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Feb 19, 2011 06:09 PM

What to do with guests who only want to host?

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.

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.