I love to entertain, from preparing the house, planning the menu, cooking, etc. I host all kinds of dinners from picnic casual to buffet to formal dinners during the holidays, through-out the summer, to celebrate fall, and so on. I was recently thinking that I'd love to take advantage of the mild summer weather by hosting my friends for a "lady's garden lunch" on my screened porch among my blooming hydrangeas, but I don't think I will because I'm tired of always being the one to host.
Every once in a great while, a friend will invite me on the spur-of-the-moment to have a glass of wine on the patio for an hour, but those invitations are few and far between and are not at all as satisfying as actually being invited for a meal. By the way, there is no reason (physical, financial, etc) that my friends couldn't host a lunch/dinner; they just choose not to.
So, I'm at the point where I don't want to host anymore until my friends start stepping up, or until I get over my resentment that they're not doing so.
Is there anyone else here who is also experiencing this?
Jewel -- I do more hosting than guesting as well.
Everyone is different and they just need to do entertaining on their own comfort level. But a lot of people grew up without parents who entertained and are scared of hosting a party fearing that they might not do it well enough or the food wouldn't be good enough, etc.
However, . . . the Lunch Bunch DOES take me out to lunch occasionally -- when we do a road trip. And I have other friends who will pick up the tab when we lunch out.
Entertaining can sometimes be daunting to some people and perhaps your friends feel that way. You throw elegant parties effortlessly and easily and they are scared stiff of doing it at all.
If it were I, I would have had the garden lunch on the screened porch -- such a perfect setting for a ladies lunch! Doing a party is fun for me, I get to try new recipes and get to spend a couple of hours with good friends.
View my blog:
Jewel, try to think of our love of cooking, baking and entertaining as our passions in life, a hobby we enjoy spending our money on, a gift not given to everyone, and you will pull yourself out of this slump in thinking, I do hope.
Some friends spend their hobby time doing hand crafts and artistic things which I can not achieve because of my vision and that part of my brain must be shriveled! How I wish I could arrange beautiful centerpieces to my entertaining tables!
Some keep immaculately clean homes like a passion they possess - not me!
Try to find your friends' abilities and passions, and see that perhaps we are all vastly varied.
In friendship, Lurah.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
Jewel -- I had a similar situation. We lunched, garage saled, chatted on the phone, music in the park, etc. Knew each other for years. One day as I was preparing for her arrival for lunch, my son asked why I never went over to her house. And that was the beginning of the end. The seed had been planted. I realized that, though I had previously been invited to her home, I had not been there in over two years, while she was a weekly guest here. So -- I backed off. And it backfired. I have not seen her in over a year.
I now suspect it might have had something to do with her husband, but not sure. In any case, if I had to do it all over again, I would have continued inviting her over and tried to forget the slight.
Maybe while you are chatting with your friends you could drop hints? "Oh Karen, your garden sounds so beautiful, you should have us over some evening to (fill in the blank)" or "Helen, I remember you used to make the best (fill in the blank). I would love to try it again sometime". "Carrie, that is a beautiful _______ you made. You should give us lessons. I know I would love to learn (fill in the blank)."
jewel, how about a pot luck affair where everyone pitches in by bringing a designated dish or perhaps one of those progressive dinners where appetizer is served at one house, entree in another and so on? Of course the latter option is doable if everyone is in close proximity. In either case, everyone is doing their fair share and no one feels resentful.
I agree some may feel inadequate to host a dinner party, but they could host something informal or offer to treat you to a meal out from time to time. In any event, I always ask what I can contribute and if the hostess says, "nothing" then wine, fruit, flowers or perhaps breakfast breads or muffins are generally welcome. Also, it's nice to receive thank you notes, especially if you went all out.
When feelings of resentment flood over you (btw, they sound justified), then take a break from the hostess role and treat yourself. In time, others may take the hint and step up. If not, join a culinary club. You're sure to experience a rotation then. This message has been edited. Last edited by: Froo Froo,
I have had a similar situation. I, too, eventually became tired of always being the one to clean house, set up, clean up afterwards, etc.
(We were hosting entire families.)
One day when my friend mentioned what a lot of work it was, she confessed that everyone had such a good time at our house, she knew she could never do as good a job. Our house had more space, was better for entertaining, we handled the crowd better, you get the picture.
I'm also the one to do most of the hosting, mostly because I have quite a bit of room, and a parking lot. Yes, a parking lot, lol!
I just came back from a party where I was a guest, and it was great.
In our circle, I hosted the major holidays except New Year's Eve. Then DH and I had a horrible accident that left him a paraplegic.
Well, the reason I don't ask anyone over is because living with a para is a lot of work and sometimes the house isn't presentable. It also doesn't help that he has accumulated "stuff" from at least 3 of his deceased relatives and taken over most of the house for storage. so If I don't reciprocate it is because my house is a mini-version of the hoarders and I don't think you will be very comfortable in it.
Just for the record, all those parties (from 1966 to 1995) we hosted totally (food and drinks were at our expense never asked anyone to bring anything) no one seems to remember us, we haven't seen anyone for years (at least since 1996).This message has been edited. Last edited by: peppermintpattitotherescue,
Save Planet Earth, it is the only Planet with chocolate!!
I am the one who usually does the hosting of everything from casual potlucks to my annual large Christmas party where I wouldn't consider having my guests bring anything. I also hosted holidays when my family was alive and before my husband's moved far away. Yes, I would like to be invited out more but enjoy the time spent with friends and decided years ago not to keep count of who "owed" me an invitation.
My experience was different than what Jewel is writing about. I had a very dear, really a best friend. We spoke on the phone every day, we shared many interests, always laughed a lot together. She was generous too and loving to my DD and DGK's.
She dropped in freely to my house whenever she wanted to, but I rarely was welcome at her house for anything, certainly I could never drop in.
One time I was away for a trip and during my absence she had a big party for women. I realized finally that I was a 'back street friend' I was a very dear and good friend to her but not fit to associate with those people she knew who had money and/or prestige. I realized at that time too that I had not been in her house for a year, and that was when I had picked her up at the airport.
I really even loved this woman but I have to love myself first and I could not continue to associate with someone who had categories for people.
At this same time she had a long time lover and he never went to any of the parties she got invited to. Once when they were separated she went out with another man and she commented about this man that "she could take him anywhere" that is when my eyes were opened. she didn't mind having an intimate relationship, traveling with someone who was not good enough to go to parties with her. Very sad.
I think the examples Lurah gave are not really the same thing. Unless the cleaning person came to your house to clean or the crafty person made you lots of things.
Entertaining someone for a meal constantly or many for a party and not being invited in return is too selfless an act to continue to repeat.
Many friends my age now don't really want to cook or entertain anymore so we meet for lunch. My big party days are over as I don't live near family.
However back in the day it was pretty equitable.
Maybe, Jewel you could host a fund raising lunch or something like that so you can express your love for entertaining and not expect to have it reciprocated, while doing a good deed for more than the guests you invite or host.
Maybe give as a wedding present a bridal shower or do the cooking for a charity event.
LOS - My point is that some folks don't have the knack to cook &/or entertain. Just as I don't have a knack for decorating or cleaning.
Many of my friends don't want to know how to handle making dinner for their own family without using prepacked foods, pre-cleaned greens, frozen dessert, etc. AND have it ready at the same time. Most don't even know which side of the plate the utensils and napkin are placed.
(I've had knock-down drag-out fights with women my own age at church about the napkin goes to left of dinner plate!)
So yes, those skills are the same thing! In my estimation everyone has a different talent, we all can't do everything to great aplomb! Unless, you went to college to earn a Mrs. degree! like the gals in Mona Lisa Smile.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
I'm finding this thread a very interesting topic of conversation, thanks Jewel, for posting it. It's a bit like my thread about whether or not others have noticed that the world around some friends has become smaller with limited topics of conversations ~ same thing as in my thread with not looking for a solution as much as wondering if others here have had the same experiences.
And, the answer is yes, Jewel, I have noticed that as well but, since I prefer to be the host, I rather enjoy it!
I think there are a number of reasons that others don't reciprocate ~ money, time, concerns about their home and difficulty getting it clean or "presentable" which doesn't matter to me in the least but, if it matters to them, then it is important and even trying to put together a meal that meets some imaginary standard? So, I rather believe that your friends do enjoy coming to your home for a nice get-together; they just aren't comfortable in returning the invitation.
I agree with Froo Froo a pot luck dinner is a great way to get all of your guests involved. To make it fun you could pick different themes for the luncheons. Assign everyone a course which they have to bring food following the theme, such as a Black and White Luncheon with black bean dip and white tortilla chips for appetizer and pasta with white alfredo sauce and blackened chicken for a main course and of course black and white cookies for dessert.
There is a way to have all your guests involved and still make it a fun time for everyone!This message has been edited. Last edited by: KBTrendsMag,
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I had a friend...more a social type acquaintance who was a Martha double in terms of her hostess skills. I might add she also had a great decorating sense (I say "was" because she's since moved). Her attention to details were spot on, her house picture perfect and her menu and cooking skills top notch and her attentiveness consistent. She always included a small seasonal gift for her guests too. It was a bit intimidating when it came my time to reciprocate as it was human nature to feel inferior to her to some degree.
If we're talking close friends however, one should not feel pressure hosting nor the sense of competition should cause us not to host nor enjoy the experience when we do. We all are unique individuals vs copycats. We have different budgets, lifestyles, schedules, talents, interests, etc. The focus should remain on the socialization/conversation and those special people in our lives rather than how our efforts may be perceived. The inclination that it's a completion should be banished from our minds. When/if it becomes overwhelming to host, it is no longer fun so step back. If the notion to become a host paralyzed us with fear, we will no doubt cease to become guests as resentment from the constant host may ensue as illustrated with this post (also human nature btw). There are ways a reluctant host can ease into hosting. Start small and simple via a pot luck, buffet, picnic/BBQ, luncheon, tea, a catered affair, dessert gathering, a pizza party, etc. Over time, confidence will grow and hostess skills will increase as well.
Meanwhile those reluctant hostesses should treat their hostess friends, relatives, neighbors to show their appreciation or ask to assist in some way to lessen the work and expense involved less they appear to take advantage. As guests, they should also take mental notes from good hostesses to educate themselves paying close attention from start to finish. Note what left a lasting impression such as, invitation, colors, smells, tastes/menu, presentation, activities, special touches, table settings, themes, background music, attentiveness, comfort level, lighting, guest mix, flow of traffic, cleanliness, manners, etc. Realize though that there are bound to be glitches, but a gracious host or hostess will no doubt turn them into a light hearted events thereby making all feel comfortable. Being a good host/hostess is indeed an art, but we are all capable of becoming one in our own right.
I think there are people that make better guests than hosts. I like to host and be a guest. We have friends where the husband is a fantastic cook, I've never had anything other than fabulous at their home. In the beginning of our friendship I was intimidated about having them for dinner but never thought it was fair to only go to their house, so I s*cked it up and invited them and they always (I think) enjoyed the food b/c of our friendship. Now, after 20 years, I've learned a lot from him and while I could never compete with him I have a lot more confidence in myself.
Thank you for your thoughts, everyone.
Interestingly, Dear Abby addressed a similar issue in her column today (entitled "Hosts feel slighted when left off their friends' guest lists). I loved her advice: "They may have never been taught that it is rude to accept people's hospitality and not reciprocate in some way".
As for me, I'm so far holding firm to not hosting again until my resentment is gone or until my friends step up.
I read that too, Jewel. Pretty good observations¡
I was curious about the Dear Abby article. Here it is:
What I was thinking as I was reading this thread is that we can't control other people, we can only make our own choices.
My advice to Jewel would be to entertain if you want to, because it is something you love, and want to do. Don't entertain with an expectation of something in return. That way you can free yourself from the resentment that comes when you feel taken advantage of, or when you don't get what you expect out of the situation. (reciprocal invitations)
Then to give yourself want you really want you might find 11 friends, and form a luncheon club. Each of you host a luncheon once a month for a year. Or find 5 friends (plus you) and each host a luncheon 2 times a year.
What I am saying is to find a group of people who are like minded, that would enjoy what you are seeking. (And let go of the resentment. Life is too short to feel that kind of miserable.)
Have you asked any of your friends to host? Or suggested to any (all) of them that everyone takes a turn hosting?
Wording suggestions on delivering that message? At this point, what I want to say wouldn't be advisable to say.
Ha,ha funny! So, just say this:
"Who is hosting next time? I am not." Or leave off the I am not part.
Jewel, I used to host all the family parties for both sides of the family. I got tired of it all. There is absolutely no reason why a guest cannot take you out for a dinner or even suggest a picnic at a park and pick up some takeout food. You do not seem like the kind of person who would mind being entertained elsewhere if your guests feel intimidated by your skills. I really began to mind the guests who never brought anything over and would tell everyone how they had lots of time to go out to eat or see movies etc. So I know what you are feeling and I would stop for awhile until you feel better about it or change your guest list. It's not that you expect to be wined and dined, it's the desire to feel appreciated and treated better by your guests.
Kind of along this same line....I was thinking about picnics , reunions, etc. I know several people who love to go to picnics in order to enjoy all of the various dishes people bring. BUT, they never make anything! They may take a watermelon ( not even cleaned and cut), chips, drinks, etc. I understand that not everyone enjoys making food, however, if no one cooks there will be nothing to enjoy!
Anyone can follow a recipe and make a dish of some sort! In the cases of the folks I know, it is just laziness! Sorry for the vent!!!
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