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Having guests and my boundaries


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What's with the ads?

#51 eternalsummer

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:28 PM

I try.  Sometimes we run out.  There's usually a bottle of red around.

 

I'm having a hard time imagining not having anything available to offer guests.  I know not everyone wants (or can afford to buy) wine.  (I do seek out inexpensive wines, which can be had even here in PA where everything comes from a state store.)  But coffee and tea are cheap and so easy to keep around.  I'm pretty sure my mom kept stuff around for guests.  I'm QUITE sure my Georgia born-and-bred MIL has always done so.  :-)     

 

 

We don't keep caffeine in the house, or drink it.  Decaf is caffeinated, so that's a no too.  We don't drink milk, either, so really all we ever have to drink is water, because that's what we drink.  I promise we are not bad people :)

 

We do have some medicinal teas, but I don't know if anyone wants Throat Coat when they're not sick.

 

I buy cookies but we eat them when I buy them.  Same with most snack foods - that is how I keep the kids (and me) from constantly eating only snack foods.  We have fruit, often, and celery and peanut butter, and etc.


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#52 QueenCat

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:39 PM

Wanna be neighbors? :D

 

I love my neighbors. Come on over! 


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#53 Catwoman

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:49 PM

See I don't find that odd at all.  All we have is water and milk (albeit 4 kinds of milk due to allergies/intolerances).  But we don't drink soda, tea or coffee.  We buy milk for cooking and cereal but even that isn't really a beverage in our house. And because I don't drink those things it never occurs to me to buy them when we have guests so I always feel lacking when guests come because once again I forgot to think about beverages because everyone here just drinks water.  
 
Snacks at our house is whatever fresh fruit is in season and fresh veggies like carrots or cucumbers or red peppers (eaten without dip).  When we are completely out of those things we have dried fruit and veggies that I dried myself.  We eat very little processed food and so snacks that my kids enjoy are not often appreciated by others (such as dried zucchini that I have to dry bushels of each year because it is so loved).  When we have guests, I do try to have fresh baked goods but again, we use only whole wheat, low sugar, packed with fruit/veggie kinds of stuff.  
 
So while I know my house and eating habits aren't mainstream it also doesn't surprise me when I find others who just don't keep lots of quick type snacks on hand.


I have to admit that I have never eaten dried zucchini, but I'll bet I'd like it -- if it's not too much trouble, can you tell me how you make it? Do you use a food dehydrator? (I'm totally guessing, because I honestly don't have a clue!) :)

Your baked goods sound delicious, too!
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#54 cjzimmer1

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:00 PM

I have to admit that I have never eaten dried zucchini, but I'll bet I'd like it -- if it's not too much trouble, can you tell me how you make it? Do you use a food dehydrator? (I'm totally guessing, because I honestly don't have a clue!) :)

Your baked goods sound delicious, too!

 

I have a large Excaliber dehydrator (which holds about 1/3 of a bushel at a time).  I slice the zucchini about 1/4 inch thick and fill the trays.  Some I sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, some get garlic salt, some get oregano, basil and salt.  Dry them till crunchy.


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#55 Catwoman

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:02 PM

THANK YOU!!!

My dehydrator isn't as large as yours, but I wouldn't have that much zucchini, either, so it's all good! :laugh:

I'm going to try it. I'll do small amounts with each of the seasonings you recommended. I'll bet we'll like them.

Thanks again!!!
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#56 EmseB

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:09 PM

See I don't find that odd at all.  All we have is water and milk (albeit 4 kinds of milk due to allergies/intolerances).  But we don't drink soda, tea or coffee.  We buy milk for cooking and cereal but even that isn't really a beverage in our house. And because I don't drink those things it never occurs to me to buy them when we have guests so I always feel lacking when guests come because once again I forgot to think about beverages because everyone here just drinks water.  

 

Snacks at our house is whatever fresh fruit is in season and fresh veggies like carrots or cucumbers or red peppers (eaten without dip).  When we are completely out of those things we have dried fruit and veggies that I dried myself.  We eat very little processed food and so snacks that my kids enjoy are not often appreciated by others (such as dried zucchini that I have to dry bushels of each year because it is so loved).  When we have guests, I do try to have fresh baked goods but again, we use only whole wheat, low sugar, packed with fruit/veggie kinds of stuff.  

 

So while I know my house and eating habits aren't mainstream it also doesn't surprise me when I find others who just don't keep lots of quick type snacks on hand.  

 

What I do in that situation (because beverages are easily forgotten for me for some reason) is to put out a big pitcher of water with cucumbers or strawberries or lemons in it (pretty and yummy) and another pitcher of just plain water for those who don't want the flavoring.  So, voila, two beverage choices!


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#57 Moxie

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:54 PM

If you just want to serve water, that’s fine but invest in a pretty tray and a nice pitcher and glasses vs water from the tap. Presentation can go a long way.
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#58 eternalsummer

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 12:54 AM

If you just want to serve water, that’s fine but invest in a pretty tray and a nice pitcher and glasses vs water from the tap. Presentation can go a long way.

 

Well durn, all we have is stainless steel cups and water out of the tap. ;)

 

You people exist in different social circles than I do, I guess.  I haven't been served from a pretty pitcher, and no one seems to be disappointed that we just have the cups we have.


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#59 Rosika

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:54 AM

We don't keep caffeine in the house, or drink it.  Decaf is caffeinated, so that's a no too.  We don't drink milk, either, so really all we ever have to drink is water, because that's what we drink.  I promise we are not bad people :)

 

Not only are you not "bad people" but you're in good company!

 

I do drink caffeine, but I don't keep it in the house. Nobody else here drinks it (and part of that is because I don't keep it in the house.) When people drop in unexpectedly, or if I ran out of time getting ready for people I was expecting, water is usually it. I don't have an ice maker either, so sometimes it's warm water at that. I like to chew Sonic ice, so I usually have a bag of that in the freezer but ... not always. 

 

What I've learned to do is to keep powdered lemonade on hand. It's easy enough to mix up. We all hate lemonade so none of us drink it, it's strictly for guests. Everyone around here seems to like lemonade. Or at least they do more than than they like water!

 

My kids all play or played sports, so they'd always bring home the juice boxes or gatorades that were passed out after games. They don't like those drinks, so it was nice to have them to keep in the refrigerator for when friends came over. They're older now, so that's less of a thing now. They finally (thank God) aged out of snacks after games. 

 

I used to get stressed out about this and just not offer anyone anything to drink. LOL



#60 Night Elf

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:13 AM

I didn't read all the replies but for snacks, how about popcorn and juice? When my kids were little, I was friends with a family who had 8 children. They'd come over to my house and there were so many I couldn't give them the type of snacks I gave to my own kids. I just didn't have enough. I'd pop a couple of big bowls of popcorn and have a big bottle of apple or grape juice and serve in little cups. I also made it a specific "snack time" so everyone was in the kitchen/dining area eating at one time. Then they went back to playing. No one kept coming in for more. 


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#61 ktgrok

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:15 AM

We don't keep caffeine in the house, or drink it.  Decaf is caffeinated, so that's a no too.  We don't drink milk, either, so really all we ever have to drink is water, because that's what we drink.  I promise we are not bad people :)

 

We do have some medicinal teas, but I don't know if anyone wants Throat Coat when they're not sick.

 

I buy cookies but we eat them when I buy them.  Same with most snack foods - that is how I keep the kids (and me) from constantly eating only snack foods.  We have fruit, often, and celery and peanut butter, and etc.

 

Right, but the whole point of having stuff for guests is well, having stuff for guests. Putting them at ease and making them comfortable. It doesn't have to be stuff you eat/drink yourself. When i didn't drink coffee I still kept some on hand for if my mom or another coffee drinker came by. And I have a variety of tea. I don't drink tea. You can keep some tasty treats in the freezer if you don't want them where they will tempt you, or buy them right before the person is coming over. It's part of hospitality. 
SaveSave


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#62 marbel

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:16 AM

I think popcorn is a great snack if the kids are the right ages!  I hadn't thought of that in this instance.  I've put out a bowl of popcorn for snacks for groups of adults and people love it!  A grad student who goes to my church always brings popcorn to gatherings where people are bringing food.  It's easy on his food budget and always welcome.  


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#63 rjand4more

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 10:03 AM

If you don’t have a coffee maker...There are some great instant coffees in individual packets. Starbucks makes one. Instant coffee has come a long way.
There are so many options for herbal teas and flavoured ones. I would suggest individually wrapped ( not celestial seasonings)
I have these available in a basket along with packets of apple cider (to add to hot apple juice), and hot cocoa packets. I buy something new each month with my regular shopping. It only costs a few dollars and before you know it, you have a great selection.
I buy the popcorn seasonings and have a popcorn snack. You can keep all that on hand for company.
One of my friends always has fruit and chocolate dip( melted chocolate chips in a mini crockpot. My kids love that.
It doesn’t have to be complicated.
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#64 KungFuPanda

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 10:36 AM

My grandmother never drinks tea, but keeps a box on hand for me. It takes minimal space and is shelf stable. I don't drink coffee, but keep it for guests. You can even do the coffee-in-a-tea bag thing and never own a coffee pot. Also, I keep a huge tea selection and about half are herbals. You can make "tea" with lemon juice and honey. I've done the cucumber water thing too. It's so EASY to have something for guests even if it's something your family doesn't usually consume.
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#65 eternalsummer

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 11:35 AM

Right, but the whole point of having stuff for guests is well, having stuff for guests. Putting them at ease and making them comfortable. It doesn't have to be stuff you eat/drink yourself. When i didn't drink coffee I still kept some on hand for if my mom or another coffee drinker came by. And I have a variety of tea. I don't drink tea. You can keep some tasty treats in the freezer if you don't want them where they will tempt you, or buy them right before the person is coming over. It's part of hospitality. 
SaveSave

 

 

I do have stuff for guests; it is the same stuff we have for ourselves, and it is good.  I am not buying something for guests that I think is bad for them (I don't think constant or regular caffeine consumption is necessarily good for you); the food we keep on hand, and the drink we keep on hand (water) is imo the best for you.  

 

For me, being offered what the host themselves eat and drink (which is how it works in the lower-middle classes, in my experience) is the essence of hospitality.  My dad used to say, when someone came in the door, "Come see how poor people live," - and he meant it (and it was understood) as essential hospitality -that is, come share our lives for a few hours.  

 

Dad did keep cigarettes on hand to offer guests, though, and coffee, and those little packaged off-brand Little Debbie snacks (the Always Save brand), because that is what he ate daily.



#66 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 11:42 AM

I haven't read all the replies yet.

1. 1 hour is too short.  You can set both start and end times.

2. You're not obligated to serve snacks.  (Dear Americans, you don't have to eat between meals and at every social event, it's entirely optional.) Set the time for just after a meal, such as 1-3 and they can go home and eat a snack after if you're worried they must eat something between meals. Offer a glass of water.  Water is perfectly acceptable. That may not be what I usually do, but I've been in homes where that's what they do, and it's a perfectly valid, hospitable option.
 

3. My husband works from home most of the time and often has equipment from a client in his upstairs home office that's worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to his own. We don't allow a bunch of kids to run around unsupervised upstairs.  We have a play area downstairs and tell the they can play there or outside, but not upstairs.  No one has ever seemed to take offense at it. IF they did I wouldn't care.  Parents have access to everywhere kids have access. If it's a friend or two of my kids' and I know those kids aren't going to cause problems, they have access to the kids' bedrooms and bathroom upstairs too.

4. Cleaning up before company comes has varied based on my stage of life.  When I had littles and preschoolers, there were times it was me throwing things in laundry hampers and putting them in closets.  When the kids were older (early elementary and up) we normalized tidying up as part of planning a social event.  It's hard to play in an area where there are items all over the floor.  We had a very simple bin system for storing toys in the play area (kitchen toy bin, dress up bin, etc.) We set aside time the day or morning well before to get the floor cleared so guests could play. There were times something unexpected derailed the tidying time and in that situation we put stuff unsorted in laundry hampers and stuck them in a closet. I've been invited to homes that didn't tidy before I got there and it was fine.  I don't care what other people do about that issue.

Once a playmate told my oldest, "You're so lucky to live in a house that's never messy."  Oldest laughed and laughed and explained the two clean up options in 4. After I heard about it we stopped straightening up before that particular kid came over, just so she could see some reality. Readers, if you're an adult that doesn't know that what a house is like at a visit and the rest of the time usually differs, I'm telling you now.  Also, what you see on social media is usually just the highlights because posting dirty laundry on social media is obnoxious and rude.


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#67 JudoMom

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 11:43 AM

I think the key is to be intentional.  If you know you're having guests, give it a minute's thought.  What will you offer?  Will it be presented or will it be more "family style"?  I think water and fruit or veggies is perfectly acceptable.  Guests want to know they're important and welcome, and this can be accomplished with water as easily as it can be with a coffee or tea spread.

 



#68 teachermom2834

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 12:02 PM

In my world water is what most people drink regularly and I sometimes apologize when I say that is all I have. I do drink coffee so I have that to offer. I think if you are warm and welcoming overall, I do think water is fine. In fact, most of my friends and their kids carry their reusable water bottles with them so usually I don't even need to offer except refills. And most people seem to prefer to save sugary drinks for special occasions for their kids.

I keep baking mixes on hand so I can easily throw together brownies or cookies or muffins. I offer and sometimes they are untouched but a brownie mix at Aldi is cheap and easy to keep on hand.

I prefer to not provide a meal so I will be specific when making plans to say "after lunch". Like "hey- you guys want to come over one afternoon next week. What time? Hmm... how about after lunch? 1:00?"

The most important thing you can do, however difficult, is to attempt to have a laid back attitude. If you give off a stressed out vibe the other person will feel uncomfortable no matter what you offer or how clean your house is. If you can act relaxed and happy to visit, it won't matter that you just have water. So of all the things to focus on, I would start with your demeanor. Even if you have to fake it until you make it!

#69 Laura Corin

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:14 PM

I do have stuff for guests; it is the same stuff we have for ourselves, and it is good. I am not buying something for guests that I think is bad for them (I don't think constant or regular caffeine consumption is necessarily good for you); the food we keep on hand, and the drink we keep on hand (water) is imo the best for you.

For me, being offered what the host themselves eat and drink (which is how it works in the lower-middle classes, in my experience) is the essence of hospitality. My dad used to say, when someone came in the door, "Come see how poor people live," - and he meant it (and it was understood) as essential hospitality -that is, come share our lives for a few hours.

Dad did keep cigarettes on hand to offer guests, though, and coffee, and those little packaged off-brand Little Debbie snacks (the Always Save brand), because that is what he ate daily.

I offer to guests what I think will make them happy. I'm not responsible for their nutrition in a wider sense. So I offer culturally normed things: tea, coffee, a cookie. I rarely bake for the family, but I sometimes do for guests. I like to make an effort.

I wouldn't criticise those who do otherwise, but that's how I see it working around here.
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#70 marbel

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:51 PM

<snip>

2. You're not obligated to serve snacks.  (Dear Americans, you don't have to eat between meals and at every social event, it's entirely optional.) Set the time for just after a meal, such as 1-3 and they can go home and eat a snack after if you're worried they must eat something between meals. Offer a glass of water.  Water is perfectly acceptable. That may not be what I usually do, but I've been in homes where that's what they do, and it's a perfectly valid, hospitable option.
 

<snip>

 

Right.  But, is it really an American (US) thing to offer people food if they visit at other than a mealtime?  I'm not the most-well traveled person around, but I am pretty widely read*, and I've often been in homes of people from outside US culture.  It seems that offering a bit of food and drink is a pretty well-known way of showing hospitality to visitors, mealtime or no. 

 

Am I wrong about that?  

 

*Nonfiction as well as fiction, so no one gets the idea I've gotten my impression from novels based on the Southern US ("have some pie!") and Victorian England ("clotted cream with your scone, dear?")    :001_smile:   

 

ETA: And of course water is considered a drink.  I like to offer more, but if I'm in your house and you offer me a glass of water, I'll be perfectly happy.  Just please don't make me ask for water during a 2-3 hour visit.  


Edited by marbel, 21 October 2017 - 01:55 PM.

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#71 RoundAbout

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 02:11 PM

I think a one hour time limit is way too short for company and I don't think anyone expects a house with kids (especially a game room or kids bedroom) to be neat and clean. I think the idea of a time window is a great idea, but probably 2 hours should be the minimum.

 

I think sparkling water, maybe even flavored, is a great thing to have on hand, as its a little bit fancy and keeps well if its in small bottles or cans. I totally get not wanting to keep unhealthy foods on hand - I only buy crackers and cookies if I'm having a party because its too tempting otherwise. I still like to have something to offer guests though because you never know when people may have missed a meal because of appointments, errands, or work, and its just part of hospitality. A few nuts and slices of cheese or cut up apples works just fine.


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#72 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:52 PM

Right.  But, is it really an American (US) thing to offer people food if they visit at other than a mealtime?  I'm not the most-well traveled person around, but I am pretty widely read*, and I've often been in homes of people from outside US culture.  It seems that offering a bit of food and drink is a pretty well-known way of showing hospitality to visitors, mealtime or no. 

 

Am I wrong about that?  

 

*Nonfiction as well as fiction, so no one gets the idea I've gotten my impression from novels based on the Southern US ("have some pie!") and Victorian England ("clotted cream with your scone, dear?")    :001_smile:   

 

ETA: And of course water is considered a drink.  I like to offer more, but if I'm in your house and you offer me a glass of water, I'll be perfectly happy.  Just please don't make me ask for water during a 2-3 hour visit.  

I've been to play dates both ways.  Sometimes drinks and snacks were offered and other times they weren't.  I live a part of the US that's had explosive growth in the last 30 years, so we have people from all over the US and immigrants mostly from south of the US border and Asia. 

Are you from the Midwest or South where there isn't a heavy multicultural mix with people from all over the country moving in? I always wonder that when someone tells me there's a cultural norm for the US. Whether it's wedding norms or homeschooling cultural norms or striking up conversations with strangers at the grocery store or other sub-cultural issues here on the boards, I'm genuinely surprised  how many people haven't personally encountered wide variations in norms.

Asking for water isn't weird.  If you want and drink but weren't offered one, there's no reason to feel uncomfortable about asking.  It's fairly common to be offered at drink upon arrival here because of the extreme heat, not just in homes but at places like the dentist's office or other places of business.  Here, during the worst heat, my grocery store offers bottles of water at the front door and a sign encouraging you to take one and drink free of charge while shopping.  At one church I went to there were bottles of water at the entrance for people to take.Other places don't offer but people can ask without it being a big deal.  It's built into the psychology of residents here if they stay for a while.  At the CPR class today most people had a bottle of water with them for an indoor, air conditioned class.  We're compulsive about constant hydration, so no one would be shy or upset about asking for a drink. 



#73 regentrude

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:08 PM

The Op said "guests " . I think it is fairly common across cultures to serve guests food and drinks even outside standard mealtimes. I am German. I don't recall my parents and grandparents ever Not offering any, nor have I ever been a guest where the hosts didn't offer.

Edited by regentrude, 21 October 2017 - 06:14 PM.

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#74 regentrude

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:14 PM

I offer to guests what I think will make them happy. I'm not responsible for their nutrition in a wider sense. So I offer culturally normed things: tea, coffee, a cookie. I rarely bake for the family, but I sometimes do for guests. I like to make an effort.

I wouldn't criticise those who do otherwise, but that's how I see it working around here.

This. My eating habits don't dictate my guests'. I grew up with the culture that one serves special things to guests. My grandmother always baked for guests. The nice China was used, etc.
I don't think that has to do with income. My great grandma was poor, but made a special effort for guests.

Edited by regentrude, 21 October 2017 - 06:14 PM.

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#75 marbel

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:48 PM

<snip>

Are you from the Midwest or South where there isn't a heavy multicultural mix with people from all over the country moving in? I always wonder that when someone tells me there's a cultural norm for the US. Whether it's wedding norms or homeschooling cultural norms or striking up conversations with strangers at the grocery store or other sub-cultural issues here on the boards, I'm genuinely surprised  how many people haven't personally encountered wide variations in norms.

Asking for water isn't weird.  If you want and drink but weren't offered one, there's no reason to feel uncomfortable about asking.  It's fairly common to be offered at drink upon arrival here because of the extreme heat, not just in homes but at places like the dentist's office or other places of business.  Here, during the worst heat, my grocery store offers bottles of water at the front door and a sign encouraging you to take one and drink free of charge while shopping.  At one church I went to there were bottles of water at the entrance for people to take.Other places don't offer but people can ask without it being a big deal.  It's built into the psychology of residents here if they stay for a while.  At the CPR class today most people had a bottle of water with them for an indoor, air conditioned class.  We're compulsive about constant hydration, so no one would be shy or upset about asking for a drink. 

 

Bolded point 1:  No.  As I said, I have been in the homes of people who have come from other than US culture.  In my adult life I have always lived in large metropolitan areas which are also diverse in terms of culture, immigrants, etc.   So I was not talking about US cultural norms but rather asking if I was incorrect that worldwide, over many cultures, a host offering food to guests outside of meal times is not unusual.  I'm happy to be corrected on that point if I am wrong.  

 

Bolded point 2:  I didn't say it was weird to ask for water.  If I am at someone's house and need water, I know I can ask for it.  I've always instructed my kids that if they are at a friend's house and need a drink, they may (and should) ask for a drink of water.  (That's all they may ask for.)  But I have never had someone in my house and not offered them water (or something else to drink) before they had to ask, and over 90% of the time when I am a guest I am offered water (or something else to drink).  The exception would be when I am such close friends with someone (or with my own close family), that I am free to open a cabinet, get a glass, and pour myself some water.  I don't tend to carry a water bottle when I am a guest in someone's home.  (Though some of my friends and acquaintances do bring a bottle, and drink from it; if I see it getting low I will offer.)  Offering a drink of water seems to me to be the most basic thing a person can do to show hospitality.  I wouldn't be shy or upset if not offered a drink; I might be a bit surprised.  


Edited by marbel, 21 October 2017 - 06:57 PM.

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#76 Homeschool Mom in AZ

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 08:23 PM

 but rather asking if I was incorrect that worldwide, over many cultures, a host offering food to guests outside of meal times is not unusual.

 

 

 

But no one is saying it's unusual in the US to offer guests a snack between meal times.  Is that how you interpreted what I'm saying?  I'm saying it's perfectly acceptable either way, not that it's unusual one way or the other.  It's kind of nuanced, but I think my position as stated upthread was understandable. That's what optional means and that's why I used the term optional in my post.  It's optional to offer/have a snack.  I'm simply pointing out that no one is obligated to do one or the other, the hostess can either plan to offer a snack or not offer a snack and still be considered perfectly polite. Based on the replies I'm reading it appears some people think it's obligatory.

The dietary restrictions I encounter are so common!  I no longer take a baked item to a new neighbor-that's just asking for trouble.  I take some fresh cut flowers because that's less likely to met with, "I'm sorry, I can't take these because of our allergies."  Especially when it's homeschoolers.  I swear there's something about being a homeschooler that makes a person far more likely to self-impose dietary restrictions.  I don't know what exactly that factor is, but it's all the time around here.  (I'm not talking about medically diagnosed and medically recommended dietary restrictions.) Not only do I not expect people to know I'm allergic to strawberries (which is a seasonal fruit some people would offer guests)  I don't expect them to ask about my dietary restrictions if they haven't invited me to a meal and I don't go announcing them while arranging playdates.  I expect the kids to play at a playdate and I don't expect to be fed.  It's nice if someone offers it, but it's no big deal when they don't. 

Yes, most people offer a drink without being asked.  Just like you said in your post it's probably 90% or higher in many places, but I don't see why someone should think someone is always obligated to offer which is what your,"Just please don't make me ask for water during a 2-3 hour visit. " comment seems to indicate. Sometimes it's overlooked.  Sometimes people assume if someone wants it they'll ask for it. Sometimes that's not in someone's social norm. Not everyone can know your personal preferences about asking for water.  It's rare that I have to ask when it wasn't offered, but it's not even a blip on my radar when I do have to ask.  Just because it's my norm when I have guests is no reason to expect it to be the norm at someone else's house when I'm a guest.  That's my central point.  People and their norms are different.  Roll with it and don't give it a second thought. I teach my kids that we do X,Y, and Z at our house when we have guests.  Other people do things differently.  We're cool with that.

I'm really surprised how many people assume it's one person's responsibility to meet a standard another person has about the array sub-cultural issues. I can only imagine the unnecessary offense that's been taken and grumblings motivated by such irrelevant things. Really?  Someone invited you to a playdate and you expected something other than just playing? Sure, it's nice when there's more than that, but it's not obligatory.


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#77 8circles

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:45 PM

Janeway, I think you've gotten some good advice. 

 

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet which I think is important given the direction the thread has gone is - don't try to be someone you're not.

 

You don't have to be fancy, but you can be if you want to and it doesn't feel unnatural.

 

I think the bottom line is, you want your guests to feel like you were expecting them and that you want them there. That isn't about what kind of refreshments or what kind of pitcher, but just being glad they're there. 


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#78 Jaybee

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 10:09 PM

Just wanted to address the comment OP made about guests staying for 8 hours. I like having people over, but the situation you described would have been way too much for me too. Though it makes me a little uncomfortable, in a situation like that, I wouldn't hesitate to say something like, "I hate to rush you off, but I have some things I need to take care of right now..." or some such comment. If they didn't get the hint and start moving on fairly quickly, I might adapt it a little by grabbing my keys and heading to the door. And I would probably get to that point by about 3 hrs.--depending on who it was and the situation. (Others I might be thrilled for them to stay for hours.) But that sounds like an extreme situation. When I have friends over for coffee or such, they usually leave by around the 2 hour point because they have things to do too. 


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#79 regentrude

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:46 AM

Just wanted to address the comment OP made about guests staying for 8 hours. I like having people over, but the situation you described would have been way too much for me too. Though it makes me a little uncomfortable, in a situation like that, I wouldn't hesitate to say something like, "I hate to rush you off, but I have some things I need to take care of right now..." or some such comment. If they didn't get the hint and start moving on fairly quickly, I might adapt it a little by grabbing my keys and heading to the door. And I would probably get to that point by about 3 hrs.--depending on who it was and the situation. 

 

This.

I am very puzzled how an unplanned 8 hour visit even works with normal people, because nobody I know has an 8 hour chunk of waking time that is free of commitments of some sort. At the very minimum, main meals would have to be prepared, and kids would have to be taken to, or retrieved from, various places.

I am all for making time for friends, but that need not interrupt your day, OP. It is perfectly fine to say "I need to do xyz now" and say goodbye to your guests.


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#80 Quill

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 08:06 AM

[quote]Once a playmate told my oldest, "You're so lucky to live in a house that's never messy." Oldest laughed and laughed and explained the two clean up options in 4. After I heard about it we stopped straightening up before that particular kid came over, just so she could see some reality. Readers, if you're an adult that doesn't know that what a house is like at a visit and the rest of the time usually differs, I'm telling you now. Also, what you see on social media is usually just the highlights because posting dirty laundry on social media is obnoxious and rude.

Oh my gosh, re: bolded! Yes, exactly!!! I am one of "those" hs moms who has this rep for having my house sooooo together - and, okay, I'm sure on the whole it is tidier than some people's homes - but I have told other moms this a thousand times and it hasn't sunk in. How my house looks when I'm hosting a Mom's Night Out is NOT how it looks all the live-long day! Not at ALL! On the daily, there's mail that needs attention on the kitchen table and dishes waiting to be done and floors that haven't seen a mop in too long and yarn and knitting looms piled up at my "spot" in the sunroom and crumbs on the floor in the dining room and a porch light burned out. But if I'm hosting a group of moms of course I will make every attempt to rectify all those things beforehand. So you're seeing the "Facebook-ready" version when you come to a gathing at my house, folks!

#81 Janeway

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 09:01 PM

I didn't read all the replies but for snacks, how about popcorn and juice? When my kids were little, I was friends with a family who had 8 children. They'd come over to my house and there were so many I couldn't give them the type of snacks I gave to my own kids. I just didn't have enough. I'd pop a couple of big bowls of popcorn and have a big bottle of apple or grape juice and serve in little cups. I also made it a specific "snack time" so everyone was in the kitchen/dining area eating at one time. Then they went back to playing. No one kept coming in for more. 

I do have a popcorn maker and popcorn supplies!! 

 

My toddler broke the upstairs toilet again. I need to get a plumber in to fix it before company arrives Thursday.

 

Ummm..or should I say..the toddler flushed something again and it got stuck and my husband broke the toilet trying to fish the something out.


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