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Author Topic: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?  (Read 5976 times)

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trichele21

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"Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« on: June 08, 2017, 02:29:25 PM »
I am at the age where I am socializing with other couples and also with women's groups. I am part of a gaming group which socializes a lot outside of our monthly gaming.

I've noticed a trend that I've never experienced before. Nearly every event I'm invited to includes some form of the phrase "bring a dish to share". I have no problem with this when it's our monthly group game night or when it's book club meeting. These are groups and we all take turns hosting at our home and we all participate in bringing refreshments.  Where I'm beginning to have a problem is when I'm asked to bring food to a housewarming, a shower or, in the case of a text I just received, a pool party.

If you are hosting a private event at your home, separate from an official group activity, shouldn't you, as the host, supply refreshments?!? I'm tired of feeling like I'm subsidizing people's food budgets. I feel like if you can't afford to supply food to your guests, then don't have a party. I was taught to never go to someone's home empty handed - and I don't - but being required to supply food for a party you are throwing just seems not ok to me.

Thoughts?

TurtleDove

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 02:35:09 PM »
If you feel you are subsidizing people's food budgets, decline the invitation. If you instead feel that friends have invited you to a party so that everyone can spend some fun relaxing time together, then attend and bring a dish to share. For some people (myself included), the party is about the gathering of friends, not about who supplies or pays for what and what kind of food there is. For others, the food is the most important part. If a group of people agree to a particular type of event, who is to say they are wrong to do so? If you don't want to participate in a particular type of event, then don't.

For me personally, I would provide everything myself if I were throwing a party. But if I wanted to spend time with friends who invited me to their home and asked me to bring a dish to pass? Of course I would.

lowspark

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 03:34:17 PM »
If you feel you are subsidizing people's food budgets, decline the invitation.

This.
I'm not sure it's really a new trend, but maybe in your particular circle, it's becoming more ubiquitous.

In my experience, a lot depends on who is hosting. Some people just love to entertain and provide everything. Some love to get together with friends but don't like to cook or fuss over food.

I have some circles of friends where it's expected that everything will be pot luck. If you try to supply everything, people will be baffled. Go figure!

To me, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. If I'm bringing food to their house, then they are also most likely bringing food to mine when I host. I do host sometimes where I provide everything but I also realize that there are plenty of people who don't operate that way so when I do that, I do it because it brings me pleasure, not because I'm keeping an accounting of who else has provided all and who hasn't.

Just curious. Do you host parties where you supply everything?
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#borecore

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 03:46:45 PM »
I'm​ not sure why you are so bothered by this or see it as an onerous subsidy, but you feel how you feel, and if it's really bugging you, decline invitations to things you are bothered by.

Anecdotally, I find it especially common to have a "bring a dish" norm in groups that socialize frequently and in large numbers. It eases the cost and effort of hosting.

For me, I'm happy to bring something. I don't care a whit if I have to bring a dish to every party ever, and I generally expect to do so, below a certain level of formality. "Hosted" events included. It's just how my social circles have typically worked.

Not important, but I'm wondering if there's any significant difference between you and your gamer friends in terms of social 'status' or where you're from that might explain why their norm is your odd.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 05:03:54 PM »
In my experience, there's multiple types of hosting. I can understand feeling like you are never just a guest but also a contributor. But I don't think it's fair to feel like your friends are expecting you to fund their food budget. There is so much before and after labor and other costs associated with hosting large groups. My DH used to be able to tell which months we did a lot of entertaining because of the spike in our AC bill with having to cool more for a large groups or the doors being open and closed so often. (I do remember someone on here talking about a relative who kept all the leftovers to feed her family for the rest of the week, but I think that is an anomaly.)

When we were a young family mostly socializing with other young families, I don't think any event was ever fully hosted. Just too much work for a couple with 2 little kids to prepare food for 6 to 8 other families who also have young kids. And by bringing a dish to share, you were always assured that your kids would eat at least 1 dish. We would much rather socialize each weekend and just need to take a dish then not socialize at all.

As the kids got older that did change. Backyard BBQ's with the full family moved to more adult focused dinner parties in the dining rooms. If you'd really like to encourage a change, I'd suggest hosting an event that you fully host. Make sure to let your friends know to not bring anything. Maybe they'll enjoy the more cohesive meal offerings and start to do the same. Or they could be like my foodie friends who love the idea of using the event to try out a new dish because if it turns out bad, no harm because there is plenty other food. (And we are all ok with that)

EllenS

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 05:06:22 PM »
I don't think it's rude or anything, and we always offer to bring something when our neighbors or close friends invite us for a meal, but if every single invitation I got was a potluck meal I would get tired of it.

I mean, not just that I'd get tired of organizing all those shared dishes, but I'd probably be tired of going to all the same type of gathering. I don't want to be around big groups all the time. Coffee with a couple of friends, or a one-on-one lunch would be good sometimes. Or just a drink after dinner, you know? I'd want to mix it up.

Maybe your potluck fatigue is actually "organized group" fatigue, and your gut is telling you it would be nice to get together sometimes for more personal visits with fewer, closer friends.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 05:11:44 PM »
What I am hearing you say is that you are being charged a dish as admission to what seems like every event you go to?  does that sound about right?

I think it is a new trend, it's not that I approve or don't, but I am also beginning to decline more of these events.  I prefer not to cook.  Sure, I can run in any store and pick up a bag of chips and dip but if everyone did that it would become a chip and dip party.

When invited to an event that asks for a dish. I like to prepare something I know and think others will enjoy.  I don't like to buy a fruit plate, roasted chicken, etc., I want to participate. 

But I also agree it seems like everything is a bring a dish event now. 

Refreshments used to mean brownies and lemonade in my crowd, now refreshments seems to be a full course meal - provided by all the participants.  This just isn't something I want to do that frequently. 

My life has become a little easier by declining to attend, so you might want to think about that plan.

TeamBhakta

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 08:19:57 PM »
I understand how you feel. I've noticed in the last 10 years or so an uptick in women's magazines suggesting "Want to have a party, but feel you can't do one justice ? Throw a potluck party / home renovation party / similar themes. Ask each guest to bring a dish. Put some of the guests to work pouring drinks or manning the music. Relax because you'll be socializing instead of checking on all the details." Your best bet would be to narrow down that part of your social calendar to something like "I'm only going to potlucks once a month & only if it's for bridge club, not a baby shower."

gellchom

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 10:22:38 PM »
I don't think it's rude or anything, and we always offer to bring something when our neighbors or close friends invite us for a meal, but if every single invitation I got was a potluck meal I would get tired of it.

I mean, not just that I'd get tired of organizing all those shared dishes, but I'd probably be tired of going to all the same type of gathering. I don't want to be around big groups all the time. Coffee with a couple of friends, or a one-on-one lunch would be good sometimes. Or just a drink after dinner, you know? I'd want to mix it up.

Maybe your potluck fatigue is actually "organized group" fatigue, and your gut is telling you it would be nice to get together sometimes for more personal visits with fewer, closer friends.

This is how I feel. 

I wouldn't say either that it's asking the guests to subsidize their grocery bills or that you shouldn't think only about that parties are about the gathering of friends, not about who pays.  Hospitality is about more than the money.

It's just a potluck party.  I don't see anything wrong with that.  But I don't think you are mean-spirited or cheap to be getting tired of every event being potluck.  I probably would, too.


lakey

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 10:47:08 PM »
Quote
Not important, but I'm wondering if there's any significant difference between you and your gamer friends in terms of social 'status' or where you're from that might explain why their norm is your odd.

I think that "their norm is her odd" because traditional etiquette is that hosts provide the food and refreshments. Among traditional people it would be considered rude to ask your guests to bring the food. This isn't some odd thing, it is traditional etiquette. The only events that I've been asked to bring a "dish to share" to have been work lunches or family reunions. I was not raised by people of high status. My parents' brothers and sisters were mostly farmers or factory workers. I had over fifty first cousins so there were a lot of showers, first communions, and graduations. No one was asked to bring a dish to pass.

If you have a group that is close and there are a lot of casual get togethers where everyone contributes some food, and everyone is fine with that, that's great. And it's no one else's business. However, I think it is perfectly reasonable for OP to question why people are inviting her to their homes for a meal and expecting her to provide some of the food, especially for a shower. Another part of good etiquette is reciprocation. If you are always a guest and never a host, then you aren't doing your share.

trichele21

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 11:40:50 PM »
[Just curious. Do you host parties where you supply everything?
[/quote]

I would never dream of doing anything different. If I'm hosting, I'm hosting. If I'm not in a position to host, then I'm not holding an event.

#borecore

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2017, 06:06:19 AM »
Quote
Not important, but I'm wondering if there's any significant difference between you and your gamer friends in terms of social 'status' or where you're from that might explain why their norm is your odd.

I think that "their norm is her odd" because traditional etiquette is that hosts provide the food and refreshments. Among traditional people it would be considered rude to ask your guests to bring the food. This isn't some odd thing, it is traditional etiquette. The only events that I've been asked to bring a "dish to share" to have been work lunches or family reunions. I was not raised by people of high status. My parents' brothers and sisters were mostly farmers or factory workers. I had over fifty first cousins so there were a lot of showers, first communions, and graduations. No one was asked to bring a dish to pass.

If you have a group that is close and there are a lot of casual get togethers where everyone contributes some food, and everyone is fine with that, that's great. And it's no one else's business. However, I think it is perfectly reasonable for OP to question why people are inviting her to their homes for a meal and expecting her to provide some of the food, especially for a shower. Another part of good etiquette is reciprocation. If you are always a guest and never a host, then you aren't doing your share.

I'm not a "traditional person," whatever that means, I suppose. I am accustomed to bringing a dish to nearly every event, as I said in my post. I have lived in 3 metropolitan areas across the country as an adult and several others growing up, so I don't think I'm all that odd here.

I agree that it's good to be the host and spread the responsibility, as I also said. But I don't think that should mean everyone has to host events where guests don't contribute.

I can't think of an event in someone's home I've been to in the last 5 years where guests didn't contribute, other than maybe a shower (and I brought a dish to some of those) or a gathering of fewer than 10 people, which I didn't think the OP was talking about, as I wouldn't expect an invitation.

Devils Advocate

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2017, 08:19:24 AM »
I certainly don't consider it a subsidy to bring a dish to someone who is hosting.  My group of friends all of kids, full-time jobs, and limited time (and sometimes money).  All those things can make it difficult to get out of the house and have a evening out with friends.  A friend who is willing to host (which means cleaning the house nice for the guest and then again after the kids have destroyed it) wouldn't likely also have time to cook and prepare all the food, drink, etc.  They certainly wouldn't have the budget to do it as often as we like to get together.  Typically the person hosting (and who is gracious enough to offer their house) will make the main portion of the meal (think hamburgers) and the rest of us will bring a side or dessert.  We usually coordinate through group text (there are routinely 5-8 couples) so that we don't all bring the same thing.  It's awesome in my book.

trichele21

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 10:59:10 AM »
If a group of friends decide to get together on a Saturday night and there is discussion: where do we want to go? Whose house? What kind of food? Games? Movies? That's different than what I'm describing.

I'm describing someone who decides to throw an event, takes on the event solely and then invites others to their house for their party and demands that everyone bring a dish to share. (Demand is maybe too harsh of a word, but it's certainly not a request).

I guess I was raised more with traditional etiquette. If I'm hosting then I'm providing for my guests and if anyone brings something it's appreciated but not expected or demanded. I feel like if you want to throw a party but can't provide for it (or are too lazy to) then don't throw a party.



POF

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Re: "Bring a dish to share" for EVERY event?!?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2017, 11:43:10 AM »
I think a lot of it depends on reciprocity.  Does the OP host without asking anyone to provide anything ? Does everyone show up t one house because of pool, game room, great outdoor space. 

For me - I host XMAS for the family. I want to do it.  The only thing I ask people to do - is to bring their own wine - since I don't drink and have no idea what they would like.  I do have plenty of other beverages ( and even beer ) .

My SIL will host T - Day and ASSIGN me - an appetizer / all the veggies and a dessert.  That annoys me and I pass on T- Day.

it also matters to me if I am supposed to bring a gift.  SIL had shower for future daughter in law. I bought very nice gift.  She asked me to bring cheeseballs and fruit tray. Every graduation party ( for her 3 kids ) - she has asked me to bring something.  I just started saying no.

So - it really depends. I can see both sides of your issue though