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Guest ettiquette: Sozlet's fish revisited.

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 07:31 pm
I tried to find the thread about Sozlet and her friend visiting the carnival where Sozlet won two fish and inadvertantly gifted the prettiest fish to her friend. I couldn't find it so I thought this might be worthy enough for a new thread.

Yesterday Mr. B called from work, he had to make a trip to the coast. He told me to pack a bag and that he'd be here in one hour to pick us up. Mo's best friend "Nick" was here so we invited him along. Fun! Right?

Well, yeah, it was pretty fun, actually, but anyway...

I can't begin to count the number of times Nick said "My mom always says the guest gets to choose (insert choice here)". Finally I took Nick aside and explained that yes, the guest gets to choose but there is an art to being a guest and part of that art is knowing when to defer to the host.

Now I confess to being guilty of using "let the guest choose" speech. In most cases of guest children we're talking about a few hours -- not 24 hours. Not on a big, spontaneous adventure. There comes a time when things need to equal out a bit.

On the drive home I started thinking about how I (and maybe you) spend a lot of time teaching Mo to be a good host, often at his own expense, but have I taught him how to be a good guest?

And I realized that maybe I haven't.

I (and maybe you) want your kid to stand up for themselves but there comes a time when they need to learn to stand down without having to go through the big frikken mom-lecture again.

Maybe this is just age related (8).

What's a good comeback for "the guest gets to choose"?

Thanks!
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 07:38 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
What's a good comeback for "the guest gets to choose"?

I wouldn't start there. I try to pre-empt the scenario by offering the guest his choices, and framing them in a way that the menu only includes choices agreeable to you and Mo.

But, to answer your question: I think the best comeback is: "Not in my house you don't! If you think this is a household of nice people, you are badly mistaken."
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 07:50 pm
I'd ask Nick "Doesn't your mother also say it's rude to point that out?"
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 07:55 pm
Jeez, Thomas. You've been to my house. Are you saying we aren't nice?

<sob>

I get what you're saying. Truthful humor is often very effective. I want Mo to be nice to his guests without being a doormat.

It's a little more complicated than that though, Chai. I'm sure Nick hears it when he has a guest over. His mom is trying to teach him to be polite to his guests. Then the kid goes out in the world and becomes the guest (Nick practically lives here) and they've had this defer to the guest message hammered in and turn around to use it for their own advantage.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:00 pm
@boomerang,
I think part of the problem is that the relevant rule isn't "be nice to guests". Rather, it's "be nice, period, never mind to whom". Or, stated in more specific terms: "Be the kind of guest you'd like to have at your house, and be the kind of host you'd like to visit." The main point isn't that guests have special status; it's to apply the Golden Rule.

Another part of the problem is that if Nick's mother taught him a rule, you don't have the standing to change it. Only Nick's mother does. Are you on her on good enough terms to talk about this? (I think you might, if Nick "practically lives here".) Maybe you want to have a mom-to-mom talk with her.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:02 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

It's a little more complicated than that though, Chai. I'm sure Nick hears it when he has a guest over. His mom is trying to teach him to be polite to his guests. Then the kid goes out in the world and becomes the guest (Nick practically lives here) and they've had this defer to the guest message hammered in and turn around to use it for their own advantage.


That's exactly what I knew he meant.

As far as I'm concerned, it's gauche to point that out, and that's exactly how I would have called it to his attention.

Life ain't fair. Sometimes you're a good host, and when it turns around you get bupkus in return.

The purpose of offering the guest a choice is not so they can turn it to their advantage, but to acknowledged they've been favored. It doesn't give the guest carte blanche to make a pig or nusiance of himself.

I think it sounds incredibly bratty and ill mannered of Nick to point out that he's supposed to make the choices.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:11 pm
Interesting. I most agree with Thomas' last post, but see Chai's point.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:22 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Maybe this is just age related (8).


I don't think so.

A lot of this goes on and on and on.

I can remember some years ago when relatives were visiting from Germany. The hamburgers went all out to try and make everything just right for them (guest is always right, right). Tours, special food, gifts etc etc

That seemed normal enough to me til I started thinking back to our trips to Germany where we went all out to make things easier for our hosts since ... we were their guests.

I asked mrs hamburger at the time when they got to do things the way they liked. Her answer was pretty much "when we're alone".

Being a good host is tricky. Being a good guest is tricky. Getting the balance right is tricky.

The enthusiasm that Nick put into letting you all know he was the guest with the right of choice may have had something to do with his age, but you know there is occasionally an adult guest who says "well, you live/work/play here but it's probably the only time I'll ever get to ...."

It is easier for some people to deal bluntly with those adult guests than with kids, but I occasionally still get hung up on it.


ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:24 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
boomerang wrote:
What's a good comeback for "the guest gets to choose"?

I wouldn't start there. I try to pre-empt the scenario by offering the guest his choices, and framing them in a way that the menu only includes choices agreeable to you and Mo.


Around here, we call that "red pyjama, blue pyjama". It can work if you're really on your game.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:24 pm
Thomas said
Code:If you think this is a household of nice people, you are badly mistaken.
I Believe this a reference to the week he spent with The Dys and the Lady Diane. We don't do "guests" of any age. anyone who enters our home is expected to serve/take care of themselves. There's food in the and the pantry, there's tea and coffee and plates/cups/bowls. don't find what you want? ask, we may not have it.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:27 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
It is easier for some people to deal bluntly with those adult guests than with kids, but I occasionally still get hung up on it.

Taking notes, resolving to use my elbows with subtlety after crossing the border.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:38 pm
@Thomas,
ha! you already got red pyjama/red pyjama'd. There were other guests already in position Laughing
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:40 pm
@Thomas,
Sure, keeping in mind that's what elbows are for
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:43 pm
@dyslexia,
Piece of Background: When Walter Hinteler asked Dys if he can get a bottle of coke, Dys said "no". Walter was shocked. But now he has at least seen Dys's and Diane's true colors as hosts. It's the reason neither Walter nor I ever visited the two for a second time.
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:48 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

Thomas said
Code:If you think this is a household of nice people, you are badly mistaken.
I Believe this a reference to the week he spent with The Dys and the Lady Diane. We don't do "guests" of any age. anyone who enters our home is expected to serve/take care of themselves. There's food in the and the pantry, there's tea and coffee and plates/cups/bowls. don't find what you want? ask, we may not have it.


Actually, they're even worse than he will admit. When you visit Dys and Diane, they expect you to serve them. I spent practically all of my time fetching and carrying stuff for them. They even made me do the dishes. I got back at them, though. I ate a piece of the apple pie they were saving.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:51 pm
@Eva,
Horrible people. Not as horrible as boomerang, but I never liked them, either.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 08:54 pm
@Eva,
Are you still wondering who swiped your cheesecake at the Flying Star?
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 09:07 pm
I wouldn't have put it past any of you.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 01:30 am

I would have told the kid... "yep you have the right to choose here are your choices... nothing or what you are given, choose wisely grasshopper".
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 01:42 am
@dadpad,
We always had two choices at meals, too; take it, or leave it.
0 Replies
 
 

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