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Another guest behavior rant.

  • m

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.

                        1. You missed your opportunity to kill the evening when they wanted to change the time. BTW, nice MIL.

                          1. This has happened to me once in college. They stayed for 1 hour to eat their meal and left to hit the bars. And these people were over for dinner (entire evening) at my place the week before, so they knew what to expect. I was pretty pissed off. But I'll chalk it up to the fact that they were ignorant college kids. But I was in college as well, and wouldn't dream of doing that.

                            Well, not sure what type of club that couple is going to. When I have gone to clubs in the past, I didn't get there until 11:30P or midnight the very least. So if the couple was planning on being at the club around midnight, I wouldn't think their behavior was that rude as I'm guessing that would leave plenty of time for you guys to socialize, provided you're not serving dinner at 10P. While I turn into a pumpkin at midnight these days, I used to have my evenings start at around 9P and would stay out until 9A. But if these guys were planning on just eating and running, then I'd understand why you'd be peeved.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              From the time stamp on the follow-up post, it does seem like the couple went to a later club. In that case, I don't really think there is any problem with double booking. It seems like the intent was to give the OP enough time so that everyone could relax and enjoy the meal and then the couple could head out to the club. I'm not the type who expects that on a Friday or Saturday people will have only one thing planned. With my family and family friends, dinner does not tend to last so long that you would not be able to go out afterwards, and I've certainly done that in the past.

                              1. re: queencru

                                Yeah, it kind of sounds like they went out late for their second engagement and wasn't using the OP's dinner as a McDonalds. I also agree with you that it seems like they tried to push up the meal so that everybody could relax. Not everybody goes to bed at 11P. I've also made multiple plans when my Saturday nights ended in the morning.

                            2. I agree with the part about never inviting them to dinner again.

                              1. So let jfood understand the data:

                                1- T's invite couple 1 to dinner
                                2 - Couple 2 who are neighbors of MIL try to snag 2 seats at dinner. Ts wants a simple 4-top
                                3 - Couple 2 then invites Couple 1 to a late star evening on the same night as the dinner
                                4 - Couple 1 accepts Couple 2's totally transparent attempt to bne major yutzs.
                                5 - Couple 1 has the audacity to call Ts 24 hours ahead and tells them to work around a late invitation

                                What to do:

                                1 - Tell them you would reschedule when the entire evening is free
                                2 - Make a veeeeeerrrrrrryyyyy slow dinner.

                                Not very nice people and completely socially inept

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  I so share your thoughts jfood. Well put. No doubt it's rude. Am I old school because my sense of a dinner party implies a commitment for the full evening? The hosts prepare a meal, often because they really enjoy sharing their love of cooking and food with friends and friends come to enjoy each other's company. I would reconsider inviting them again since they don't seem to get it. I am single and I have stopped dining with friends of mine, a married couple; the husband and I share the same birthday and each year we would go out for dinner to celebrate. Last year, the wife of the couple initiated inviting me and making resos for Saturday night. The Friday before, she calls to ask if I would mind if she invited another couple, friends of theirs, who they haven't seen in some time and wouldn't it be nice if we could all get together? I indicated that as single person I wasn't comfortable spending my birthday with 2 other couples on a Saturday night at a resto. My friends went ahead and dined with the other couple. I was very hurt. The right thing to do would have been to dine with the other couple another time. I tolerate much in the name of friendship except inconsiderate, self-serving behaviour. I have coined the term the "careless classes" to refer to people like my friends; urban professional couples who despite having been taught good etiquette and social behaviour, go through life in an almost narcissistic fog in order to satisfy all of their impulses. Needless to say, our birthday dinners are no more. Life is short; spend it with people who deserve your generousity and appreciate it too. My advice is that you should have offered to reschedule for another evening when you wouldn't feel so rushed by their other plans that you would risk ruining the meal. Am I bitter? You bet!

                                  1. re: tuttebene

                                    According to the OP's time stamps, the couple arrived a little after 5P, and left at a quarter to 11P. To me, I think that qualifies as a full evening.

                                    About your ex-friends, didn't it ever occur to you that the husband also wanted to spend his birthday with friends of his in addition to you? They weren't trying to exclude you. I do think it would have been nice if all of you guys would get together. I'm not trying to be snarky here. But you're describing them as people who go through life in an almost narcissitic fog in order to satisfy all of their impulses. The couple may be thinking the same exact thing of you.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      Thanks for your thoughts. I didn't want my post to be about me but since you asked.... There is more history here than just one dinner. These are the same friends with whom I once made plans for attending a concert. I bought tickets for me, them and 2 of their friends. One of their friends then went and purchased better seats, knowing full well that I had already purchased them - guess which seats my friends chose and who was on the hook for the original tickets?
                                      And as for the birthday, the husband is free to party with anybody he wishes. In fact, I have several sets of friends, as does the husband, and we each have several celebration dinners with different people. Our annual mutual celebration is just that - a tradition of just 3 of us dining together. The tradition isn't the 3 of us and anyone else that we might want to include last minute. Have you given thought to how enjoyable it may be for a single person to be dining with couples (some who you don't even know) on a Saturday night, as part of their birthday no less? Love trying to keep up with the conversation regarding best schools, living in the burbs, nanny woes, investments, etc. I am always considerate of my married -with -kids- friends and help out where I can, have kid friendly dinner parties, accommodate busy mom schedules and recognize that parents are happy even if they can only squeeze in a couple of hours for grown up company. One night with just good friends is special and so last minute changes are in fact inconsiderate. The point that most people are missing and that I am trying to illustrate is the arrogrance of making a commitment that is only good until something better comes along. Sounds like the OP's dinner went very well. Nobody should expect their friends to not have plans after the dinner party - I take issue with how it came about. Yes they asked and the OP could have said no, but it's still poor social behaviour. Good etiquette or thoughtful behaviour would have been to work around their dinner commitment and meet their other friends later in the evening rather than asking their dinner hosts to start earlier in the evening. Again the point missed is that they made a commitment after much time spent finding a mutually agreeable date, and then later wanted to squeeze in more plans at the (possible) inconvenience of their hosts.
                                      A good friend with good manners would never have made such a request. Perhaps this thread really illustrates that there are 2 camps and friends should make sure they are part of the same camp.

                                      1. re: tuttebene

                                        I can understand that a single person in the company of couples may not be the most exciting thing if the conversations are always about living with the burbs, nanny woes, etc. There was an episode of Sex and the City about that. But I think it probably depends a lot on the company. When DH and I were both single, we've definitely gone out with couples and didn't sit through entire evenings of those "married couples talk." I'm married, and would probably be bored to tears if I had to endure entire evenings of that. I've also known people who would vacation with couples and never felt like the fifth wheel (or third or seventh or any odd number).

                                        Ouch about the concert tickets! Sorry to hear that your friends were so inconsiderate about that. I guess I can see why you got really upset about the birthday dinner in light of that story. I can definitely sympathize with you about the tradition thing. But I find that relationships evolve over time, and sometimes it's probably for the best that the tradition is broken. Perhaps you should find some friends who are a bit more considerate to spend you birthday with.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          So true about relationships. This year I once again celebrated with my best lifelong friends (most of them married) whose only offense is their chronic lateness...some things I can forgive.

                                    2. re: tuttebene

                                      For a dinner invitation, I agree completely. For an "open-house," or party, not so much. Still, when we accept an invitation, we always define our timeframe. Dinner - well you got us for however long you are still serving the wines. For the others, well we may only be able to spend an hour, but that is a totally different situation.


                                    3. re: jfood

                                      J, can you put all this in a Excel spreadsheet so I can test various scenarios? But I agree with you assessment. Oh the perils of human relations.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I'm starting to wonder if couple number 2 are Mooch and Hooch....LOL

                                        But I'm with Mrs. T....they were rude.

                                      2. Update: they just left

                                        Dinner went well. Good food (everybody was raving about the enchilada's), good wine--they didn't want me to open up the wine they brought and just drank what I had planned with the meal. They were a little late because of the parking situation in the neighborhood and our bell is not working (I'll make the allowance for that). MrT and I and were kind of glad the evening ended early. It allows us time to wind down and relax. I have to admit, I am feeling a little better about everything. I think it was the fact that our friends have flaked out on us before--more than once. I would invite them over again. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: MrsT

                                          Well, by the time tags on the site they stayed for at least four and a half hours... more than enough time to be considered "polite" in my book.

                                          1. re: MrsT

                                            I'm glad that things went well for you guys!

                                          2. you know, i always consider a dinner invite-- whether i am the host or the recipient-- as an evening of hospitality.
                                            never in my life have i double-booked or planned anything after, because i don't know when "after" will be.

                                            so, yes: i think this was incredibly rude.
                                            all of it.

                                            please let us know how it went!

                                            32 Replies
                                            1. re: dinaofdoom

                                              FWIW, I often have several different plans on a Fri/Sat night. Its really quite narsicistic to demand a persons full attention for the entire evening. What the invited person should have done is say "I would love to come, but need to leave by (X) so that I can make a prior engagement".

                                              1. re: nkeane

                                                Ahem, there was no prior engagement at the time that they agreed upon a date. It's a slap in the face to later say I'm still coming but can you rearrange your plans so that I can go and have some more fun somewhere else later? Why not ask if you can take dessert to go while you're at it? That's the issue. If the couple were going to an after-hours club, that's different because it would be possible to fit in 2 outings. I don't think this was the case.

                                                1. re: tuttebene

                                                  After-hours clubs in NYC (where I think the OP is from ) start at 4A. Clubs generally don't get going here until midnight, with almost nobody going at 9P-10P.

                                                  1. re: tuttebene

                                                    They stayed for almost 6 hours!? what would you have wanted? a sleepover?
                                                    come on, its antiquated, and well....narccicistic to demand that someone devote their entire saturday night to your dinner. We live in a hurried, overworked, fast paced world where we only get but a fleeting few days off. If someones idea of a great saturday is going to dinner, then a club, then an after hours club, then JackInTheBox at sunrise on their way home, then so be it. Its not for you to decide. You had a great, leasurely dinner(remember the 6 hour part) and enjoyed yourself. what do you care what they do after?

                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                      I do not think that the point is what they may, or may not have done later, it is the asking that things be pushed up to accommodate their plans, made after they accepted the invitation.

                                                      It would be similar to you texting on your Blackberry, during dinner, because you are so busy. It is about manners.

                                                      Now, had the guests allowed that they had prior, late-night plans, then it would be different. In the case that the OP outlines, they accepted the times and the date. Later, they chose to add something else and wished for the host/hostess to alter all plans for this later decision. I do not care where my dinner guest go, after they leave my home, so long as they arrive at their's safely. Still, when someone agrees to dinner at 7:00 and calls much later, asking me to move it up, because they have found something else to do later, I am not cool with that.

                                                      Were I the OP, it would be highly likely that these folk would be off of my list in the future.

                                                      For the OP, I'm very glad that all worked out and that the dinner was good. I would, however, think about this for next time.


                                                  2. re: nkeane

                                                    I don't understand why it is narcissistic to think that when you are having a dinner party at your home, people shouldn't treat it as a restaurant stop on the way to an entertainment venue.

                                                    While you are correct that a person should say they have a prior engagement upfront, in the case of the OP they actually asked that she move the time to accommodate their schedule. Now THAT is narcissistic..

                                                    1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                      so simply asking a question is narcissistic? the OP could have very well said no to the request!? and a 6 hour dinner is hardly a restaurant stop!

                                                      why in the world would what someone is doing after your dinner party concern you? the hostility towards such an idea smacks of jealousy. Jealous and bitter that someone would DARE have more fun after they left your house........now who is being narcissitic?

                                                      1. re: nkeane

                                                        Yes, their question is narcissistic. "I'm sure they won't mind moving the time for me since I have an important engagement to attend." The details of what they have planned after the dinner are irrelevant.

                                                        When an invitation is extended, the parameters are right there: time, location, etc.

                                                        If those parameters do not fit into someone's schedule, then decline the invitation.

                                                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                          so if their question rises to the level of narcissism, then demanding someones entire night is firmly narcissistic. sounds as if these couples are two peas in a pod,

                                                          1. re: nkeane

                                                            I don't imagine that you entertain many dinner invites.

                                                        2. re: nkeane

                                                          No. You are missing the point. To accept an invitation and then accept an additional one for that night, hoping that the origianal host will change his/her plans to accommodate you IS narcissistic.

                                                          It would be like accepting a date from a young lady (in my case) for a date, and then telling her that I have found a better date, but it'll be later. Can we move OUR date up a bit, because I now have other plans for later.

                                                          It's all about good form and good manners. If you get a better offer, decline it.


                                                      2. re: nkeane

                                                        Nkeane - You have a responsibility as a guest.

                                                        A guest must be pleased with whatever is served, oh and ah over the kids/dogs/house (something!), offer assistance, and provide interesting (and hopefully witty) conversation and stories while listening to (hopefully) equally interesting bon mots. It does not inclue looking at your watch and pacing yourself for the evening.

                                                        You accept the invitation, you accept the responsibility. If you can't forfill the obligations of a guest, then offer another night where your bonhommie can be the main event.

                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                          so you are saying that the guest is captive, and subject to the will of the host? and dont forget, it was a SIX HOUR DINNER!

                                                          1. re: nkeane

                                                            nkeane - I apologize then.

                                                            I missed the point in the post where the meal took 6 hours. That seems reasonable - I've had great evenings of both less and more time. If someone can still walk or wobble after that amount of time - they should go to whatever event, scene, etc. WITHOUT mentioning it to their hosts Me, I'm heading for bed (there were times when staying up all night seemed like fun - no more!).

                                                            1. re: nkeane

                                                              If they were due at 5 pm (but they were late) and left at about 9:30 pm, at most it was a 4.5 hour dinner. Where does the 6 hours come from?

                                                              1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                Gosh - thanks charmedgirl - proves to me that I need to get the facts straight before posting!

                                                                Now for another reaction - 5pm!!!! That's not dinner, that's my afternoon snack. And leave at 9.30?!!! Don't they have lights for their buggy to get home by? That's barely prime time. So nkeane - my guests are captive and are allowed to leave only after 10 (and at that timeonly by special dispensation and only if they are a complete bore/boar).

                                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                  6 hours may have been an exaggeration. 4.5 hours is a full evening to me. If I meet friends for dinner at a restaurant, I expect it to last 2 hours tops, perhaps with drinks before and/or after, depending on the situation.

                                                                  Plus, if the time stamps are accurate, the OP invited their guests to come over at 5pm. If I'm invited for a 5pm dinner, I would not expect to stay until 11 or 12 and might make plans for later that evening.

                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                    someone said they left at 11. even at 4.5hours, thats a looooooooong dinner, and more then adequate.

                                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                                      I'msorry. Where did the SIX HOURS! go? Are you so plugged in, that you have to live your entire life in 15 min. increments? Can you not allow your hosts an evening? If not, do not accept any invitation. Simple as that.

                                                                      Again, it's about manners and not a lot beyond that.


                                                                  2. re: nkeane

                                                                    When the question was posed 24 hours prior to the meal, noone knew about the 6 hours. Using that to justify the pre-dinner question is like entering the battlefield after the battle and bayonetting the dead.

                                                                    It is the pre-dinner events that this thread relates to, not a six-hour affair. And if your position is that the host, who has spent time preparing, has opened his home, has planned the event is just a stop-gap for the later part of the evening, well, then you and jfood will have to agree to disagree.

                                                                    The idea that accepting a saturday night in-home dinner invitation and then calling 24 hours ahead to ask for a giddy-up event so plan B can occur is SO foreign to jfood that his brain is exploding.

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      Jfood, Bill,

                                                                      personally, asking a civil question is never, i repeat never narcissistic, rude, boarish(insert whatever insult you want here), etc. As much as its not for the host to politely decline.
                                                                      Maybe there is a gernerational thing here, but among my friends and family its never a problem to work within everyones time frame and other engagements, including work, family, social gatherings, or whatever.......to be flexible is to be kind. To be forgiving is to be gracious. to be accomodating is to be a friend. This world is so much more enjoyable when everyone learns to empathize.

                                                                      btw, both of you are guilty of conjecture("stop-gap", "giddy-up"), and hyperbole...(".....you live your entire life in 15min increments?") that your arguments ring hollow...........

                                                                      1. re: nkeane


                                                                        Whatever works for you and your friends is fine with jfood but it is not proper decorum. It is bad manners to accept an invitation to which great pains were made to accomodate only to call 24-hours and ask for a change because a better invite came along.

                                                                        And to your statement of "personally, asking a civil question is never, i repeat never narcissistic, rude, boarish(insert whatever insult you want here), etc." - hmmm, totally disagree and here are a few examples:

                                                                        1 - Narcssistic - "Don't you think I am the most gorgeous person in the room?"
                                                                        2 - Rude - "Did you ask that ugly person to join you or did your mommy make you bring her?"
                                                                        3 - Boarish - "Do you have a cold or do you not know you smell like you stepped in doggie doo?"

                                                                        And to be clear it was you who first used the word narcissistic, not me or Mr Hunt.

                                                                        But if you and your friends find it acceptable to allow such narcissistic, rude, and boarish behavior as changing agreed upon plans because a better offer comes up at the last minute that's your world and you have learned to live nicely within it.

                                                                        I'll speak for me and my friends, that's called ill-mannered, and that is not hyperbole but a cold, hard fact. And jfood thinks our arguments are fully supportable and if you read 95% of the responses you'll see jfood and Hunt are walking across the street in a very large crowd.

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          Totally agree with every word.

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            The word your are looking for is boorish, unless it's an actual pig that you're trying to describe, in which case boarish would be appropriate.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              majority doesnt always=correct.

                                                                              none of those questions you proposed are civil.

                                                                              we have no proof that the latter engagement came after the first was accepted.

                                                                            2. re: nkeane

                                                                              Asking a "civil" question is not in and of itself rude. What IS rude is making other plans for the same evening after you've accepted a dinner invitation. So in that context, yes, asking the question is rude.

                                                                              It's not that you're committing yourself to stay at your host's table until the wee hours, simply that by accepting the invitation you are implicitly agreeing to take part in the leisurely flow of conversation and camaraderie that a good dinner party evokes, without looking at your watch to see when you need to jump up and leave. It's called civilized behavior.

                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                if I have dinner plans at someones house at 7pm, it is entirely reasonable for me to plan on doing something at 11pm. If the host gets bent out of shape because I dont want to stay for dinner for 4+hours, its they who are being rude. Like I said, if you want more attention then that make the invitation for a sleep over! or better yet, invite me to your summer home in the hamptons for a long weekend, I promise I wont make late night plans.....

                                                                                1. re: nkeane

                                                                                  Well, as 27 out of the 30 posters on this thread so far agree, it is bad manners to make secondary plans after accepting a dinner invitation, unless said invitation is clearly time-limited. Having said that, if you know your hosts tend to retire early and you're planning on late-night-clubbing afterward that's fine, as long as you go with the flow and don't pull yourself out of the dinner party while it's still going strong.

                                                                                  Getting back to the original poster's complaint, these people not only made plans to go out afterward, they went so far as to ask the hosts to change their plans to accommodate them, which is adding insult to rudeness.

                                                                              2. re: nkeane

                                                                                You'll note that there's a pattern amongst those who disagree with you as they make repeated references to manners. I think you've insulted your generation by assuming everyone outside of your circle of friends shares the same egocentric values, that is making sure your individual needs and desires are met and expecting others to ensure this happens without compromise. Manners were developed to ensure civility, social order and consideration for your fellow human - you know, simple rules of conduct so that we can all get along. Generationally speaking, whether you're using your crackberry, cell or primitive land line while at the dinner table dining with others is bad manners no matter how old you are. I don't care if you know how to set a table or know how to match wine glasses to the wine but I do expect some courtesy in a social relationship otherwise why bother? What's in if for me to make you happy all of the time?

                                                                                1. re: tuttebene

                                                                                  tutto: BRAVO on your reply! You said very plainly what many of us have danced around. Thank you.

                                                                                2. re: nkeane

                                                                                  Nkeane, I haven't read all the responses here and I hate getting involved in these sort of squabbles, but it sounds like you need some support. I totally understand what you're trying to stay. You're so right when you say the world would be more enjoyable when people try to empathize with each other. I don't see what the big deal is trying to accommodate others as long as they're not trying to take advantage of you time after time.

                                                                                  To the people who are so against the OP's guests asking if the dinner could be moved an hour -- would you react differently if the guests said that their babysitter had to leave early and if they host minded if they moved up the dinner one hour or they would just leave earlier? Or if the guest said that they had an early meeting come up the next day and that they wouldn't have been able to stay as long? Stuff happens whether it's other social engagements or babysitter woes. And I'm sure some of you will say that a babysitter issue is different than trying to make another social engagement. It is different. But if these are friends of yours, wouldn't one want their friends to be happy? As long as the request is reasonable and well-asked and these people don't have a history of treating you like a doormat, I think it's a nice gesture to try to accommodate others. And what I mean by well-asked is something along the lines of, "Sorry to spring this on you last minute but I was wondering if there was anyway you could push up the dinner an hour. If not, I understand" as opposed to "Hey, make dinner at 5 instead of 6. I want to go clubbing with some people." There may be a time where you're going to be the person who needs to be accommodated.

                                                                                  1. re: nkeane

                                                                                    Yes, it probably is a generational thing. Some seem to feel that the world revolves around them and are likely to say the heck with others, since "I" have a better offer. That may be fine in your world, or in your mind. It is, however, not appropriate in my world, or in my mind.

                                                                                    Do as you please and reap the benefits, or pay the consequences. Maybe those additional offers will always be there, or maybe not. Your call. I would never pretend to tell YOU how to live YOUR life.



                                                                        2. Several years ago, I planned a very nice dinner for seven of my friends and myself. After spending two days cooking, planning, cleaning and spending a good chunk of money on a top-notch Prime Rib, the day arrived.

                                                                          Drinks were served followed by appetizers at the table. After I got up to clear the appetizer plates, two of the guest jumped up and, thinking they were going to help clear the dishes, I told them to relax and enjoy the evening.

                                                                          I was informed they couldn't stay because they had decided earlier that day to go to a jazz club and hear a neighbor perform and out the door they went. The silence amongst the other six of us was deafening, but I continued on and the rest of us had a pleasant evening.

                                                                          Several months later, I had the same group over sans the jazz-loving couple and had a nice evening (although a little less formal food). Days later, I got a nasty gram from the jazz-loving couple that I was the villain because I didn't invite them over for that dinner.

                                                                          I haven't talked to them since and that is perfectly okay with me.

                                                                          Good riddance.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                                            WOW -- rude, and then double-rude. Good riddance indeed.

                                                                            1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                                                              Yeah rude is right! Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!

                                                                              1. re: Seth Chadwick


                                                                                You experienced an unfortunate epiphany with those guests. Some people feel that they need to fill each minute with a different activity. I guess that it is a sign of short attention span, or just a lack of manners by too many. At least you only had to suffer the fools once. A dinner party is a dinner party. An “open-house,” is something totally different.

                                                                                For my dinners, we have likely done the same dishs all week long, working out the particulars of the menu. I will likely have gone through 10 bottles of wine, just to get the pairings as good, as can be arrived at. We have also probably hired servers, and maybe even a chef and team for the evening. You leave after the appetizer course, and your house is not afire, or the babysitter has gotten into the wine cellar, and you will never be invited again. Now, many of my guests are noted surgeons, and they do get a bit of a pass, should a patient go “bad,” but that is where it ends. Otherwise it’s like the line from Long John Baldrey’s song, “Don’t try to lay no boogie-woogie on the king of rock-n-roll.”

                                                                                My heart goes out for you dude. Stuff happens, and the next event’s guest list should reflect that.

                                                                                If it’s a “hey, we’re doing tuna-helper, why don’t you stop by, prior to the theater?” That’s one thing. A full diner is something else. One accepts, and along with that comes the responsibility to be a good guest.


                                                                                PS I think that you might owe me a review, or two, from New Orleans. Have I missed the dates?

                                                                              2. As the burger turns, and the days of our fries.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. If the story the OP offers is as it seems, it just reeks of the neighbour undercutting the T's.
                                                                                  It's like "If I can't join them, I'll beat them." Or something to that effect.


                                                                                  1. I'm going to offer a bit of conjecture, but here's what I think when I read this situation.
                                                                                    Schedule jockeying presumably mean the guests also had difficult schedule. They may have also been schedule jockeying with the neighbor as to when they could get together. Perhaps this was the only evening that worked for everyone. Perhaps the guests actually mentioned to the neighbor that they were dining with you and perhaps everyone could get together at once. Perhaps this is why the neighbor was feeling you out for an invite. When there was no invitation forthcoming, the guests tried to juggle their schedule to accomodate everyone.
                                                                                    Just a thought... based on what's happened to me in the past. I'll refrain from making any judgements on those actions for now.

                                                                                    1. What if the shoe's on the other foot? You go to someone's house for dinner and everything is processed food crap. I leave after an hour because I'll only hate myself if I make pretend I'm eating, moving my food around on my plate, saying it's delicious. So much the better if not invited again. If the friendship is important, you can always meet in restaurants, or invite processed food people to your house.

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: neverlate

                                                                                        Although I don't buy or serve processed food, I'm not too good to eat it and enjoy the companionship of the meal. I'd stay and enjoy the evening.

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          Ditto. I have a couple of friends who are terrible cooks, but I still enjoy spending time with them, and when they've invited me to dinner I go for the company and make sure to bring some good wine. And sometimes I get surprised - last time they had me over, their son was visiting and he turned out to be a great cook!

                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            Agree with Sam. I got invited to dinner by my friend John's mom one friday night. Turned out to be what John calls a "frisbee" pizza. She keeps a stash of frozen supermarket brand pizzas on hand and that is what John and I had. She had already eaten, so she stayed in the family room and watched tv, thank goodness. I've shared other meals with her, and she eats little and asks a Lot of personal questions. So John and I shared the pizza and then I kicked his butt at cards. :) Was fun.

                                                                                          2. re: neverlate

                                                                                            re: neverlate
                                                                                            I will admit, I am a food snob. Knowing this, I have to remind myself that not everyone values food to the same extent that I do nor does everyone put the efforts into throwing a dinner party that I do. I do it because I enjoy it. Some people do not enjoy cooking so much but they do enjoy gathering with friends.

                                                                                            While I do not go out of my way to rave about food that is not good, I appreciate the fact that some has kindly extended an invitation to invite me into their home. I eat what I am served, provided it is not chili pepper as I am allergic and tell people so ahead of time.

                                                                                            It's a social engagement, not Iron Chef.

                                                                                            1. re: salsailsa

                                                                                              But food snobbery and great food can happen anywhere. It's not the venue that matters!

                                                                                              What you are describing is more the Dinner Party Ritual, which is a separate thing from food itself, and may or may not involve great food or food snobbery. How a person feels about food can't be deduced from how they feel about dinner parties.

                                                                                            2. re: neverlate

                                                                                              While I've certainly apologized because I ended up eating "a too big lunch" or the like, I've never tried to bail early just because my friends aren't the best cooks. At one dear friend's home, I always make sure to have a drink when I walk in, because if I'm completely sober, I might be a bit frightened to try her ruined hamburger helper style meals. But after a glass of wine and the laughs that I know I'll get to enjoy in she and her husband's company, everything is happily palateable. I may taste the salt and the chemicals and the char, but mostly, I just taste the joy.

                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                I have one friend that ALWAYS overcooks everything! Yet, she is the most gracious and generous hostess. When I go to her house for dinner (and I love her too much to refuse the invitation) I say, Girl, you sure cook the hell out of that chicken. She takes it as a compliment, and I always accept a plate to take home!

                                                                                                1. re: janetms383

                                                                                                  Ok Janet, are you happy?! Just spit out my drink thru. my nose from laughing!! "Girl, you sure cook the hell out of that chicken." Just BRILLIANT!! Like telling an actor friend about his performance: "You were just incredible!" Still giggling over the last few comments,; thanks for the grins.... adam

                                                                                                  1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                                    Yes - I almost spit out red wine, as well. Fortunately, since I did that once before and stained the cream painted walls, I've learned to hld it in!

                                                                                              2. re: neverlate

                                                                                                Let's play another version of "What If?" Suppose that one finally schedules a dinner with "friends." The guest arrives, and just as the dessert plates are clear, or nearly so, the host says, "hey man, you gotta' leave. We have an full evening planned with people, with whom we'd rather spend the time. See ya'." Afterall, it is a busy time, and other people have a right to spend their time, as they choose, with whom they choose and if you get run off early, so be it. Gotta' get in as many engagements in an evening, as is possible, right?


                                                                                                1. re: neverlate

                                                                                                  Oh, I get it. You think going to dinner with friends is about dinner. If the food isn't up to your standards, it's better to find a better meal elsewhere.

                                                                                                  There are those who believe that going to dinner with friends is about friends. The people are what matter; the meal is only a reason to get together.

                                                                                                  I suppose that you're entitled to your opinion. But I kind of feel sorry for you.

                                                                                                2. Folks, this conversation is degenerating into personal attacks on other posters and protests when we remove them. We're going to lock it and ask that people turn to a different topic.