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#borecore

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2016, 10:45:10 AM »
I would sleep on the floor before sleeping in my hosts' bed! And I would be at dinner specifically in order to socialize with my hosts, so I'd be disappointed if they sat elsewhere.

But I don't know your specific household, so maybe these things are normal for you.

Semperviren

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2016, 11:21:48 AM »
I understand the frustration with guests who believe they are being "good guests" by declining arrangements you've made, when they are actually complicating things.

My parents once received a visit from the son of friends and his girlfriend. Knowing the couple had been living together for over a year,  my mom planned to put them up in the guest room. The young lady absolutely insisted it would be "disrespectful" for them to sleep in the same bed under my husband's roof (my parents had no moral or religious issue with it whatsoever) and was so insistent on "respecting" their household, my mom finally spent a couple of hours tidying the sewing room and making up the bed in there (which of course meant two beds to make and two sets of linens to launder rather than just one).

Yes, she was annoyed, rightfully so I think, but ultimately realized it was really about her guests actual comfort and not what she thought would make them most comfortable.

Roe

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2016, 11:30:37 AM »
Yeah, I would find it very uncomfortable to sleep in the host's bed and I would never offer my bed to a guest. (unless there was a medical reason they needed to stay in the master bedroom)

The only time someone else slept in our bed was when we had DH's parents over for a couple of days due to a hurricane threat.  We gave up our bedroom so that MIL (who was diabetic and a bit fragile) could have enough privacy when she needed her nap.  Other than that, we've never offered up our bedroom to a guest and I don't plan to. 

magicdomino

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2016, 11:48:35 AM »
I would also feel uncomfortable if the hosts sit at a different area. As a host, I would either stick in a small table to lengthen it or serve buffet style.

As for the bed, I would prefer to take the futon (or sofa) since I find it weird to sleep in another person's bed, but I wouldn't fight too much about it.

My vote.   My family's Christmas dinners are always buffet style and eaten in the living room because none of us have big enough dinner tables.  My 8-seater comes closest, but once all the food is on there, there's no room for people anyway.   :)

I can see a couple of things influencing the choice of bed.  For instance, someone who is an early bird waking up at some ungodly hour like 6:00 am (Why, no, I'm not a morning person.  Why do you ask?  :D )  would probably be better off in the living room so that he or she can shuffle around getting coffee or reading the newspaper without disturbing the rest of the household.  Another good reason for the host to sleep in the living room is because there is a four-legged member of the family who might annoy the guest.

Please note that these accommodations are moot if there is a guest room.  I might add that not everyone has the same idea about what constitutes a "best" mattress.  The mattress that you love may keep a guest awake all night.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2016, 12:21:20 PM »
OP, I think you have a valid reason for wanting the guests in your bedroom, with having personal papers in the other room that you and DH sleep in when you have guests over.  But, as a guest, I would hate to put you out of your bed because there is no way I'm giving up my bed, in my own home.   :)

Would it be possible to get a file box or two and move the personal papers to the master bedroom when you have guests over?  Either that or explain that you are more comfortable with the guest being in the master bedroom because of the state of your guest room, implying that it isn't as tidy as you'd prefer for guests without telling them about the papers.

I do agree with the others that it does seem strange to have you both eating away from the rest of the guests.  I'd either put the food on the bar and have everyone serve themselves and make the table a little squishy for the meal with all 8 of you or I'd have one of you sit with the guests and have one guest join the other at the bar.  That guest could rotate over the course of the visit, if you are serving more than one meal.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

Vall

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2016, 01:31:04 PM »
Your guest should accept what you offer or find accommodations that are more comfortable for him.  You aren't required to offer what would make your guest most comfortable (not sleeping in your bed, eating with you at the bar) but that would be gracious if possible.

Like others, I would book a hotel before sleeping in a host's personal bed.  Also, I'd prefer to offer to take everyone out to eat together or eat elsewhere rather than to eat at a table without either host.  Neither would be a courtesy war but rather what I would find much more comfortable.

turnip

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2016, 02:25:31 PM »
OP, I think you have a valid reason for wanting the guests in your bedroom, with having personal papers in the other room that you and DH sleep in when you have guests over.  But, as a guest, I would hate to put you out of your bed because there is no way I'm giving up my bed, in my own home.   :)

I think this is a good point and I've talked before about a relative who is _so_ accommodating that she makes everyone else uncomfortable because they would never reciprocate in kind. 

Also I can simply not imagine a time when I would sleep in the hostess bed.  I'd feel completely uncomfortable, afraid of opening a drawer or a cabinet or catching a view of a open closet because I'd feel like I was invading someone's personal space.  It sounds dreadful.

gellchom

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2016, 02:35:46 PM »
I have to agree with the majority here.

I think that both the OP and John were trying to do what they believed was the right thing.  But look at how it made no one happy or comfortable.

I think the OP's title for this string, intentionally or not, kind of sums it up.  On one level, both parties were trying to be unselfish.  But on another level, it was sort of a zero-sum competition each was trying to win.  That occurred to me when I read the part about "Cinderella sleeping in the ashes" or however she put it.  She was, nicely, horrified at the idea of her guest (or at his forcing her into the position of making him) "sleep in the ashes."  But her solution was for her to "sleep in the ashes" -- which presumably would make him feel exactly as she felt.  Wouldn't it be better hosting not to look at it that way -- that someone is "sleeping in the ashes" -- at all?

This makes me think of a guest we had last year: I think I may have posted about her.  I didn't know her or her husband; they were relatives of friends who were having a big family event.  Every little thing, she made a huge deal of: "I'm making coffee; want some?" "Oh, no, no, I couldn't put you to any trouble!" -- like that, all day long.  It was exhausting.  The night before they left, she said that we must stay with them if we came to their city.  By then, I had gotten to know her well enough to say, "That's very kind of you, but to be honest, I'd be kind of afraid to; you seem to consider even the smallest hospitalities as 'too much trouble,' so I'd be scared to ask for a glass of water."  "Oh, no, when I'm the host, I want to do as much as I can for my guests!  It would be no trouble at all!" she cried.  I was thinking, "But don't you then see how your acting like every little thing is a big deal at my house is an insult, implying that, unlike you, I must resent hosting you?" but I didn't say it or even pursue the conversation, because it isn't for me to school her.  But what I was seeing was someone who was treating hospitality as a competition.  She -- and only she -- could be a "giver."  But that in its own way is quite selfish, KWIM?  She thought of herself as being selfless, but what she was really (unconsciously, of course) doing was putting herself above others: "I can give, which makes me a good person, but I will not let you do it, so I will always be better than you."  It is hard to learn, but it's a really important lesson: whether it's gifts, help, compliments, or hospitality, it's just as important to be a good taker as to be a good giver.

"Courtesy war" is a good word for it.  Only one side (or none) can win.  Luckily, that's not the only way to approach it.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 02:03:48 PM by gellchom »

sandisadie

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2016, 03:37:35 PM »
I like what Gellchom has to say.  I've also feel uncomfortable when guests insist that anything I try to do for them is too much.  I've never thought of that as them putting themselves first and appearing to be better then I am.  That does make sense though.  I also feel uncomfortable as a guest when the host or hostess is continuously offering me something or offering to do something for me.

gellchom

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2016, 04:08:23 PM »
I think the way I put it was a little too strong -- I don't think any of these hosts and guests, real or hypothetical, are consciously intending to compete or to deny others the chance to be gracious, too.

I think what's going on is they are just thinking only of themselves, albeit in a commendable way: "What is the best way to be a good guest?  To demand as little as possible; to be as little trouble as possible.  So I will say 'no thanks' to everything I possibly can."  (And the converse for when they are the host, of course.)

But what they aren't seeing is that they are frustrating the other person's efforts to be courteous, too.  They just aren't thinking about the other person's feelings at all -- not trying to make them feel stingy, but also not allowing them to feel gracious.

So what you end up with is the functional equivalent of two people standing at a narrow doorway and saying "After you!" "No, no, after you!" endlessly.  And all that amounts to is refusing to say uncle, a competition to see who wins the title of Most Polite -- which, in my opinion, isn't really polite at all, just a very polite power play, even though not intended that way.

The flaw in the reasoning is that refusing to accept hospitality actually is not the best way to be a good guest.  Let your hosts succeed at being good hosts.  Give them a chance to be gracious.  You are a good guest by graciously accepting their hospitality, not by refusing it.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 04:13:12 PM by gellchom »

Mustard

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2016, 04:11:22 PM »
I had a guest like Gellchom's.  It is exhausting.  I did snap after one too many 'oh, but I don't want to cause you any trouble's, so I said 'ok. Fine. I won't ask you again' and I didn't do whatever it was they thought was too much trouble.  Her jaw dropped, but she didn't say it again.

gellchom

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2016, 04:23:26 PM »
Sometimes it makes it a lot more trouble, in fact.

Here is one that comes up a lot.  It's not a big deal, but to me it is the paradigmatic example:

"What kind of juice would you like?  There's cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Oh, just any kind."
"Well, we have cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Whatever is the easiest." 

and so on, as I stand by the refrigerator wishing I could get on with my day already! 

I mean, I accept that they don't much care what kind of juice they drink -- but I really don't care what kind of juice they drink! What I do care about is getting on with it.  Obviously none of these juices is "the easiest" to pour.  If they would stop and think about it, they would see that having this silly conversation is actually causing more trouble, not less.

I think you can see why to me this is a good illustration of how they think they are being as extremely undemanding a guest as possible, but they aren't really thinking about how it actually affects their host at all.

mumma to KMC

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2016, 04:31:28 PM »
Sometimes it makes it a lot more trouble, in fact.

Here is one that comes up a lot.  It's not a big deal, but to me it is the paradigmatic example:

"What kind of juice would you like?  There's cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Oh, just any kind."
"Well, we have cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Whatever is the easiest." 

and so on, as I stand by the refrigerator wishing I could get on with my day already! 

I mean, I accept that they don't much care what kind of juice they drink -- but I really don't care what kind of juice they drink! What I do care about is getting on with it.  Obviously none of these juices is "the easiest" to pour.  If they would stop and think about it, they would see that having this silly conversation is actually causing more trouble, not less.

I think you can see why to me this is a good illustration of how they think they are being as extremely undemanding a guest as possible, but they aren't really thinking about how it actually affects their host at all.


That's how my inlaws are. They go to the level of bringing their own food (it's a 13 hour drive from their place to ours) to avoid having to cause an inconvenience, but in the end it's very inconvenient for us because I have no idea how to prepare meals when they are here. Well, I do now, I just plan and eat what I make, if my mil pulls something out of the cooler, I just let her supplement her meal with it. (She also will use the same drink cup from a restaurant while she's here so I don't have to wash dishes.)

Vall

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2016, 04:48:55 PM »
I think the way I put it was a little too strong -- I don't think any of these hosts and guests, real or hypothetical, are consciously intending to compete or to deny others the chance to be gracious, too.

I think what's going on is they are just thinking only of themselves, albeit in a commendable way: "What is the best way to be a good guest?  To demand as little as possible; to be as little trouble as possible.  So I will say 'no thanks' to everything I possibly can."  (And the converse for when they are the host, of course.)

But what they aren't seeing is that they are frustrating the other person's efforts to be courteous, too.  They just aren't thinking about the other person's feelings at all -- not trying to make them feel stingy, but also not allowing them to feel gracious.

So what you end up with is the functional equivalent of two people standing at a narrow doorway and saying "After you!" "No, no, after you!" endlessly.  And all that amounts to is refusing to say uncle, a competition to see who wins the title of Most Polite -- which, in my opinion, isn't really polite at all, just a very polite power play, even though not intended that way.

The flaw in the reasoning is that refusing to accept hospitality actually is not the best way to be a good guest.  Let your hosts succeed at being good hosts.  Give them a chance to be gracious.  You are a good guest by graciously accepting their hospitality, not by refusing it.
This is assuming that the guest is comfortable with whatever the host is offering.  In the case of offering their personal bed, many people would not want what is being offered---not out of a misplaced sense of courtesy but it may really make them uncomfortable or squicked out to accept. A guest may truly not want to eat a meal where the hosts sit at a separate table.  Yes, if he's already there he must endure it if his hosts insist but wanting to refuse may have nothing to do with trying to be courteous and everything to do with his own comfort.  These things are a little different than a simple beverage or snack.

I would agree if the guest wants what is being offered that it is gracious to accept the hospitality offered.  From the OP, it doesn't seem that the guest wanted her bed or to sit at the table separate from his hosts.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: courtesy wars
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2016, 07:28:18 AM »
Sometimes it makes it a lot more trouble, in fact.

Here is one that comes up a lot.  It's not a big deal, but to me it is the paradigmatic example:

"What kind of juice would you like?  There's cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Oh, just any kind."
"Well, we have cranberry, tomato, and orange."
"Whatever is the easiest." 

and so on, as I stand by the refrigerator wishing I could get on with my day already! 

I mean, I accept that they don't much care what kind of juice they drink -- but I really don't care what kind of juice they drink! What I do care about is getting on with it.  Obviously none of these juices is "the easiest" to pour.  If they would stop and think about it, they would see that having this silly conversation is actually causing more trouble, not less.

I think you can see why to me this is a good illustration of how they think they are being as extremely undemanding a guest as possible, but they aren't really thinking about how it actually affects their host at all.

I *hate* this.  I've mostly solved it by saying, 'You have to pick or you get nothing!' with a smile.  I only do that with close friends and family, though.  Though most of those same people will just get their own, as I usually run through the spiel when they arrive.  'There's W, X, Y and Z in the fridge.  Help yourself any time.'
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario