News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • December 12, 2017, 10:31:27 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner  (Read 56292 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

NOVA Lady

  • Member
  • Posts: 7862
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #75 on: November 28, 2007, 11:15:55 AM »
Flora, if you nkew one of your guests had extreme social anxiety and would be reassured be be seated beside/near their spouse would you then seat them next to said spouse?

I would. But I don't know how much either they or their spouse would enjoy our quite social parties...

philote

  • Guest
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #76 on: November 28, 2007, 11:18:42 AM »
It's not a faux pas to seat couples together.  I do not believe, for a second, that the majority of  couples would go to a function, be seated together and think, "Wow, that was tacky.  The proper etiquette is we shouldn't be sitting together!"  I doubt most couples would think anything of it at all.

They'd only be thinking that if they were etiquette mavens - or perhaps folks who host parties and decidedly seat couples apart because "that's the way it should be done" no ifs, ands, or buts.

I feel it's a rule with an outdated precedent, and it seems more than a bit silly to me.  I've never been big on seating arrangements in the first place - didn't have them at my wedding - and the whole issue is a bit baffling. The idea of place cards seems kindergarten to me - now, little Tommy, you sit HERE.  And Kathy, you sit HERE.  Now everyone play nice! I've been to several dinner parties where place cards were not used, and people arranged themselves comfortably even if they did not know one another intimately.  Some sat by their spouses, some did not, and no one appeared to be uncomfortable.  We are adults, not hapless nincompoops.  I hope. :D

Oh, and I'm perfectly capable of talking to other people than my husband at a dinner party and where I am sitting has nothing to do with it.  Like another poster mentioned, dinner tables usually aren't so big that a person across the table might as well be in Siberia.  Just because my husband happens to be closest in proximity to me doesn't mean we have to speak to each other 50, 80, or 100% of the time.  I think that's a bit of a far-fetched assumption.

Aeris

  • Member
  • Posts: 9614
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #77 on: November 28, 2007, 11:20:08 AM »
I normally don't mind being seated away from BF at all, and this has happened on occasion. In more formal events with either of our families, this is fine, or with groups of friends.

However, there are certain events where I would just not do it - if it were some sort of work function for him, and I knew NO ONE. You bet your booty I'll be right next to him. Or if we were invited to a wedding of some distant childhood friend I'd never met, and again, I knew no one at the wedding, none of the family, none of the friends, etc. Yep, I'd switch around to sit with him.

Fortunately I've never experienced forced separate seating at these kinds of events. I would imagine that events where people are invited 'and guest' (even if not literally 'and guest', but the party couldn't care less whether "Mrs. Workdude" was Amy or Betty) (like work events, and some weddings), this concept of separating couples can be more trouble than it's worth. The 'guest' is likely to not know anyone except the date they came with, and it just seems silly to strand a bunch of 'guests' in a desert of total strangers.

But a sitation where the couples are invited together (not a person 'and guest'), and people have a reasonable chance of knowing someone else, I'm fine with it.

Flora Louise

  • Member
  • Posts: 3193
  • Nothing like champagne for a champagne occasion.
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #78 on: November 28, 2007, 11:21:02 AM »
Yes, Sharnita, if I knew it I would. But, like Cathy F., whom I nearly always agree with BTW, I would consider it my duty not to invite someone who would be miserable to a party. It's my job to think about the evening's entertainment and invite accordingly.

I might see that person separately or only with she and her SO. The exception, of course is family, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

I do want to say, I commend everyone who is naturally shy but who makes an effort.
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.

maryb

  • Member
  • Posts: 605
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #79 on: November 28, 2007, 11:22:21 AM »
It's not a faux pas to seat couples together.  I do not believe, for a second, that the majority of  couples would go to a function, be seated together and think, "Wow, that was tacky.  The proper etiquette is we shouldn't be sitting together!"  I doubt most couples would think anything of it at all.

Excellent point.  I agree that it is the most proper and formal etiquette to seat couples separately.  But I don't think it would be in poor etiquette not to, and if that will make your guests feel more comfortable, then why not? 

Having DH sit next to me would actually facilitate the likelihood that he would talk to others, rather than putting him next to strangers, which would basically guarantee he wouldn't, making a miserable time for him, and a not very pleasant time for those seated next to him.

I don't think it's poor etiquette NOT to seat couples together.  If the host wants to do that, ok.  I'd *personally* think it was weird, unless it was some completely wacky formal dinner or the host called attention to it as a fun new experiement or something (like the previously mentioned "switch after every course" thing).  But I don't think that couples being seated together would think it was a faux pas, and that points to the fact that it isn't *common* etiquettte, no matter how much it's considered "proper" etiquette according to such and such.

Flora Louise

  • Member
  • Posts: 3193
  • Nothing like champagne for a champagne occasion.
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #80 on: November 28, 2007, 11:26:25 AM »
However, there are certain events where I would just not do it - if it were some sort of work function for him, and I knew NO ONE. You bet your booty I'll be right next to him.

Ah, but Aeris, you raise an interesting question. What if it were your SO's boss who invited you and separated you?  Would you switch seats?

Edited to add--I just wanted to say that I don't think it's impolite to seat couples together. Just that it's also polite not to and, in fact, the traditional standard.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 11:28:05 AM by Flora Louise »
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.

jimithing

  • Member
  • Posts: 19737
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #81 on: November 28, 2007, 11:27:32 AM »
It's not a faux pas to seat couples together.  I do not believe, for a second, that the majority of  couples would go to a function, be seated together and think, "Wow, that was tacky.  The proper etiquette is we shouldn't be sitting together!"  I doubt most couples would think anything of it at all.

Excellent point.  I agree that it is the most proper and formal etiquette to seat couples separately.  But I don't think it would be in poor etiquette not to, and if that will make your guests feel more comfortable, then why not? 

Having DH sit next to me would actually facilitate the likelihood that he would talk to others, rather than putting him next to strangers, which would basically guarantee he wouldn't, making a miserable time for him, and a not very pleasant time for those seated next to him.

I don't think it's poor etiquette NOT to seat couples together.  If the host wants to do that, ok.  I'd *personally* think it was weird, unless it was some completely wacky formal dinner or the host called attention to it as a fun new experiement or something (like the previously mentioned "switch after every course" thing).  But I don't think that couples being seated together would think it was a faux pas, and that points to the fact that it isn't *common* etiquettte, no matter how much it's considered "proper" etiquette according to such and such.


Exactly.

EeyoreCorbie

  • Guest
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #82 on: November 28, 2007, 11:29:48 AM »
If my DH and I were invited to a function and the only people I knew were the host and my DH and we were seated separately, then yes I'd be very angry/hurt/upset/confused/stressed and wanting to leave. I would be just fine if I were seated next to my DH, but to have someone tell me that we couldn't sit together so we would be forced to mingle would cause me extreme emotional and mental anguish. Now, if it were a group of friends or people I knew fairly well, I would probably be okay. It's being surrounded by strangers in an intimate setting that bothers me.

It's also the "just suck it up" attitude that is hurtful. You wouldn't hand an arachnophobe a spider and tell them to just "put on their big girl panties." 

Jenzilla

  • Guest
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #83 on: November 28, 2007, 11:32:00 AM »
Wow! I'm shocked that not only are so many people not familiar with this rule but actually think it's rude.

About "forced" socializing - it's a PARTY. If you don't want to socialize, why are you going at all? Decline the invite if that's how you feel, and wait for a function that you'll enjoy. It really is that simple. Just because you don't like this kind of socializing doesn't mean it's wrong or that no one else enjoys it.

I don't expect everyone to actively enjoy this sort of party, but sheesh, would please not ruin it for the rest of us by insisting that it's rude somehow?

Flora Louise

  • Member
  • Posts: 3193
  • Nothing like champagne for a champagne occasion.
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #84 on: November 28, 2007, 11:32:14 AM »
I would never tell a guest to just suck it up and deal. Of course, I'd move them. For the love of Mike, I'm not a sadist.
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.

hobish

  • Member
  • Posts: 17892
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #85 on: November 28, 2007, 11:33:15 AM »
I remember reading somewhere (possibly in my ancient tome of Emily Post) that it was proper to divide up couples at a large formal dinner, expressly for encouraging people to mingle as opposed to just chatting with their SOs.

Yes, that is the proper etiquette, and the reasoning for it.

*forgive me, i have not read the whole thread - i know this topic gets heated; but Elle is correct, either way.

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

Veronica

  • Member
  • Posts: 5143
  • the Patron Saint of Judgmental Statues
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #86 on: November 28, 2007, 11:33:34 AM »
Flora- a little O/T but your dinner parties sound fabulous!  

Florida

Jenzilla

  • Guest
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #87 on: November 28, 2007, 11:34:35 AM »
If my DH and I were invited to a function and the only people I knew were the host and my DH and we were seated separately, then yes I'd be very angry/hurt/upset/confused/stressed and wanting to leave. I would be just fine if I were seated next to my DH, but to have someone tell me that we couldn't sit together so we would be forced to mingle would cause me extreme emotional and mental anguish. Now, if it were a group of friends or people I knew fairly well, I would probably be okay. It's being surrounded by strangers in an intimate setting that bothers me.

It's also the "just suck it up" attitude that is hurtful. You wouldn't hand an arachnophobe a spider and tell them to just "put on their big girl panties." 

But your DH would be sitting directly across from you. And it's a dinner, you don't have to talk nonstop or constantly entertain everyone.

Still, if you don't like that kind of thing, you can decline, you don't have to go.

cruise07

  • Member
  • Posts: 67
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #88 on: November 28, 2007, 11:35:35 AM »
I normally don't mind being seated away from BF at all, and this has happened on occasion. In more formal events with either of our families, this is fine, or with groups of friends.

However, there are certain events where I would just not do it - if it were some sort of work function for him, and I knew NO ONE. You bet your booty I'll be right next to him. Or if we were invited to a wedding of some distant childhood friend I'd never met, and again, I knew no one at the wedding, none of the family, none of the friends, etc. Yep, I'd switch around to sit with him.

Fortunately I've never experienced forced separate seating at these kinds of events. I would imagine that events where people are invited 'and guest' (even if not literally 'and guest', but the party couldn't care less whether "Mrs. Workdude" was Amy or Betty) (like work events, and some weddings), this concept of separating couples can be more trouble than it's worth. The 'guest' is likely to not know anyone except the date they came with, and it just seems silly to strand a bunch of 'guests' in a desert of total strangers.

But a sitation where the couples are invited together (not a person 'and guest'), and people have a reasonable chance of knowing someone else, I'm fine with it.


My girlfriend went to her husbands son's wedding, and they had it where her husband and his ex would sit together and even walk down the isle. No way was that going to happen, so they had to change the plan, or they wouldn't be attending.  For a dinner party I suppose you could switch places with people, I've seen that happen, and so long as the guests are comfortable that should be the main concern.

Aeris

  • Member
  • Posts: 9614
Re: Couples Can Sit Seperately at Dinner
« Reply #89 on: November 28, 2007, 11:36:23 AM »
However, there are certain events where I would just not do it - if it were some sort of work function for him, and I knew NO ONE. You bet your booty I'll be right next to him.

Ah, but Aeris, you raise an interesting question. What if it were your SO's boss who invited you and separated you?  Would you switch seats?

Edited to add--I just wanted to say that I don't think it's impolite to seat couples together. Just that it's also polite not to and, in fact, the traditional standard.

Interesting question.

If BF's boss invited us to a 16 person dinner party, where it was somewhat intimate, and it'd be obvious, I wouldn't switch - but only because I wouldn't want to damage BF's promotion prospects, not because it'd be okay. I might be annoyed.

If BF's boss invited 75 people to a thing in a huge room/hall, then yes, I'd probably switch.

Now I'll say I don't know how it feel to have a SO in a formal/social environment (like a consul or something). I imagine it's a whole different world. And I'll also say that if I had gotten to know some coworkers and their spouses through other social events, and THEN was invited to a dinner party (by name, I'm thinking, not 'and guest'), then it would be okay. I'm thinking of things like the company annual dinner, and you're welcome to bring your SO. Seems weird there to separate couples, and I would not personally appreciate it much.


Sorry, this topic is locked. Only admins and moderators can reply.