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Old 01-22-2011, 09:17 PM   #1
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Delicate situations:

I hate to use the word etiquette because it has such negative connotations, but here's an awkward situation. Please feel free to come in on ones you've faced and how you dealt with it for better or worse.

For me, it is right now. We had a group who would have brunches at our houses, rotating, two couples, one widow (who had a son living nearby who would come in to help her set up and would come to the brunch with her more times than not).

Then people would hear about it and want to "join" the group. But it seems joining to them meant coming to our houses when it was our turn (it was a monthly thing), but not hosting when it would be their turn.

I guess, maybe because it was potluck (the person hosting that month would have it at their house and make the main dish, then assign the others to bring an appetizer, a side, a desert, etc), some seemed to think that they didn't need to host?

We all have 150 year or older houses that are always in various states of disrepair.

The hardest part of this is cleaning the house before, and cleaning afterwards. NOT the cooking, necessarily. When it was just a half dozen of us, we used to joke that it meant we had to clean our houses a few times a year.

After awhile several people wanted to join the group. Here's the thing, though: They didn't want to host when it was "their" turn.

So we actually just quit for a year or so.

Now a few (our original group) want to start up again, but (very small town here), I don't know about others, but I don't want to invite some of the people who could never seem to host. I thought we were re-starting the group with just the original 5 of us, plus one (the two widows sharing). The thing is I truly like, maybe even love, the people who wanted to be a part of the group, but always had an excuse why it couldn't be at their house.

How would you feel about this? How would you deal with it? One friend wants to ask the other friends to join again. Roll of eyes. Only if they'll take their turns.

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Old 01-22-2011, 10:08 PM   #2
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Well, I think there could be two ways of handling it. You can decide on a limit to the number of couples in your group so that if someone else wants to join you can site that as a reason to refuse. But I understand that you might not want to be exclusive like that. So I would say to give the other folks a try but be sure that they know up front that they are expected to host. I might even consider drawing up a short list of non-negotiable rules making sure that everyone is good with them before they can join the group. I'm sure that you will hate to do this, I know I would, but it does give you an out if someone should habitually reneg when their turn comes up.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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I don't blame you one bit Claire, and I know exactly what you are talking about. Years ago I belonged to a group who played "Bunco" once a month, and the hostess always provided dinner before we played the game. Twelve women were members of the club for the game/dinner, with a substitute list if someone couldn't be there for the game. That's not important in your case. Anyway, when we started we wrote up rules of membership and a requirement of membership right up front, was that once a year they would host the evening. Everyone drew a month out of the hat, so they knew ahead of time what month was theirs to host. There was lots of "month trading" that went on throughout the year, but it always worked out. We strictly limited the membership to 12, with a waiting list if someone dropped out for whatever reason. This went on for years, and every January we would draw new months for the coming year. Twelve people were manageable for us, but more than that was out of the question for most of our homes. My suggestion would be, if there are more than 12 people who want to join in your club again, you have everyone put their names in a hat and draw out 12 names, with the rest on a waiting list for drop outs.
And you are so right about this.....
Quote:
The hardest part of this is cleaning the house before, and cleaning afterwards. NOT the cooking, necessarily.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:00 AM   #4
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...My suggestion would be, if there are more than 12 people who want to join in your club again, you have everyone put their names in a hat and draw out 12 names, with the rest on a waiting list for drop outs.
And you are so right about this.....
I agree. Whether you draw names or have people sign up for dates, you should have a schedule. It is a lot harder to back out when you have to sign up in advance, and most people will honor the schedule. A reminder could even be sent a week in advance to remind them that their turn is coming up.

Barbara
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I hate to use the word etiquette because it has such negative connotations, but here's an awkward situation. Please feel free to come in on ones you've faced and how you dealt with it for better or worse.

For me, it is right now. We had a group who would have brunches at our houses, rotating, two couples, one widow (who had a son living nearby who would come in to help her set up and would come to the brunch with her more times than not).

Then people would hear about it and want to "join" the group. But it seems joining to them meant coming to our houses when it was our turn (it was a monthly thing), but not hosting when it would be their turn.

I guess, maybe because it was potluck (the person hosting that month would have it at their house and make the main dish, then assign the others to bring an appetizer, a side, a desert, etc), some seemed to think that they didn't need to host?

We all have 150 year or older houses that are always in various states of disrepair.

The hardest part of this is cleaning the house before, and cleaning afterwards. NOT the cooking, necessarily. When it was just a half dozen of us, we used to joke that it meant we had to clean our houses a few times a year.

After awhile several people wanted to join the group. Here's the thing, though: They didn't want to host when it was "their" turn.

So we actually just quit for a year or so.

Now a few (our original group) want to start up again, but (very small town here), I don't know about others, but I don't want to invite some of the people who could never seem to host. I thought we were re-starting the group with just the original 5 of us, plus one (the two widows sharing). The thing is I truly like, maybe even love, the people who wanted to be a part of the group, but always had an excuse why it couldn't be at their house.

How would you feel about this? How would you deal with it? One friend wants to ask the other friends to join again. Roll of eyes. Only if they'll take their turns.
Have a one on one heart to heart talk with the friend you want to be part of your group. It may be a little awkward, but it's also a way to be a closer friend. Plain talk and honesty.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:16 AM   #6
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The friend who wants to include just about everyone in the group I think is just lonely, and I don't want to hurt her. She, and most of our friends, have china and silver, or even glass and stainless, etc, to do a dozen or so at a sit down. 6 we can do beautifully, 8 ok. After that it is plastic and paper. I'd like this to stay just our little group, not become a larger, community thing. When I lived in Florida I mentioned the cleaning before and cleaning up after, and was told (by my family) that they'd help. Hahaha. Never, ever, did anyone arrive an hour or two before the dinner to vacuum and dust. And seldom did they stay after to help with the clean up. And that was my family, who love me.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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But I didn't mean this to be just about me. What situations have you found yourself in, and how did you handle them?
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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But I didn't mean this to be just about me. What situations have you found yourself in, and how did you handle them?
Somehow along the way I learned to just say what I thought. I'm glad, it makes things so much simpler.

For instance, my Dear Neighbor (DN) Margie. The walls here have NO noise insulation, in fact echoing and reverberation amplifies sound.

I just mention that I woke up when I heard her talking at 2:30 am and had been sleeping so good, her talking kept waking me up until I finally got up. Just conversation, we both know the problem, and she'll move her bed back to the other wall and in fact had already planned it.

My neighbors know that I like my privacy so we visit, but rarely more than trading books or whatnot.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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My other DN, Joe, hums and strums a guitar (one note, over and over). Both the guitar and Joe's voice are resonant so added to the natural resonance of the walls, halls etc., I can hear him yawn. It's a vocal yawn that sounds like the lions roaring in the Kalahari, and carries at least that far. Then he gets on the phone. I can't tell what he's saying, but the emotions come through. I just comment that he sounded upset or whatever to remind him that it's like having someone suddenly in your living room with you, uninvited, unexpected, and ongoing. One phone conversation lasted 5 hours.

I finally seem to have gotten through to him about the one note guitar. I just told him in regular conversation that it drove me nuts. I fit it into the conversation if I could until he quit.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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After thinking more on this Claire, I've come up with some further ideas that might help. Why not email everyone you think might be interested with an outline the plan I mentioned above, for the "Brunch Bunch"?
For me, it's easier to be clear and straightforward with an idea in the written form. You are obviously up to that, as you are always clear and articulate here at DC. You could also extend an invitation for a "dutch treat" meal at a local restaurant to meet and discuss the plan further, and pick their month to host. My bet is that those who show up will be the ones you truly wanted from the start.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:28 PM   #11
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Kayelle and Zhizara, I, too am good at saying what's on my mind plainly, which is how I get in trouble. Most of my female friends and relatives are into manipulation type things. Since one friend is intent on turning this into a forum for introducing more to the group, then hubby and I will make it plain that while we love the others, we'd like to keep the group small. I really think that of the six of us, five probably want to keep it the small thing it was. At one point we had 12! We've always said, whoever is hosting can invite whoever they care to. I won't be overly upset if others are invited to join, if they take their turn. I'd prefer it small, and my husband really, really likes it smaller (he loves a party, but the china and silver is his, I acquired it with marriage, and he loves to set a nice table, which we cannot do with that many). We've always been great about trading months, working around family tragedies and crises, and always put it on hold between Thanksgiving through January. One friend lives out in the country, and someone always trades with her if her month happens to fall in the winter, when it is a pain to get to her house.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:30 PM   #12
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Zhizara, you have one up on me. Not sure I could actually approach a neighbor about the personal noises they make!
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:38 PM   #13
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Heck, I take that back! One day, when we were stationed in Hawaii and owned a townhouse, a friend was "doing" a layover at our house between Asia and the east coast. He'd gotten in, exhausted, and we poured a drink then tossed him in the guest bed. Now in those days in Hawaii no one had air conditioning, our windows were always wide open. Next thing I knew I heard my neighbor's teenaged son swearing up a storm (F this, F that) and listening to loud rasta music (rap wasn't quite invented). He was in his young teens and I think was just experimenting. I walked outside and yelled over the fence. 'Paul, enough already, I have a guest just in from Okinawa who needs to sleep!"

I had no intentions of telling his parents (who were not home), since he immediately turned off his boom box and settled down. But a few hours later his mom came over with a home-made snack and apology. It was SO funny, the kid's conscience must have been killing him and he confessed.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
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Claire, can I PLEASE join your Brunch Bunch?? I promise DH and I will host!! No kidding, this sounds just wonderful Claire. I'm sure you all know how fortunate you are to be friends. Have fun, and share the recipes, ok?
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:04 PM   #15
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Zhizara, you have one up on me. Not sure I could actually approach a neighbor about the personal noises they make!
I'm friendly enough and they are too so that there usually comes a time when I can fit it in. I HATE to be woke up, and I will not be driven nuts in my own living room. I consider it a necessity. It works, too.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:21 PM   #16
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Kayelle, it is such fun. And I sometimes feel like the red-haired stepchild because my friends all own huge mansions and have antique crystal, china, and silver, and a dining room set to seat a dozen or more. My china and silver and crystal are relatively modern. And there is enough for, well, 6-8. So when 15 show up, it is paper and plastic. No one minds, but I'd like to show off what I do have once in awhile.

AND if you're ever in NW Illinois, you WILL be invited!! I suspect that I'm going to lose out on this one, and I really don't mind.

Since the brunch is at noon, after about 2 years I couldn't come up with more brunch recipes and started making it, when at my house, a theme lunch. We had lots of fun with a fifties theme, a Hawaiian theme, a soup theme, etc. It was such fun. SO I'm looking forward to getting that going again.
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