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Rude dinner guests: how to handle them

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I just wanted to share this because I sometimes cannot believe people. I also would like to know what others would say to someone in this situation.

I invited a friend(I hesitate to use that word) over for dinner the other night, I was cooking. She texted me the night before wanting to know if she could bring anything and to remind me that she is a picky eater and to not "get too creative". I am aware that she is picky so I decided to make baked brie and a mixed green salad, because I have seen her eat cheese before and salad is...salad. So I told her what I was making and that she could bring dessert if she wanted. I then get a text back from her telling me that she is "not really a brie kind of girl...or really any cheese, but just make whatever you're making and I'll bring stuff too :)" (the smiley was part of her text, I did not add it)

I texted her back and told her that I was sorry the menu didn't please her and to just consider dinner canceled.

What would you have said to someone like this? I do not really enjoy spending time with this person in the first place, so I was not about to turn into a diner for her. If she were a closer friend I might have been more willing to change what I was making, but I've never been in that situation before.

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  1. If you do not enjoy spending time with her, why did you invite her over? (not being snarky) I would not serve Brie to a known picky eater (my SIL comes to mind quickly) and would not invite someone over if I didn't want to spend time with them.

    I would have left the Brie off her salad....I definitely would not have cancelled dinner. I think this is about more than Brie though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      I invited her over because she wanted to get together and I did not want to go out. I do understand about the brie, but I have actually seen her eat brie before, so I wasn't expecting complaints. She also eats cheese all the time. I guess it does look a bit drastic, and is not about dinner itself, she's just one of those types of friends who I don't see often, and sort of forget how much she annoys me, until she does something else and then I wish I had the guts to tell her I don't want to be her friend.

      I also just can't imagine ever complaining about the food to someone when they have invited you for dinner...(vegetarian/religious reasons/allergies aside).

      1. re: Fromageball

        Oh I agree with you on the complaining....as the person who hosts gathering the vast majority of the time, I am thrilled when I get to be a guest.

    2. I agree with Janet that this seems to be about more than brie. My initial reaction would have been to text back, "Oops! Didn't know you don't care for brie but pls tell me what you DO feel like and I'll be happy to make it. Remember, I invited YOU, so no cooking on your part! Unless, of course, there's a dessert you're particularly proud of."

      Seems to me that would be a friendly, non-confrontational response. I also think that, if there was some reason you "had" to have her over, despite your personal dislike for this person, you really need to try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation and get back to her with an apology for being so terse.

      Just my opinion...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Deenso

        I agree. It seems to me that the "friend" was making the best out of what was becoming an awkward situation by offering to bring something she would eat instead of asking you to change your menu. She may have also thought that the brie/salad was too inadequate to be considered a meal, but obviously you can't just blurt out "that's all?" to a host and expect a good response. If I were in her place right now, I would probably be really taken aback by an abrupt cancellation. If you think you'll have to come in contact with her again, I'd send an apology and suggest going out for coffee or something that won't take up a lot of time or money.

      2. I think you handled it just right. Nipped that right in the bud! Follow your instincts and don't invite people that you don't want to "in the first place."

        1. Is this someone you have to deal with on a regular basis, such as a colleague? If not, no worries, and try not to get yourself in that situation again. If you do have to deal with this person and they have some influence over your life (job--related to/dating boss, relationship--they're your SO's sibling, whatever), you may have to put up with it, though as little as possible.

          1. Don't get why you invited her . But when you told her what you were having it seemed to invite a response if it was something she didn't like. Would you have been happier if she said nothing and she didn't eat it? I love cheese including brie but baked brie- uh, no- and baked cheese is not my idea of a meal even if served with salad. I think this is so not about the food- and if you don;t like her then don't invite her again.

            1. I understand your frustration, but why tell her exactly what you are making if you don't want her opinion? Once you told her, if she had no plans to eat it, she risked looking rude by pretending it was OK then not actually touching it. I would be more pissed at the latter scenario than what you describe. At least she told you to go ahead with your plans and that she would bring something for herselef... still far, far from the ideal dinner guest, I agree :) These are the people I order pizza for, or don't invite in the first place.

              1. I would want more for dinner aside from baked brie and a salad. Sounds like an app and a first course.

                1. I'm a huge foodie and a big cheese lover and I don't like brie. People like what they like and don't like what they don't like. I learned the lesson you've learned very early on when I invited 2 girls to dinner and they showed up and asked what I was serving and I said chicken piccata. One girl asked if she could "pick the chicken out" because she was a vegetarian. It was my fault for not asking in advance and her fault for not letting me know she was a vegetarian and I had to whip somethign else up to go with her pasta on the fly, which I was happy to do because I was the host and she was my friend.

                  If you don't enjoy spending time with her, there's no excuse for inviting her over, and then cancelling on her because you were serving what she didn't like, as an admitted picky eater. Sounds like she tried to make the best of it, not by insisting that you cook something else, but by offering to bring something that she could eat and you basically shot her down because you were irritated that she doesn't like brie (or didn't want it that particular night). I also agree with the other posters - brie and salad is not a dinner, that's an app and first course.

                  1. Fromageball, your dinner sounds yummy. I remember once being invited to a day after thanksgiving meal. It turned out to be leftover salad and leftover pie. It was not what I expected but it worked for me and I had fun. Oh, there was leftover wine too. Let me ask you something, how did you feel when you canceled? I am not always in touch with my own feelings, and I read somewhere that feeling inexplicably and suddenly tired might mean that your boundaries are being trampled. If you felt immense relief then you so made the right decision. She was the rude one.

                    1. I've been thinking about this a bit more. (Slow day) The first time I invite someone over for dinner, I will always say "Is there anything you don't eat?" If no, I'm mostly home free. But I did recently ask a couple if they eat scallops. I would NEVER ask "ok, I've seen you eat cheese, but do you eat brie." I think that gets a bit ridiculous. I mean, how minute can one get.

                      1. Clearly you both had different expectations.

                        You think of anything having less than 12 ingredients "not creative". She thinks of anything you can order at Chili's/Applebees/RubyTuesday not creative.

                        She expected to bring food to make up for being picky, you expected her to eat what was served.

                        Seems to me the rudeness is not in what either of you did, but in what neither of you did, namely find a way to work it out.

                        1. I'm so curious what she wrote you back...
                          But admire your response. Obviously you have had it with this person and now you are free of them.

                          1. IMO, when someone is invited for dinner, they should not bring thier own food because they might not like what is served. (food allergies aside) Being picky is not an allowable excuse.
                            I notice she texted the night before, so there was plenty of time to make changes. If you really wanted her to come over, I assume you would've made an attempt at compromise. Texting is hard because you cannot always tell the tone of the conversation. Out of curiosity, how did she re-act when you cancelled dinner?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jcattles

                              Amen. If I'm invited to a friend's house and I learn AFTER I've accepted the invitation that the meal is borscht or liver (things I hate) then guess what? I choke down a little borscht or liver. I don't have to pretend that I love it, but I do have to be decent company!

                            2. You both handled it very poorly. This has nothing whatsoever to do with food. As you wrote: You didn't want to spend time with her and didn't want to have her over to your house. It sounds like you took an opportunity to correct your own error in inviting her in a way that felt ok for you.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ccbweb

                                How sad having a falling out over some cheese. I agree it ended well -- I'm not a picky eater but I would prefer not eating a meal that wasn't lovingly made. No angry vibes in my food, thanks.