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What to do with guests who only want to host?

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foodieseattlelady Feb 19, 2011 06:09 PM

Within the past year and a half, I've run across a new problem that has perplexed me. One of my husband's best friends and his wife built a new home a year ago. Since then, they have begun to go out less and insist that people come over to their house. This has become such an issue that they hosted one dinner party where the host called his friends who had not RSVP'd or said that they were unable to come and implied that they were not good friends if they failed to come. Their house is almost an hour from our house and we have a two year-old. These friends do not have children. Thus, aside from an open house they host once a year, where we can easily leave if our little bundle of joy becomes overtired or just overly tiresome, this places a burden on us. This burden would be less if my husband's friends were willing to come to our house for dinner once in a while. I am an avid home cook and love entertaining. However, this couple has refused every single invitation, from baby showers for shared friends to sports events to dinner parties, to our home within the past year and a half. I feel like the girl who keeps traipsing after a cute boy, and keeps being rejected. After so much of that, even the most ardent admirer gets the hint. I am tempted to simply stop inviting them, and simply encourage my husband to spend time with his friend on the occasional guys night out. Then again, that seems a little petty. I suppose I could just see each invitation as a gesture I do not expect to be returned, like saying please and thank you. What do you think I should do? I am unsure.

  1. c
    CookieLee Feb 19, 2011 06:30 PM

    I think you should do what's good for you. And, not feel bad about it. There has to be reciprocation in any relationship, and clearly, this couple is only interested in what's good for them. They sound quite rude & narcissistic. They don't come to your invitation, and then are annoyed if people don't come to theirs? Obviously, you're not the only one they're not reciprocating with. I like your suggestion. It's your husband's buddy, not yours. Doesn't seem petty to me.

    1. goodhealthgourmet Feb 19, 2011 06:49 PM

      However, this couple has refused every single invitation, from baby showers for shared friends to sports events to dinner parties, to our home within the past year and a half.
      ~~~~~~~~~~
      even more reason for you to not feel the LEAST bit obligated to accept theirs. and i don't see why you have to continue to invite them to your home just to set yourself up for continued rejection. your husband can spend time with his friend if he wants to, you don't have to go along. and quite honestly, if they're such close friends it's not unreasonable for your husband to have a civilized discussion with him about the issue...or just let it go, leave him to manage his friendship however he pleases, and don't waste any more of your own time or energy worrying about these self-involved people. life's too short, and you don't owe them anything.

      1. g
        givemecarbs Feb 19, 2011 08:37 PM

        Interesting problem foodieseattlelady. I was in a somewhat similar situation when I lived in NC. The insistent host was my SO's boss and that made it awkward. The guy was a bit of a control freak and implied that things would not go pleasantly at work if my SO and I did not attend his mandatory dinners and cook outs. Once my mom came to visit and we had a special dinner planned at a restaurant she really wanted to try. When we explained that to the host nazi he insisted that my mom come to his cook out as well. My mom had the idea (out of desperation) to do a dine and dash as she was only visiting for a short time, but as we learned, that can be hard to pull off without seeming rude. So we ate his tough steaks and my mom missed out on her original plans.
        I say don't take a burden on yourself, go when it works for you, and keep at least responding to the invites even if it is only to decline. If they are just going through a phase, I hope it doesn't last twenty years!
        I ended up just waiting out the situation and putting up with it until the boss was promoted. This required him to move, so problem solved for me.
        Sounds like these two have a nasty case of house proud, so they probably won't move out of your life. Not having kids is major, but perhaps that will change for them. I think you might be also seeing a bit of fall out from the trend of people not responding to invitations, or saying maybe. I think they might be feeling some frustration from that. I'd like to say the trend is recent or only among certain generations, but I remember getting "maybed" by my elderly but healthy and lively aunt when I invited her to a party about 15 years ago. She never did confirm or show up.

        1. mariacarmen Feb 19, 2011 09:54 PM

          i am curious - what do they say when you invite them to your house? is it always a different excuse? Can you not just ask them? Could you not just say, "ok guys, it's really your turn to come to our house. I've been dying to make this special dish for you (or whatever). So, what night in the next month can you guys make it?" And if they still refuse, can't you just say "hey look, it's been over a year since you've been to our house - would you come clean and tell us why? we love to entertain too!" and if they hem and haw... ditch 'em. i'm not saying you have to continue to put yourself out there for them to reject, I'm just wondering if you'd get an answer that would explain this weird behavior. But, if the answer's not worth the trouble, forget about it! Just don't invite them anymore, and make your own excuses when next they invite you to their home. and don't feel bad about it - you're not being petty, you're respecting yourselves.

          1. k
            Kater Feb 20, 2011 05:38 AM

            I think you need to follow your instincts. Your friends' choices have really bothered you and the friendship seems to be a matter of habit rather than something you really enjoy.

            1. w
              Whinerdiner Feb 20, 2011 06:04 AM

              I agree with everyone so far. Because they have declined all your invitations , you've been freed from any social obligation to accept theirs. This is your husband's friend - don't sweat it.

              You may never know why they won't come over. Maybe the dog jumped on them once, maybe they don't like the parking situation at your place, maybe all the kid toys make them nervous. It may have nothing to do with you. Perhaps they like to drink, and staying put in their own living room instead of chancing a long drive home seems like a better idea.

              Let your husband see his buddy without you. They're big boys, they'll work it out. When you have a new "bundle" a night out should be a treat, not a burden. Call a girlfriend and plan some time off for yourself.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Whinerdiner
                rockandroller1 Feb 21, 2011 04:15 AM

                I agree with whinerdiner. You might not want to know what their reasons are for not wanting to come over. It could be as simple as not liking small children but not wanting to come out and say that - it's nothing against your child of course, but there are plenty of people who just don't want to be around little kids. Or some other reason you don't know about.

                I would simply stop accepting the invitations. Whatever their reason, it's problematic for you and the relationship isn't working because it's a one-way street. Let the men find a way to keep their friendship going separately.

              2. Caroline1 Feb 20, 2011 06:23 AM

                It sounds like time to ask yourself what you (specifically) are getting out of the relationship besides a lot of frustration? If you have to think a lot to come up with an answer, is the relationship really worth it? When there is no give and take between friends, the friendship usually cracks under the strain. Good luck! And be fair to yourself. Doesn't sound to me as if you owe them anything. Which is not to say they may not feel they are bringing most to the friendship... Unfortunately, that feeling of doing more may be their entire motivation for their behavior. Or maybe not. Either way, sounds like some kind of game playing to me, and I don't do games beyond boards and cards.

                1. i
                  Isolda Feb 20, 2011 09:05 AM

                  This may be far off the mark, but is it possible the woman has developed agoraphobia or perhaps a physical ailment that makes it difficult for her to leave the house for long periods of time?

                  In any case, whether they're just house proud or have a serious illness, you're still not obligated to go to every party. Just RSVP early so that they don't get offended. And if they get upset because of a negative reply to an invitation, I think you need to decide whether these people are worth having in your life.

                  1. b
                    beevod Feb 21, 2011 06:20 AM

                    You can't make people do what they don't want to do.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: beevod
                      Caroline1 Feb 21, 2011 06:41 AM

                      Unless you're their mother. '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1
                        h
                        HillJ Feb 21, 2011 06:47 AM

                        and then you take the risk of starting a whole new thread about guilt (food guilt) :)

                    2. l
                      LJS Feb 21, 2011 08:15 AM

                      I am not taking the side of the stay-at-home couple but I am wondering if one of the couple has the same issue as a very good friend of mine. I ask this because the way you posed the list of invitations, it sounded as if it was mostly 'group' events at your house. And I am not implying there is a problem with your approach...it is mine, too, with this lone exception.

                      My friend is a great guy, but he has a real thing about group parties. He has a large circle of pals and loves two-on-two dinners and likes meeting new people, but one or two, at a time, please. He explains it as some mild social anxiety disorder compounded (maybe even caused) by hearing loss. Events with a crowd are simply very diffcult for him.

                      As he is still very young, and has a successful consulting practice, he doesn't like to advertise his situation...people make judgements.

                      He is a wonderful cook and great host...always very attentive to the 1-3 guests he invites. And, if he could be certain his inviters are going to be hosting an equally small event, he would be happy to accept...otherwise, he will simply be too busy, or otherwise engaged.

                      Is it possible either husband or wife fall into this category?

                      1. s
                        sedimental Feb 21, 2011 08:53 AM

                        My first thought was that it sounds like they just want to show off their new house or their entertaining skills.
                        My second thought was that maybe it is like a couples friend of ours, one of them is really embracing the "non fat" lifestyle (and has lost a ton of weight) and they clearly prefer their own house these days.
                        If they matter to you- I would simply ask them (next time you are at their house!).

                        1. Withnail42 Feb 21, 2011 09:33 AM

                          This sounds a bit like my SIL. (With the exception she throws by far the worst parities imaginable. She was in fact quite proud of these disasters.) She badgers people into accepting. And for the last few years refuses to go to anyone's event. Wouldn't even RSVP So the rest of the family simply stopped inviting her. She was pissed when she realized that was happening. As punishment She responded by not having anymore parties. A win-win situation if ever there was one.

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