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Thread: Guest and Host Etiquette - Is This Rude?

  1. #1
    Gold Member mylolita's Avatar
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    Guest and Host Etiquette - Is This Rude?

    Hi all,

    Just a quick question as Google doesn't ping any offering up to me regarding this small but curious matter!

    I host a lot, we have many people over at many times due to my husbands business. These people are sometimes friends and sometimes strangers, sometimes customers and sometimes a bit of both you could say! Something that strikes me the most is this; I always offer anyone coming into the house (whether a close friend or a stranger), a drink of something. Usually something light to eat or a piece of cake etc, you know the usual thing.

    I've noticed lately, especially with friends, and especially with younger friends (anyone over 40 doesn't seem to do this), that I will offer say a coffee or a piece of cake and they will reply, "Not now, but I might have it later", which I instantly take as being rude. Before you jump on me hear me out! Firstly, this is implying they are okay to help themselves at a later date, orrrr, that they can summon me to make the coffee at the time of their liking. Maybe I am getting this all out of whack, but I find it very rude. I always think when you offer a friend or guest something to eat or drink it's a bit of a take it or leave it now or never offer. Them deciding when they are going to take your offer, especially since friends are normally in and out of our house all day, throws me off a bit.

    It got me thinking - we have a friend who is doing a bit of photography work for my husband in the house two or three days a week. He is newly vegan and I always offer him a vegan lunch option and even buy in oat and almond milk and special types of milk and egg free cakes and biscuits. My parents also happen to be vegan, so they often come with these speciality biscuits, leave them and I have them in the cupboard for people like our friend (I mean, we do eat them now and then but not over a normal biscuits or whatever). This morning, I offer our friend one of these vegan biscuits with the coffee I'm making him and I hand him the unopened packet so he can check the type and ingredients. He says "Not now but maybe later", and I notice he puts the packet to the side of the kitchen where his own bag is. I find this a little odd as I haven't given him the whole packet and also I am finding the "I'll help myself if I feel like it later" mentality a little rude. Maybe it's because I'm British. We are weird I suppose.

    The day goes on, he leaves late, about 6pm, and I notice my husband has eaten the whole packet! Oops! Our friend comes in the next day and says, "I was just settling down for my tea last night and thought I'd tuck into those biscuits at home and realised they'd been moved! Are they not here today?" And I laughed and said, "You have to get your paws on biscuits then and there in this house". I thought it was so cheeky he was going to take the packet home with him and felt the need to kind of tell me off that they had been moved from our own kitchen!

    Is this just me being too fussy or are these people being rude?! And taking advantage?!

    Your opinions matter! Anyone who hosts or holds regular dinner parties as well, let me in on this, what is your take?

    Many thanks,
    Lo x

  2. #2
    Silver Member Camber 2019's Avatar
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    I think the "thought I'd tuck into those biscuits at home and realised they'd been moved!" is extremely rude!!!!

    However, as for the "Not now but maybe later" I would say that is more of a polite way to say no. They don't want to insult you by turning down what you are offering...

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    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think they're just being comfortable in your home which is not a bad sign. These aren't very egregious issues. Do you feel you may be a little burnt out from the frequency of people over though?

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    Gold Member mylolita's Avatar
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    Hey Camber,

    Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your input! I know it's a totally trivial matter!

    I thought that was pretty rude too! This is after weeks of getting very comfy at our house - maybe I should take it as a compliment but my honest reaction is no!

    Lo x

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    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    It is a trivial matter, and you may be misinterpreting their meaning.

    My guess is that they really don't want what you're offering, but instead of saying they don't want any, they think it will make you feel better if they say 'maybe later.' I'm positive that there is no rudeness meant on their part. Even if they DID truly want it later, how difficult would it be for you to get them the previously offered items?

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    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    Perhaps they are saying, "not now, but maybe later"..because they don't want to seem rude by saying a flat out, no?

    But yes, they could just easily say, "No, but thanks for the offer".

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    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think if I was as annoyed I'd tell the person there's a hose at the back for water if they're thirsty later.

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    Super Moderator HeartGoesOn's Avatar
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    I agree with it simply being a polite way of saying "no." As to commenting on the biscuits, I would say that's uncalled for.

    But you handled it well, Lo.

  10. #9
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    My thoughts on this are - being raised in the states (east coast if that makes a difference) I was taught when hosting, the guest's needs always comes first.

    So when offering them something and they reply “not now but maybe later,” I would not be offended in the least, and would respond “sure let me know.”

    I have had guests later in the evening tell me they’re ready for that coffee now (in a polite non-demanding way) and I would say sure, and get up to make it for them. Often times they would ask if they can help.

    I have had clients do this in long meetings too at our offices. I would ask if they want water, coffee or soft drink and they’d initially say no, perhaps later, and then later during the meeting (an hour or so later), they would request it (nicely and politely).

    I see nothing wrong with this, again how I was raised.
    Last edited by katrina1980; 08-22-2019 at 05:39 PM.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    You didn't say whether or not you had to circle back after the fact and serve them. Has that happened?
    Going forward, expect it and let them know they are welcome to help themselves when they are ready.
    What other options do you have? Telling them `now or never'?

    I can maybe understand your frustration had to had to wait on them again at a later time, but I didn't see where you had. Be annoyed after you've been inconvenienced.

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