunch invites from the wife, and have a good social relationship outside of this once a year event. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2014, 12:18:33 PM »
I used to throw a big Christmas party. And I had dinner parties.

And most of my guests never, ever reciprocated with an invitation to any remotely similar event.

However, it was always very clear somehow that they came for my company. And that they liked my company. We had some sort of relationship apart from the party.

And they made it clear that they weren't just "taking" in our relationship.


Mergatroyd

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2014, 12:29:35 PM »
My question is, how accessible is your mother, OP?
If a guest was invited to this party, went to the party, spent five minutes talking with your mother, decided that they might get on and tried to contact your mother to issue an invitation- would they be able to? Does your mom often bump into these people not of her circle in town? Is she comfortable receiving a cold call invitation (because many people don't issue paper or e-invites to attend the movies, coffee, or go on a walk)?

It sounds like your mother is a lady of means with an active social circle already. That can be INCREDIBLY hard to break into. Especially if both parties are busy people with other social arrangements to be worked around.

If your mom wants to be friendly with these people, she may have to make the first step for a one on one situation to show that she is fact open to a friendship of sorts with these people. Outsiders and newcomers can always tell when someone likely won't have time for them (literally or mentally).

Otherwise, invite the hairdresser and the neighbour, and nix the rest.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2014, 11:52:10 AM »
In the case of the hairdresser, the party invitation could be considered a kind of tip, and reciprocation could be that she makes an extra effort to give great service.  I'd find it odd if my hairdresser invited me to lunch or to any of her social functions. 
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

lowspark

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2014, 01:12:05 PM »
I am actually struggling with a similar issue which I will explain after commenting. The reason I mention it first, though is because it is that issue which gives me a sort of different perspective on this situation.

I think that the reciprocity issue is sort of a red herring. Or maybe not a red herring but a symptom of a larger issue.

The real question, in my mind, comes down to whether the OP's mom really wants to invite these people to her party. Regardless of the reason why not, if she doesn't want to, then she shouldn't. Maybe the reason is that she has no contact with them the rest of the year. Maybe it's because they really aren't her friends but her friend's friends. Or... maybe it's because she doesn't like them.  Or because they always bring blueberry pie and she doesn't like blueberry pie. Or whatever!

The bottom line is that it's her party and she should invite those people who she wants to invite. Period. Her own private reason why someone who got invited in the past is not getting invited this time is just that: private.

Now, of course, that doesn't mean there won't be fallout to deal with. Especially when it comes to the neighbors and the hairdresser. So then it comes to weighing the consequences of not inviting them vs. going ahead and including them. But that is still her decision regardless of her reasons.

So here's my similar dilemma. I have an annual party which I've been doing for more than 20 years. This party entails effort on the part of the guests, both before and during, in order to be successful. Not everyone participates in this effort, which is fine because there are always enough people who do to make it a success. There are some people who I have invited for years, who always come and who participate fully, who, and here's my problem, I just am not wild about anymore. Maybe they've changed, maybe I have. Maybe just over the years certain aspects of their personality have grown old, I dunno. But to put it bluntly, I don't really like them anymore.

I have agonized repeatedly about taking them off my list. But the thing is, they come. Pretty much every year. And the participate. Fully. Lending to the success of the party. I feel bad scratching them off the list.

My reasoning above for the OP's mom really comes into play here. I don't want to invite these people, yet I continue to do so. It shouldn't matter why I don't want to invite them, nor should it matter what their behavior is (in OP's case, negative by not reciprocating, in my case, positive by fully participating). It should just come down to one simple question: Do I want them at my party or not?

Does your mother want them at her party or not?

Again, I realize that it's more complicated than that, as I've noted that although I feel that it should be that simple, I recognize that it's not based on my own situation. But maybe it will help your mother to at least look at it that way for a moment. Because sometimes, the simple question and answer can make it easier to drop the extraneous stuff and see it for what it really is.

YoginiSaysYes

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2014, 04:22:11 PM »
My question is, how accessible is your mother, OP?
If a guest was invited to this party, went to the party, spent five minutes talking with your mother, decided that they might get on and tried to contact your mother to issue an invitation- would they be able to? Does your mom often bump into these people not of her circle in town? Is she comfortable receiving a cold call invitation (because many people don't issue paper or e-invites to attend the movies, coffee, or go on a walk)?

It sounds like your mother is a lady of means with an active social circle already. That can be INCREDIBLY hard to break into. Especially if both parties are busy people with other social arrangements to be worked around.

If your mom wants to be friendly with these people, she may have to make the first step for a one on one situation to show that she is fact open to a friendship of sorts with these people. Outsiders and newcomers can always tell when someone likely won't have time for them (literally or mentally).

Otherwise, invite the hairdresser and the neighbour, and nix the rest.

I would say my mom is pretty accessible...but then again I'm her daughter and she ALWAYS picks up when I call.   ;)

Separating my own feelings about her from the questions, I do think she would be pretty easy to reach out to. Many of her friendships have formed from random situations (like the teacher in the class where she was volunteering, the mother of a girl I was in theater with in high school, etc), which indicates to me she's very open to new acquaintances and willing to go out on a limb. I also know for a fact that the woman is devoted to etiquette (wonder where I get it from?) and if anyone reached out to her to meet up, even if she was busy, even if she didn't even really LIKE the person, she would absolutely find a way to make it happen.

I do take your point though, that these people may not have gotten a clear "signal" that my mom would like to expand their socialization beyond just the party.

We talked about it again this weekend while I was visiting and now she's not even sure if she wants to have the party this year ("Maybe I just want to hang out with YOU!"  ::)) so this may be a pointless discussion. She did verbally articulate that she feels like these people (and others who I didn't even mention) just don't care to have a real relationship with her, and if that's the case I told her DO NOT INVITE THEM, you will get nothing out of it but annoyance.

So we shall see!

TootsNYC

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Re: Reciprocation of Hospitality
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2014, 05:19:04 PM »
Maybe she ought to take a year off, and then reset the party next year, in whatever new shape makes her feel excited about it.