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Mar 7, 2009 02:02 PM

Another guest behavior rant.


My husband and I invited another couple for a nice casual dinner at our place over a month ago. After jockeying our schedules we finally made it happen. Earlier in the week my mother-in-law makes a comment to my husband about these friends coming over for dinner. She heard it from her neighbor who this other couple is good friends with. Then the neighbor made a comment to my husband about this couple coming over for dinner--almost like she was fishing for an invite to dinner. We like this person and have socialized with her in the past, but we just wanted a nice casual dinner with some old friends. Mr.T didn't do anything but just laugh at her comment/joke.

That isn't what bothered me. Last night our friend calls and asks if we can push dinner up an hour earlier because they have to be somewhere later in the evening. It turns out they're going out to a club with my mother-in-law's neighbor. I became offended and told my husband that he should have cancelled outright. I'm not offended that we're not invited to go out with them, I'm offended that I spent time cooking and that this other couple is using us as a way of getting a free meal and that we're a warm-up act for their "real plans." I told MrT that we're not having them over again for dinner. Am I being overly sensitive or are this other couple being rude.

BTW--they're already 15 minutes late.

  1. if moving dinner was a big deal, just say you cant! Should your guests be expected to not have any other plans? Its a bit unreasonable to say that because they are doing something after your dinner, that they are in-effect "using you for a free meal before their REAL plans start".
    What is rude, is being 15min. late after requesting it moved up.........

    10 Replies
    1. re: nkeane

      HA, I wrote a whole, "try and be understanding, maybe both people made plans wihout clearing it with the other" post then saw the BTW part of the post...deleted everything I wrote! I would say, try and make the best of it, enjoy your lovely dinner and maybe see how the evening goes....who knws you may hear the whole story about double booking over dinner!
      Good Luck

      1. re: nkeane

        I beg to differ, they might not be "using you for a free meal" but it is rude to make other plans for the same evening and then ask your hostess to move the dinner up an hour!!!
        Obviously, if you invite friends for dinner, it's because you want to enjoy their company and dinner starts off the evening. To ask your hostess to accommodate other plans is plain RUDE!!
        If you're single and schedule two dates in one evening, most people would be appalled by that. Just because you're couples doesn't make it any better. Two dates for one evening is telling the first couple they're not good enough for you.

        1. re: janetms383

          and I disagree with that! asking may be borderline rude, but what if it where a play/concert/movie that started at a specific time? its no different really......asking prior is better then looking at your watch all night and then making up an excuse and bailing!

          btw. in my single days, I double booked a LOT.....and all it takes is being willing to do what I just preached against in the prior paragragh.
          I personally think that because you invite someone to dinner that you somehow OWN them for the night is beyond the pale!

          1. re: nkeane

            If in the original discussion the other plans came up that is totally different from these facts.

            Read the OP:

            "After jockeying our schedules we finally made it happen." - So this was a mutual difficult date to arrange.

            Then - "Last night our friend calls and asks if we can push dinner up an hour earlier because they have to be somewhere later in the evening" - So 24 hour before dinner they changed the plans with the same people that tried to scarf two seats.

            In this case it is completely and totally a MAJOR sef-entitled, I am the center of the universe, inconsiderate event.

            If, as you state, there was a play/conncert (not movie) plans, then it comes out in the original discussion, but if someone is offered a "better" event later in the evening and call and tell the original plannee, sorry a better offer came up for post-dinner, then jfood cannot even fathom the thought process that goes into that equalling an acceptable situation.

            "in my single days, I double booked a LOT" - (insert palm of hand banging forehead) OMG

            1. re: jfood

              Jfood, you misunderstand me.....
              I was only giving situations where there could be a misunderstanding. How did the OP know for sure that the later plans were not made BEFORE the dinner plans? There are all kind of extenuating circumstances that could explain this, and be acceptable(to me anyways).........but honestly, this doesnt sound like one of those times!

              and the double booking thing.......that was only on dates!:-)
              yes I was an a-hole. indescretions of youth and all........

            2. re: nkeane

              Were there a conflict, then the meal should have been postponed. If I accept an invitation, I plan on spending time with my host/hostess. If there will be a conflict, I state that up front.

              Now, this comes from a person, who might have six events in an evening during the "season." I always let the host/hostess know what we will be able to do.

              If it's a personal dinner, and not a party, it is all, or it is nothing.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Urrhrruumphh, pardon, but what is the "season"? [Sincerely!].

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  I completely agree with Bill- my host/hostess is who my time is committed to for the evening(or at least until the evening has drawn to an end).

                  If the evening wraps up at a decent hour, I may consider dropping by the club to meet up with my other friends but I would never ask the person cooking me dinner to change the time to suit my schedule. Ha! I should only be so important.(NOT!)

                2. re: nkeane

                  I guess the attitude about double booking all depends on how much you value your friends and the time you spend with them. Unless agreed to upfront, I wouldn't expect my friends to feel like they had to stand in line to have some time with me.

                  How wonderful that you have such an active social life that you books 3 or 4 dates per night from Fri - Sat.

                  If I'm invited to my friends for a crab boil on a Saturday afternoon, I bring a couple six pack or some good white and plan to tucker in for the evening. To me... that is LIVING!!

                  1. re: nkeane

                    The guests are demanding - kinda like wolves and they are looking for the address at 1984 . . .

                    Saw it Sam
                    I am

              2. When I was growing up my parents would host dinner parties with one to three couples attending. My experience (while spying on the dinner and subsequently falling asleep on the stairs) was that the "dinner" would last most of the evening. Cocktails and hors d'ouvres followed by dinner, desert and coffee and tea. The one time I actually woke up without Mom putting me to bed, it was about 11pm. Given all that I might feel a little "put out" by these particular guests and opt not to invite them again unless it was with a mixed group.

                1. I'm going to say here that I actually would be peeved. Yes, fine, they can have plans, but it seems to me that the neighbor s trying to brew up a contest that doesn't exist.
                  It's rude your guest are late and have not called, but don't let it ruin your evening.
                  We are humans, so quite frankly you should go ahead and feel what you feel.

                  1. I'm with Mrs T. Unless we have a previous agreement for quick and casual, my dinners are no warm up for anything else. You come. Bring wine if you like. It will be served. I prepare a multi-course dinner; pour bourbon, rum, and decent wines down your collective gullets. Eating is casual but from a well set table and carefully plated servings for each course. Flowers. The wine glasses are the right ones and the napkins are cotton. No table cloths allowed. Involved converstation that is provocative, hilarious, usually well informed - but no boors allowed. Any sign of puffed up gets laughed at. Guests are international, as are the languages spoken and the music played and the dance styles danced. Always people of different ages. Often people go way back to working together on particular projects in far away places: "Do you remember that time in x when you said to y .......?!" You go home happy, full and satisfied, slightly drunk if not driving, thinking about some of the conversations (sometimes the bigger picture concepts underlying our different types of research or sometimes what so-and-so needs to do now that his/her career is just beginning/coming to a close). And you do not go home early!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Wow Sam! Who would want such an evening to ever end! Sounds like dinner at your house can be the evening of a lifetime!

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Sam's way of entertaining sounds like the way we do it! And, often, the "dinners" will turn into sleepovers and brunch the next morning!

                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Aside from sharing a name, (although I am a Samantha) we share the way we DO dinner! Show up around 6 and people begin leaving around 1 am. Tons of food and wine, laughter and shared pink cheeks the morning after! The more I thought about this the more I agree that MrsT has every right to feel taken for granted...I would be pissed.

                      3. Get back to us MrsT and let us know when they finally showed up and how the evening went. We chowhounds care and want to know. I don't want to make this about age but my younger friends seem to be more in love with the idea of what I think of as a layered evening, sampling what they think is the cream of what each event has to offer. They seem to figure that they are getting the most life has to offer by stacking engagements like airplanes circling around an airport. I don't think you are being overly sensitive, I think your guests are being shallow and self-absorbed. The outside agitation from the neighbor is sure not helping, but it is always their decision to go along with her machinations. Do get back to us, we are rooting for it to all somehow work out.