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guests not offering to do dishes, is it rude?

Hubby and I were brought up to always offer to do the dishes after dinner at someone's house. We always ask first and if our offer is accepted, we do it gladly. We appreciate the effort the hosts have put into the meal and we are happy that we are not leaving them with a dirty kitchen.

When people come to my house and offer to help me clean up, usually, i will decline unless i am sick, tired, or have to wake up very early to go to work. I am a neat cook so usually, there are very few pots and pans to clean and almost everything else goes in the dishwasher, and i never let anyone wash something that can be washed by the dishwasher. NEVER. Oh, and I always try to give them a way to back out of doing dishes just in case it had been only offered for the sake of politeness.

Yet, i cannot help but feel that -unless it is an extreemly formal dinner- not offering to help do the dishes is rude. I understand that I invited them and that I am the one responsible for the clean up, but for them not to even offer to help is a bit weird.

Having written this, I realised that I did not mention i am talking about people who just sat down for the entire meal and did not help with other aspects of it (prep, getting dishes to table, clearing table......) I certainly wouldn't think it's rude if someone who helped do prep other things did not do dishes.

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  1. Hala,

    My opinion: not rude. Not polite, but not rude.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I agree absolutely. Offering to help would fall, imo, under "thoughtful and gracious" rather than "necessary for politeness' sake."

      2. A potential girlfriend invited me to her place for dinner. for reference: we were both in out 40s, roughly, and she had been married some years earlier, but had dated extensively on both sides of the marriage.

        After dinner, I offered to help her wash dishes. (why not? Was I supposed to watch TV while she.did "woman's work"? It was easy enough, and would give us more of a chance to talk).

        Imagine my surprise when she told me I was the first guy who'd ever volunteered for KP duty. Even allowing for a bit of flirtatious overstatement, that was a real shocker.

        From that anecdotal experience, I'd say it's not expected, but couldn't hurt. Generally speaking, I always offer, but the host almost never takes me up on it.

        In your case, my first impression is that they're your guests, not your co-workers (here, at least). When they invite you somewhere, let them do all the work. Or, since you seem really offended by this, scratch them from your phone book.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Muskrat

          Brownie points are always good reasons to offer. Same goes for visiting someone else's family, especially if they are potential in-laws. Goes a long way. I used to regularly visit an ex-bf's family, along with another g.f. of his brother, who never offered to help in the kitchen or do dishes. It was needless to say, mentioned once or twice (not by the parents)

          1. re: Muskrat

            About offering to do dishes, I think different rules apply to at least three categories of gatherings: (1) gatherings of family members, (2) gatherings of prospective in-laws with one's family, and (3) meals for houseguests staying overnight or longer.

            The OP seems to say that she expects an offer to do dishes even by guests not well known to her at a simple dinner party, that it's even rude of them not to offer. This idea is completely foreign to me. In my parents' house when I was growing up and now in my house, non-family guests at a simple dinner party are not expected to work, or even to offer to work.

            1. re: browniebaker

              To me it seems rude to expect an offer. Did you bring guests to your house to do work?? I do expect that my guests will not leave dirty dishes lying around all over the place but to actually roll up their sleeves and help with the actual clean up is ridiculous.

              Now, I do expect them to mow my lawn or shovel the driveway!!!!LOL


              1. re: Davwud

                Agreed. This proposition is an affront to the idea of hospitality.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Absolute agreement. Stay out of my kitchen if you're a guest please.

          2. No, it's not rude. Guests are guests -- they do not work. If they offer to help with the dishes, that's nice, but it's not rude not to offer.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Agreed. Not rude. In fact, I don't want to think about dishes with guests present. I want to enjoy their company and conversation, and to genuinely connect with them. The dishes can wait.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Hear, hear. I do not want to waste time while I have guests over doing the dishes. They can wait until when my guests leave or until tomorrow.

                1. re: Atahualpa

                  Ditto! There isn't enough room in our tiny little kitchen for two people at the same time anyway... if help is offered they can clear the table and put everything on the counter, but once the leftovers are safely stowed away in the fridge, that's where KP ends. The dishes will still be there when the guests go home.

                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Ruth is right, that's why they're called guests.
                  One time some friends had us over, DAvey was newly married and we were looking forward to getting to know Sussane. She knocked us out with an Indian meal, complete with crystal and china, and put a ton of work into it. The next morning I got up and saw this army of crystalware and china on the counter- she was a Marine's daughter and had the table setting protocol down, and used the right everything for the right course, which to me was a miracle of knowledge, so what could I do but start washing all that crystal? She assured me I didn't have to, but by God I did too- i'm just glad I didn't have to do it the night before.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I agree. Only very close family and friends who eat here often are allowed to help - IF they want to.

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      This is basically my policy, as well. But I do appreciate it when a guest or two helps to clear the table.

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        I will say that sometimes very close family needs to do their own dishes. Example: my family hosts Easter and Thanksgiving with my mom's relatives who spend a few nights. We provide most meals but we expect you to eat with us. Family members who sleep in until noon are expected to fend for themselves for breakfast bd clean up after themselves. In recent years my father has gotten sick of the 40 somethings who are still expecting to be waited on by their mother and then just drop the pans etc in the sick still dirty.

                        Otherwise it isn't rude not to offer. Especially at a dinner party.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Agreed, I don't think it's rude either. However if you are say at, your girlfriend's parent's house for dinner, it does win you some brownie points.

                        If I am washing things up and someone asks if I need help I always ask them to just keep me company while I wash dishes. And we're like you OP, we are very organized in the kitchen, we clean up as we cook and we always jam as many things into the dishwasher as possible and throw 2 pucks of dishwashing detergent in. Usually the only things left to wash after dinner are serving trays and platters.

                      3. Unless it is very close friends or family, I have never heard of guests being expected to help with the dishes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Samalicious

                          That is my expectation. Even tho I have a dishwasher, I'm pretty picky about how it is loaded as it's very old and if you don't load it correctly, things won't get clean. It's rare that I offer (except under those circumstances above) and I would never accept help.

                        2. If it were family, I would expect the help or would ask if I could help. If they were friends and it was not a potluck, then I would expect some help, but would offer help if I were a guest.

                          No matter the situation though, there are people that will never help and this includes relatives. I've have relatives show up at potlucks with no food, eat and leave.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: flylice2x

                            Why is it that no one has explained the concept of potluck to the people who continue to show up empty-handed? I would think they would stop being told the time and date!

                            1. re: flylice2x

                              Occasional guests, no. But family who is at your house for every holiday, I do think it is rude not to offer. I would decline or allow them to take a lighter duty than me, but the offer is what is important. I don't know if i 'expect' help, but after a tiring day, it does occur to me that it's unfair, and yes rude, to sit for a meal, not clear your dish, and retire to the living room while the host does all the cleaning up. Guests are not the only ones who should be shown courtesy in this equation.

                            2. I think it all depends on your level of comfort with the people. If you're regularly at their home, you should offer.

                              I remember when I was 18 and had my first apartment, I had a new friend show up to my house unexpected. No big deal, I made us both lunch and we hung out. I had my first personal training session at the gym that night. She stayed at my place and used the internet while I worked out. When I came home it was obvious she planned to stay for dinner. I cooked something and at that point, the pain and shaky muscles started to kick in. I could barely stand up, so out of desperation I asked her if she could please help me load the dishwasher. I will never forget her response; "At home, I have a dishwasher... it's called my mother." And she walked away from me. I was too young and too horrified to say anything. Nowadays I WISH someone would say something so rude to me. Oh what fun I would have.

                              1. I would never ever let anyone do the washing up in my house after a meal I'd cooked - I find the idea apalling, so it would not occur to me to offer to do more than load a dishwasher in someone elses house.
                                (for cultural reference I am in the UK)

                                1. Last week John invited me over for grilled cheese sandwiches and an evening of playing cards. We had a fun evening and we are good friends. He decided to order pizza instead and hinted around for me to chip in. I didn't have any money on me so he paid for the pizza. We used paper plates but a regular glass for some whiskey. We used paper cups for some wine we also had. I also had a diet snapple chaser drinking straight from the bottle. Shudder. Remind me never to drink diet snapple again. I beat John at cards and he wanted to end the evening earlier than I expected, which was fine with me as I could hit the gym. I helped throw out the trash and even took the empty pizza box with me to get rid of the "evidence" but I balked when he wanted me to do the dishes. There was a fair amount from earlier in the day and I said "but John, I only used one glass!" There is a dishwasher at John's house but it is rarely used because his parents are pretty frugal. John wasn't too happy about doing the dishes, but I am working on being a bit more assertive. I was puzzled by his behavior until I remembered while riding home with my other friend that John got stuck doing his room mates' dishes a lot last semester. I think it depends on the situation and how guest is defined. But if someone is hurting and asks for help like the poster below after serving lunch and dinner to a drop in guest, not helping is inconceivable.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                    Somebody should inform John's parents that using a dishwasher is actually more cost effective than washing dishes by hand. (I know this is an old post...)

                                    I think the OP was feeling a bit put out? Using the word "rude", actually ime, most people are just unthinking. OK, except for one of my SIL, hehe.

                                  2. I'm not sure why a guest should have to help prepare or clean up any part of the meal. I've certainly been in situations where I've had people over or they've had me over and we make something together, but that's not the same as inviting someone over for a fully prepped meal. It's nice to offer, but it's certainly not a requirement. With a larger group, I think it's actually kind of odd to have people offering to help clean up if they aren't helping to host.

                                    1. Well, since I'm the type of person who do *not* want guests in my kitchen while I'm cooking, I certainly don't want them in my kitchen cleaning up either. When I invite people over--be they friends or family--I really want to make them feel like guests. I want them to feel totally unencumbered and relaxed, with no obligation to do anything, including bringing food or drinks, etc.

                                      So no, I don't think it's rude. It's a nice gesture, but one that always gets turn down in my house.

                                      I think it's a bit rude to expect your guests to help you clean up!

                                      1. unless it's family or just me and a close friend I don't want to do dishes when I have been invited out, however, I will start to take some dirty dishes to the sink and then expect to be told not to help. At that point I will stop and sit down. So I kinda expect the same from my guests, offer to help and be turned down.

                                        1. No, it's not rude; a guest is a guest and unless you stipulate that they are expected to help with the dishes, you can't get upset because someone does not offer. In my family, when we go to one of the relatives house for a meal, most of us will automatically help with the cleaning up of the kitchen...it's just something we've always done, But it's not expected.

                                          1. Next time, along with a bottle of wine, ask them to bring their vacuum cleaner.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: beevod

                                              And don't forget trash bags and paper bags for recycling.

                                            2. Agree with the others on all counts. Not rude, wouldn't want them to help anyway, and don't want to concentrate on dishes when my guests are there.

                                              1. I would never expect my guests to help out. But guests in my home typically offer to help out (or more often than not, just jump in head-first, wrapping leftovers, scraping dishes, etc.)

                                                When I lived in Manhattan years ago I gave quite a few dinner parties, and *that* circle of friends wasn't nearly as courteous. In fact, the only help I can recall getting was in the form of some advice from the stuck-up date of a friend. I was loading the dishwasher, and I think they were on their way out, and she said "hon, you've got to break down and hire some help. I've always had help in the house. There's nothing like it."


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: shaogo

                                                  Holy crap- did you hit the witch?

                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                    No, I didn't hit her. Wasn't even tempted. This was one of her more innocuously obnoxious quotes. Sometimes she could really break out the verbal daggers, like "it's amazing how someone as plain as she can look so good in couture" and stuff like that. Karma bit her eventually. She was arrested for slapping a female bathroom attendant in a hotel -- and given a one-year suspended sentence and 3 years' probation.

                                                    Living well was my best revenge. I eventually moved into a house in Brooklyn and indeed, I hired a housekeeper there. It did make my life a lot easier at the time.

                                                2. In most situations the guest should not even offer. The dinner, including all the preparation and cleanup, is your gift to your guests. In the case of a pot luck type dinner, there would be an expectation of a group effort.

                                                  1. The only time when I would expect an offer of dishwashing help would be when I am hosting a big family dinner. Yes - I do want my stupid sisters-in-law to help clean up after the meal since they never never host any family meal at their homes. But for a social evening with friends? Never. Absolutely never. I don't expect them to offer, I wouldn't accept the help if they did. I want to spend the entire evening enjoying the meal and deal with the mess when everyone's gone home.

                                                    My husband, on the other hand, I never refuse. He can wash dishes any time he wants.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. I think I'd never think it rude if these are first-time guests, or they helped out in other ways. IF they're "regulars" then not ever offering to help with the clean up would make me feel like a mother with a teenager...Wait! That's what I am! ;-)

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: Beckyleach

                                                        Oh, a cautionary tale to add: One Christmas when I hosted my entire family for Christmas Eve Dinner, my father and my brother-in-law basically INSISTED that they wash the dishes. As we all were distracted with general merry making in the living room (music, games, silliness in general) the time slipped by and I didn't even get around to checking up on them.

                                                        Well. We'd all enjoyed our wine. But apparently some of us, too much...NEXT Christmas, when I went to set the table again (just immediate family, this time) my husband and I spent a horrific few minutes discovering one cracked and chipped piece of Wedgwood after another....the grand total smashup came to two rimmed soup bowls, three dinner plates, the gravy stand base, two salad plates and a saucer or two. At Replacement.com prices (my china is discontinued) the "cost" of that help ran about $500! (I'm still looking for the soup bowls and the gravy base, in fact....)

                                                        It almost always is my practice to wave away the help with a cheery, "Oh, don't bother. Have fun!" but this time I was persuaded. Ooops.

                                                        1. re: Beckyleach

                                                          My sister gave me a set of vintage china that she put together on Ebay, and I've been able to get more pieces there.

                                                          1. re: Beckyleach

                                                            Ouch Becky! One Thanksgiving my uncle and my cousin did the dishes from a huge family feast. No one realized how drunk my uncle was until we found only some leftover turkey. All the gravy, stuffing veggies, rolls, etc were all thrown in the garbage to be efficient. My mom was MAD. I have to admit that later my uncle danced for hours to fast music. Not well but he was like the energizer bunny. He just didn't quit. I hope you find the missing pieces. Holidays should have warning labels. Don't drink and do dishes.

                                                            1. re: givemecarbs

                                                              Thanks for commiserating. I finally lucked out and found quite a bit of the broken pieces on Ebay, but it was Buy It Now and I had to act fast, so we kinda ran out of money for gas and food that week. <bwg> I got nearly everything for about $200.

                                                              Still looking for reasonable prices on the rimmed soup bowls, the saucer to the gravy boat, and an enormous salad bowl (that I can't blame on my relatives; my cat did that one in, years ago!)....

                                                              1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                I held a brunch buffet for a women's group and 3 or 4 times when I went into the kitchen and doing a bit of tidying, I went to throw something in the trash and found someone had "helped" me by throwing out the bottoms of my 2-piece quiche pans. I finallly had to go into the main room with them in my hands and say "PLEASE do not throw my pans away! They are not disposables!"

                                                                1. re: weezycom

                                                                  Oh, that's the worst! I have a housecleaner and a handyman and they both do things I never asked them to do in an attempt to be helpful, with the result that things get thrown away, lost, or put away in places where I can't find them when I need them. Leave my stuff where I left it!

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      true story: when i used to have a cleaning lady, i got really peeved when her husband-helper threw out my issue of the weekly world news featuring a front page story on the talking dolphin ("the man who discovered the dolphin did not write down *what* the dolphin said, because it 'was not of much consequence'").

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        Love it! that is such a wonderful comment. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

                                                                2. re: givemecarbs

                                                                  givemecarbs, you wrote " I have to admit that later my uncle danced for hours to fast music. Not well but he was like the energizer bunny. He just didn't quit. ""

                                                                  i'm not sure if that is meant literally, or were you describing how your mom was shooting a pistol under your uncle's feet for hours?

                                                                  i never want anyone else washing my fine dish- and glassware.
                                                                  guests are guests, and are not expected to help. if they offer, i decline.
                                                                  family gatherings, i expect to help and be helped.

                                                                3. re: Beckyleach

                                                                  That is precisely the reason i never allow guests to help with clean up. If i break someting I feel bad. If a guest breaks a piece they are going to feel even worse. Usually I can replace something with a little effort (Replacements is not doing you any favors by the way). I only use Replacements as a last resort. e-Bay and a nother of companies are much kinder to the poscket book. Whic Wedgwood pattern are you looking for?

                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                    They didn't realize they'd broken it, and still don't (well, my father's passed away so odds are he'll NEVER know ;-). Yeah, I'm steering clear of Replacements, which explains why I'm still looking for the soup bowls and the gravy thing, 5 years later.

                                                                    It's a lovely pattern--"Chinese Flowers"--based on an old Williamsburg design that both my sister and I (we have the same tastes, I guess) had the misfortune to fall hard for, as it was discontinued pretty quickly. I ordered mine directly from England, in the early '80's, when the exchange rate was breathtakingly in our favor. But, now? Pooh.


                                                                    1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                      I just Googled up Wedgwood Flowers ( know the Williamsburg line quite well). I found many soup plates....they are going to cost around $70+. On a British site they had a sauceboat liner. It was about 20 pounds. Good luck with the search. I am a table top nut, 10 china paterns, lets not even talk about stemware and 3 sterling patterns. I am always looking and enjoy the hunt.

                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                        Candy... I'm with you. I have different dinnerware sets for lives I don't even lead ; )

                                                                        1. re: Jennalynn

                                                                          We are not alone. I have a close friend who is easily as bad as I. One good thing we have is that she has 12 dinner plates in Wedgwood White and I have comparable in Royal Doulton. The shapes are just slightly different enough that we have to look at back stamps to be sure we each are getting our own back. The great thing is they are elegant but plain bone white and when we need 24 we can borrow from each other,

                                                                          I have dinnerware I change seasonally, I have a set of Wedgwood Peter Rabbit for the nights when you need comfort food etc. etc. The craziest thing I did was giving my niece all of my Royal Doulton stoneware Tangiers and then i missed it so I started buying it back on e-Bay

                                                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                                                              actually there is a tangier pattern from royal doulton (now discontinued since 1982): http://www.replacements.com/webquote/...

                                                                  2. re: Beckyleach

                                                                    Yes, it is utterly silly and counterproductive to try to force guests to do the washing up after a well-lubricated supper.

                                                                4. Absolutely, positively not rude. I saw this post title and thought it was a joke. On the contrary, it is rude of you to expect it and/or think less of someone for not offering.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                    Completely agree with this. It is rude of you to think that your guests should do the dishes.

                                                                    When hosting an informal meal, as I often do, the most I will ever LET anyone do is bring dishes from the table to the very large island in my kitchen which is where the sink and dishwasher are located. And I put "LET" in capital letters because I would actually prefer that everyone stayed away and allowed me to do my thing in my own way. But people are persistent.

                                                                    When hosting a formal meal, I hire a cleaning person. I do not want my family or friends in the kitchen and I shudder at the thought of a guest of mine loading the dishwasher.

                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                      I'm in complete agreement with you, Charmedgirl.

                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                        I always offer, because I love a) being helpful and b) doing dishes.

                                                                        But it's very rude to expect someone to offer.

                                                                        1. re: Stelmaria

                                                                          Okay, it's kind to offer, but if I, your hostess, politely says "no, thanks," do you continue to insinsuate yourself around my kitchen? That's when I lose my hostess-cool.

                                                                      2. It's nice if they offer... but it's not expected and utterly NOT rude if they don't.

                                                                        1. Not rude at all. But it does depend on the guest.
                                                                          If my boss came to dinner I wouldn't expect him to lift a finger to help clean anything and would be truly surprised if he even would offer.
                                                                          My sister on the other hand... she had better help!

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                            Ha ha ha. That is a really great example. By the way, I just noticed this. Cool icon/avatar.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Thanks :) I had to explain to my 90 year old grandma why the nice red-haired man isn't on "The Johnny Carson Show" any more.

                                                                              And for the record, I always do the dishes for her, even though she yells at me not to.

                                                                            2. re: iluvcookies

                                                                              I'm curious why you expect your sister to help. Being on the other end, my sister thinks it rude of me not to offer to help, I don't expect, or want it, if she was over visiting me, to me, even though she's family, she's a guest.

                                                                              1. re: dianestevenson

                                                                                My sister is the one person who is not just a "guest"... she is the only one I expect help from. A family dynamic, and neither of us consider it rude. And yes, at her house I mind the kids while she cooks and help clean up. It's what we do.

                                                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                  That's good you each have that understanding, I guess it only becomes an issue with family when they're not in agreement, as in my case.

                                                                                  1. re: dianestevenson

                                                                                    It also helps that I'm the older sister :)

                                                                            3. I don't think there's a single answer. It will always depend on the dynamics of that particular group of people: age, income (i.e. students versus out in the working world), family and old friends versus new aquaintances versus business colleagues, formality of the occasion, formality of the setting, all mixed in with the backgrounds and prior experience of every individual present. It's often going to be a guessing game on the part of the well-meaning guest.

                                                                              The one thing I cannot stand, however: when it is a sufficiently casual affair, such a potluck you've agreed to host for fellow students and friends, that people automatically start helping to pack away leftovers and clear dishes, but a few people just sit there like it's beneath them. I cannot tell you how many times this happened in grad school, and I gotta say, it was often the women clearing up and the guys sitting on their hands. So much for the liberalizing effect of higher education.

                                                                              1. Just to add to the clamour, I too thought the op was joking. I love treating my guests to the luxury of an evening out w/o work and with delicious food. (Now who is going to wash the tablecloth and napkins?)

                                                                                1. My rules of thumb: when you are a house guest, you always offer. If you are dining with family or in laws, you always offer. But you do not offer when you are a guest in a friend's home unless they start to clean up while you are still there.

                                                                                  I do not allow anyone to help with the dishes at my home but would have appreciated it if my in laws knew enough to ask. If my friends offered to help I would find it a little off putting but would simply decline.

                                                                                  1. in general, no. guests should not be expected to do dishes. would you ask them to take out the trash as well?

                                                                                    but again, it really depends! for large family gatherings with many folks/age groups present, then yes. someone should help clear, scrape, load, wash, wipe, put away. after all, the host/ess probably paid for, and cooked and cleaned for everyone and it isn't fair for one household to absorb a disproportionate burden to host the whole clan. the hosts should not have to clean dishes--other, usually younger relatives who may not be able to contribute monetarily can do this. others get to play on the swing. others get to sit and drink tea and chat about the old days. it is just part of one's role as part of the family to help out or contribute where possible.

                                                                                    i was also taught that it's a nice gesture that when being hosted by close friends/family, overnight houseguests should try to help clear dishes and do light kitchen tidying/cleaning, or rise early and make coffee for the hosts in the morning. i wouldn't rummage around in someone's kitchen i didn't know well, or try to work a coffee machine i wasn't familiar with, though.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                      I also think guests should not be automatically expected to help with the dishes. Most hosts have their own way or scheme of doing things. Almost everyone has a dishwasher these days. And a host knows how to load her/ his own dishwasher. More important which dishes/glasses go in the dishwasher and which are washed by hand.

                                                                                      I have some valuable bone china plates & I really hate it when guests start stacking them. I never stack these dishes (even on the counter) and carefully hand wash them one by one after everyone has gone. I also don't want my good silver being scratched.
                                                                                      The same with my Orrefors and Krista Boda pieces.

                                                                                      1. re: Smachnoho

                                                                                        Lots of people don't have dishwashers.

                                                                                      2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        I agree completely. When you host a family dinner there isn't the distinction between guests and host: it's all family, and I do think it's rude not to at least offer to help, even though I may turn down the offer because like Smachnoho I'm fussy about how my china, good flatware and crystal are handled. Last night I let my guests help clear the dishes and load the dishwasher, but that's because they had lived in my house for over 14 years and know where everything goes and how I like the dishwasher loaded. Even then, they didn't ask, they just did it, and I wouldn't have considered it rude if they hadn't.

                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                          I would agree with this point about family, if everyone were pitching in. However, we used to attend family dinners weekly with my husband's family, more out of guilt than choice, and now we only go holidays. And sometimes we host. Anyway, at the in-law's, only the women serve the food and clear the table and load the dishwasher so I don't offer to help out of principal (neither does my husband's sister). I think I am thought to be rude because I don't help, but I refuse to be invited to a dinner and then expected to wait on people solely because I happen to have a uterus. When we host, my husband and I share the load, and when the mother-in-law asks if she can help, I always shoo her out of the kitchen, which is too small to have three people running around in it, especially when one doesn't know where anything goes. And to make the point that I'm the hostess, she's the guest. I also make a point of doing only as much as I need to on the spot and doing the rest later. We always found it ridiculous that we were guilted into family time during which the family was never together for more than 10 minutes because the women were running around getting something for somebody and then cleaning every last thing up between dinner and dessert.

                                                                                          1. re: 16crab

                                                                                            Word. At a recent Mediterranean dinner party/potluck with about 20 guests my man and I were hosting, for the first time I did not bother lifting a finger as the party was winding down.

                                                                                            In fact, when only one guest was left with whom I was having a conversation, my mom (who was visiting) started on the dishes and putting away food with my man's help, who had also for the first time paid more attention to clearing off empty bottles and making sure everyone had drinks -- something that is often left entirely up to me. Ya know, being the woman of the house and all '-P

                                                                                            I left the kitchen with the guest b/c the noise of cleaning was disruptive, and we continued our conversation in the living room.

                                                                                            Mind you, in my mom's household, The Man was king. Of course, most men of earlier generations felt and continue to feel entitled to be served hand and foot, just as women were used to dealing with the clean-up, and in most cases probably still do the majority of it.

                                                                                            I am glad to have a man who does his share in the household, even if I think it could be more. He still helps out more than ANY man I have ever met or observed at other people's places.

                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                              We're tough women in my family, I guess. AND my father set a good example. When the women cook, the men clean...it's fun to see all the brothers-in-law in the kitchen together, hands in the suds, aprons on, talking shop. :-D

                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                            Since this thread has been revived, I'll post a follow-up. I had the same people mentioned above (plus a couple of other old friends) over for Hannukkah. I was just getting over the worst of a terrible cold that was in the process of turning into bronchitis and was barely able to make it through dinner I was so exhausted. While I was sitting finishing my dessert, a couple of them got up and finished clearing the table. How nice! As they were about to leave I walked into the kitchen and realized they'd very quietly put almost everything away, filled the dishwasher and handwashed the crystal and china. I was so touched I nearly cried!

                                                                                            And yet, I wouldn't have thought twice about it if they hadn't. Cleaning up is part of being a hostess!

                                                                                            On the opposite end of the scale is a family member (by marriage) who not only rarely has lifted a finger in the ten or more family Thanksgivings we've shared, but who stands around getting in the way of people who are trying to cook/clean up. It's a running joke with my friends, who all clamor the day after for a report on just how much she slacked off this year (this year she brought some appetizers (mostly made by her husband), and in a whole new level of oblivious inconsiderateness, then wanted me to drop everything -- aka getting the rest of the meal on the table -- to find her a nice platter (the plain wooden board I first offered her wasn't nice enough) so she could do some "fancy plating"). However, she did help set the table, after I said loudly, "would someone help set the table?" and stood in front of her with a stack of plates until she reluctantly took them.

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              This is the only way I would accept help in the kitchen, if they do it secretly while I'm relaxing at the table over dessert. I have a couple of groups where this happens and it is always a nice surprise, I think they're just putting the dirty dishes in the sink and they're so quiet you would never know what was going on. They even dry and put everything away and are very good at figuring where everything goes.

                                                                                              Otherwise if asked, I always say no.....especially since my brand new dishwasher doesn't really work all that well, and I think most people are expecting to just load the dishwasher.

                                                                                        2. I would never expect a guest to offer do the dishes. Not even family.

                                                                                          I have never had a non-family guest offer to do the dishes. It's just not the interpretation of hospitality or etiquette where I am. Occasionaly family guests might offer to help out on large scale occasions - like birthday or festive meals. Such offers are always declined. They are still guests.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            Harters, to me family are guests unless it's a big family meal for which I don't get any say in who gets invited and which is only being held at my house because I have the biggest dining room. Then all bets are off!

                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              I feel your pain. I have the largest home of any of my sibs, and thus I sometimes host the parties even though my house isn't in the best location (well, it is sort of central. sort of). Fortunately, at least two of my three sisters (including the one who posts on Chowhound and might read this :-)) are really, really great about offering to help and doing stuff without being asked. They are also good about reminding my kids and their cousins that it is really nice when the third generation offers to help clear and do dishes at their parents'/aunts' house....

                                                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                Having seen your huge kitchen, I'm not surprised you get volunteered!

                                                                                          2. I'd offer at a family dinner with my in-laws, and maybe at a very informal meal at a very close friend's house, but usually not. I don't think many people expect it, and it's kind of odd to have the guests troop into the kitchen and grab a dishcloth.

                                                                                            Don't most people want to continue the dinner table conversation after the meal's over? My dishes can wait--it seems ungracious to leap up and start with the clean-up when guests are still there.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Ideefixed

                                                                                              I used to have a business associate who hosted his very large family Christmas Day lunch and evening get-together every year. In the days preceeding, he'd borrow sufficient crockery and cutlery from the family members so he had enough for the whole day. As courses were eaten, crockery was stacked on tables and shelves in the garage and just left. It meant the house itself remained tidy. He and his partner would make a start with the dishwasher next day.

                                                                                              Of course, they would need clean crockery again almost from the beginning of that day, so some stuff would come out of the garage, get washed, get dirtied and go back in the garage. He used to reckon it took them three days to get completely straight with everything cleaned.

                                                                                            2. 'guests not offering to do dishes, is it rude?'

                                                                                              In fact, I think a host who doesn't wait to do the dishes until after her guest(s) leave is rude. I believe just the opposite is true if it's a family gathering....family members should not leave the host to do all the work after the gathering.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                I don't think this is practical when you have friends over very often for informal dinners and they tend to stay quite late. I have an open kitchen that allows me to clean up and still talk to my guests. If they insist on helping, I'll let them, but I do the bulk of the cleanup myself.

                                                                                                Waiting until midnight or whenever everyone has cleared out (on a weeknight) to start cleanup means a) it gets pushed til morning, when I have to do it alone (i.e., no husband to help), b) everything is dried on and disgusting, and c) I'm less likely to entertain as a result

                                                                                                Admittedly, my friends and I are pretty casual with each other and all in our 20s or 30s. If we want full service, we go to a restaurant. I don't consider myself a line cook, busser, and dishwasher.

                                                                                              2. It's not rude at all, nor is it impolite. Guests are guests, hosts are hosts. Cleaning up is part of the host's role, not the guests' role. Another example of the misunderstanding of guests and host roles.

                                                                                                Guests may offer to help, but in absolutely no way should a host *expect* them to.

                                                                                                Now, if the "guests" are your minor children, they are you children, not guests, and you may direct them as you will.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                  Karl, I think the guest/host things assumes there is some reciprocity, If you always are the host, then you have perpetual clean up duty. In that situation, I think a perpetual guest should offer.

                                                                                                  1. re: binky1

                                                                                                    Reciprocity (which is NOT a hostess gift), very unlike doing dishes, is indeed a duty of guests, with some exceptions due to disability, et cet.. We've hashed that out on other threads. A perpetual guest without an excused can expect to be disinvited by non-enabling hosts. But not to do dishes.

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      I wouldn't say I 'expect' dishes done by any means, but an offer of help is appreciated. I would not take a guest-guest up on the offer, but would either take up or simply appreciate an offer from a family member who sits at my table for every holiday. I think the differences are family and perpetual guest. In the case of family, you can't always disinvite and rules for hosting don't apply as formally as when you have a guest-guest.

                                                                                                2. So, most people agree that a host shouldn't allow most guests to help do dishes.

                                                                                                  What about guests that you have invited to stay a few days? Is it rude to expect them to make their own bed, not leave a mess in the bathroom, or not create an additional mess for their host in other ways?

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Azizeh

                                                                                                    I think the rules for houseguest is a different issue, but the OP was addressing the dinner guest.

                                                                                                    1. re: Azizeh

                                                                                                      "Is it rude to expect them to make their own bed..."

                                                                                                      A guest is a guest and the host is the host. Basic etiquette when it comes to both parties applies.
                                                                                                      What does 'rudeness' imply? A request for them to do all those things you expect if they don't? Showing anger if they don't comply to the host's expectations? Sitting passive-aggressively and pretending to be kind when, underneath, the host is fuming?
                                                                                                      I know of a person who loves inviting guests to her home only to sit there and scrutinize every move they make, including how they make their bed, whether they help him cook, whether they help with the dishes, etc.
                                                                                                      There's something very odd with that kind of behavior.

                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                        Gosh, I would never would ask anyone to do the dishes. As i said, even if they ask i will most likely decline to let them do it. I am just wondering why some people never seem to offer to help...

                                                                                                        1. re: hala

                                                                                                          They don't offer to help because they're the guest.
                                                                                                          I'm not sure why this is so difficult for the host to understand.
                                                                                                          I would never want my guests to feel compelled to offer. I either have help that removes the dishes from the table, while cleaning the kitchen as necessary, or I wait until the guests have left to begin the clean-up.
                                                                                                          I have never understood the host who gets up right after a meal and begins the clean-up while his/her guests are sitting as she does it. The dishes will always be there and it just seems the dishes are more important than the guests.

                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                            I could see clearing the plates to make room for dessert, coffee, or post-dinner conversation. Anything more than that would be rude on the part of the host.

                                                                                                            1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                                              I have dinner parties where the entire night (many hours) is spent at the dining table...many bottles of wine and champagne on the table along with several courses. I love waiting on my guests and I want them to do nothing but enjoy the food and the conversation.
                                                                                                              I can't see anyone standing and helping me. It would interrupt the flow of conversation which is one of the reasons I have the dinner parties....aside from the food. The only reason someone would get up is to use the powder room. The dishes pile up in the kitchen and I could care less,
                                                                                                              If I don't choose to have help I do them later, when the guests leave, or the next day.

                                                                                                          2. re: hala

                                                                                                            Because they're GUESTS. :-) You seem to suggest that by behaving as guests they haven't shown appreciation for your hospitality and effort. Perhaps they would never dream of asking or expecting you to help when they host you in return?

                                                                                                            1. re: hala

                                                                                                              I do not even notice which guests offer to help, which don't, and which are just saying it. I don't expect them to help, I don't accept their help anyway.
                                                                                                              I am more likely to notice that between a guest and me, whether I am doing the inviting all the time, and the guest never does the inviting.
                                                                                                              Of course I have the choice of not inviting him back.
                                                                                                              But once he is my guest, he is taken care of by me.

                                                                                                          3. re: Azizeh

                                                                                                            The situations are not analogous. As serious said, the rules/expectations are different for house guests, and basic etiquette for house guests is that you don't treat your host like a maid and are considerate of other people sharing your space.

                                                                                                            1. re: Azizeh

                                                                                                              Actually, maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't get bent out of shape over that at all, well, depending on what a "mess in the bathroom" means. Just don't break stuff, and we're ok. I had a friend politely point out to me once, how she handles the bed issue while visiting others, and so now i do that at her house..... but I don't necessarily want it or expect it at mine.

                                                                                                            2. I don't want people to help me clean when I host.

                                                                                                              I don't want to help you clean when I am a guest.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                I'm more likely to accept an offer to clean up from someone who never invites me over but constantly accepts my invitations. I have a few bachelor friends who just don't ever issue invitations, and I don't feel that badly agreeing to let them pitch in. I also don't begrudge them the meal. The point is the company and hopefully the shared meal isn't too big of a burden on either person. Shrug.

                                                                                                              2. Thank you guys for all your answers and the great stories. I guess my expectation comes from my mom (and MIL) raising us so that we would never dream of going to eat with someone and not offering to do the dishes and helping in some other way. It's good to know that those who do not offer are not purposefully being rude (or weird or impolite...) to us.

                                                                                                                thank you!

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: hala

                                                                                                                  Maybe it's regional? I live in LA, and trust me, no one leaps to do the dishes--host or guests.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ideefixed

                                                                                                                    Absolutely true.
                                                                                                                    I was thinking the same thing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                      I don't think it's regional. It might be a style of entertaining, though. In some homes it's a very family-type atmosphere, with a certain amount of bonding taking place over the dishwashing. But among my friends, we prefer to sit at the table and bond over excessive alcohol. When the host begins hauling the Port or the single malts up from the basement, we know it must be almost time to stumble home. Not, however, before we've all had a glass or two of that.

                                                                                                                      Now that I really think about it we'd probably all be better off washing dishes.

                                                                                                                2. Nope, not rude. I *do* expect, tho, that my kids (who are in their teens and living at home) will help. One day, it might even happen!

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                    Wow. It wasn't optional growing up; if we didn't wash, we'd not have been allowed to eat - anywhere, anytime. We had to take turns doing the dishes from around age 8 onward (for a family with 6 kids), by hand, single sink, scalding water. For a few years, as older sibs left, I became the primary day-to-day dishwasher, then my younger brother took over after I left. To this day, I've never lived in a home with a dishwasher (I'm 48). And I still do dishes when I visit my parents' home.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                      I guess I misposted...what I meant to say was that I wish that they'd *offer* to help. They do help, but not willingly!

                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                        Typically when they are out of college (with the odd exception while they're still in college) and they've realize how much dear old mom and dad do, it occurs to them to volunteer. So, a few more years!

                                                                                                                  2. I would never expect dinner guests to offer to help with anything, much less wash dishes. They are guests, and I am the host. A guest's offer to wash dishes would not be rude, but a guest's insistence on doing so after I have declined would be rude. In fact, I never do the dishes while dinner guests are still at my house.

                                                                                                                    Really, I am astonished to know that there are hosts who expect me as a guest to offer to wash dishes.

                                                                                                                    1. I am really super surprised at most of these responses!


                                                                                                                      I entertainly fairy often to a few different groups of friends and 90 percent ALWAYS offer to help clear up and tidy the kitchen!

                                                                                                                      We do have one family that we have over fairly often...and never not once has any of them offered to help in any way (the children of our friends are grown with spouses and one has a child...so it's a whole slew of a family that should IMO be offering to help...Nope they all just sit there while I clear the entire table and try to tidy what I can.

                                                                                                                      They are very nice people, but whenever I have them over I do think thay act quite rudely when they don't offer to help.
                                                                                                                      (They also NEVER compliment the meal - which bugs the heck out of me too!!! I might get one "lovely" or a "very nice" from the wife - but that's it! It drives me nuts since I would have worked hard and the meal is always delicious...and any other guests we have always "oooh and Ahhhh" througout the meal...but that's another post!!!

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                        To me there is a difference between offering to help and offering to do dishes. I always offer to help at someone's house. I never offer to do dishes. Help to me at someone's house, or in my own house, is bringing dishes and glasses from the dining room into the kitchen.

                                                                                                                        As a guest, I don't want to do your dishes or load your dishwasher, not because it is beneath me, but because at my house, I don't want my guests anywhere near my dishwasher loading my dishes. It makes me cringe.

                                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                          Good point Valerie.
                                                                                                                          Family will do dishes but friends - never... yes you are right - having friends do the dishes would make me cringe a bit..well it depends on who it is I suppose...

                                                                                                                        2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                          NellyNel - I think everyone here just expects guests to be appropriately considerate and grateful to their hosts. I bet you would have no problem with the family you're talking about if they hosted you just as often as you hosted them, and never let you lift a finger when you were at their house.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Pia

                                                                                                                            HA! - they have never - not once invited us over for a meal (her reasoning is that they live in a tiny NYC apt
                                                                                                                            And I have NEVER been a guest in someones home where the hosts have not let me lift a finger! I have always assisted in some way!

                                                                                                                        3. If we have dear friends over..who come over often and we go over often...they always help. It's like family. Otherwise, I want my guests to enjoy the meal and I prefer to deal with the dishes later. That's the great thing about being a guest!! Most often someone will offer to help...and a few times, they just jumped in and began loading the dishwasher! Please don't load my crystal and silver into the dishwasher! see what I mean?

                                                                                                                          1. Like many posters have already said, as a host, you shouldn't EXPECT or anticipate guest help in clearing dishes. But that said, it's always a nice gesture to offer, whether the host takes you up on it or not - fine, you may not want your billion-dollar crystalware to be broken, but wouldn't you appreciate that a guest was well-mannered and observant enough to at least offer?

                                                                                                                            There's nothing wrong (as in negative) if a guest doesn't offer to help tidy up, but it's one of those things you always remember about the person. If a guest does offer, I surmise that the guest is more considerate and better-brought up (you know what i mean) than (most) other people. And ass a guest who will always offer, I would, in turn, think "oh, this person KNOWS."

                                                                                                                            But again, offering is something to be considered above and beyond "good" manners - it wouldn't be rude to not offer, but it's very gracious to help.

                                                                                                                            The twist here is that if you're trying to make a good impression (say, on your in-laws, especially if they're traditionally Asian background), you better offer to help clean up. Maybe less so for men, but you bet that the potential mom-in-law will be watching your moves and non-moves like a hawk. And that all goes back to whether you were brought up 'right'.

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: janethepain

                                                                                                                              If you are a guest of your potential mom-in-law you are most definately not a "guest" in the traditional meaning of the word. You are being inspected and must go above and beyond (and above and beyond). Glad that one's behind me!

                                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                So after you've been inspected and you go 'above and beyond' (and above and beyond) do you ever let your guard down and come down the ladder a little?

                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  Beyond just the terror of doing something wrong.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                    I'm still called out (lovingly) on dismissive remarks I made about food when I first married my husband (that ham, a staple pf the family table, was "vile" for example) - a million years ago! The events of those days are never forgotten.

                                                                                                                                2. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                  haha that's true. jeez glad i'm not married.

                                                                                                                              2. When you invite someone to your home as your guest, you should not expect or require them to work off their meal. Guests should always be made to feel as a guest, it would be rude of you to expect or desire otherwise.

                                                                                                                                A guest should be able to relax in your home while you offer hospitality.

                                                                                                                                You should also be attending to your guests while they are in your home and not doing the dishes while they are there.

                                                                                                                                1. When we have people over we do what my mother did when us kids were young: All the tasks from around the house are written on little papers. Then we have a drawing. Whatever is on your little piece of paper, you do. If the whole house needs cleaning we just invite more people. Hell, yes. We feed them too. Dishes? Of course. Floors? Shower? Bathrooms? Yep. You get the idea.

                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: chaz

                                                                                                                                    Are we talking dinner guests here, or people who are staying at your home for an extended time period?

                                                                                                                                    Either way, kinda nuts, IMO.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                      Surely chaz is being sarcastic (?)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for getting it, Nellynel. On a serious note, expecting your guests to do any of the "work" is outlandish.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chaz

                                                                                                                                          I think the circles that I have been exposed to all my life would expect it actually, because that is what we have experienced all our lives...
                                                                                                                                          In my realm - we do expect that we as guests in someones home should offer to help in some way. My mum would be horrified in any of her children did not offer to help a host in some way...it's just how we were raised.
                                                                                                                                          Any help I have ever offered has always been gratefully accepted. I really can't remember anyone saying "no just sit and enjoy yourself!"
                                                                                                                                          But, I must remember that not everyone runs around in the same circles or have been raised the same way, so really you should not "expect" it from everyone.

                                                                                                                                          This post is certainly an eye-opener for me!

                                                                                                                                          In my case it has never discouraged me from repeating to invite my "rude" friends - so obviously not such a big deal - but is behaviour so far from my experience that it is certainly noticed by myself and my husband every time they visit.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                            I would never dream of allowing anyone to help.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                              "i really can't remember anyone saying "no just sit and enjoy yourself!"

                                                                                                                                              I was raised the same way you were. I have always told my guests to just sit and enjoy themselves and I have never accepted help from any of them. I enjoy sitting with my guests after a long, leisurely dinner and always leave the dishes until later, after they've left, or in the morning unless I have professional help. In the same regard I am always told the same thing by the host of anywhere I go.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                I agree. Unless it is a family-only *big* dinner (thanksgiving) where I might allow people to bring their dishes in and we load the first load (quickly; I'm not one of those lucky people w/2 dishwasers) into the DW and then continue our "visiting" the whole idea of even allowing the idea of "work" to intrude on the evening is just strange to me. No way would I be loading a DW while everyone else is just continuing to sit at the table. I'd be in the dining room with everyone else. Dishes later.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                                            OK. I shouldn't have replied to this before my second cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                      2. Guests usually offer to help, but I have a small kitchen and I prefer to wash and dry on my own after everyone leaves.

                                                                                                                                        If someone offers help while I stack the dises, I'll ask them to grab a pitcher or some glasses off the dining room table to bring into the kitchen. Helpful, but not something that has do be done my 'own way.'

                                                                                                                                        1. No I do not think it is rude .-They are invited to relax and have a good meal and I do dishes
                                                                                                                                          when I go over the same thing - I relax and DO NOT DO DISHES

                                                                                                                                          1. OP, I wonder if your resentment of your *guests* is evident after the meal. No doubt, you harbor resentment, and that's your problem, not your *guests*.
                                                                                                                                            Now, what I'd be resentful of is if I entertained guests (particularly repeatedly) and my generosity was never reciprocated in their household.

                                                                                                                                            1. No, it is not rude at all. Some friends like to do prep together; in general I prefer to have all the prep done beforehand and the food ready to eat (some will need last-minute cooking) by the time the guests arrive. And I couldn't fathom expecting guests to stay after a meal and ruin the mood by turning bright kitchen lights on and do the washing up when we've all usually had several glasses of wine. At most, help me take the dishes to the sink and rinse them off, so there is not a mess. I do the actual washing up the next day.

                                                                                                                                              I find it a very bizarre thing to find rude.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                My initial reaction to this post was, "Of course not, I want my guests to enjoy themselves, not work in my house," but I didn't even think about prep work. If friends offer to help with that, I usually take them up on it, but I would never let someone (other than family or very close friends) clean up. I guess it's because I think cooking is fun and cleaning is work!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pia

                                                                                                                                                  Also, we're cold sober while doing prep...

                                                                                                                                                  (Though don't take this for more than it is - I'm in my 50s and while there are younger guests, most run from about 40 to 70 - I'm not talking wild drinkathons. Just that we like long suppers with vino, as entertainment, with a lot of talking and having fun). I also find someone starting to do the washing up, load a dishwasher etc breaks the mood, though as Maria Lorraine says, sometimes that is exactly what you want!

                                                                                                                                              2. Amy Dickenson, the advice columnist, weighs in today in her column:

                                                                                                                                                "Cleaning up during a meal removes you from the action. Loading the dishwasher also triggers a sort of Pavlovian response, telling people the evening is ending."

                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                  Maria that's exactly how it feels when on the receiving end of a host who gets up and removes herself from the guests and begins cleaning.
                                                                                                                                                  It's dismissive and very rude, to say the very least.
                                                                                                                                                  The host might as well say "please leave".

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer


                                                                                                                                                    i only clear the plates (just remove to kitchen -- only) so we can have more room for the wine glasses on the table after dinner! ;-)).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      And actually I find, even that disrupts the vibe just enough to get some people thinking they should go home. Any movement at all, it seems, other than opening another bottle of wine or Perrier tends to be a mood-killer after dinner. It helps a little to just remove the dirty plates to a sideboard (rather than leaving the room with them). At the same time, it also helps to open a box of chocolates or bring out a bowl of grapes. This, I realize is the polar opposite of what many people do. But unless this is a duty dinner (ugh) or dinner with folks who will be staying overnight, I prefer to extend the table conversation and deal with the mess later to in the morning.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                        I agree 100%.
                                                                                                                                                        When a host gets up from the table after a meal (to clear or whatever she/he's doing) there is, I think, a question in everyone's mind whether or not it's time to leave.
                                                                                                                                                        There is a mood that has to be set by the host. For me it's candles, lots of bottles of wine on the table, dimmed lights overhead, good music playing and for my European friends the cigarettes are lit...everything to make my guests feel they're welcome and encouraged to relax.
                                                                                                                                                        People relax when the host is relaxed. A deal breaker is when the host gets up and starts running around.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                        My one bil use to get out the vacuum cleaner right after the entire family was done eating. Can you imagine trying to talk during that sound. We finally broke him of the habit by buying cleaning products, brooms and so forth for him as birthday presents. He got the message :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                          hillJ, that BIL was one: (a) total neat freak, (b) clueless person, (c) jerk, or (d) all of the above.

                                                                                                                                                          loved your response! thankfully, he must've been just "(b) clueless person."

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                            I know, right. At the time, we were all willing to give our dear BIL the benefit of the doubt about his clean-freak ways but then our kids (including his) were really miffed when he started vacuuming during a party. You see his "habit" began very small (sponging down the table while we were still eating) but when the cleanliness started to drown out family conversation and he just couldn't help himself we had an intervention! Thankfully, BIL laughs about it now.

                                                                                                                                                      3. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                        The answer really depends on the logistics of where your guests are seated compared to your kitchen, and other variables. We have a formal dining room, separate from our kitchen by a swinging door and butlers pantry (house is almost 100 yrs old and was built when for a family that had servants, which would of course moot this whole question of who cleans up during a dinner party). In other words, I can do a certain amount of clean uyp between courses and none of our guests are the wiser. And that is exactly what I do in the 5-8 minute interval that typically occurs between courses -- especially between the main and dessert courses, while coffee is brewing, when I have some time to scrape dishes and load the dishwasher. If the dw is full at that point, I run it. But, I never stay in the kitchen between courses any longer than is needed to finish whatever needs to be cooked.

                                                                                                                                                        Unlike other courses, I make no effort to clear the table after dessert until there seems to be a general sentiment to either move to the living room or the party breaks up. At that point, I will clear the table and stack dishes in the kitchen. DH is typically at this point offering port and/or opening another bottle of wine -- a clear signal to our guests that the party is not over.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                          My flat is also almost 100 years old, but working-class families lived here (terribly overcrowded), and it has the old Québec country pattern of a large kitchen that was also a sitting room. I've divided the two functions off with plants (I live on the top floor of a triplex so there is a lot of light) so when I do take plates away it is to the kitchen side, while I fetch the cheeses (and nuts, grapes, other small fruit, whatever - none of us eat much sweet dessert).

                                                                                                                                                          Probably the polite way of getting people to leave when one is falling asleep warrants its own thread, and I'm sure there have been others about cigarettes. LatinDancer, some of my South American friends would gladly stay to 4am (at least they can get the métro or a bus back home when those start up again) but alas I'm a real morning person and it is hard for me to be cogent after about 1am, even if I'm hosting and obviously not overindulging.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                            The easiest way without clearing dishes yourself is to put an end time on one's invitations. It really works very well.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                              "...some of my South American friends would gladly stay to 4am..."

                                                                                                                                                              LOL....that's another entire new thread. I love love love my friends from S America and I think it' just involves another form of DNA altogether... Love hard, live hard, party hard and work hard (at least my friends). I know exactly what you mean :).

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                              "....we have a formal dining room, separate from our kitchen by a swinging door and butlers pantry."

                                                                                                                                                              Many houses during that period are configured the same way (including mine).
                                                                                                                                                              I still would not get up and begin cleaning and certainly not load the dishwasher. It is obvious I'd be doing so and it then, no doubt, makes some of the guests feel they should be doing something to help.
                                                                                                                                                              I don't understand the purpose.

                                                                                                                                                          2. This thread now dovetails another similar one. Some strong opinions:
                                                                                                                                                            "Hosts cleaning up/doing dishes while guests still around? "

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                              What a funny thread, maria! What always strikes me about cleaning up during a party is simply: odor. I can't fathom wanting to go from the delicious smells of a great feast to the smell of bleach, cleansers and vacuum dust WHILE our guests are still with us. Nothing says "where's my coat" faster! Hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                I know what the problem is ... wrong cleaning products!! There is no chlorine bleach in my house, and I use almost all Mrs Meyer's products, which smell fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I wouldn't let anyone wash my dishes because I like them done a certain way. I just assume other people are as picky as me, and don't offer to do their dishes either. I'll scrape off any scraps into the garbage, and offer to carry stuff from the table, of course. No washing though.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Not rude whatsoever. Can't say i'd ever think it was, unless it was a big family related thing.

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't jump all over the dishes etc at the end of a meal, or hell, even right after everyone leaves if I'm having a particularly good time. I am not adverse to leaving a few things until the morning.

                                                                                                                                                                Once or twice, i've had friends over who jumped up to start in on dishes and honestly, not only did I want them to just enjoy the dinner / party, this made me feel a little like I was being a lazy-ass for not being a neat-freak and cleaning everything up immediately. It makes me feel as though I need to get up and start in on that stuff, when I really don't want to.

                                                                                                                                                                I don't want my guests in the kitchen (unless it's a kitchen party), I want them hanging out and enjoying the night, along with me.

                                                                                                                                                                1. my husband usually does the dishes, because I tend to do all the cooking. We have an open plan kitchen diner and I hate the idea of anyone washing dishes with their back to us. If 2 people offer to do it together and it's a big party, then maybe ok because then everyone is chatting and enjoying themselves, but never at a sit down dinner. My husband knows how much time I spend planning and cooking, and he knows that I absolutely hate doing dishes too! Pretty much everyone I know would offer tho.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Definitely not rude. I was raised to be polite, too, but that includes NOT expecting guests to do dishes. They're my guests and I want them to enjoy a leisurely meal and good conversation and not to disrupt the vibe. My husband usually clears away the dirty dishes and someone always jumps up to help, but that's so we can relax with more wine and our elbows on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't usually offer to do dishes either, just feel like it's almost an intrusion. But I suppose that's because, for me, doing the dishes after everyone is gone helps me relax, decompress--and sometimes sober up. I don't want anyone's help. I'm also a little neurotic about my knives and glasses and well-seasoned pans, prefer to tend to them myself.

                                                                                                                                                                    Like others, when we host a big family holiday meal and people are lingering about, my sisters, who aren't cooks, usually jump up and do dishes, and I let them (although I still watch secretly to make sure good knives aren't going into the d/w or soap going into my cast iron pans).

                                                                                                                                                                    If I'm a guest overnight or longer, I do offer to help w/cooking chores, post and pre-, and those offers are often accepted as the hosts' work is ongoing in such situations. And while I, too, may accept some help in that situation, I still don't expect it.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. wow, what a lot of postings. i read quite a few but not all. most of my friends and I will offer to help clean up after a meal.. than can mean anything from clearing the table to vacuuming depending on the party and the friend. for a simple dinner the response is usually "no, just relax, this won't take me a minute after you leave.

                                                                                                                                                                      I used to have a friend that didn't take no for an answer, and in spite of the fact that she really did a good job, never broke a dish, bent a fork, or put anything away in the wrong place it was kind of unnerving when she insisted that the host sit down and relax while she cleaned up. I used to hide the vacuum when she came over. eventually she found it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Absolutely not rude! They are guests. Clean-up is for the hosts.

                                                                                                                                                                        However, when I am a guest, if the host or hostess is removing dishes to the kitchen between dinner and dessert, I sometimes offer to help, depending upon the situation. Sometimes help is accepted, sometimes it is not. If people offer to help me remove dishes to the kitchen or to help with any other sort of cleanup, I politely decline.

                                                                                                                                                                        Now guests are guests and family is family. Family gets to help. In our family we were reared that way and it's what we all expect at each others' houses. My Mom (about to be 80) is exempt. And if the family goes to her house for a meal, the kids and grandkids help do set up and do all the cleaning up. Grandchildren range from 16-33 and they are pretty much taking over the cleanup these days. They are good kids. :-) And luckily we all know where everything goes at each others' houses, so it is rare for something to get misplaced.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. If you are the host you should never expect anyone else to do your dishes (I think the rules change a lot if it's family...I always help then and vice versa) but I'd never let "guests" do any work. IMO, that is a little tacky.

                                                                                                                                                                          As another poster said, it is a good way to earn brownie points if you're over at a bf/gf or in-laws' place--but in general, I think it's completely bizarre to think the guests should clean up when *you* invited them over for a meal.

                                                                                                                                                                          If you don't want to cook dinner and clean it up--don't invite people over! I don't think people should be expected to do prep work either though...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. It's complicated. I don't think it is rude for guests no to clean up, but I do think sometimes it makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                            For instance, my husband and I came to a friend's house and made Thanksgiving dinner for them and their friends. The people whose house it was were not ones to cook an elaborate meal and had a newborn so we came to help. People came about an hour before and it was clear that we had made a wonderful feast. Happy to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                            At meals end, it was clear that room was needed for dessert. Lots of plates to clear, plenty of room for people to clear and stack. I was surprised people did not stand up and offer to help. We were all thirtysomething/twentysomething friends and, frankly, I was used to people helping at big meals. We also came from group-house, communal living cultures and think that shaped our expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                            It's been years and I am still surprised that at dessert and after, the men who had joined us did not lift a finger.


                                                                                                                                                                            I contrast this to our most recent holiday meal with, um, older thirty-somethings. Most of these folks are connected to the restaurant business and have been friends for years. It was 4 hours of eating with everyone making the kitchen their own, cleaning for one another, clearing together, etc. NOT what I expect or the norm, but it was incredibly cool and rare.

                                                                                                                                                                            Last, I'm a southern boy that was taught to help after dinner and I will always offer. I'm also a feminist and refuse to expect women to jump up before me. My husband is the same.

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dcfb

                                                                                                                                                                              yes thanksgiving huge meals are really more of a different situation. I almost liken it to "if you are having thanksgiving with people, then you ARE family so family rules apply". Of course depends on the people but that is often the case.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dcfb

                                                                                                                                                                                This has nothing to do w/gender. If I invite guests to my home for dinner--w/exception of big holiday/family productions--I don't EXPECT them to do dishes, and I really don't want them, too, either. Their gender is irrelevant.

                                                                                                                                                                                As you point out, different situations, combinations of people, circumstances--then, different behaviors, rituals, habits prevail.

                                                                                                                                                                                One gender expecting that another will do the clearing or cleaning or whatever? That's unacceptable, outmoded, ancient history, in my book--but it's a completely different issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                  Ancient history though it may be, it certainly still happens. Yuck. I purposely don't come early to my grandmother's Christmas party, because it infuriates me that she expects my mom, my sister, and I to prep/cook/set the table/clean, but purposely lets the guys go watch TV. I used to think it was just the way she was babying my little brother, but when I got married she treated DH the same way. Drives me up the wall. I don't mind helping with family stuff, but when her attitude comes out, I make myself scarce. Okay, enough whining out of me! =)

                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, I've been a bit confused about the cleanup issue myself lately. Whenever we attend family get-togethers, people volunteer to do dishes. The events are usually at grandparents' houses, and the generation before us (mine and DH' parents, aunts, etc.) end up in the kitchen washing dishes. I don't want anyone to think that we are ungrateful, but they are very quick on the cleanup (usually start before I even finish eating!). I've asked if they need help before, but since they are already cleaning, they just keep at it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Should I just keep asking if they need help or try to eat faster so I can help?

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Depends on the nature of the dinner I think.
                                                                                                                                                                                If it is a family get-together, or a usual dinner gathering with usual casual friends, then a hand in the kitchen is appreciated.
                                                                                                                                                                                If it is a formal sit-down dinner with friends that I'm hosting, I don't want nor expect help with the dishes.
                                                                                                                                                                                I know I've refused dinner invitations because I KNOW the expectation is to do the dishes afterwards and there are times where I feel that I'm invited as a guest, not as a work party. This only happens with SIL, who invites me and her brother (my DH) to her place for holiday dinners for 15 and I'm the only one handed an apron and asked/told to clean up (note: her able-bodied 18 year old is exempt from kitchen duty because she's "too tired' after skipping college all day long).
                                                                                                                                                                                I think it is a situational thing. As a host, I don't expect help, but in certain circumstances a hand is appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Family dinners (and in this I include urban family) it's a 'if someone cooked for you, you offer to clean for them' kind of deal. In fact with real family it's pretty much expected. When I have friends over, they'll usually offer to help, but I just quickly rinse and stack, fill up their glasses and sit down for more conversation. I don't want them to have to feel like they have to clean up or 'earn' their dinner. Also, I'm a clean-as-you-go cook, so there isn't too big of a mess by the time I serve and I'm also quite particular about how things are washed - why would I let them clean up, only to wash half of it again once they've left?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ultimatepotato

                                                                                                                                                                                    - why would I let them clean up, only to wash half of it again once they've left?

                                                                                                                                                                                    My 3 year old niece is fascinated by the dishwasher, so I let her help me fill it recently. Of course I had to re-stack everything, and she got upset that I wouldn't let her touch the knives, but it sure was fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Offering to help clear and clean up is a very nice gesture but not offering is definitely not rude.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Personally, I don't like "helpers" in my kitchen. They seem to always get in the way and not do things "my way." Call me anal but whenever anyone offers I thank them and ask that they just relax and enjoy the conversation.
                                                                                                                                                                                    What I DO feel is rude is when I decline their help and they insist on helping anyway. One clumsy neighbor has broken a platter on two separate occasions. Then she gets all "OMG, I am so sorry!" She is my wifes good friend so I cringe and bear it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you Motosport. I'm happy to have someone help clear the table, if they feel like it, but my husband and I have a good routine for getting a load of dishes in the DW at the end of the evening and doing a fast clean up that leaves the rest until morning. When others step in it just seems to make it harder not easier. Now if we were talking a big family meal where I did most of the cooking, I would certainly expect some assistance from siblings and have always gotten it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                        My SIL finally got the hint after many years of breaking a piece of china or crystal every time, and making everything take twice as long with all her questions of "Where does this go?" Then her eyesight is pretty bad and I'd have to wash most of it all over again the next day. Guess she thought she was being companionable; when she finally realized I didn't want her help, I think I hurt her feelings but it was such a relief for me that I didn't really care.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                          The same clumsy neighbor joined us for Easter dinner yesterday.
                                                                                                                                                                                          When we were done I said: "Please sit and talk. I will clear the table." It took three tries but she finally got the message.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Then her hubby got up and started "helping." Oy vey!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                            No matter where I serve my guests,
                                                                                                                                                                                            It seems they like my kitchen best!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                              True!! I turned around with the rib roast and someone was in my way. Almost a disaster!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                They just want to be where the action is, and I don't blame them!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. i think it's more appropriate for a guest to offer to clear the table, but not actually do the dishes. it can be awkward cleaning dishes and asking the host where to put everything - and the host should do the dishes after the guests have gone home if possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I guess my only other thought is this -- if I'm a guest, why do you expect me to do the washing up? The term "guest" implies that you are receiving hospitality from another, not expected to work for a meal. It is different if you have people over for communal dinners -- that I understand -- but to say please come over for dinner but you have to do the dishes? Just strikes me as the kind of hospitality I'd rather not extend to others. If you are a guest, you relax and let me do the work. No expectations, no demands.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                                              I see it the same way. And we host about 99% of the time with our friends. I don't expect them or want them to help with the clean up and when I'm at their homes, I don't want to either.

                                                                                                                                                                                              My brother and I made the same agreement 20+ years ago and it's worked perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. No it is not rude. As guests they shouldn't be expected to clean up. If they are frequent guests and very close friends I might have a slight expectation of their offering. But if they don't they are most certainly not being rude, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Just thought of this, but the last few times we've had guests for a meal, we're having a good old time and suddenly it's late; and they just say as they're putting their coats on "Sorry to leave you with this mess". But they've always stayed longer than planned. I tell them that's how I wind down, while finishing my last drink. But what if I said , "NO you can't leave until my kitchen is all cleaned up?" So I could say it's rude to comment on what a mess my kitchen is in, yet not offer to help, otherwise pretend you don't notice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually just playing the devil's advocate. I really should get up right now and go straighen my kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cleaning up after a dinner party is how I wind down too! I enjoy it and it gives me a chance to reflect on a lovely evening with guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. In a million years I would never expect a guest in my home for dinner to feel obligated to help clean up after a meal. When at someone else's house I always offer to help clean up as well..but that is me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  In my own home, I would consider it an insult to have a guest clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I put away whatever food needs to be refrigerated, etc., and leave the dishes until my guests
                                                                                                                                                                                                    have departed. On several occasions, when friends or family have insisted on helping, it
                                                                                                                                                                                                    has sometimes taken a couple days to find items which were put away "incorrectly".
                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's easier just to do it myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I don't expect or allow my guests to do the dishes in my home and I don't offer to do theirs when I'm in their home. It makes me nuts when my mother insists on doing the dishes here after a big dinner or football Sunday. I'm tired and want to sit down, not help her with the dishes. I'd rather deal with them tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Many moons ago I was invited to eat dinner at my then boyfriends parents house in Liverpool, England. I had never met them before. I was rather horrified to discover that their expectation of me (as a female) was that I washed up all the dishes, whilst their lovely son and his dad and mother watched a football match on TV. I am from the south of England, where I have never expected guests (particularly complete strangers) to be involved in cleaning up after the host. After this expectation had been set, I did wash up the dishes and dried them but it turned out to be one of the final straws that contributed to the end of the relationship!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If it makes you feel any better and that this may not have been a gender issue, my son had a similar experience while visiting a girl friend from the UK. Instead of being honest with him about expectations in her parents home she decide to teach him a more hurtful lesson by not discouraging him from planning a 2nd trip and in the week leading up to his return she canceled on him leaving him with travel expenses, show tickets bought for and no place to stay. All over doing the dishes. All he learned from this experience is that people sometimes don't know how to communicate very well and it can wind up costing you dearly in the end. Needless to say, he doesn't answer her emails or texts anymore. Sad really.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you at least join them for a post-match outing of nicking hubcaps?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL Ricepad, wot are you like you little scallywag?! ;-) That would have made it more pleasantly memorable...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cavemanu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, isn't that standard Scouse operating procedure?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Guests are just that - GUESTS!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I neither want nor encourage my GUESTS to "work" for their dinner by clearing the table or helping me in the kitchen - for cooking or cleaning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good grief!!!!! I'd consider it uber RUDE for a host to expect a guest to help out in the kitchen. Hire servants if you have a problem with hosting parties where you need help. Or don't host parties at all if you can't handle it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. for the most part,
                                                                                                                                                                                                              i rarely offer to do the dishes at someone else's house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              i always offer to prepare and bring a couple of dishes and alcoholic beverages with me whenever i'm invited over to someone else's house.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              when i invite people to my own house i NEVER ALLOW anyone to help with the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              to me guests should not be expected to do ANY of the scut work.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              all offers they may make to do such work should be politely declined

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think some people (not I) expect the offer to be made as an empty gesture, to be turned down but with the guest scoring points in the "host's" eyes. But as Larry David wisely said, "You can't make an empty gesture to a Funkhauser".

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I either host or attend at least one dinner party a week, almost always on Sunday evening. The group either consists of my immediate family or close friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A few times, when this tradition first started amongst my friends, people have offered to do dishes or otherwise help cleanup. I have never allowed it and won't. Dishes get piled up in the kitchen to be dealt with later in the evening or, more usually, in the morning. In fact, I remember one of the first of such parties, when I was a guest. Post-meal, everyone was on the porch chilling, drinking and commiserating. So, I started picking up some stuff, and I asked the host if some dishes got handwashed or put in the dishwasher. He said, "What the F, man? If you wanna do dishes, take these in and fill them up," handing me a mixed tray of empty wine and highball glasses. "Whiskey and wine are in the pantry next to the fridge." My friends don't clean up at my house, and I don't clean up at their houses."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                With my parents it's a different story. When I'm at their place, I always help clean up, even if I'm not allowed to do the dishes. My father is a total Nazi about washing the dishes; he can't relax until they're done, and only he can do them. So I help expedite the process in whatever way I can. When he's a guest at my place it's the same. I have tried to stop him many times to no avail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The only time I can remember doing dishes as a guest is at some of my various girlfriend's parents parties. I've probably done dishes at a girlfriend's house before, as well, but I struggle to think of the last time a girlfriend cooked for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I was reminded this week that you should appreciate people's actions for the spirit with which they were taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cooked dinner for a friend's birthday Monday. I came home from work, cleaned the kitchen (housecleaner was sick and missed her last scheduled cleaning), cooked dinner, and between the rich food, the wine, and the long day, by the time dinner was over I was knocked out. I did the basic clear and put away, then went to lie down for a while before I went back to finish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I went back to the kitchen my housemate had very quietly finished cleaning up and the dishwasher was running ... with my hand-wash-only Riedel stems in it. Eek! But you know what? She didn't know any better. Her intent was to be helpful, and that was the spirit I took it in (plus, it turned out the Riedels survived, which made it easier not to be annoyed!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's no point in attributing negative qualities like rudeness when none was intended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Why on earth would you expect your guests to pull KP duty? That is just damn tacky. Did you also expect them to grocery shop, and arrive early to cook and clean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agree, RosePearl: should they also offer to scour out the bathroom sink and swab the toilet they used?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would love for guests to offer to clean my toilets ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Let's put up a Chore List for guests!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              make it a game: under each plate a number, and an assigned chore for each guest.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (ps, i'm adding a couple of outside chores: pulling down those pesky virginia creeper vines running up my rose of sharon! -- and maybe some light hedging……)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That might be a good idea for family Thanksgiving!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Probably best if you do it before everyone is loaded though.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hmmm, windows are getting dirty. Must be time to invite some guests over & add window scrubbing to the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oooh, i forgot about the windows!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    time for a BBQ!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "hi y'all, i have a game for us to play after dinner!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i'll do your dishes anytime if you do my windows!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I would want my guest to offer, however I'd be gracious enough to decline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Today went food shopping for one item. Got <20 line, realized that I got the wrong item, quickly wanted over to exchange item, but by the time I returned there was someone else there. I was annoyed that this woman had a full basket and thought to myself "for the love of God lady let me go ahead of you!" But as soon as she said " I think I have more than 20 items, do you want to go ahead?" I smiled and insisted that she stay because I wasn't in a rush. Her offer was enough to completely change my attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Entirely different scenario. Would you really want your guest to help you with your dishes? Someone who's dressed nicely & was invited to your home? That's the question. Not letting someone cut in line because they have less in their cart than you do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No I wouldn't want them to help or expect them to, but I would appreciate a polite offer. Just like I would appreciate a "can I bring anything?" or "do you need any help?". Especially in a nonformal setting like the OP is taking about. Just Iike I would want someone to offer to let me cut in front, but wouldn't take them up on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree. There's a difference, though, between "appreciating a polite offer" and declaring someone rude for not offering, which was the original question. As I said above, I don't see any good coming out of perceiving rudeness where none was intended. Aren't there enough bad feelings in the world today without drumming up new ones? I even give my sister's slacker sister-in-law the benefit of the doubt that she isn't being rude, just completely clueless and a tad spoiled.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would still consider it rude, but at the level where it's not worth dwelling on and where it wouldn't affect how I view the individual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. There's guest and there's family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would never expect nor would have the expectation for guest to do the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Family, mainly siblings, I expect them to lend a hand. Yet, some don't. Fortunately, I'm the older brother who can still kick butt, except for the baby sister of the family. She's spoiled rotten... lol!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And there is the guest of a family member (ie girlfriend). We still give my cousin shit over his college girlfriend not offering to help with dinner and dishes one Thanksgiving (her 1st and only family dinner with us).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. It depends on the culture. My husband is French Canadian and this culture will receive you with the utmost attention to food and detail. I have been to many homes and they get offended when you offer to do the dishes. The standard response is that we are receiving you and we just want you to enjoy yourselves. I no longer ask to do the dishes, although I would like to. Also when I receive guests I no longer accept if they offer to do dishes. If I really cannot do dishes I will prepare a casual meal with paper plates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. People have different opinions about this topic. Here is mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From the culture that I have come from it would be rude to invite people to dinner and expect them to come and help you wash up. If you are having problems in the kitchen a close guest may offer to help get things to the table if you are running late and not all of them will be willing to do this. But it will be rude to expect them to, dressed in their good clothes to come and help you in your kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If it is family, it may be different, they may help, but you do not ask them to help. I would hate that everytime I go to someone's house for dinner, well dressed that I am expected to help wash dishes. I am a guest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have noticed that in some cultures it is the norm to help wash dishes but do not expect someone from a different culture to think like you. So as far as I am concerned, you should not invite people to your home for dinner and expect them to help you wash the dishes. If you think you cannot handle the whole situation, then take people out to dinner. Just my way because of my culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also feel that when people are only exposed to family growing up and starts socializing with other people they do not know the difference between when and when not to do something and this goes for many things. As we wonder outside of our home environment, we start learning what is correct and what is not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Angela1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Angela1, best answer! It's a no brainer. If you are an invited guest, you're invited to turn up and be a guest, not a kitchen hand. For some reason, ordinarily nice people become martyrs when they play host. If it's such a chore, why the hell are they doing it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Angela1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "But it will be rude to expect them to, dressed in their good clothes to come and help you in your kitchen."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You make a good point about guests' good clothes. Inappropriate shoes for work might also be a factor (fancy shoes, high heels, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Not rude, but not generous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. As said previously: not rude, and not particularly polite. Besides, it WOULD BE RUDE if the host expected or asked the guests to do the dishes. Hospitality implies that your guests are to be well-treated in your home. Expecting them to do the dishes is unfair. On the other hand, it would be nice if they volunteered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 217 replies? I'd rather clean than read these...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm not sure why it's rude to not offer to do dishes. I don't want people doing my dishes. I have my way of doing them that works for me. Does it make some difference if people make an offer so that I can decline it? Does it say something about them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If I invite people over for dinner. They are my guests. I invited them to be my guests, not to help make or clean up dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. So many different people and so many different expectations.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For me, I am a housewife from a different planet. There, we each take our task seriously because it is our career.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would never interfere with the control of another's task in the course of her/his career without being asked and s/he would not with me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Respect each other and perform what is one's own role in the theatre of life. One takes enormous pride and pleasure in performing each task.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If we require assistance we will not hesitate in asking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But always, it must be understood, it is at the discretion of the one in control of the situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rudeness is when one shows disrespect. If a guest does not respect the host/ess's role as benefactor but instead attempts to usurp control of the host/ess's role this could be taken to be disrespectful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All these hurt feelings are unnecessary when what is expected can be clearly articulated by the host/ess. Guests should also feel at liberty to ask if they are not sure what is expected of them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Therefore, I cannot call guests rude if they do not offer to do dishes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But I do call them rude if I gently say "thank you, no" but they go ahead and do it anyway. Essentially they cannot accept my management/control of the dinner party. It would appear that they need to gain control of the situation -- boost their ego, perhaps -- by assisting. But clearly if I had wanted assistance I would have asked.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the key in understanding the role of the host/ess and the role of the guest. A guest is meant to accept the place of one who receives. Imagine if you were in a restaurant by invitation and, after the meal, you got up from the table, went into the kitchen, and told the dishwasher you were ready to help. Not unless your host/ess did not pay the bill!! Not on my planet anyhow!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. The only time I've been offended by someone not helping with cleanup is when I had a close friend who due to financial challenges was continually at my house for dinner and not reciprocating. I felt that a little elbow grease in the kitchen would be appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't want just anyone caring for my vintage and in some cases irreplaceable things, so if I won't let a person in my kitchen, I don't really care about the offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I don't think it is rude not to offer help with dishes. In fact, I hate it when people do offer, because then I feel obliged to accept. At the end of a dinner party, it is late, I am exhausted and the last thing I want to do is clean up. I just want to fall into bed and deal with the washing up in the morning when I am rested. I do appreciate help with clearing the table and putting leftovers away, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I feel the same way about washing up; I DO appreciate a guest who helps clear the table (I hate conversing over dirty dishes) get things into the kitchen, scrape plates and get things ready; then we can have dessert and coffee, relax, etc. I actually prefer doing dishes in the morning as I don't want to miss out on any time with my all my guests. It may drive some batty to get up to dirty dishes in the sink, but it bothers me not a bit. I can concentrate on the task at hand and bask in the glow of the food, conversation and company of the night before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now, breakfast dish cleanup I really DO like help with! I'm ready to get on with the day and do not want dirty dishes not taken care of before I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It all comes down to different strokes for different folks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. When I read this type of question, I always have to wonder about the relationship between the guest and host. Is this a high stakes business get together? A make-or-break meeting of the in-laws type deal?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's another thread going that asks if it's "rude" to leave before dinner is served if the hosts are very late with the dinner, and drunk. There have been others asking about what is proper reciprocation after being invited, or the right/wrong thing to bring to a dinner invitation. Now this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  98% of my life when I've been invited to dinner to someone's home, or invited others to my home, it's been friend or family. We can communicate. If I was the host and needed help I would ask for it. If I was the guest and I really didn't want to help with the dishes, I'd say, "Hope you don't mind that I'm not helping. I'm feeling lazy tonight."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fundamentally it's about straight forward communication. It's about being comfortable with the people you're breaking bread with. Are people really stressing out this much over dinners about making some faux pas, this breach of etiquette, that mistake?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Relax. If you're walking on eggshells around your dinner guests or hosts, if there's always this spring-loaded chance of Screwing Up, maybe you're inviting the wrong people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I expect this thread is exhausted, but I had to respond to EB.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree completely that the issue is a matter of (open) communication, but I don't know that the issue is as easy as that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I say this because I was a guest at a Rosh Hashana dinner this past Sunday night. A very nice affair with hosts whom I'd never met before, a dinner leaving a lot of dirty dishes. Now my strong instinct was to offer to help clean up, but a counter-emotion argued against it: the implication being that I was a guest in their home (not a worker) and that to offer to help meant that they couldn't or wouldn't do it themselves; that I wasn't a guest in the true sense of the word, and that even the offering was a sort of back-handed insult.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So I didn't help, and I think that was the best thing to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I was raised to offer to help with the dishes. I was also raised that, when hosting and someone offered to help with the dishes, to graciously thank them for the offer but decline. So I always offer as a guest and always decline as a host. Close family, I.e. my children, are a different story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I thought about this thread last night and immediately pinned down the reason I never seem to help out at my folks place when I'm there for dinner. No one gets in Dad's way when he's in his cleanup mode. He'll be somewhat OK with Mom taking care of leftovers and doling them out to guests, but when he takes the leftovers out to the barn for the cats - just get out of his way. Their kitchen isn't very big, and he's got cleanup down to a science, wants people to be happy and leave so he can get to bed by 8 pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that is knowing and understanding your father, which trumps traditional rules of etiquette any day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Being a faithful viewer of "House Hunters" on HGTV I understand that suburbanites seek huge kitchens so they can make a social occasion of cooking and have friends with them for food prep and cleanup, and that's fine. However, there is another side to this story. I know that I am not the only city condo dweller with a tiny kitchen who will just about brain guests with a frying pan to keep them OUT of the kitchen because there just is no room for them. Also, I have had eager guests unwittingly dump good silver flatware into the garbage, break things, load the dishwasher wrong, and generally create problems. Attend: some hosts and hostesses do not WANT help in the kitchen. Don't take it as a given that they do. Ask once if you can help, if you feel that politeness demands this, but if your help is refused, accept this and go sit down someplace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have one of those new suburban houses which I didn't design myself, and constantly regret that I don't have a door, or at least an entryway to indicate a separate space, so people don't just mill around as I try to get everything on the table. Next time I will know better. And ditto the breakage and loss, it's just the price you pay it seems. I'm learning to let things go the hard way, but also learning that I am a control freak when it comes to my kitchen. Maybe I should have a kitchen like the restaurants, where everyone can stand behind a counter/glass window and watch if that's what gives them their jollies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. For a Thanksgiving type meal I don't think its rude not to offer as I have no expectation of help nor do I want it. For me the holiday meal is all about spending time with family, enjoying their company and catching up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If anyone offers I decline their help and encourage them to sit back down (or after dessert to retire to the family room). Dishes can wait! There will be plenty of time for clean up later. I don't clean up either. To me its sign the host is ready for you to pack it in when they start clearing and cleaning. Personally I find it rude when the host abandons their guests. It shows thats the clean up is more important than the guests. It doesn't bother me if anyone offers but I don't feel its rude when they don't. I invited them for a meal and company not for servitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now talking out of both sides of my mouth I always offer when I am at a relatively strangers house- the first time I spent a holiday at my soon to in laws, dinner at a co workers etc. I find that many people do want and expect help so I figure its better to offer than to be thought rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now casual dinners, like 'Hey do you and the kids want to come for dinner and movie Friday" I have no problem accepting help in the kitchen as it becomes more of a social affair. The adults washing, the kids drying all with goal of making popcorn and watching a movie. But if the friends don't offer I don't think they are rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do not want help in the kitchen-proper, but enjoy some company. I'll direct guests to sit at the informal nook table--5 feet from the kitchen--and enjoy a glass or two of wine while I finish up the cooking. I also do as much ahead as I can, so I'm not frantic and making guests uncomfortable while they watch. Their only "job" is to also keep my wine glass filled. After dinner, I will scrape plates & stack stuff, but not do a full-on kitchen clean up. Sometimes I will load/start the dishwasher, but only while waiting for the coffee to brew, so it's not so obvious to the guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Heavens no!!! Although I usually will offer to help with the clean-up when I am an invited guest, I have no such expectation when I invite others over. Unless I were really ill, there is no way that I would expect or allow others to help with the clean-up. (I am talking about friends/acquaintances here. It's a bit different if it's a close relative...kids, for example)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I actually hate it when guests offer to help in the kitchen. I'm NOT a neat cook, and I hate people seeing the state of things after preparing a meal. I try to clear everyone's plates, but sometimes my super polite and awesome guests are too quick and do it themselves, which takes them to my disaster area of a kitchen....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The only people I would expect to help but don't are my boyfriend's family (or his mom, at least. His dad doesn't even do dishes at his own house, so I can't expect him to do them at mine.) and my brother and sister (who also don't do dishes at home; Mom does them all.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. At one family party, while I was outside talking, one of my cousins decided to wash my dishes for me. I was not happy. For one thing, she washed the plastic bags that she brought food in and kind of laid them up against my toaster and coffee maker which didn't look really safe to me (yes, they were still plugged in). I really didn't appreciate someone in my kitchen without even asking me. I would have said no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. To think of someone as rude because they fail to make an empty gesture which as you note, you will decline anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But suppose one night you do accept - isn't that rude? You know the person is just making the offer as a gesture, they are your guests for pity's sake, they don't want to have to clean up. Would uyour acceptance of the offer be rude?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. no, it is not rude for guests to not offer to do dishes - it's nice if they offer, but I'd always refuse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. You invited them to your home and to be a guest...why would you feel that they should help clean up your kitchen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I don't like people washing my dishes. I like how I wash them and dry them and stack them and generally handle them. If a guests wants to help with something I ask them to go sweep the driveway. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +1. Unless I knew someone well enough that I'd already familiarized him or her with exactly the way I do things in the kitchen, I wouldn't let a guest do my dishes. I have a very dear friend who likes to help, and who always does things differently, and I just hate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love when people help me chop vegetables or whatever, during the cooking process, but leave my dishes, etc., alone, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And it simply doesn't occur to me to offer to wash anyone else's, other than one friend who I know really appreciates it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I don't let anyone I don't know VERY well to use my knives. I don't let anyone help prep anything. I just can't bring myself to ask someone, even a close relative, to please go wash their hands before touching anything in my kitchen. I had no idea what those hands have been touching and either do the people who belong to the hands most of the time. I guess some might think I am being 'obsessive' and that's OK by me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At least when people eat food prepared in my kitchen they know the carrot sticks were not chopped by some one who an hour before was petting a dog and letting it lick their hands/face that had just been rolling around in a pile of rotten hamburger behind some ones house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nothing wrong with saying "Wash your hands well, I don't want anyone getting sick." to anyone who wants to help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ratbuddy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel a really good way to handle this is to say, " thank you" and that they are your guests who you have invited over and that you want them to relax, enjoy themselves,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and that you will take care of the kitchen...tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can hear my grandmother's voice every time we came in the house or any time we were going to touch food in any way "go wash your hands, you don't know where they've been"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In my mind I was thinking "right here at the end of my arms grandma" but I knew better than to say it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm totally comfortable with, "yes please, it would be great if you would mix the dressing and toss the salad. There's soap on the counter, and the hand-towel is beside the sink. Could you wash your hands?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Really. The least they could do before tossing the salad is wash their hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, that probably happens a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Be honest. How many times do you come into your kitchen and prepare food without first washing your hands? Scary isn't it? Now imagine visitors offering to lend a hand. Even scarier IMO.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When a had my little restaurant I had a lot of job applicants for back and front of house. Back of house I would always ask the applicant to show me how they prepped veg. At least forty applicants out of forty five grabbed some onions/carrots etc and started prepping them WITHOUT FIRST washing their hands. It was sickening. I did end up with a chef and a few line cooks who did first wash their hands. The chef Jack fell in love with Andrew a line cook. The love was not reciprocated which was an ongoing problem. Two of the line cooks seldom showed up sober/straight. But they did wash their hands frequently. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have hand soap in the kitchen and use it often. If I'm dealing with raw chicken, ground beef etc I'm also careful to rinse the sink after. However, my health inspector BIL hates it when people wash their hands in the kitchen! I guess the health code in his area requires a separate sink for hand washing. It's a particular issue with guests coming in from outside with their outside germs. Apparently he feels the germs from washing will linger in the sink and cross-contaminate food somehow. They do have a bathroom quite near the kitchen so it's more practical than it would be for me to run upstairs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BIL and my thinking are the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have two sinks in my kitchen, actually 3 including the double sink .... one's specifically for washing hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I always use bleach spray on my sink, the drain and counters after handling or washing raw meat or poultry there. I wipe it out with a paper towel and then rinse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think we do the best we can in the kitchen and bath setup we have. Sorry, but I'd be annoyed to no end with your BIL if he tried to tell me how to wash my hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Boy, no kidding. People who are that germophobic rarely get invited to my house, where i wash my hands wherever it's the most convenient when I need to wash them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Who is BIL? And...what is wrong with washing my hands with soap and water at the kitchen sink before handling food and cooking? This is truly silly. If I handle chicken in the kitchen, should I run into the bathroom to wash my hands?? Come on, let's get serious. I do my best to keep my hands and my kitchen clean, but I do not have a dedicated hand washing sink in my kitchen and even if I could afford one (which I can't) I wouldn't dream of wasting money on one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most health codes around the country do require a separate hand sink in a commercial kitchen. It keeps whatever is on your hands from transferring to any food that may be near a prep sink. An important consideration in a commercial kitchen where it is not uncommon to need to wash your hands when someone else is doing serious prep work. Seems a bit extreme in a home kitchen, but if your BIL (brother-in-law) is used to seeing this kind of thing ignored it would be a sticking point for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A funny observation - I heard something on a food show a few weeks ago that is you flush the toilet with the lid open, the spray comes into the bathroom and its like brushing your teeth with waste matter. Remember that when washing your hands in the bathroom before cooking. I use my sink in the kitchen and always wash my hands before. Also, if there is chicken or meat involved, I have a small spray bottle with 1 TBS of bleach to the bottle of water, and spray my sink and the area with it and my hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: happygoluckyinoregon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's a phenomenon known as "fecal mist", and it's been proven to be largely a myth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I always like learning, so will look that up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, upon research, it seems it is not a myth, but not just in the bathroom. It seems that FM is everywhere, just as dust bunnies are, and I guess its like everything else, what you don't know, etc, right? I go to Myth Busters for a lot of things, here is their report, more or less. http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/myt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: happygoluckyinoregon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The myth is that it's a bathroom phenomenon. What the boys basically proved is that (sh)it is EVERYWHERE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: happygoluckyinoregon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        With all due respect, I can't reconcile "happy-go-lucky" with a sink-side spray-bottle of bleach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I never do. In fact, I never fail to wash my hands as soon as I come home from an outing touching the same stuff as everyone else out there. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. I don't offer to do dishes as a guest, and my guests generally don't offer to do dishes, either. I think the reason for this is that my friends and I all agree: dishes should be left until after the guests leave or the next morning, depending on your personal tastes. Frankly, I find it quite rude as a guest when the hosts disappear to wash dishes while I'm still visiting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Can I help?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you, but no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is a sign of politeness to offer, and the host should decline. If the guest doesn't offer, the guest is rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow. To me this entire thread is just American. I live in Europe, and a lot of Europeans would be horrified -- and are horrified -- when Americans insist on clearing the table for them and heading into the kitchen to wash up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A kitchen in Italy is such a private, personal space that when Italians sell a house, they take the entire kitchen with them. When the new owner moves in, they bring their own kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Taking it upon yourself to clear up and clean up insinuates that your host is incompetent (or is obviously not moneyed enough to afford servants in the kitchen). Not to mention, most Italians don't come to your house dressed for dinner in their wash-up clothes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To wash dishes in Italy (where dishwashers are still not the norm), one puts on an apron and rubber gloves and plunges one's arms up to the elbows into boiling soapy water and scrubs. None of this "once over lightly" and a rinse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, one would be mortified to invite people over to dinner and lay out a coma-inducing amount of food, and then have everybody leap up to be first for KP duty. You're supposed to talk and sigh and moan happily for several hours after dinner, not do housework.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I absolutely despise having people in my kitchen doing anything other than entertaining me with brilliant conversation, and when Americans visit me in Italy, I tell them the minute they walk in that I hope they will adhere to local norms and enjoy the pleasure of being well-fed guests for the precious time they are vacationing away from clocks and strict rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry, sounds like going to church, and just as boring. Poor Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: barberinibee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <<Personally, I absolutely despise having people in my kitchen doing anything other than entertaining me with brilliant conversation, and when Americans visit me in Italy, I tell them the minute they walk in that I hope they will adhere to local norms and enjoy the pleasure of being well-fed guests for the precious time they are vacationing away from clocks and strict rules.>>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would find it extremely rude to have someone tell me, immediately upon entering their home, that basically I am a stupid american who lives by the clock and ignorant rules and who routinely offends the "locals". Honestly this seems even ruder than almost anything else I have read on this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While I also hold to the sit and relax after dinner and see a host heading to the kitchen to clean up as a sign that the party is over I would *never* choose to offend my guests by making ignorant assumptions about their attitudes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I imagined barberinibee saying this to his guests in that charming way that Europeans have, I'm guessing he doesn't say it quite the way we might, here in the good ol' US, where we really know how to speak our minds! The way he phrases it sounds very polite to me. Of course I don't know for sure......just saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I still would find it very passive aggressive as opposed to charming. My parents lived in Italy for over 15 years and their friends (almost all "local" though my mom had her share of expats, too) would have never made that kind of assumption of a guest invited into their home, especially invited for a family meal. They would give their guest the benefit of the doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now if someone began clearing the table and elbowing their way into the kitchen they would offer a polite refusal, much as I do here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess this is another example of not being so sweeping in generalizations about Italians, Americans, Germans, etc etc. Obviously not all Italians assume American are rude and they can be gracious in welcoming them into their homes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will defer to your experience then, since I was only in Italy for 8 days, about 15 years ago. I will say no more, lest I ensnare myself in more generalizations!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My interpretation is the same as yours. I think that some folks take offense at any comparison between cultures or countries. It's just a difference and I found the perspective from Italy interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for another perspective, I was starting to think I was weird! Vive la différence, I say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not fer nuthin', but if you think my agreement means *you're* not weird, you could be in for a rude awakening. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh I'm weird but in a good way, I hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Me, too, at least I *think* so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I imagined barberinibee saying this to his guests in that charming way that Europeans have"--

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's sweet. I mean, problematic and misguided (as all generalisations are) but sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't really expect my guests to do the washing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I don't consider it rude if a guest doesn't help to wash dishes but I do consider it impolite when I am carrying my dish to the kitchen and they don't get up to carry their own... Or don't bring it later. Especially in a more casual environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My bro in law seems to always by annoyed with having to wash dishes at his Ouse when they host but everyone chips in to clear the table, help wash up. When the event is at my parents he doesn't move an inch off the table to help out and leaves it up to everyone else. I would say that is inconsiderate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ylsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The clearing of the table is a host function, not a guest function. Guests are absolutely not rude for failing to failing to clear the table; they may offer, but their lack of an offer is neither rude nor impolite. Guests are guests; hosts are hosts. The exception is a potluck environment where in a sense all are co-hosts and co-guests (which is one reason people both like potlucks - because the boundary lines are less clear - but also tend to be very confused by them - for the same reason; we've had many threads attesting to this dual quality).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I agree with most other posts. Family (spouse, grown children, siblings) should offer to help. Other guests? No way! I have a very close friend who always wants to help clean my dishes. It drives me crazy, quite honestly. If she does succeed in helping I have to go behind her and rearrange the dishwasher, remove my knives from the dishwasher, and inevitably can't find an item or two that has been misplaced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess I'm the Queen of my kitchen and I want to keep it that way. You should see me when someone else is cooking in my kitchen!! I almost loose my mind! haha

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I am still astounded that anyone would expect their guests to do scullery duty. They are your guests, not your servants.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Many who expect the offer turn it down. They are just seeking the empty gesture. But, as Larry David found out, "You can't make an empty gesture to a Funkhouser!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As they say in recovery circles, expectations are premeditated resentments. And they are baggage for them that hold on to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I host Christmas Eve dinner for about 30 close friends and family. After we eat the main, my friends always jump up and clear the table, pack leftovers and wash dishes before we move on to desserts. I always insist that "you guys are my guests, please just relax," but regardless everyone pitches in to clean up. My best friend explained why they do it last night. They know I spend days cooking and planning. I also have children, and they know I need to get the boys to bed, so Santa can come. They also know the morning will be crazy hectic with gift and stocking opening, resulting in even more mess. If they all pitch in to help, after the main, we eat dessert, they all jet home to put their kids to bed (which apparently goes quickly because they are all full and exhausted from partying,) and life is easier for all. I don't like people in my kitchen when I'm cooking, but have no clean up rules, aka, it all goes in the dishwasher. I guess if they feel better about it, and I'm not up until 3 am, it's a win-win for all. This was the first year I relaxed and enjoyed the help, although I did preface it with, no, just leave it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I prefer leaving the cleaning up to whoever did the cooking. That way my relatives know they don't have to do anything when they're my guests and hopefully don't expect me to do anything when I'm at their houses. Seems to work out okay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So no, I don't think it's necesarily rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. if the guest was a real friend, i'd actually be insulted if they offered to do the dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the last thing i'd ever want any guest to get involved with is the clean up and dishwashing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                when i say GUEST, i mean GUEST.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                please don't insult my hospitality by offering housekeeping services.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                it would be really unappreciated.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                it would be like they offered to mop the floor, change the filter in the stove hood, do laundry, or vacuum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                there is nothing intrinsically different about dishwashing than any other type of housekeeping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                this is my house, i clean it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                people who do this more than once, creep me out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I think it's rude if the guests are family, but not real guests. And most people were not raised with the custom of offering to help the host with dishes. And many don't like to do it, so they're not going to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I always offer to help with the dishes, because I know what a pain in the butt it is. If the host is offended by my offer, too bad. I suppose a waitress should be offended by tips, too? It makes no sense to me. The person went through all that time and effort to cook for me, so the least I can help with is the dishes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BlogZilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By your logic: you use their bathroom, so perhaps you should also offer to scrub the toilet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just had to say I loved this reply.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *chortling out loud

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, IMHO good manners dictate that when you are visitor and use someone's washroom, you should leave it as clean as you found it...and that includes the toilet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually that is the case. Some people are like PIG PEN and don't know how to clean up after themselves, or make a mess of everything they touch. I live with someone annoying like this. Thankfully he's moving out in a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you use the rest room, leave it the way you found it, not with water splashed all over the place, plaque and food bits in the sink, urine and fecal stains in the toilet, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Co-dependent no more,by Melody Beattie.Read the book and see if you're the caretaker/martyr/victim or one of of the people that trigger the victim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Wow, 309 replies, apparently this hit a nerve. I think it depends on what your family culture was while growing up and that is why the continuum is so broad on this subject. Personally, I appreciate the offer but my kitchen is small and I prefer to do it myself. I always offer when I am a guest and I am sincerely glad to help; I like being part of a team. If my host says, "no", I consider if they are working and then I find a tactful way to offer a second time because I want them to feel comfortable saying "Yes". If my hosts are in their 60's or older, I just start cleaning up. I know they are tired and it takes a lot of time and energy to put on a dinner party. They have never insisted I stop and sit down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I always offer to help out before and after, it's up to the host to accept or not. I'm happy to help, also happy to relax and socialize instead of cooking or cleaning up. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When I'm hosting a party I like to feed my guests good food. I want them to have a great time and relax and enjoy themselves. I don't want them to do the dishes! I feel that cleaning up is part of the hosting deal and I actually don't mind it at all- especially after a few glasses of holiday cheer. ;) I wait till they're gone to tackle the mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A few Christmases ago a friend brought along some old college buddies to dinner, last minute. No problem. The more the merrier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Our new dishwasher had decided to break just prior to the annual shindig. No biggie. I've hand washed dishes before and lived to tell the tale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The last minute guests insisted on doing the dishes no matter how many times I refused their help. I finally just gave in and ended up babysitting them the whole time instead of enjoying the party. 'Your dishwasher doesn't work? You don't have a dish drainer? (No, just moved house, didn't replace the old one yet, didn't plan on the dishwasher suddenly self-destructing, thought I'd deal with it later.) Don't you have any clean dish towels? (They're in the wash. I used most of them cooking. Didn't think I'd need them till after you left...here's a roll of paper towels, knock yourselves out...). Where does this (pan, dish, plate) go?... Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think it's always best to listen and respect your host's wishes. :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thingmaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have friends, sisters, who sneak in the kitchen and act like they're BSing with each other, meanwhile they wash every single thing AND put it away while I sit at the table and finally have a drink or two. They are not 100% but not bad either, only have to search for a few items the day after.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A guest recently ignored my assertive, "no, thanks" about clean up help and insisted on carrying in her plates to the kitchen and even turned on the water to rinse. I pointedly reached over her, turned off the water, and said "git" (or words to that effect). Of course I appreciate the offer of help, but I'm 110% stone-cold serious that I do not accept help.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pine time, you are awesome! Filing 'git' away for future use. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. If I'm hosting I do not expect guests to do dishes or clean up. If they offer I will refuse but I don't think twice about anyone who doesn't offer. It's not impolite at all. When I go to others homes I don't offer to do dishes. I hate to do dishes. I don't want to help do dishes. I might bring my plate into the kitchen if others do the same but I'm not washing it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jpan99

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would not dream of allowing a dinner guest or a guest in my home to do dishes. Not even my two adult children were expected to do dishes after they cooked when they were both staying here in 2012 before shipping off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I am dining with very close family or friends I just pitch in and get it done. My thing is that I like to feed people and show them a good time from start to finish and expecting help with clean up is not an expectation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. That is awesome that you have manners to ask to do dishes after being a dinner guest, but your dinner guest IS A GUEST, they have been invited to eat and perhaps afterwards move into another room and have a drink and socialize, contemplating on a wonderful meal they have had.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are they good friends? relatives? It would be nice to ask, but some people just don't have the awareness for that kind of thing....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If it does bother you and you know them fairly well, you could verbally imply in a light hearted or joking manner that you would love some help setting up or something like that...feel it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Looks like most of us have the same consensus - not polite, but not rude, and certain subgroups (close family, extended house guests, etc) would make it more rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd throw in that as a mother with two small children I have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with this than I did before I had kids. Before I wouldn't have cared, and probably would have declined. Now...well, I don't *expect* it, but sometimes I host just because it is the only way I can socialize (if we can't find babysitting or whatever), so I have to say I always hope the person will offer and I certainly always accept these days :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. No i dont think its rude. But if someone did offer i would decline there offer but at the end of the day i would think it was at least nice of who ever offered to help

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I totally agee. my sister never offers to help with anything when she comes over. she just plops her ass down on the couch and gets hypnotized with the tv. she is my only living relative, she is 7 years older than me and never, ever, ever had offered to help with anything (cooking, cleaning up after a meal that I prepared from scratch). Golly, just offer at least? I always offer or just start helping when I visit someone. I finally, after about 3 years of her coming over, said something and she blew up with anger....."....you are just like Mom!..... you want me to wait on you hand and foot.." I said, "no, I just want to pick up after yourself and/or at least OFFER to help with something!" pffffft. geeeez, I had had enough and thank goodness I am not the only that feels this way. btw.....I have a serious back and sciatic nerve injury and live alone.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Again, I had put up with this for years and I even felt super guilty saying anything to her about it but I was FED UP.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good grief, at LEAST offer to help, please?!?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: qwertyui

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's best to get that kind of stuff out in the open, the balls in her court now. You may be pleasantly surprised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qwertyui

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am always happy to help the hostess with the dishes, but acknowledge that many folks want things done "their way", a method with which I am not always familiar. I don't think there's a "wrong" way to load a dishwasher, but reading this thread, I've learned otherwise. If my offer to help is met with "no no, just relax" ... that's what I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps my pacing is different. At many a Thanksgiving dinner with my family (after my siblings were grown) two of my sisters are lightning fast eaters, and are whisking the plates off the table before the rest of us are finished. My brother and I would be leisurely enjoying our pie and coffee while getting the stink-eye from the other two for "not helping".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. As far as I'm concerned guests shouldn't be doing anything other than having a good time. All food and drinks will be provided. All food prep and execution are to be done by the hosts. All dishes are done later by the hosts. In fact I'd even prefer to do the bar myself. That is how we roll for our parties. Unless guests have an absolutely favourite bottle of something or a dietary restriction that we either don't know about or it's something we can't accomodate, I don't want guests bringing anything either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just show up with yourselves and nothing else. You should not be obliged to bring anything.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. our DD always gets stuck doing all the clean up for her many parties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              provides the house, food and party for several occasions. she loves doing this and is simply terrific at it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              but unless I'm there, people simply end the night with a hug and no offer to help. think it's probably pretty typical. she always tells me how it'd all be done and done quickly if a few stuck around, or it was done straight away after meal was finished.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Then she should either say something or stop having her "many parties". There are no victims here. If she doesn't like it she should have a potluck and make it clear you have to pay to play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  all due respect: your opinion about what my daughter should do means nothing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. No it's not rude. Just bring the wine. When ever I visit my sister and family. I have never done the dishes. But, I always help set up and clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. my take

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for informal dinner parties among friends,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it is rude for a guest not to help to help,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  however, it is even ruder for the host to accept the help.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DukeFan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never would accept help although it's offered and very kind for people to want to jump in and get it done-our thinking is retire to the patio or back yard and enjoy whoever remains as there's always tomorrow at which point I'll be fresh and sans guests

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I have been raised to always offer help to do dishes after a meal or to offer help with prep etc, or offer to bring something. It is not rude but it all depends on a persons upbringing i think. I have friends that do offer to help but always when i am done prepping or cooking everything or when i have set the table (My comment to them is well its too late now). They do help with the dishes but always the next day. I like doing my dishes right after so that i do not have dirty dishes to do the next day. We have our friends over almost every weekend and it is always the same thing i do all the cooking and we supply the food, there is never an offer to help pitch in. But then i does not help that my bf expects me to do all the cooking and cleaning, he is no help either. lol :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        seriously time to dump that one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AmyP70

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds as if you enjoy the role of being the long-suffering martyr.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. As my guest, I would never expect you to help with the dishes, and as a guest, I would never expect to be expected to do them. I like to clean up the next day and spend time with my guests. I have a couple plastic "busboy bins" that hold the lot and I don't have to look at everything spread around the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, I always offer to help clear up and if the host starts to wash up directly after dinner I'll grab a towel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I remember hosting my first Thanksgiving years ago, and after dinner my mother and aunties insisted on washing everything up. I couldn't persuade them to leave it to me. They enjoyed themselves and worked and reminisced (with plenty of wine) while the rest of the family just hung out or took walks through the woods. I "supervised" the work and had a great time listening to their stories. We had 17 place settings and all the extra crystal, china, etc. and they got it all done in no time!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Best holiday ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Guests don't work in my house. Shocking to suggest it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. as a hostess, i have never started the dishes while my dinner guests were present. maybe cleared the table, but never started the dishes, that includes family gatherings, close friends dinner parties and dinners that a bit more formal with a mix of friends, family and newly made friends.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Me too, however, I have a SIL who is OCD and control freak, and insists on cleaning my kitchen. It is kind of annoying, but choose your battles... I don't want guests cleaning my kitchen dishes, or anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BobbieSue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Send your SIL to my house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have some bathroom floors that need to be mopped and kitty-litter boxes that need scooping...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What does she like to eat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. If the host has servants, never offer to help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If the host doesn't have servants, always ask: "Can I help clear the table?" Host, always say: "No."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is manners.

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