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Jun 13, 2007 07:19 PM

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

        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.