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Guest insists on bringing a dish... rude??


Here's the scenario: we invite a friend to our house, for a casual dinner to celebrate my birthday. We mention one of the main dishes will be baby back ribs. (You could actually substitute any dish here.) He says "My wife makes GREAT baby back ribs. We'll bring some." This is a statement from him, not a question. We politely tell him that this is not necessary, it is not a potluck, we already have the entire menu planned. He again insists on bringing the dish. We tell him again that we are already serving baby back ribs, which happen to be a specialty of my husband's. The guest then says, "Well, I'm going to bring my own." I was speechless. I didn't really know what to say, I've never encountered this situation before. While we are thankful for the kind sentiment of wanting to contribute something, or bring a hostess gift, I think INSISTING on bringing the EXACT same dish that the host has already told you will be served, is just plain rude. What do you think? And, how do we deflect this? (How many ways can you say no??) I certainly don't want him turning up at the dinner with his own set of baby back ribs...

  1. Your pride aside, why not? More of your husband's food for yourself.

    Don't know that I'd invite this person again, if this conduct bothered me so much, but as the invitation's been made and accepted, your first duty is to be a good host -- which means making your guest feel comfortable.

    There's also a possibility that he has special dietary needs, and doesn't want to put you out.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Muskrat

      It could be, of course, that your guest posted this:


      1. re: Muskrat

        I read that post and I'm beginning to wonder....

        1. re: Texchef

          Nope, definitely wasn't us. No fancy kitchen in the backyard, just a charcoal grill. This guest has never been to our house before.And about the dietary needs... Baby back ribs are pork. So he would also be bringing pork. Of course the seasonings and sauce could vary wildly. Maybe he's allergic to pepper. Everyone's idea of what is rude or impolite varies wildly. I myself would never make my host "lose face" by demanding to bring a dish after being told "no" multiple times. I wouldn't demand or expect a host to immediately open and drink a bottle of wine I brought, either, but that's just me.

          1. re: SanJoseHound

            it is definitely rude, but i'd bet this guy is excited about his ribs and isn't really thinking about his manners, that's what it sounds like anyway.

      2. It isn't rudeness. It is misplaced good intentions and undeveloped social skills. Let it be.

        14 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Veggo, I think you're right. I can understand being put off by the guy's behavior, but I don't think there is intentional rudeness here. More likely clumsy, undeveloped social skills.

          1. re: emi50

            First of all I totally agree with Veggo, but I'd like to add that food like ribs, chili, burgers, etc, often bring out the competitor in a lot of cooks, and there's an element of "throwdown"/cook off for a lot of people who prepare this kind of food. Maybe you could turn the situation on its head a bit by playfully saying at dinner, "Well since X insisted on turning this into a baby back rib throwdown, let's have a little contest." Maybe provide little score cards next to everyone's place setting, or wrapped up with the cutlery and napkins if you're serving informally. This way you can dispel the tension and yet still put the guest under the spotlight a bit, and perhaps in a fun way illustrate that this was a little aggressive. Who knows, maybe you'll start a fun new tradition among your friends?

            1. re: ballulah

              cute idea.

              but i'd probably say "i'd prefer you didn't bring food. i'm inviting you because i want to cook for you- if you're not interested in the food i'd like to cook for you we can just cancel"

              i'm kindof a bee-otch though.

              1. re: excuse me miss

                Love it!! Sounds like me! Nothing wrong with being frank :-)

                1. re: excuse me miss

                  I probably would too, I have no problem being a blunt bee-otch! But it sounded like the OP wanted to be polite so I searched the "archives" for an alternative to "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!" Hahahaha.

                  1. re: excuse me miss

                    That is the best response on this board.
                    The direct approach is always the best approach.

                2. re: emi50

                  Which is a fair enough statement...but do you really want to hang out with someone with poor social skills? You never know what your next challenge with him might bring?

                  1. re: emi50

                    I think in this instance, if this really is a friend and he's really being insistent, it's worth it to up the discussion a level.

                    Call him and ask if the reason they suggested bringing their own ribs is that they have some dietary restriction - no corn syrup in the BBQ sauce or whatever. If he says that's not it, then recite loudly and slowly:

                    "Ah. Would you be willing to come to join us for dinner and NOT BRING YOUR OWN BABY BACK RIBS? YES OR NO?"

                    If he says no, then there's your answer. If he says yes but then whines about why, establish a boundary and say that WAS NOT WHAT THE INVITATION WAS FOR. You can tell him (in this situation I think it's appropriate) that you would love to join them for some other dinner sometime to try the way they make ribs. And then ask if you can bring the potato salad for that, and would next Saturday be alright?

                    (But seriously on that last point, I'm not suggesting inviting oneself to their place. You could say IF YOU WANNA BRING A MODEST BOTTLE OF WINE, THAT'D BE FINE. BUT THE DINNER ITSELF IS ALREADY PLANNED.)

                  2. re: Veggo

                    Maybe not so much undeveloped social skills, as different social skills. It may be he was raised that it is rude to show up at a party without bringing a dish, and that a host's insistance that they have everything covered is just polite talk. In this case his enthusiasm does seem misguided, but I agree with Veggo - it is well intentioned.

                    I know lots of people who would never dream of showing up at someone's home for a meal without bringing something to share. It's they way they were raised.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      "I know lots of people who would never dream of showing up at someone's home for a meal without bringing something to share. It's they way they were raised."

                      Yes, but I think there is a huge difference between showing up with your own dish of the main course to be served, and coming with a bottle of wine, chocolates, some home made cookies for the host.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        I agree, absolutlely. This guy is adamant about bringing his own ribs, even when told it wasn't necessary. Those that were raised to contribute something to the meal weren't raised to bring EXACTLY the same thing as already being served.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Exactly, bringing your own version of the main course isn't exactly a hostess gift. I would think a nice bottle of wine, flowers, or chocolates would be more appropriate and they should have taken the hint the first time he said no thank you.

                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                          Hey, I know what I'D do. Telll this lout that you're also having a caviar/truffle or champagne tasting and since his palate is so exquisitely refined you'd like him to contribute to that. It would be interesting to hear what he says.

                        3. re: Veggo


                          It is anoying, I agree. I always like to take charge of things when having a party cause I really find pot luck stuff terrible. I always tell everyone NOT to bring ANYTHING. If they feel they must, then bring wine. This way I can make sure there's a properly planned amount of food and it's all GOOD. But, typically some people still bring a dish or 2. I'm always show my appreciation, but I really wish they wouldn't.

                        4. Just more left-overs for everyone....

                          Yeah, it could be annoying, but take it in stride as having too much of a good thing is never worth bitching about. If he doesn't take No for an answer than let him his and you can eat your's. Life is too short to stress about some things.

                          1. Well, actually, yes. It's rude. It's very rude, inappropriate and rather hostile to boot.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bryan

                              This guy doesn't sound like much of a friend to me, or least not too bright of a friend. I would be offended too and would suggest that he bring something else. I'd probably word it that it would be a big help if he could bring , you fill in the blank, but try to guide him in another direction and then leave him off the next guest list.

                              1. re: bryan

                                Hostile indeed....

                                Big difference between, "Hey, I'd love to help, whattya want me to bring?" and "I'm bringing them ANYWAY".


                                Maybe head them off by asking them to bring something else??

                                And as Texaschef below points out... no more invite-ee to any further dinner parties...unless you host a themed "Decent Bloody Manners" night

                                1. re: purple goddess

                                  >unless you host a themed "Decent Bloody Manners" night<

                                  Hmm... this sounds like it would have a huge chance of going terribly awry. But I kind of like the idea.

                              2. He sounds unbelievably rude. I would lose it and tell him to stay at home and eat his own ribs.

                                1. He also volunteered to have his WIFE make the dish. Bet she's thrilled. He's a real prize all around.
                                  Assuming that you know her, you could call, just to confirm, and mention that everything is going perfectly well and, oh! by the way, there may not be nearly as many people coming as you had thought at first so she really doesn't need to go to all that trouble of cooking those ribs. You think you might have already bought too much food.
                                  She may be thrilled to be let off the hook.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    Great post- and a good suggestion to call his wife- may be just the way to diffuse the problem without a major blow out. And you are right, he sounds like quite the prize!

                                  2. Okay, I'll grant you it's weird. My first impulse was that it was exceedingly rude- it's not a throwdown, it's an invitation to dinner. Personally, I'd be miffled. (Soprano's quote, sorry)

                                    But, after reading some of the other's responses, I think he's just graceless. And maybe proud of his wife's ribs. But, sneak that I am, I might recruit someone other than myself to say to him "um, why'd you try and show up the host by bringing more ribs?" That might make him rethink the bringing of Main Course V.2

                                    One quick additional thought- can you say "We'd be happy to try your ribs at your BBQ, but my H is really proud of his, and it would feel like you were trying to compete"?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cheesemonger

                                      Loved "miffled." No need to make a molehill out of the guest and his wife's ribs. I also first felt it was rude and odd -- never encountered this. However, on reflection, perhaps it's really no big deal if it's not a formal dinner. The more food the better. If the OP wants to say No, she could try saying, "No thank you -- we are not serving any food that anyone brings; we are only serving what we are preparing."

                                      We are invited to a summer BBQ by people I don't know. I was planning to offer to bring plenty of chicken to grill, because I like a particular kind of chicken ....

                                      1. re: cheesemonger

                                        "it's not a throwdown"
                                        you owe me a new keyboard. snorfle.

                                      2. I do agree that it's rude as well. I'm one who loves to contribute to my hosts dinners but when I know others are too. When I know it's being done completely by the hosts and they want to shine (like I do on occasion) then I understand. Maybe you could call them back and explain politely that you are concerned about other guests feeling uncomfortable since you told everyone it was NOT a potluck and you wanted to host the special meal - other guests will not understand when these folks walk in with ribs to contribute.

                                        I was married to someone who didn't have social skills and when we were invited to a cookout with hot dogs and hamburgs, he wanted to bring a rib eye steak for himself adn I couldn't get him to understand that it was kind of rude to bring his own superior meat and eat it in front of people while others were eating hot dogs and burgers.

                                        1. I think it's damn rude. And if he actually had the gall to tell you, "Well I'm going to bring my own," I'll bet he'll walk around all night telling your other guests that HE brought the "OTHER" ribs, try them!

                                          1. It sounds like he has empathy problems and just didn't think about how he would feel if someone did that to him.

                                            Tell him you don't need his ribs. Fight fire with fire, be rude back. There's no reason to take his crap. Then be real sweet when you see him next like you forgot all about it. If it blows up in your face, oh well, why be friends with someone you clearly don't understand, who drives you to post on chowhound about how rude they are to confirm that you're not crazy?

                                            In my opinion, you're not crazy that's rude, but the reason for the rudeness is key, and you're the only one who knows this guy.

                                            1. I would try contacting his wife and urging her to NOT make the ribs. She'll probably be relieved.

                                              1. Lord, was he drinking when you called? That is just weird. (And I bet his wife would just die if she understood she was bringing the same thing that you are making.) I agree that he is probably just enthusiastic and tactless. Don't take it personally -- and fill us in on how it goes!!

                                                1. I don't think I've ever advocated this before. I'd uninvite them. To insist on brining something when you're told "no thank you" is bad enough. To insist on bringing a dish that purports, essentially, to be better than the dish you'll be serving at your home, to celebrate _your_ birthday....I wouldn't care whether its underdeveloped social skills, a lack of empathy, poor rearing or anything else...its unacceptable and the ultimate effect is that its rude.

                                                  I'd give it one more phone call, perhaps to his spouse, but either way, I'd clarify that you don't want them to bring anything, especially not ribs. If he continues to insist, I'd go with "then I think its best that you not come to dinner. thanks."

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                    I think I'm with ccbweb here.

                                                    If the wife doesn't back down when you call her uninvite.

                                                    It is your birthday and these people sound like very unpleasant guests. If they briing the ribs the jerk will probably spend the night competing and comparing. If you convince them not to he'll spend the night telling everyone how you wouldn't let him bring his ribs which are sooooooo good.

                                                    Lose the loser.

                                                    1. re: lebelage

                                                      could you joke your way out of it?
                                                      e.g. HEY- my ribs at *MY* house- you can serve your ribs when we come to *your* house- jeez, let me host my own dinner would you? I'd be happy to have you come and clean the next day, however...

                                                      1. re: nummanumma

                                                        A bunch of other posts seem to suggest he's a bumble-head rather than a sociopath. However, on the outside chance it's the latter, anything the OP does to discourage the bringing of the ribs would blow up as the guest went around later (to whoever), snidely saying how much of a show-off or insecure the OP is that she wouldn't let the guest bring their own ribs because she was afraid they might be better. Hopefully, it's nothing of the sort (and I don't think it is)... but should it turn out to be, just cut off all contact with the guy from then on and be glad to be done with it!

                                                        1. re: Cinnamon

                                                          If some guy walked around at my party badmouthing me to my friends, they'd think he was a tool.
                                                          I wouldn't have to make a decision -- they'd all say, "We're not coming to your parties if you invite this jerk."
                                                          There, problem solved. :-D

                                                      2. re: lebelage

                                                        I'd agree. There is a high probability that the guy is a jerk in most every aspect - sounds like he'd be a management problem all night long attracting attention to himself and/or his wife's ribs/his wife's cooking.

                                                        Thought I'd heard of everything regarding rude guests. But never this. Disinvite immediately.

                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                          DISINVITE?? Good heavens, why react to something-that-might-be-interpreted-as-insulting with a flagrant, unmistakeable, irrevocable, spit-in-the-eye insult?

                                                          There are so many innocent interpretations of this guy's behavior, many of which have already been mentioned. A well-intentioned deficit in the social graces, an overabundance of generosity or loving pride in his wife, a farm-community upbringing that makes it unthinkable to not contribute to any communal feast.

                                                          Maybe he or his wife is allergic to a common rib-rub ingredient and thought it kinder & less intrusive to offer to bring some ribs than grill you (pun unintended but I like it) on what you put in yours.

                                                          Maybe he's accustomed to people who make automatic protest noises when they're offered help, but don't really mean it. I know lots of the type.

                                                          Maybe he's an awful pig where baby back ribs are concerned and feels he might run you short of them. (I was just reading another Chow thread re: how many shrimp-per-person to serve at a party. The suggested number was 4 1/2, and I blushed with shame; I could inhale two dozen cold shrimp all by myself.)

                                                          Do you really think it's going to ruin your party to have another rack or two of ribs on the table? Accept them graciously, thank the cook with a little kiss on the cheek and tell her that it's always a treat to see how other people do ribs.

                                                          If anyone even notices the difference in the two kinds of ribs (which I seriously doubt), it will only spark an enlivening discussion on the passionately-debated subject of BBQ and probably guarantee the success of your party.

                                                          1. re: PhoebeB

                                                            Phoebe - finally a word of common sense. I posted way up-thread to just accept the extra bounty but didn't expand upon the sociology of the situation.

                                                            Sure, the guy is probably rude. So what? In the grand scheme of things this is the most bizarre topic for folks to get so overwhelmingly passionate about. So a rude rube wants to bring more food? Accept with grace the bounty that is in your life when many don't have friends to spend birthdays with or may not have enough food to start with.

                                                            Chill out, people. Its just extra food. We have no way to know WHY the guy wants to bring his and to apply suppositions to his actions is wrong.

                                                            1. re: PhoebeB

                                                              I agree. Sorry to whip out the cliché, but two wrongs don't make a right.

                                                              Besides, one of the key aspects of good manners is to not make others feel bad if they slip up - so while you're perfectly entitled to take the reins for your party, you have to do it in a way that lets your guest save face.

                                                              I'd recommend deflecting him. Say something like, "It's great that you want to contribute. We're set for ribs, but I would really appreciate it if you could bring __________."

                                                              If that doesn't work, grin and bear it - and think twice before inviting him again. Just don't act out during the party.

                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                Ahhhhh, finally! I was getting a little worried. It's just ribs and one really silly man. Thank him graciously for the ribs, enjoy them as they will probably be very good, and think twice before inviting them again. Chalk this up to a learning experience. Too many times we over think and over analyze what is simply rude behavior that we deal with and move on! Be the bigger person, you'll be glad you did.

                                                      3. That's some situation! Try to protect your own boundaries without encroaching on those of your friends. Be firm that you don't want him bringing ribs, but gladly accept a side dish, wine, or dessert. Set consiquences for inappropriate behavior and stick to them ("if you show up with the very food we're serving, we're not going to invite you over for dinner again"). If you're passive, you'll just be upset with yourself and will set bad precedent for the future. If you're assertive without being aggressive, everyone wins.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: PlatypusJ

                                                          This is a wonderful response, in my opinion. (Without responses like this, he might not respect other boundaries either, if he's that kind of guy. You can't let people like this 'friend' walk all over your wishes once, and not expect it to happen again.)

                                                        2. I get that all the time, my cop out is that I keep a kosher home and the others don't. One thing that wasn't mentioned was to graciously say to him that you accept it but keep it for you and your family to serve at another time, so you could really appreciate it.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                            I think the OP should use your "cop out" . . . I'd love to see the other guy's face!

                                                            1. re: phoebek

                                                              ...might be a little hard to pull off when the dish in question is baby back ribs...

                                                              1. re: revsharkie

                                                                One unethical way to deal with it would be when he arrives, to tell him that your ribs are actually vegan and you don't allow meat in the house. Then smile.

                                                                I'm not advocating that, of course.

                                                          2. Definitely rude, especially because this is YOUR birthday, the one day of the year that you should get to do things exactly as you want. Additionally, is he intending to grill them along side your husband on the same grill? I don't BBQ, but isn't that rude in itself? I agree with the idea of letting either the friend or his wife know that it is not a potluck and the other guests will not be bringing anything and you don't want them to feel bad, so they should not bring anything either. Stressing out about how this will all play out if he does try to bring something is not worth it during your birthday celebration.

                                                            1. Definitely rude. He's probably very competitive. I hope he has other redeeming qualities. If I were in your shoes (and I'm glad I'm not), I would just let him act out his insecurities, and never invite him over again.

                                                              1. Wow, at first I thought this was going to be one of those posts that complained about people who brought things to dinner parties in spite of being told there was no need. It can seem rude, but it's understandable because some people feel really uncomfortable coming to a party empty handed.Different strokes blah blah blah.

                                                                HOWEVER, this is crazy. Unfortunately, this is also your friend and you have a relationship with this person, or so I assume given that you've invited him to your party. Is this just one of those things he does? Is this one of those cases where you start wondering about sudden personality changes? Just saying, because really, the resonse, 'Well, I'm going to bring my own,' is that kind of rude that is so close to the edge it might as well be crazy.

                                                                No advice, just wondering how you know him and what other times you've had this person over.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                  This is the first time we've invited him over and actually the first time we've shared a meal. He's my husband's former co-worker.

                                                                  1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                    I never think in terms of a friend trying to one-up a friend, but he's more of a wild card to you than a friend. He has already caused you anxiety even if nothing goes further awry. Your position is that doing anything or doing nothing is equally unsavory; in chess it's called a Zug-zwang. Your husband should intercede with whatever it takes to restore your peace of mind. You are the featured guest, not rib-man.

                                                                    1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                      My thought was to answer with an enthusiastic "Are you REALLY sure you want to bring the Ribs?!? OMG, I just can't believe how generous you are! We'll only need about 45 pounds to feed the crowd. What a GREAT birthday present, and THANK YOU EVER so much!" See you at the party then...

                                                                      (exit, stage left........)

                                                                  2. I had to read the OP twice to make sure I understood this. I've had friends of a number of different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds over the years, so I've learned that a flexible sense of etiquette was useful in maintaining friendships. After all, the friendship is more important than the food. This, however, cannot be dismissed as mere "gracelessness" - this is blatantly aggressive behaviour. In fact, I think that this was not so much misdirected generosity as a subterfuge to have a Food Network (I'm beginning to to think FN is a pernicious influence, but that's a different posting) style rib-off. You are being invited to rib slam-down on your own turf. I wouldn't uninvite him, but I'd definitely not invite him again. I hope that he's not a good friend, and if he is, I have to wonder how he became one.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                      hungry pangolin, thanks for your post. I think you hit the nail on the head. My birthday is not the place for a Food Network rib competition, and not the place for a forced potluck either. If I attended a party and I was told it was not a potluck, but saw another guest bring a dish, I would start to wonder. I think a lot of people don't understand the concept of "saving/losing face", something that is difficult for me to explain but that I grew up with. I also think a lot of people have a different definition of "rude". I agree with this one: "RUDE implies ignorance of or indifference to good form." Yep, he may be overenthusiastic, or he may be overly competitive, or both. Don't worry, everyone who jumped to his defense ;) we're not disinviting him. My husband is going to have another gentle talk with him. Between the guys I'm sure they'll be able to work something out, perhaps with a gentle suggestion to bring something else.

                                                                      1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                        I think you might ponder the possibility that the "competition" angle exists only in your mind and never entered his.

                                                                        Of course I was not privy to the nuances of your conversation with him, but my own quasi-"farm community" mentality is flabbergasted at such distress over what seems such a tiny ripple in the ocean of life.

                                                                        It is, after all, a "casual"--outdoors?--affair and not a black-tie sitdown dinner party. Are you worried that his ribs might be better than yours?

                                                                        1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                          They're not my ribs, they're my husband's. I think the "competition" angle was actually mentioned by quite a few other posters, and if you read my OP I don't mention this angle at all. Nope, not worried that his ribs might be better. Guess it is all a matter of how you were raised, and how culture and upbringing play into behavior. The words "demanding guest" seem to contradict each other, according to my standards. Am I going to disinvite him? No. Is there a solution that involves him not bringing this dish and still remain "friends" with us? Sure. I'll make sure to let everyone know how it plays out.

                                                                          1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                            I'd call the wife and say that her husband mentioned she made great ribs and he wanted to bring them, but that you have the rib situation under control this time. She may know her husband (and his mind set) more than we think.

                                                                          2. re: PhoebeB

                                                                            I don't see what the casual nature of the affair has to do with it. It's still rude to override the wishes of your host, imo.

                                                                            1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                              This was not a tiny ripple - she said the guy was insisting after being politely told no thank you. In any community, it's important that there be respect for individuals.

                                                                            2. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                              "Between the guys, etc."

                                                                              I think that's the best action to take. it's a win/win situation.....but I would definitely think twice before inviting him again. Or, don't tell what you're serving

                                                                              Happy Birthday!!

                                                                          3. I had sort of the opposite occur. In planning to visit relatives for the weekend, I told them in advance we'd be bringing a special cheesecake from a local cheesecake shop owned by a famous pastry chef, and a quiche from a local fabulous Italian gourmet store. When each was served, they insisted on serving them along with the Costco version of each plopped down right next to it. I was insulted. When we went to the trouble of getting these special things, it was as if they were saying "Oh, these are just as good." Thank you.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                                                                              We have foodie friends and non-foodie friends (as probably most of us do here on Chowhound) and I can tell you the non-foodie friends would not be one bit impressted with the special items and long ago I started making sure that when I go out of my way (in time effort or price), it's for people who will appreciate it. The non-foodie friends get perfectly good food and they are just as happy as the foodie friends, and I don't feel unappreciated.

                                                                            2. Don't deflect it! Invite all your other guests to bring their own versions of ribs and turn it into a rib fest with a judging for which dish is the favorite!

                                                                              Make lemonade out of your lemons. ;>D

                                                                              1. Jfood has a different take on this. First, can't get to rude for your friend, and many know that jfood rarely, if ever, gets to "rude". This seems to be more immature than rude. Guest, from the description, acted like a puppy dog when told of the menu (why the heck you did that is beyond me, but water under the bridge). Tail wagging ferosiously, tongue slapping from side to side, etc. then the proud husband instinct kicked in. when you placed the line in the sand with the "husband specialty" comment, the reaction was very immature. My guess is the age of the guest is under 35 (not a slight, but an observation).

                                                                                That being said you have a few choices:
                                                                                1 - serve all the ribs to all the guests and enjoy your birthday, sounds like you got the food covered
                                                                                2 - serve only your ribs and leave guests in the container in the kitchen. understand guest will probably take them out of the kitchen and bring to the table (that's an interesting can of worms)
                                                                                3 - call and be perfectly blunt and tell them that this is a special occassion and would prefer if they leave them at home (refusal leads to 1 or 2 above)
                                                                                4 - uninvite, this is really not an option since you have basically blown off a friendship over some ribs, not exactly a mature result either.

                                                                                Since it appears that 3 has already done, with no success, you are left with 1 and 2. jfood would suggest just serve all the food, enjoy the company and whatever you do, please do not let this friend ruin your b'day in any way.

                                                                                As many know, jfood ALWAYS places friendship above food. who knows maybe this guest really makes good ribs. there can be many reasons why your guest acted in such an immature manner, but you now know for the next time.who knows the ribs he bring may be very good and a great discussion on method and recipes may happen. try to look at the bright side and Happy Birthday to all.

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                  I agree with Jfood on your options - actually #1 would be the easiest on you if you can muster up the courage to rise above it all. I think this is another example of how when we open up our homes and hospitality to others -things can happen that make us wonder why we do it in the first place. Entertaining is more than an art it is a lesson in pyschology,cultural sociology, and politics thrown in for good measure. I really would be interested to see how this "drama" plays out-perhaps his wife will smack him on the head and say,"You said what! I have no desire to make ribs for someone else's rib BBQ." Well, at least I hope that is what she says. Happy Birthday and try to enjoy your day.

                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                    I think there's a 4th option here, namely for the OP to change his menu, omitting the ribs. This way, if the guest's intention was competetive (and I suspect it was), then he's out of luck. Invite everyone (minus the rudesby) back for some ribs at a later date.

                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                      I guess I just don't think she should change her birthday party menu because of someone who is either rude or completely clueless, however well intentioned such person might be.

                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        I don't really like it, but I would go to great lengths to avoid a gloating throwdown experience.

                                                                                      2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        No. I am not changing my menu to accomodate this guest's demands.

                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                          That is absolutely not a viable option. there is no way that a host should change a menu because of an over zealous guest.

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            I wouldn't like doing it, but averting a really ugly scene at a dinner party would be my first priority.

                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              the ugly scene would only occur if you let it happen. hence the reason jfood chose serve all the food.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                I don't know how one could control ugly guest bent on throwdown -- gag? This guy sounds like a totally brazen loose canon. I envision the following scenario: Host serves dinner (graciously including unwanted gift ribs). Ugly guest (hereinafter UG) urges everyone to taste, compare, and agree that his wife's ribs are far superior. Scenario number 2: Host declines to serve UG's ribs. UG goes into kitchen and hauls them out, urging everyone to taste, compare, and judge. I cannot imagine a more uncomfortable situation in which to place my other guests, and would seek to avoid such an awful situation at all costs.

                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                  well p, that's a pretty unfortunate two scenarios you describe. hopefully jfood assessment of immature does notplay into this fray.

                                                                                                  jfood can only hope that this guy is not UG, but just a puppy-dog as described and when he shows up and sees what an oaf he is, he'll shut up and be a good birthday party guest.

                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                    I am certainly all-agog for th OP to report back. this sounds like it could be the ultimate cluster f***. Hope the birthday celebration isn't ruined.

                                                                                        2. re: jfood

                                                                                          >serve only your ribs and leave guests in the container in the kitchen.<

                                                                                          May be tough finding a container big enough to fit those two guests in, but points for originality.

                                                                                        3. ricepad agrees with jfood's second option: Serve your ribs, leave the rude guest's ribs in the kitchen. You've already established that it is NOT a potluck, so just as with wine, you're under no obligation to serve anything brought by a guest. ricepad would go so far as to wrap the guest's ribs and put them in the refrigerator, or even freezer while announcing something like, "Oh, those are going to be perfect for tomorrow's lunch!"

                                                                                          [ricepad is not sure he likes this 'third person' thing, but he thought he'd give it a try.]

                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                            ricepad & jfood, this is a great suggestion.

                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                              Great idea! What if the rude, clueless guest causes a scene?

                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                Oh, my, the guest's wife spends two days making ribs and you stick them in the freezer?! I think the guest would go nuts, make a scene, tell everyone, over and over, what hapened, etc. And, I think it's a rude response back at the guy.

                                                                                                1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                  It is porobably a rude response back at the guy- and I would even venture to guess that if the guy made a scene ( and he probably would) he would never even begin to understand that he was rude by bringing the ribs in the first place!

                                                                                                  1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                    Yes, I would do this. Is it rude of me to respond this way? That's a matter of opinion ;) This guy forces his wishes upon his host, brings the ribs despite being told numerous times NO PLEASE DON'T, and all of a sudden I'm concerned that my response of saving the ribs for us to enjoy later is rude? Hmmm... no. If he starts to make a scene, he'll be politely asked to leave. At that point we know he's not a friend worth having. Thank goodness our "regulars" (friends & family) know the difference between a potluck (which we've had) and a party where all the food is served by their hosts, and nothing is needed except their presence. I'm definitely not adverse to guests asking, "I'd really like to help, is there anything I can bring?" and I think it is extremely thoughtful when guests bring host(ess) gifts like flowers or chocolates or wine to enjoy later, although of course I don't expect this.

                                                                                                    1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                      BM and Macca

                                                                                                      Agree that the downside to this is waaaaay harsher than just serving. Offered as an alternative but not recommended.

                                                                                                      1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                        If this were to happen, the other guests would probably think, "Oh, crap...*I* didn't bring anything!" At which point ricepad would tell Mr. Rude, "Sorry, but with all the stuff ricepad had already prepared, ricepad thought you knew there'd be more than enough ribs, and if we leave them all out, some of them are bound to go bad."

                                                                                                        There's nothing rude about not serving what a guest has brought to a non-potluck meal. It is actually polite behavior. Search for the many threads on bringing wine and/or chocolates to a dinner party for more.

                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                          Love this: "There's nothing rude about not serving what a guest has brought to a non-potluck meal." Especially in this situation.

                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                            That's pretty good positioning (not sure it will avoid a scene) - "I don't want to make other gusts feel bad . . ." or "they'll go bad" approach.

                                                                                                          2. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                            Yeah, I agree and think this is too rude of a response, because it is actually quite passive aggressive. This guy seems confrontational so I don't think passive aggressive is the way to go.

                                                                                                            Just tell him in advance you don't want the ribs, in whatever way you think is best. I think guy to guy might work.

                                                                                                            I would totally flip if my homemade ribs that my husband asked me to make got put in the freezer. Mostly because I would want to eat them! When I go to a potluck, I spend so much effort making the dish but don't even get a bite of the finished product until serving time, so I make sure to get a bite of whatever I made and really look forward to tasting the fruit of my efforts. Don't punish the wife for her husband's graceless behavior!

                                                                                                            1. re: LaurenTX2CA

                                                                                                              I don't think it is a passive aggressive response at all. He was informed very clearly, numerous times, that this is NOT a potluck, and not to bring the ribs. So if he does, they get put away. I would totally flip if my husband made me prepare and bring the same dish that the hosts were serving, after he was told many times not to. "Just tell him in advance you don't want the ribs, in whatever way you think is best." - This is exactly what we have already done.

                                                                                                              1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                OK so I've read the other responses too...and I really do think shoving someone's homemade food in the freezer is passive aggressive and rude. Especially since it's the product of his wife's hard work and you have no clue what she was told. This guy has a thick skull and would probably only say to her "Hey they're having a BBQ and I said we'd bring ribs," not tell her it's your main course.

                                                                                                                Any other option is better than this one to me. You might as well uninvite them if you are going to shove her ribs in the freezer because they will never want to see you again anyway, and one of them might make a scene that would ruin your party and make you look like the rude one. If you really have told him so many times, extremely clearly and obviously, and he doesnt get it, tell him you think it would be too much like a competition and that's not what you want on your birthday, so it's probably better if they just didn't come. Then he might change his tune.

                                                                                                                Anyway I wouldn't want to be friends with this guy....

                                                                                                          3. re: ricepad

                                                                                                            ricepad and jfood , I agree with putting the ribs aside, but when eveyone is leaving, I'd divy up the ribs between the guests or simply send them home with the goofball who brought them.

                                                                                                          4. Wow what a crazy situation. I too would be speechless initially when dealing with this situation.

                                                                                                            I wonder if honesty is the best policy in this situation. Maybe you can just call them back and say, "Look, I know you meant well, but we don't want people to bring anything, especially the same main dish that we are making. I have to again request that if you feel the need to contribute that you bring ____ or _____ or _____. "

                                                                                                            If the guy or his wife are too dense to get the message at this point... well I think you can tell them not to come. You don't deserve such behavior on your birthday.

                                                                                                            1. I've been giving this thread a lot of thought and realize that the man in question may be a lot like my Dh. My Dh is a great guy and very well intended but often doesn't understand that (a) more doesn't always mean better and (b) he needs to let go of his control issues. I can see him having a similar conversation with someone who invited us to a party if he got caught in a certain frame of mind. And in that case, the strategy of giving me a phone call to take care of it and getting him to back off would be the best solution as in other situations I've had to remind him that the host gets to actually do the hosting <g>.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                I agree. Reminds of the time my husband took it upon himself to explain to a hostess (wife of a co-worker of mine) how easy it is to make homemade salsa, when she opened up the jar to serve it. Ouch. It took a lot of explaining on my part later to get him to see why this was rude. And he is (a) over 35 and (b) usually an *incredibly* polite, courteous person. He just thought he was being nice.

                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                  Sounds like my DH; well-intentioned, but lacking in social graces. We like to host dinners @ home, so he prepares (and cooks) the menu and I get to edit it. Knowing the guests, I usually suggest tweaking or removing entire dishes. If he disagrees w/me (fairly often), I let him have his way and let the results speak for themselves (barely touched dishes).

                                                                                                                  Some guys (and women) just don't get it. DH loves to cook, but sometimes goes overboard. His intentions are good & he gets caught up in his own excitement. There are few pleasures in life; I try to let him have his when they come around. At some point it goes beyond what's polite, mannerly or right; I've learned to let certain things not bother me.

                                                                                                                  Initially, like SJHound, I'd be non-plussed and ticked. But in the overall scheme of things--even though it is YOUR party--I might let this go. It's not worth the aggravation.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                    Sounds like my father AND my fiance at times. Hm...I see a pattern here... ;-)

                                                                                                                  2. This is rude and/or clueless.

                                                                                                                    Only exception is if someone is kosher and needs to bring their own dishes/food into my non-kosher home.

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                                      jfood would expand that to all dietary restriction. tossing you a bone FDR. do not want to start something here.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                        Agreed . . .but it's a little different for dietary restrictions because you don't usually need to bring your own dishes. For example I don't eat red meat. Close friends know this. I never volunteer this information when I'm a guest (would not want to put my host on the spot and there are almost always veggies & bread). It has made me a more sensitive host, I ALWAYS ask my guests if they have dietary restrictions, etc. So many people seem to be allergic to shellfood, etc.

                                                                                                                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                                          sorry, jfood read dishes as food noy ceramic

                                                                                                                      2. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                                                                                        dietary restrictions aren't just "not eating red meat" or "vegetarian". Some people are on special diets (celiac, etc) but still want to socialise.

                                                                                                                        I'm lactose-intolerant (can eat goat's cheese). Fortunately most of my friends are aware of that and very gracious, but there are times I'm invited somewhere and can't eat the meal - this is mostly in situations where I don't know the people personally.

                                                                                                                      3. Wow, this post made me do a double take. Based on the question posed in the title alone, I'd say "no!" but what you've written makes me say "Yes, although probably unintentionally."

                                                                                                                        HOW TO DEFLECT:
                                                                                                                        -call back and be sure to mention to his wife that you are already making ribs (she might not know that you are)

                                                                                                                        -make it clear that by bringing a dish they may make other guests who are not bringing a dish uncomfortable (an important consideration)

                                                                                                                        -mention that the BBQ will already be pretty crowded with the things you're making

                                                                                                                        1. I'm not sure what I would do in your situation, but.....

                                                                                                                          I wonder if there is any way to *combine* all the ribs on one platter after they've been cooked? Then it would be hard to "compare" the two different batches, and (hopefully) no one could judge either one. Just a thought..... Hopefully, your clueless/rude/agressive guest would be a little deflated.

                                                                                                                          It's a passive-agressive tactic, but it could work, and serve him right.

                                                                                                                          1. Since the ribs are covered...I'd just make chicken. ;)

                                                                                                                            1. Dare I add another comment?

                                                                                                                              Just let the guy hang himself, really. Years of food service work along with years of bizarre family boundary-crossing has taught me to let people just hang themselves if they insist on behaving inappropriately.

                                                                                                                              Other posters who say, "If the guy insists on bringing ribs after being asked not to, leave them in the kitchen" (saying "thanks" and putting them aside to focus on the house-made items and setting the table), are right. If he then brings them out or has a tantrum because they are not being put on your best platter, frankly he will look like a complete ass. If I came to this party and saw this scene ensue, I would be appalled and let the host know later how much I enjoyed her menu. Not that dinner parties are the place to teach people a lesson or purposely embarrass those with less-than-stellar social skills. But, rude (even obliviously rude) people are sometimes let off the hook because we either pretend their behavior is okay ("Let him bring ribs! Hooray for more food!" or "Hey, make it fun! Let's turn it into a competition!") or we simply don't include them and they never get it. If you disinvite them, my guess is that he will decide that you are the rude one (clearly not true) rather than have a thoughtful moment about why they were disinvited. The truly clueless usually don't see the light unless faced with real evidence that they are the ones being weird.

                                                                                                                              If he insists, especially after a man-to-man session about propriety, let him learn from your guests' faces how bizarre his behavior really is. I do feel bad for his wife, though... If she doesn't have the sense to refuse to make the damn things in the first place.

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                                                                                                                                slowfoodgrrl, very succinct reply! I feel bad for his wife too, and I don't even know her.

                                                                                                                                1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                  Okay, let me play devil's advocate.
                                                                                                                                  Your guests do not know the back story regarding your attempts to stop the guest from bringing the ribs. So, this guy shows up with ribs (unlike some host gifts, a plate of ribs would be obvious they are designed to be served with this meal) and you stash them in the kitchen. If that is all I saw or knew, I would think you were the person being immature, controlling, and rude.
                                                                                                                                  My opinion?
                                                                                                                                  His behavior is weird. Do not invite him again. Serve both ribs. Don't stoop to his level and be passive aggressive (and leaving them in the kitchen is passive aggressive). He is being a clod, but you have the opportunity to be graceful about it. In the grand scheme of life...it is not a big deal.

                                                                                                                                2. re: slowfoodgrrl

                                                                                                                                  I would add that "Let's make it fun, let's turn it into a competition!" is to some people (like, well, me) a contradiction. I hate competition - never liked sports, like playing games for the challenge, but don't care much about winning, and loathe to my core the idea of "judging" other people's food. "Everybody liked my ribs best - we have the results in!" Creepy.

                                                                                                                                  Which is why I liked the suggestion of just mixing the ribs on the plate if he insists on bringing them. No chance to turn this into some sort of contest.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                                                                                                                                    This is a really good, mature, "take the high road" approach. And the host remains gracious through it all. Better then accidentally dropping the unwelcome ribs on the floor . . .

                                                                                                                                  2. SJH, first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

                                                                                                                                    Second, I haven't a clue as to what to do.

                                                                                                                                    Third, would you please let us know what you end up doing and how your party turns out?

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                      "Third, would you please let us know what you end up doing and how your party turns out?"

                                                                                                                                      Oh yes, please!

                                                                                                                                    2. For him to offer once, is polite, a second after being told no thanks....RUDE. When the host is making the same dish, and it isn't going to be a Hometown buffet set-up, that is ridiculous for the guest to tell the host he is bringing the same thing, even if he doesnt like your husbands ribs or anything of that nature. It is def. unpolite and breaks the guest code!

                                                                                                                                      1. The solution is simple: Decide what's most important to you and act accordingly. If having the meal the way you've planned it is first, then keep after your goal of getting your guest to leave his ribs at home. It's certainly your right to take control of your own dinner party.

                                                                                                                                        If that's not your number one goal then I'd suggest letting it go, making room on the table for your guest's offering, and realizing that while his manners may be lacking, your own are not. If everyone who knows how to behave appropriately does so then things will work out.

                                                                                                                                        One more thing I think is that it never hurts to give others the benefit of the doubt. He may be a clod but that doesn't necessarily mean he's mean-spirited.

                                                                                                                                        Happy Birthday!

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: xena

                                                                                                                                          The long & short of it and beautifully stated.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: xena

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the birthday wishes.

                                                                                                                                            Having my party the way it was originally planned (not a potluck) is important to me. So nope, no room at the table for the other ribs. As ricepad said above "There's nothing rude about not serving what a guest has brought to a non-potluck meal." If he ends up thinking my manners are lacking because I don't serve his ribs, I'm guessing I won't be too upset. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt... by not disinviting him.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                              But we all feel bad for the wife here, right? She probably does not know the situation, may even have been told that you are all looking forward to trying her famous ribs, and could feel really embarassed when a bunch of people she doesn't know refuse to serve her contribution.

                                                                                                                                              Yeah yeah, his problem not yours.. but I wouldn't want an upset innocent guest at my birthday party either - for fear of it affecting my own enjoyment of the evening.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                She is also going to be embarassed if she shows up at the party with ribs that her husband told her to make and it is obvious that the host already has plenty to serve.

                                                                                                                                                I think SJH should probably talk to the wife herself. Maybe she is not as thick-headed as her husband. SJH can explain to her (the wife) that her husband insisted on bringing some of her wonderful ribs, but that SJH and hubby already have everything covered. SJH could add that she and hubby would love to try some of her ribs sometime, though. If the wife doesn't get it and the couple shows up with ribs then I would assume, if I were in SJH's place, that the ribs are a hostess gift. Then it is up to SJH to serve them or not.

                                                                                                                                                By insisting on bringing something after he was told nothing was needed show that he is a clod or has some difference in attitude about being a guest or lacks knowledge or some other excusable reason. That is one thing. But, when he told SJH "Well, I am going to bring my own.", he crossed the line into major rudeness. He just thumped his nose at her invitation and offer of hospitality. He should have just gone a head and told her that her food was not good enough for him and his wife so he would just bring his own. I only hope that he didn't really mean to say that, but that is how it comes across to me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sister Sue

                                                                                                                                                  If there's occasion for the hubby to talk to the guy again, could be worth a "be sure to tell your wife thanks but no thanks on the rib-making" - also, as other posters have mentioned, have a very happy birthday on your terms!!

                                                                                                                                                  Your own moral compass is telling you where to go with this whole thing, I see... and it sounds from what I've read here that you feel the need to stand firm but polite and not be a patsy. I think that's great. I think knowing your game plan going in, and abiding by it, will let you gracefully handle whatever results - everything may be fine and according to your wishes. If it's not, just stick to your best high-road approach and let chips fall where they may - do not let them catch you up in angst/chagrin/second thoughts.

                                                                                                                                                  And yeah, this is beginning to sound downright Shakespearean. But lives are made up of day by day decisions that accumulated, amount to a person's fortitude/place in the world.

                                                                                                                                                  So: "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                                                                                                                                                2. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                  Oh yes - assuming the scenario is not the one I hypothesized above, I feel bad for her. But also, if my husband came home and told me that we were invited to a party, and that he that had told the hosts that he was going to bring my xyz wonderful dish, the first thing I would ask him - are you sure they want me to bring something? And if he said yes, and it turned out he was wrong, I'd be annoyed at him, not the hosts.

                                                                                                                                            2. I have a mischevous suggestion. Bin your rib plans, go for barbequed chicken, and don't tell the sod. It scuppers his competitive instinct, and you won't have to change any of your plans for side dishes, beverages, etc. And who doesn't love barbequed chicken? That way, he can present his "GREAT" ribs - without comparison. When a guest with great embarrassment apologises because they didn't realise that it was a potluck (as one of them assuredly will), you can reply with a frosty ( and just loud enough) "It's not."

                                                                                                                                              PLeasepleaseplease, SanJoseHound, you have to give the post-game analysis.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                I'm sure the CT team will immed. "Bin" this post, but I'm finding the prevailing attitude of this thread disturbing and disappointing, an uncharitable and punitive rush to judgment of the motives of a person unknown to any of us incl. the OP.

                                                                                                                                                Though I'm a semi-newbie to Chowhound I'm surely among the oldest in years, and if I've learned just one thing in my 71 years it's that conscious acts of unkindness to those we later realize (or even suspect) did not deserve them, always come back to bite us on the nose.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                  I would agree if the OP hadn't repeatedly explained, in differing language, that she did not want this person to bring food, especially not ribs. The guest may have nothing but pure motives...but the end result is that its causing the birthday person no end of grief at this point.

                                                                                                                                                  If the invitation had been issued and the guest responded "Oh, I'll bring ribs too" and that was the end of the conversation, I'd completely agree with you. But when you're told repeatedly to please not do something like this and you insist on doing it...you're being at best unreasonable and at worst, horribly rude. Being kind is always a good thing, but I don't think it requires, in this case, that the OP throw her birthday celebration into an area where she doesn't really know how things are going to go, generally.

                                                                                                                                                  So, at bottom, I'm not judging the motives of this guest...I'm not concerned with the motives of the guest...the actions are what I'm reacting to and so far the actions have been such that in my mind it would be reasonable to make contact one more time and reiterate the request that he please not bring anything to dinner and to be clear about why and if he continues to insist on doing what he wants to do desipte that request...I'd be inclined, personally, to then ask them not to come at all.

                                                                                                                                                  The OP has already said she's not going to uninvite these folks, and I give her a lot of credit for taking that stance. I'd not be so patient after a half a dozen attempts to clarify things with the potential guest.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                    I think it was two attempts, not a half dozen. Maybe the 3rd time would have been the charm.

                                                                                                                                                    All I'm thinking at this point is that a lot of Chowhounds have apparently never met an authentically rude, passive/aggressive "sod"/"jerk".

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                      I don't know that I'd get all the way to no one has ever met an authentically rude person. But, my willingness to tolerate rude actions (regardless of intent) is lower when I'm inviting someone to my home and lower still if I'm inviting someone to my home for a special occasion that isn't about the person I'm inviting.

                                                                                                                                                      Looks like I overstated the number of attempts to make it clear to the guest...but 3 would be plenty in my book anyhow.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                    PhoebeB, I think that the conscious acts of unkindeness bite us elsewhere. That said, I note a charitable strain running though some of the the posts that counsel restraint and a (strained) smile. I don't want this to turn theological, but there's a difference between being a charitable Christian and being a patsy (and I say this as a practising Anglican). Poor, poor, SJH has been put in an untenable position - *her* birthday, *her* plans, have been upset by this oaf, and yet she has to maintain the customary grace of a hostess. And you question that she's being competitive about the ribs (see above)? As for meeting the genuinely rude - I have done, plenty of them, thanks. In my experience, countenancing bad behaviour only encourages it. I don't think that SJH can speak to the wife (God knows what unseen domestic problems might result from that); if she holds back on the proferred ribs she'll be viewed as uncharitable by some; if she serves them, she's playing his game (there's nothing I've read to support your second guessing - though, granted, from only one party), and at the least encouraging his bad behaviour. BTW - at what point did people forget that the host/hostess sets the rules?

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                    Agreed, well put - a good birthday resolution would be to find out how to take the high road with equal grace to yourself and the guest... that is, how to not be mean and still not be a patsy.

                                                                                                                                                  4. After all these responses, I can't help but wonder "what would Miss Manners do?"

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rednails

                                                                                                                                                      Or Dr. Joy Browne? Would she say be "stupid and cheerful?"

                                                                                                                                                    2. Definitely rude, but I think he's rude of the "clueless and socially inept" variety.

                                                                                                                                                      1. i'm starting to feel bad for this man's wife- if she has no idea it's not a potluck and she goes to the trouble of making ribs only to find herself in an embarassing situation.

                                                                                                                                                        maybe you should call and speak to HER.

                                                                                                                                                        21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: excuse me miss

                                                                                                                                                          I feel bad for the wife as well... man did she get stcuk with a loser.
                                                                                                                                                          I also feel bad for her because unless you call and tell her this is happening she is going to go to a lot of trouble to make something that is unwelcome.

                                                                                                                                                          But I wonder about all these people who say to suck it up and let the guy turn it into a big competition.... since when does this person not have a right to decide what they do and don't want at their own birthday party?

                                                                                                                                                          Can't wait to see how this one pans out.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lebelage

                                                                                                                                                            As I mentioned in another post, I could see my Dh doing something similar...it's just his nature and he is in no way, shape or form a loser. This guy may be well intended, just not seeing the big picture. That's why I think a call to the wife is in order.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                              Janet, unless SanJoseHound has the tact of a career diplomat, don't you think a call to the wife about this--esp. since SJH is apparently unacquainted or barely acquainted with her--could make this a thousand times worse?

                                                                                                                                                              Don't you think a normally-sensitive wife would instantly perceive that her husband had done something offensive and embarrassing, that she'd tax him about it, which in turn might affect his working relationship with SJH's husband?

                                                                                                                                                              I'm wondering, come to think of it, if SJH's husband is as offended by this as she obviously is. I'll go back and see if that question has been asked.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                If you'll refer back to the OP you'll see that I describe the conversation in plural... "WE". My husband and I were both having this conversation with the "guest". We do feel the same, as we have similar cultural backgrounds & upbringing and generally have the same mindset about what makes one "lose face". Also, if you scroll up, you'll see that I refer to this person as a former co-worker of my husband, so there's no working relationship to jeopardize.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: lebelage

                                                                                                                                                              "since when does this person not have a right to decide what they do and don't want at their own birthday party?"
                                                                                                                                                              Well, this actually happened at my last birthday party. A get-together with a best friend and her family; out to a restaurant at which we're regulars, and it turned into exactly what I *didn't want* - the excessive drinking by others (both prior to the dinner and during the dinner), the singing of "happy birthday" even when I had requested it not be done, being made the center of attention, even though a long-standing previous agreement had been not to "do that" anymore, etc. It's amazing what alcohol can do to frames of mind when a request is completely and utterly ignored. I was the one who was the stick-in-the mud, not enjoying my own birthday party. Ummm, yeah - it's nothing like what I wanted!

                                                                                                                                                              The only thing I could have done was walk out in a tiff - and in the company of family (which is almost like my own family) and the "restaurant family" (a place I've been going to for 10+ years), I bided my tongue (for the most part) and left as soon as I was able.

                                                                                                                                                              So while I agree TOTALLY with the OP in getting what she wants on HER birthday, without uninviting this guest who insists on bringing his wife's ribs to which he's been requested many times NOT to bring ribs. as they are providing the same thing, I don't see how she'll get what she wants. She has already stated she's not uninviting the guest. But this guest is obviously a dolt. So I have to agree with all other recs to call the wife and try and get through to her to convince her NOT to bring the ribs.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                Has your Dh met her or do you have their home number?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                  At this point, if she's never met the guest's wife, I'm not so sure calling her up is a good idea. For all SJH knows, the guest's wife's sole goal in life may be to have her fantastic ribs served at every dinner they go to from now to kingdom come and poor Mr. Guest is brow beaten into offering to bring them to every possible event.

                                                                                                                                                                  While I think that was a great idea - if they knew one another - and I do think this guest is being terribly rude, I think at this point the best thing is just to "roll with it" and if the ribs show up, I'd say thank you, we're really looking forward to trying them tomorrow, can I get you a drink, and whisk those babies into the kitchen in a spot where the guest is unlikely to find them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                    The husband could be trying to showcase the demanding wife's ribs, but another possibility is that wife has fixed a ton of horrible ribs, put them in the feezer, and the husband is trying every way he can think of to get rid of them. Remember the episode on the "Andy Griffith Show" in which Andy and Barney try to give away all of Aunt Bea's kerosene pickles?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodstorm

                                                                                                                                                                        OK, foodstorm. I am over 40. What does IMAO mean?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sister Sue

                                                                                                                                                                          That's a lower-case L, Sister Sue... LMAO... "Laughing My A** Off"


                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: abowes

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks --- silly me. Now I am so embarassed that I didn't catch that acronym and that I have divulged my age to the world. The only thing more embarassing would be to admit how many times I have checked this thread over the past couple of days. It has been quite intriguing and educational, though. I do hope that SJH has a wonderful birthday!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abowes

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't know if many Chowhounders have also seen this term, but the situation in this thread is to me an absolutely perfect occasion for "WTFBBQ"


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                      Part of ricepad doesn't want to say this because ricepad want to see the trainwreck, but the other part of ricepad (the 'not evil' part) says that even tho you don't know her, it might be best to call her anyway. You could simply say, "I know your husband offered to bring ribs, but that really won't be necessary...it turns out that I'm going to be making plenty of food, and I don't want you to have to go through the effort. All you need to bring is your appetite."

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                        This could work if SJH is prepared to graciously accede (and not explode) if the wife turns out to be as joyously determined to be Lady Bountiful as her husband is to be Lord Bountiful.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                          True, that's possible, in which case ricepad refers you to ricepad's earlier post: You're under no obligation to serve anything brought by a guest. It is a gift, and gift recipients may do as they please with said gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                        do you feel comfortable calling her and saying something like "i'm looking forward to meeting you and i just wanted to let you know ..."?

                                                                                                                                                                        if not- maybe just accept it if they do show up with the ribs. as much as they guy is..."untrained" in social ettiquette she's going to be the one feeling like a dork.

                                                                                                                                                                        unless she's the same way as he is....please let us know what happens!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                          A friendly "I'm calling to introduce myself and look forward to meeting you . . . " might work. It's really awkward to call and might even make matters worse.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Wow, there are so many responses I didn't know whether I should add mine, but, well, here goes. I have had this situation occur twice in the last few years. Most recently, a guest insisted on bringing an additional dish to a brunch party. I told her when I invited her that it was not a potluck, and that I had a full menu all planned, and that no additional food was needed. She insisted. I called again a few days later, phrased along the lines of "I know how busy you are right now [she was] and I really don't want you to go to the trouble of fixing something, I have plenty of food". She insisted. The morning of the party, she called to tell me that she was also bringing another friend, someone I didn't know! They arrived, dish in hand, requiring the use of the oven (I needed it too), but without anything to serve it with, so I also had to find more serving dishes. I admit, I spent probably an hour seething inside and trying my best to be polite outside. (And, I called my mother before the party to vent!) For quite a while after that, I really had no desire to see her or socialize with her in any way. But, here's what I later realized: this person always entertains with large, unorganized potlucks, and just doesn't see that not all parties function just like hers. Big, loose, "everyone's welcome, the more the merrier" potlucks = parties, in her mind. Since then, I only invite her if I'm throwing a big, loose, "everyone's invited, the more the merrier" potluck. I do think she was very rude, but I understand that she doesn't think so at all. And, I really do like her. So yea, in a way my enjoyment of my own party was diminished, but now I know how to enjoy her company in the future. Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. It'd be funny, after all this, if they came empty-handed.

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                                                                            I have faith in my husband's "man to man" negotiating skills so this might actually happen.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                              I would imagine that once your husband tells this guy that you are upset, he won't bring anything. Just relax and enjoy your party.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                                excellent point here- he's a former co-worker of your husband, so he's probably the best person to take up this cause. If he stresses to the guest that this is your birthday, and your husband wants to make this special for you, and guest is co-opting the plans he has for you, maybe that will help.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sorry that your birthday has become such a stressful time. My recommendation- make a bet with your husband about what guest will do, and laugh at whatever happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                Then tell us, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. So when is this trainwreck...I mean, party?

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like trainwrecks; you never know how many people might be injured with unforeseen long-term consequences.

                                                                                                                                                                                Kathleen M's recent post put me in awe of her forbearance. I greatly fear that I'd have told that woman how the cow ate the cabbage when she waltzed in at the last minute with an uninvited guest AND an unwelcome, not even table-ready dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm glad Kathleen had her mother's ear to vent into and that it allowed her to handle the situation without collateral damage. I hope Chowhound is serving as SJH's venting ear and she can resolve this situation just as successfully, maybe mindful of at least the last part of St. Augustine's famous dictum:

                                                                                                                                                                                "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                  "...how the cow ate the cabbage..."!! Love it. Love you!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Maybe your husband should tell him that you're so annoyed that you've posted about this on a widely-read web site and now 60 people (at last count, anyway) are dying to know just what kind of a clod he's going to turn out to be! Or, if he's too dense to get it and you can't contact the wife and persuade her not make the ribs, maybe you should just let it go and enjoy your birthday and the other guests, who are probably coming to celebrate with you and have fun with you and your spouse, regardless of what's on the menu or who made it. Since you might not be able to change this strange guy's behavior, perhaps the best thing to do is not let his rudeness, or competitiveness, or cluelessness, or whatever it is, get to you and spoil your birthday joy. Best wishes, SJH, for a happy, and I do mean *happy*, birthday! (PS - ricepad, dude, you are cracking me up.)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I want to respond while I still have a chance. I strongly disagree with contacting the wife in this situation. If this guy is a loose cannon, there is no telling what kind of a position this could be putting her in and I would worry about her safety. Getting in the middle of a marriage is tricky business. I would say let the oaf bring his ribs but the op should not change her menu in any way, shape or form to accomodate him. I also don't think she is under any obligation to serve his ribs. I would set them aside and if he asks about them, let him serve them making clear where they came from. Also, it would be the very last invitation he got to my house.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Velma

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. This is the 21st century, folks! Wives are not the handlers of their husbands, or in my mind at least they shouldn't be. Calling the wife to get her to rein in her unruly hubby is insulting to him since he IS an adult (all of this rib drama aside) and puts her in a terrible position. She is not his mother. Try the man-to-man talk, as caveman as this is starting to sound, and then call the negotiations done. Best wishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    (P.S. I still hope she refuses to make the ribs, as I posted above, and this whole mess is averted.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm most concerned about SanJoseHound's state of mind on her birthday.

                                                                                                                                                                                    If Rude Rib Rube shows up, she will be hyper-alert to any bad move or unmannerly thing he does. She shouldn't feel this stress on her birthday -- something more along the lines of having joy in her heart and ease in her body is in order.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Rudeness is often without negative intent, but still hurtful and annoying. "Misplaced good intentions and undeveloped social skills [wonderful wording by Veggo]" can be the source of rude behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Possible scenarios:
                                                                                                                                                                                    -- If SJH serves the ribs, she will be steaming inside and be insensitive to her husband's own fine ribs. Can't do that to her husband or herself, or "reward" Rude Rib Rube's jerkiness.
                                                                                                                                                                                    -- If SJH doesn't serve the ribs and leaves them in the kitchen, she will still be annoyed, and Rude Rib Rube may be even further rude and insist they be served so "everyone can just compare and contrast." SJH is then be forced to deal with a bully or allow him to turn the meal into a competition, something she wishes to avoid, especially on her birthday. Again, very awkward, uncomfortable, and not a good state of mind for a woman on her birthday.
                                                                                                                                                                                    -- If SJH calls wife and explains no additional ribs are necessary, please just bring yourselves, that SJH is sensitive to her husband and dinner not being a competition over who makes the best ribs between Rude Rib Rube Husband and SJH's husband. Problem here is that the guy is rude and lacking in social graces, period -- the ribs are just one example of his rudeness -- and SJH will not be able to relax and enjoy herself as she should on her birthday if Rude Rib Rube is there. RRR will surely make more social errors and tolerance for these may be low.

                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Since a friendship is not at stake, and since this IS SJH's birthday and she's already utterly annoyed with this guy (and I get the impression doesn't want to spend any of her earthly minutes with Rude Rib Rube, especially on her birthday), I believe SJH is justified in calling RRR or RRR's long suffering wife and saying that her birthday plans have changed, that SJH has decided to do something else that evening. Then SJH and SJH's DH can go on with their nice birthday party without any stress in mind and body. I think SJH has to think ahead as to how she's going to feel when Rude Rib Rube walks into her door and is in her house.

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's a rare occasion when it's necessary to disinvite someone but such occasions do occur (fueding ex's, recently fired employee and boss, etc.). I do think the disinvite should be done cordially and warmly -- essentially it's a strategic decision that favors harmony.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think SJH should have to tiptoe around Rude Rib Rube any longer or experience ANY further anxiety caused by him. I want SJH to relax, feel carefree, and enjoy her birthday. Any decision should be based on if it helps achieve that goal.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Why don't you call him (or better yet, his wife, who hopefully has better social graces and is probably unhappy her H volunteered her to cook) back and say, "You know what, we have plenty of ribs, but we really need _______ (potato salad, cole slaw, wine, etc.). Do you mind bringing that?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This is the most entertaining thread I've read in a long time. Just curious -- if this is your birthday, and you barely know these people (as I understand it), why are they invited to your birthday party?
                                                                                                                                                                                        Looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                                                                          Just what I've been wondering, esp. since learning that SJH has never met the wife.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                                                                            As I've mentioned before, the "guest" is a former co-worker of my husband, that he sometimes sees socially (sporting events, etc.) I (wrongly) thought that it would be nice to invite them, since we entertain often and (usually) enjoy the company of new people added to the mix, a little at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                                              Entertaining often, adding new people to the mix, a concept I totally agree with. But still, it's your birthday, a more personal occasion. Kinda of risky in this case, but hindsight and all that.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm thinking you might have to grin and bear this year with this guy's ribs but take notes and you will have a story to dine on for years.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My goodness! I think this thread is going to beat out the "What do chowhounds do for a living" thread. I have not read every single response, but it seems a lot of you are worrying about how the poor wife would feel about having her husband prod her to make some ribs and not having the ribs served. It seems like nobody knows the wife. She may be just like him -- you've heard the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together." I feel like the best thing is to just take the high road, let them bring their ribs, and pay no mind to them. You should not have to change your menu to accommodate these people. You should not be stressing over this. Just enjoy your party.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                              When it comes to spouses, "opposites attract" is just as likely as the avian idiom. My father is socially inept, whereas my mother is another Miss Manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Yeah I wouldnt get bent out of shape about it...having said that Americans suffer from being overpolite sometimes me thinks, so yunno...something like "listen ......so and so...give the ribs a miss and bring a bottle of wine this time round okay, can you do that for me?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Otherwise...your'e knackered.

                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kiwichef

                                                                                                                                                                                                I halfway agree. I just wish we wouldn't so often meekly tolerate really grievous offenses and go postal over trifles. What's that old saying--"strain at gnats and swallow camels"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Trust me, this is definitely not me going postal. I'm just not swallowing it. When it comes to food & friends/family, I am an extremely tolerant person. I don't like chain restaurants, but when co-workers or friends/family all want to go, I go along without a word of complaint, and enjoy my time. There are times when I drink "plonk" with a smile. Would I prefer a better wine? Sure! Am I gonna say anything negative? No! When I go out with my grandparents I understand they want to go somewhere familiar and don't have adventurous food tastes like I do. And don't worry, I'm not holding all this resentment in. In certain situation, I will easily give in without another thought. But on this one day, the food is going to be how I want it to be. Period. No discussion, no accomodation. Selfish? Sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SanJoseHound

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Look, SJH:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your OP question, after laying out the situation, was, "What do you think?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I assumed "you" included me and I've spent a lot of time and thought trying to tell you as honestly and fully as possible what I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now you say,
                                                                                                                                                                                                    "...the food is going to be how I want it to be. Period. No discussion, no accomodation. Selfish? Sure!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If all you really wanted was reinforcement for what you'd already decided to do, I wish you'd said so at the start. I'd have better spent the day pulling the faded wild forget-me-nots out of my flower beds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you spent a whole day worrying about this issue, that's an issue in itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sisyphus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I did worry about it a good part of the day and it will continue to worry me for a while until I move on to better worries. Not the OP as much as the apparently reflexive assumption of so many posters that there was some dark sinister motive behind what might just as easily been laughed off as bumbling over-helpfulness from a friendly, unsophisticated young man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was a lot of something approaching meanness here today, and I've never sensed that before on CH. I will chalk it off to atmospheric pressure or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will be as interested as anyone in learning what happens. If the guy does turn out to be a passive/aggressive self-aggrandizing jerk, I will admit that you all are better predictors of human behavior than I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, this guy might have been good-intentioned at first in the sense of “Yes, we'll throw a log on the fire,” but by not picking up on the repeated preferences of his hosts, he revealed himself to be a bad listener and guest, as well as selfish and insistent on his own way of doing things (controlling).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He also presumptuously volunteered his wife's services without asking her, another insensitive act. Who knows what fueled this man's misplaced “generosity:” a competitive ego (my wife's ribs are better than yours), and some exceedingly weird reflected glory that would come to him if that were the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Most telling, by being clueless on so many fronts, he reveals himself not only to be untrained in social graces, but uninterested in them. Perhaps this is his most egregious crime —it means he has not been paying attention to the world or to others close to him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It doesn’t matter whether or not this guy intended to be mean – the net effect is the same: he is causing others to feel anxious and angry. No wonder some CHers shot from the hip and said what a jerk he was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                        PhoebeB, as you have stated, you are somewhat a newbie to Chowhound, and I believe you are responding a bit too sensitively here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is quite a long thread, and through the process of reading through all the posts, SJH quite likely became clearer in her own mind about how she would like to handle this situation. In this particular case, it seems your and others' comments have strengthened her resolve to do what she originally thought she would. The 150 posts here have provided her with options on how to proceed, and tips on wording her preferences gracefully and firmly. I'm sure SJH has much more insight into her situation now -- she seems to now feel justified in her anger towards a jerk who is trying to railroad her birthday, for one, and two, firmly decided she wasn't going to be pushed around. It was wise of her to post and ask others if she perceived the situation accurately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please understand, PhoebeB, and I hope you will read other long threads such as this one and watch how the process of hearing others' opinions can help clarify your own. I also hope your flowers are beautiful even though they weren't lovingly tended to today. You planted seeds here, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you, Maria. I hope so. I was once young and knew everything, but I find that most every year I live I lose a half-dozen of my old certainties for every new one I can find. Here's one of the few things I'm certain of at this point:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like to think so, patronizing being one of the more satisfying recreational activities available to the elderly :o)))

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Phoebe I think you need to go back and re-read the OP. See below:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          "... I think INSISTING on bringing the EXACT same dish that the host has already told you will be served, is just plain rude. What do you think? And, how do we deflect this? (How many ways can you say no??) I certainly don't want him turning up at the dinner with his own set of baby back ribs..."
                                                                                                                                                                                                          OP made it abundantly clear from the start that she DOES NOT want and WILL NOT have the guest bring ribs, and asked for advice on how to get him to not do it. Where you got the idea that she was asking for any advice other than that is a mystery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PhoebeB


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Surely you realize this latest post from SanJoseHound, who did want to know others' views, came after more than 200 posts - so clearly (I think) she's been mulling what's been said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with you that snap judgments can be misguided... but in aggregate there have been a lot of views expressed here and many of them take a look at the spectrum of possibilities and don't vilify the guy outright. That's to me the value of boards like this - you get a whole bunch of opinions to weigh in context with your own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. First, I have to fess up that I only read about 2/3 of the way down. Sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Second, I vote rude, though I recognize this behavior might stem from a number of different things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Finally, my suggestion:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Call the wife. Say something like, "Wow. You must make some pretty spectacular ribs. Your husband was INSISTENT that you bring ribs to my birthday party! The thing is, my husband's birthday present to me is making this incredible meal for me and my friends, including his ribs. Do you think we could have another get together later this summer where we get to sample your ribs, and keep my husband's as his special gift to me on my bday?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or something like that...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually - the "take" that this is your husband's gift to you is one of the best thoughts that I've heard yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree...very nice suggestion! If you decide to actually let him come to your home, that is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I feel bad for his wife but it depends on how much you value their friendship over having two servings of ribs. I had Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws (over 25 of them), planned and cooked for days. Day of, they show up, some with dishes I'd already made. So, I served them along with mine and we're all still friendly. They'd obviously brought the dishes to share and if I had stashed them away, they would have been upset. Decide what's more important and go with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. OK, I must have missed it, why were they invited in the first place...? The relationship seems tenuous at best...time to cut it off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Sooooo..... when exactly is this birthday party? I need to make plans to revisit this thread and find out what happened. Whatever you decide to do with the uninvited ribs - please try to have a good time and remember to blow out all your candles on the first breath.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            'Buon compleanno!!'

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would love to hear if a satisfactory resolution was reached and that you had a faaaabulous birthday celebration (despite all this tsuris)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sarah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow! What a great conversation, so many twists & turns. I have to side with the "it's rude" folks. Perhaps it is a generational thing--I am a waxing boomer on the cusp of GenX with Slacker on the gibbous, and my boomer parents taught me you bring a gift for the hostess, but you don't bring "food" unless it is designated as a potluck. They also sent me to Charm School (the "charm" obviously didn't take--but that's another whole story) I'm not sure parents teach these things anymore...I'll go with It's rude if he knows better, and otherwise this is a social misfit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mlschot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You are hilarious. Love it. Me too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I was completely surprised by the number of bloggers who bent over backwards to excuse this fool’s (read that line like Red Foxx on Sanford and Son) behavior. However, you are wise not to disinvite him because you are giving more life to this situation that it/he deserves. No calls to the wife, no sending the husband into the frontlines for a heart-to-heart, no Bobby Flay mano a mano in the ribs category. Take the amused view and let him bring his fabulous, bodacious, lip smacking, award-winning-by-proxy (wife’s) ribs and put them somewhere on the periphery of the table (like in the closet).
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck and I am waiting with baited breath, along with apparently zillions of other folk, for the post-game report.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Gads, this is growing like those fairy rings of toadstools we used to have on the lawn in California. I thought of a personal experience today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A while back I fixed a huge Thai meal for two friends (and all their friends) who had worked in Thailand at different times in the past. Lots of guests. Lots of cooking. One of them--to be helpful--suggested getting more "Thai" food at a newly opened restaurant here in Cali that served supposed Thai and Indian food (HA!). I said it wouldn't be necessary because I had fixed more then enough. He went ahead and got the Thai takeout. Everyone tried the stuff, but 80% was leftover. It was great: my buddy apologized for getting the extra food; and I took the restaurant leftovers home to eat over the next few days with some tweaks and great enjoyment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, yeah...nothing to do with your situation, but similar nonetheless. And a happy ending.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I didn't have time to read the whole thread, so maybe someone already suggested this - but would it perhaps work to say, "Oh, we have plenty of ribs, but it would be so helpful if you would bring a nice salad (or loaf of bread, or bottle of wine, or sixer, or dessert, etc.)!" Then perhaps his puppy-like enthusiasm would be sated - and it might actually BE helpful to you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I personally don't even like to have my dinner guests try to help me in the kitchen (it breaks my concentration), so to me your experience is extremely off-putting - but if they're really your friends, it should be salvagable...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I am so sorry that this unthinking and/or clueless boor put you in this situation, SJH. You deserve better than this for your birthday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have grown tired of people imposing whatever on me in my own home, regardless of whatever is the cause (rudeness, stupidity, ignorance, being a total jerk, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was in a similar situation where my birthday was turning into a bash for everyone but me. I finally told my better half that I was dreading this happening on my birthday and said I would have preferred just a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant. Within an hour, the party was cancelled and reservations were made and I had a wonderful birthday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the persons who was on the guest list made some crass remark about the party being cancelled and I can assure you they have never been bothered with an invitation from me again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Knee-jerk reaction: "Fine, then why don't you stay home and eat them? Enjoy." This story is one of the rudest things I've ever heard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After little thought: call the wife, who will most likely be too used to this to be embarrassed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      After reading the posts that say the wife could be as bad: talk to this guy one more time, ask him why he's being so insistent and tell him how you feel. "[casually] Why are you so set on bringing your own ribs, anyway?...[more seriously] This may surprise you, but I'm finding it really strange and rather rude...[the ultra-reasonable tone one would use trying to teach a child to share] How would you feel if I insisted on bringing my husband's ribs to a party where you were serving your wife's ribs?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ultimate reaction: any action you take could easily backfire, and you could end up feeling much worse than if you had just let it go. That could be because you made him and/or his wife feel terrible unintentionally or because you end up looking like the jerk ("my wife's mother died two weeks ago and I knew it would cheer her up to make her mother's famous rib recipe for an appreciative crowd, I'm sorry"). Let it go. Birthdays are fun to celebrate, but it's not like you're turning 6 or sweet 16. Take a deep breath, mentally adjust to this new version of your birthday party, and make a reservation for two at your favorite restaurant for next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have a happy birthday. Don't let him ruin it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. If you live in Los Angeles, please give him our address as the party location -- we love ribs!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          don't most of you guys have something more important to overstress about?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jungleboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, of course, that's why this thread is such a welcome diversion!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's also one the most interesting and complex threads I've seen in awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree. In my brief time as a hound, this is perhaps the most psychologically compelling thread yet. Each of is revealing quite a bit about ourselves as people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm going to get up close and personal here. I was my ninth birthday party. Perhaps it was the glucose combined with a critical mass of boys, but things spun out of control. They invitees got into my bedroom (I was, and still am, quite private and territorial), and started exploring my toys. In the corner, on a low table, was a rather elaborate city built of Lego, a large project that was still underway. They laid waste to it. It was like the Sack of Rome. I stood there helpless, my mother busy in the kitchen with the next round of treats. When they withdrew, still it was like they were invading. Finally, when their parents collected the last of them, I went to my mother in the kitchen, and stood before her. "Mum," I said, "we don't have to do this again," and went to my room. I have never had a birthday party since. And I like it that way. Dinner (and afters) with the SO is just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a story.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm with you. Too stressful to host a big party at home on my birthday. But others love to do it, & I enjoy theirs--one friend has one every year & we always go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But for me, just a quiet b-day with my nearest & dearest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bite Me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ditto if you live in Maine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Well.. it's Fri here in OZ, so I won't be around this weekend.. but this will be the first thread I look for on Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Happy birthday, love.. if it's this weekend.. try not to stress too much..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And my final word...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Word up all the other guests prior to Rude Rib Dude, so when he makes a complete dick of himself, you can ALL have a chuckle.. and that way you've got some peeps at your back if it all goes pear shape!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: purple goddess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Word up all the other guests prior to Rude Rib Dude, so when he makes a complete dick of himself, you can ALL have a chuckle..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I had said all I meant to say until the party report comes in, but I saw someone's question re: what I meant by "authentically rude", scrolled down further and saw this far better example of authentic--i.e., conscious and deliberate--rudeness than I could have ever come up with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I said I sensed something disturbingly close to "meanness" in some of the posts yesterday. I'm sure purple goddess is engaging in a little humorous hyperbole here and that Maria is probably right in saying I'm being too sensitive, but even in jest there's something painful to me in the very thought of doing such a thing to an invited guest in one's home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Imo, intent does not make rudeness any less "authentic" (read: genuine, real), but I agree it can make it more cruel. Thanks for the clarification..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phoebes, I think that some of the posts here are living out a 'fantasy revenge' scenario, not counselling actually pelting the boob with the ribs, or whatever, as you yourself note a hyperbolic quality. Have you never in your 71 years said something akin to "I could have throttled him"? Though, from your posts, I doubt that you would have been ethically capable of such an act.That said, I'm standing by my posts. The guy has to be set right somehow, or the offences will continue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Just occurred to me that the real victim here is probably going to be this guy's poor wife. He tells her he's offered to bring ribs to party. She shops, cooks, brings ribs, thinking she's doing a good thing. Shows up at party and...? Ouch! Absolute mortification for her if ribs aren't welcome. What a mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. He thinks he's being nice. While a duplicate of the main course is an unusual hostess gift to say the least, he is certainly welcome to bring some baby back ribs as a gift to you, and you are every bit as welcome to stash them in the fridge and enjoy them later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Next year you might want to go out to dinner for your birthday. Just you and the husband. This long thread has reminded me how glad I am that I NEVER have parties on my birthday. Always a quiet dinner out. Sometimes cake with my immediate family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Happy Birthday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I agree that everyone has different ideas about what is rude. I think this is VERY rude. And I don't think you need that many social skills to see that bringing the same dish to a dinner party as the host is preparing is wrong and may have people comparing at the table which just sucks for the host and again is just rude...and him saying my wife makes great ribs...I think he just want to compete and show off...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, I would say at this point just let it go and enjoy your party. You can laugh about it after...no need to loose a friend over it either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This is a fascinating thread! I've had this happen to me more than once. I always serve what's brought but try to do it in a way that lets people know it's not mine - obviously different serving platter (or still in the box if, as has more than once happened, it's store bought). And I tell quite a few people at the party about my dilemma - in a nice way. "Oh, did you see that Mr and Mrs X brought some ribs? I told them not too but what was I to do when they insisted? I put them out with the other food." Then I change the subject. My good friends immediately understand. They will realize how awkward the situation is for me and will get angry and indignant on my behalf and hearing them get ruffled about it always calms me down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Holy smokers, Batman! What an exciting, nail-biting post string! Please, SanJose Hound, please tell us how it all turns out!!! (and best wishes for a happy enjoyable birthday)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Great post. I'm planning a beer dinner, sometime next month, and I don't want anyone bringing any food... and certainly not any wine! I'll make sure to include this bit of info as part of the invitation, so that this does not happen to me. Normally I'm all for people bringing food, and I wouldn't even mind some competition to my ribs (I don't mind losing, as long as the winner shares his/her recipe). But some occasions do not call for this, and your guest should be able to take the hint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. SanJoseHound, maybe an outside party could be useful in this instance. If you e-mail me rib-mans phone number I will fix this for you and report back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have been reading this for a few days and obviously like the other want to know the outcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know I would be mortified if I invited acquaintances over and said I was making cheesecakes for dessert (my speciality) and the acquantance said they would make one too (or get wifey to). It would feel like it was turning into a 'mine's better than yours' war.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Whatever the outcome now (ribman brings ribs or ribman is told not to bring ribs and finally agrees) it will feel like a contest. If he brings ribs he will inevitably want to discuss his ribs versus your hubbies, and if he doesn't bring them I daresay he will sing the praises of his wife's ribs ad infinitum. Nothing worse than a guest saying your pasta salad/mac n cheese/choccy mousse etc is good but that they or their wife/mum make a better one.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sounds like a lose lose situation now. I think I would be tempted to disinvite him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I LOVE the idea of dropping the ribs on the floor. Childish, yes. Hilarious, yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Drop them on the floor and let the DOG lick them for good measure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. While I believe in always asking what I can bring to a dinner party, I would NEVER attempt to bring the main dish. It's the MAIN dish, which the entire evening is focused around. So yes, he's probably not mean spirited, if he was you'd know by now and would have never invited him over for your celebration. He's just a non-thinker who wants to show off his mad skilz at making the best ribs ever. Does he remind you of Tim the Tool Man Taylor at all? He sounds similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think if you made one more call explaining that you're very excited about your ribs and since they are the main dish, his ribs are very unnecessary but he's welcome to bring rolls or a bag of ice he'd get the point. An added touch would be to imply that it is your "birthday wish" to show off your delicious recipe and you've been looking forward to it for a while. No one can argue with birthday wishes. Once he truly realizes that you mean it, he'll probably back off. And if he doesn't you might want to suggest that he seek psychological help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. My mother has pulled stunts like that, with food and non-food items. I just accidentally/on purpose forget to serve the item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If she brings something just for herself, she gets it. If she brings other stuff (like 3 more cakes than she said she'd bring) it stays in the kitchen. After dinner, if she asks for it, lately, I usually ask her to bring it home. Otherwise, it get's thrown out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The funniest was the Lladro (porcelain) bride and groom statue she brought to my wedding to put on the cake. It was inappropriate and ugly. Needless to say, the thing stayed in the bridal room. When she asked about it, I just told her I forgot. The subject never came up again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. ricepad just got another inspiration: as you are presented with the RudeRibs, take them graciously....gush over how wonderful they look, and how even more wonderful they smell. Then sneeze on them. Twice, if you have to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, now we're going to need the recipe for RudeRibs. That's classic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why can't you just plate the hell out of yours, make it beautiful with carved rose radishes and purple leafy stuff and (can you tell I don't garnish) halved pomegranets, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And then serve his in the original tupperware and foil?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Agree with Veggo. This person is simply socially inept. He doesn't realize he's being rude. If he's really a good friend, relax and let him bring the ribs and everyone can enjoy them. It's not worth letting ribs and his ignorance get you all wound up and damage a friendship or your birthday celebration. As others suggested, just don't invite him again, or only in situations where it can't happen again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm 58 years old, and I have encountered many rude people in my life. That said, I've never encountered anything as rude as the OP described. I fear that this situation reflects a cosmic shift in our (American) society where the desires of the individual trump the good of the group. This is not a good thing in dinner parties or foreign policy. Maybe we should reflect on this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess for me the bottom line is that the OP deserves to have the birthday party she wants and only she can decide if letting this bully come with his ribs will ruin it for her. I would probably enjoy letting him come so that I could watch him make a jerk out of himself and then have a good story for years to come but that is just me. SJH, if you don't want him there and he is going to ruin your evening then find a way to dump him even if you have to lie. It is your birthday after all!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Velma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I too hope SJH has a wonderful Birthday! Try and take stock in the things that really matter, at the end of the day a slab of ribs and a jackass should not take away from the fact that there are others there that want to celebrate your special day with you. That says something about the person you are, that is what truly matters! I can't wait to hear how it turns out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My philosophy is if someone doesn't care about being rude, than you shouldn't worry about being rude back -- especially if it's in your own home. To me the answer is simple -- don't be afraid of confrontation and of being honest, why try to protect this person who you are just going to hate anyway for being so inconsiderate and plain stupid. Give them a chance by letting them know that you feel they are rude by suggesting such a rude venture as offering to bring dinner over to your house when you are the one inviting them to dinner. If they wanted to cook you dinner than they should invite you to dinner at their house. Then put up your boundaries: when you invite someone over for dinner that means that you are cooking, that is not an invitation for them to cook, but for them to come over and eat your cooking and be gracious and not so self-absorbed. This is my opinion -- always be honest to those whose friendship is worth something to you. You never do anyone, especially yourself, any favors by hiding your true feelings. They will eventually come out and it will usually be in a situation that doesn't deserve your built-up resentment. Anyways, I love confrontation, so if you want to send me this person's e-mail, i'll be happy to ask them if they are out of their mind or just plain stupid for insisting to bring over the same dish you invited them to enjoy at your house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maurocheeseandwine.blogspot

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really well put maurocheeseandwine!! I wanted to say the same thing but you said it much better. SJH, you should heed this advice or you will be miserable on YOUR birthday. I know a couple just like the one you have mentioned, the husband makes a lot of peoples blood boil and on some ocassions has even ruined a good time for the hosts. Please let us know the outcome of your party, I am sure lots of us want to know how things turn out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SJH will only be miserable on her birthday if she chooses to let this make her miserable! If it were me, I'd let my hubby know that if he couldn't work it out in a friendly talk between the guys, that I will grin and bear it during the wierd dinner with extra ribs, but that I would expect him to take me out the next night for my REAL birthday celebration!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Habby Birthday SJH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Happy Birthday, SJH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I were in your shoes, I'd be flipping out over one simple thing. When I have a dinner party, my kitchen work and storage spaces are usually stressed to the max already. Another set of ribs would be really hard to accomodate. I'd be on the phone and email to the wife pleading with her not to throw my kitchen into chaos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hard to tell what's going on with these people. I have relatives who can act like that-- or worse-- on some days. Some of them are jerks and others are just kind of clueless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. To insist on bringing your own version of the main dish, without the defense of health or dietary restrictions, is indeed rude. However, if they showed up with their dish, as a hostess I would simply take it into the kitchen, and set it aside or stow it in the 'fridge. If your rude guest asks about it, just say "its OK -- there's plenty of food already, and we'll save that for later" suggesting that you thought it was a gift.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  exactly as I would handle it. A host has no obligation to serve gifts brought by guests on the spot. I usually put wine brought into my cellar since I have wine selected and properly chilled for serving. Same with the ribs. In the fridge they go and we can enjoy them another night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. This is what I will do... when he showed up with the ribs, just take it from him and head straight to the kitchen, and put the ribs somewhere in the kitchen corner. You and your family don't mention it, don't look at it, and don't bring it out to the serving table. If he asked why the ribs are not on the table, just say, "I will, but later".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On my next dinner party, he will not be on the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Wow that's a long, complicated thread. Any way, I'd also call the wife and have a nice friendly talk. If nothing else you'd be doing her a favor by giving her a heads-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If it were me, I'd do the best to diffuse things and avoid embarrassment for everyone and get past it. As rude and weird as this thing is...the host also has an obligation not to make it weirder, which probably means compromise of some kind or finding a way for everyone to save face. Otherwise it's a zero sum game, everyone's a loser and bad stuff happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OR you could just serve a LOT of wine and a LOT of booze, before, during and after dinner and everyone will have a really great time and forget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. SanJoseHound;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When is/was your party? This is the longest thread I have ever bothered reading (I usually give up when there are more than a hundred replies), but I am very curious as to the outcome...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hope you had a fabulous birthday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Carrie 218

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Me too! I keep dragging my sleepy but to the computer before I get my coffee in the mornings just to see what happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Laughing here- I too am so curious to see how the birthday party "went down".What happened sanjosehound? Did the guest show up bearing ribs?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please let us know since I think a lot of us are waiting anxiously for the blow by blow details of the "rib" birthday story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Excuse, but I don't understand the upset. Why would it be so difficult to simply call the guy and be simply and tactfully straight with him without involving husbands and wives (it's not their problem, after all)? As in, "You know, this has been bothering me and I would like to clear something up with you. Though I'm sure you're only trying to be helpful and your wife's ribs are excellent, I really want this dinner my way, which means no extra ribs, OK? I just want the opportunity to get to know the two of you better."

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bramble

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apparently that approach failed and the guy said he was going to bring the ribs even after being told not to. Like everyone else...I'm waiting for "the rest of the story"...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did the party happen yet? Did the couple show up (with or without ribs) and what happened then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or was the whole story a hoax?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps sometimes you have to call a person back again a day or so later. And be crystal clear again. And then if that fails, then disinvite, again tactfully. "I'm sorry, I guess you're not hearing me, and I hate to do this, but it's my birthday and I really want it the way I have it planned." Takes courage of conviction and honoring oneself. Also helps with self-esteem, without making the other wrong. Great birthday present to yourself! Maybe he was just nervous, which can make for a hearing and listening problem? And maybe he is a complete oaf. Who knows? Does it matter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bramble

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The OP has mentioned that she told the guy more than once not to bring anything at all. Point blank. That's why she posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              However, maybe it all backfired, and SanJoseHound got the snot beat out of her with a rack of babybacks, she's in traction, and can't use her keyboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wonder who did it? My money's on the guy's wife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh why even go there? The OP has posted repeatedly on the thread responding to suggestions and explaining things about her thought process. The idea that its a hoax is ludicrous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe what happened was so horrendous and Rib Rube went on a maniac rampage rendering SJH unable to type her story for us! Hahaha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ballulah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope this is not a hit and run, we all want to know the ending

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that was a tongue in cheek comment ccb... my bad i guess

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nah, we're all on edge waiting to hear what happened at this point. No harm, no foul.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You know, I'll bet a decent proportion of the folks reading this thread are now going to be very etiquette-antsy over what to do regarding anything for Fourth of July fests they're invited to. Or at least they'll be watching the hosts/other guests with silent intrigue wondering whether those bringers-of-ribs-and-chicken-and-tofu are grill-crashers or were expressly invited to do so by the host. (Or, at least such scenarios will drift briefly through the minds of these thread-viewers before the holiday libations kick in and make them completely forget about it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gotta say-still waiting to hear what happened..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Curious minds want to know...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. If you serve the ribs, along with an announcement that "so and so brought these" as an invitation for people to enjoy them, along with your ribs, it will be obvious to everyone that he's a weirdo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OR just serve them, and by the amount of each preparation of ribs that is eaten, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that a) your ribs are better or b) he brought excellent ribs to your party, which everyone enjoyed and most people would not know they're his.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Either way, you win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. OK, I've made my way to the end of the thread, reading most of the responses and my opinion varying along the way. As a host, guest, chowhounder, and social psychologist, I have an overall point of view -- As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "Dammit...you've got to be kind."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can interpret your guest's behavior as a challenge or an offer, an affront or a contribution. His offer might be a throwdown or a thank-you gesture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Insensitive, yes. But is this an intimate formal dinner birthday party for at most eight people or a celebration for a couple of dozen? Likely the latter, since the rib-thruster is a former co-worker whose wife is unknown. He is on the outskirts of the group and probably is doing his damndest to make a good impression, at least in his mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Last week, I got a call from a neighbor/friend to come over for an impromptu get-together of just a handful of friends. Wine and cheese. She mentioned she'd be going to the local Whole Foods. Now I owe her some favors, and I had a hunk of good aged cheddar in my fridge and a good bottle of red, and she's a busy attorney. I thought I was doing a favor by bringing my munchies and bottle and saving her a trip. But now I wonder if I came on too strong...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You were fine. And I agree with you and Vonnegut - I can't believe the degree to which people would be willing to be rude to this guy, who is at best clueless and trying and at worst, childish and competitive. Childish and competitive sounds bad, but really, in the grand scheme of things, it's not on the level of dishonest or cruel. I'm a control freak in the kitchen, but in this case I would say, accept the ribs. Serve them. Thank him for them graciously. Let it go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Someplace between "clueless and trying" and "childish and competitive" I wondered if this person were just so happy to get an invitation that he just went overboard in showing his appreciation. He may be just a generally unwelcome guest or SanJoseHound's invitation is THE one to get. Some of the responses I read on these boards re-affirm my belief that it is, indeed, the era of righteous indignation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. So I have been reading this for days and then it occurred to me just now to ask-why tell someone you are inviting to dinner what you are serving?? (I bet you will never do it again). When I invite guests for dinner, if I do not know them very welol I will ask if there are any foods they cannot or will not eat) dislikes/allergies, but do not usually tell them what I am serving. Anyway, what happened??????? Please do tell!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: emilief

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It seems she hasn't posted on chow since her last post in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Was it all for naught? Did they not bring the ribs and SanJoseHound is embarrassed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    C'mon- we won't judge! Let us know the skinny!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. SJH,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you are absolutely right . The person here is rude, not only for bringing a dish, but for bad communication. If for some reason they are highly allergic to some ingredient they expect to be in your ribs, they could very easily communicate that and verify the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If the people in question know that you are a cook who enjoys hosting things they will also know that a successful dinner party is meticulously planned and as your guest should show their appreciation with a bottle of wine, or ask if they can bring a desset, anything other than that in my opinion shows no consideration to the art and effort involved in building a menu and planning a party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hefood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "meticulously planned...art and effort"?!? See the original post -- "for a casual dinner" where "one of the main courses" is ribs, implying that it is not even the only entree. Perhaps the invite as heard by the guest, characterized as rude and a bad communicator, was something along the lines of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Hey, distant friend, I'm throwing together a casual birthday dinner and X and Y [your good friends] are invited and thought it would be fun to have you. I'm going to make my famous beloved long-standing family recipe of bbq chicken, and probably throwing on some ribs too. Hope to see you there." So brazen guest then offers to take some of the load off of sensitive/defensive host and suggests bringing ribs as a most helpful favor to acknowledge the kind invite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nosh


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Correct but read on. Invitee then states after being informed twice "I'm going to bring my own." Therein lies the rub. Very gracious to offer once, but when asked a second time to not, then the discussion becomes and OMG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jfood, i read and respect a lot of your posts and respect your judgment and point of view. you are absolutely correct, the resulting offer/polite turndown/offer/another rejection=stalemate is the rub. and like Homer Simpson, i am now completely distracted -- rib rub! yummmm....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          offering to bring a duplicate entree to a wedding reception dinner or a formal sitdown occasion, definitely wrong. to a "casual" birthday celebration, choose the kind interpretation and smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i'm also wondering what the ultimate conclusion of the story was. i was thinking maybe at the end both host's and guest's ribs were mostly consumed and enjoyed. probably the host ended up with some tasty leftovers -- ribs often reheat fairly well. or perhaps the obnoxious guest grabbed all of those remaining and swiped them to take home for himself!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nosh


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thump!! happens to everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jfood is a little concerned given the last post by SJH was June 13 when she was to do something with the invitee, then radio silence. We all sit with ribs in hand wondering when we can dig in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. When I was a young bride, my MIL showed up with an ENTIRE holiday dinner. Soup to nuts. From out of state. Without even mentioning it to me. Then she stood in my kitchen and said "We've got too much food here. We'll have to wrap some of this up." and proceeded to wrap and store the ham, potatoes, turkey...that I had prepared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I got myself a big glass of wine and sat down. I sat at the table and enjoyed the guests and let her serve everyone. Life's too short and then you die.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would have wrapped and stored the MIL! I hope things have improved since (or that the old bat has gone on to her just reward). She might just as well have screamed, "You're incompetent, a terrible cook/hostess, and can't be trusted to feed my son or your guests." And I thought my MIL was the pits!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your gracious handling - as a young bride no less! - shows real class. I think you have summed up the absolute ideal attitude toward stuff like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, Alice. Hat's off to you! It would have taken me a very very laaaarge glass of wine to even begin to relax and enjoy under those circumstances! (And another hefty libation to keep me from throttling my new husband for not deflecting her attempt to take over!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ok, Alice123 your mil wins the rude guest award hands down! Unbelievable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I absolutely could not have done what you did, and I'm envious of your restraint and forbearance. I'm too hot tempered, I would have had a seething, raging fit and spoiled everyone's holiday. You're a better woman than I!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If she was not *otherwise* an overbearing jerk, then fine. If she was, I hope you found some way not to be her patsy for life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She's not so bad. She's exactly like Marie on Everybody loves Raymond. I even could say some of the lines before the character did. I loved that show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you ever hear the expression, be the stream not the rock? I think it means keep your goal in sight and achieve your goal without pushing. Just flow around the rocks- wear them down over time. Even when I was little, I always looked at the big picture. I'm not saying I didn't go in the bathroom and have a little cry. But then I thought, what is my goal for today? A lovely gathering of family. Good food, good conversation, some laughs. Okay. Her food was better- no doubts there. So I was upset that she acted like I wasn't the hostess. But let's say I wasn't the hostess today. How would that play out? I'd sit at the table, eat the good food, laugh....that's not so bad. And who would serve? Clear up? Worry about the gravy being lumpy? Hmmmm.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just checked out. After a little while, my MIL tried to give the reins back to me but I just smiled sweetly- as if I were a little dim- and said I wasn't sure when we should serve, she should ask my husband. Was there dessert? I didn't know. She needed bowls? Oh my, did she bring any? I just checked out. My husband and I thought it was pretty funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And 25 years later, we still do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Beautiful, just beautiful! Well done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just one question. Where was your husband in all that happened, caught between you and MIL? I was just imagining my mother (although can't happen because she is gone) doing that to my wife (although can't happen because my wife doesn't cook): I would have been trying to do something and would have gotten frustrated for you and at mom, even if you were not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My husband, God bless him, didn't even realize we were having a drama until after the fact. You think when he was helping carry in a cooked turkey from the car he might have sensed some problem afoot? But no, one turkey- good. Two turkeys must be better! I had to explain to him that I had put a lot of effort into the meal and even if everyone knew it wasn't going to be as good, it was mean of her to take over and not even serve it. But this was after the dinner was over. We took a walk and he said his mom had asked why I wasn't helping more. Made us both laugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Alice123


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bitter: Most would've been at MIL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salty/funny: "You think when he was helping carry in a cooked turkey from the car he might have sensed some problem afoot? But no, one turkey- good. Two turkeys must be better!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sweet: The whole tale...especially that after dinner walk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yours is the same tact my aunt took with my grandmother - who never had a single good word to say about my aunt. My uncle and aunt had a fantastic 50+ year marriage in spite of my grandmother decending on their home for 3 weeks every single summer. A big glass (or even a bottle) of wine now and then is a cheap price to keep peace in the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, good for you! That's a very "aikido" approach!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Alice123

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good for you! :) You handled that with a lot of class and with the least amount of stress to yourself. It has taken me many years of married life to finally reach the point where (I think and hope) that I would react similarly in a similar situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I think the whole thing just fizzled out. Maybe one of these days SanJoseHound will figure out to email the moderators (moderators@chowhound.com) and ask them to remove this whole thread at her request. Then she can get another site name and never look back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yaya leave it to you to sew up a thread with one of your little ditties!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey San Jose Hound,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can handle a little ribbing. Please finish the story be it fiction or not.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Remember English101 there is a beginning, middle, and END!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            By the way, are you an ex-carney?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. And, finally, the OP reported the result - the guest backed down!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for posting this, Karl S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I'm posting after this situation is resolved but I must say that the responses show just how many people have poor social skills and are unaware of it. In fact, if your read all the replies, there is an indication that most people don't understand the point of having social skills in the first place. The point is to smooth over situations such as this, not find a polite way to force a preferred scenario or to confront someone who has poor skills or is rude. Too many people seem to believe that being rudely confrontational to other people is being assertive. It's simply placing your will and desires above the wishes of your guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The way to deal with these situations smoothly is to say the right thing the first time around. When someone insists on bringing a dish and you'd rather they didn't, you respond with, "That's such a generous offer but I'd be a terrible hostess if I placed such a burden on a guest...however, it'd be wonderful if you could bring (beverage/side dish/etc.)." If the person continues to persist, change the subject rather than push that you don't want them to do it. If they walk in with the dish anyway, thank them and put it in the refrigerator. If they ask what you did with it, say you were so busy hostessing it slipped your mind but you and your family will enjoy their gracious gift tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Social skills are about making people comfortable, not about finding a way to have everything your way because the people you're dealing with are rude or inappropriate. If a person can't manage that, then perhaps hosting parties and get-togethers isn't really her forté. Do you value the guests or do you value your desire to show off your culinary skills?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Orchid64


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you may want to start another thread with your "in the frisge" suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do not agree that this into the fridge solution is in line with the "making people comfortable" conclusion. Some would consider this act of ungraciousness followed by the old "smile & lie" theory is showing bad social skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We were on the same page until you got the part where you would leave your guests "gracious gift" in the refrigerator. I don't think that would be the gracious way to handle the situation at all. Sorry, but your "solution" seems quite contrary to your entire post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I think it is just plain rude. You do not go to a wedding wearing a white dress, you don't bring the same dish your host is making.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How did it go by the way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: xena1441

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We all waited with bated breath to find out... you can read the outcome here...