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Why do some people never reciprocate hospitality?

(727 Posts)
FrancinePefco Tue 02-Jan-18 07:55:11

For more than 10 years now, we host drinks for neighbours and local friends during the Christmas holidays. We also regularly have a summer drinks/bbq. Quite a few of our guests have therefore enjoyed our hospitality (including food and lots of drink) at least once or twice a year for a decade or so but they have have never once invited us to anything - not even for a "Come in. Would you like a cuppa?" when we have had to e.g. drop children off at their houses.

I don't think it can be BO or bad breath because they obviously don't mind being around us (as long as it's at our house). In fact, this year we decided not to Christmas drinks and apparently several people were asking around if they had missed an invite.

I wouldn't feel comfortable just asking "Hey, how come you never invite us round to yours?". So I thought I would check with strangers on the Internet firstsad

OP’s posts: |
Nomorechickens Tue 02-Jan-18 08:03:42

Maybe their house is messy, untidy or small and they are embarrassed about it. Maybe they have anxiety and find it stressful to host. Maybe they are shy. Maybe they have a shouty teen, incontinent relative, aggressive cat, barky dog living with them and feel it's not a good environment for guests. Maybe they can't afford the extra food and drink. Maybe they are not socially confident and were not brought up to have people round. Maybe you do it so well that they think their offering would be inferior. Maybe they are worried that people wouldn't turn up and they would be humiliated. They obviously enjoy going to yours so why not carry on?

bimbobaggins Tue 02-Jan-18 08:04:35

Because in all walks of life their are givers and takers, or as my mother used to say McGee’s or mctaks.

LizzieSiddal Tue 02-Jan-18 08:06:33

Agree with NoMore, but I do think it’s a bit off of them, that in 10 years they habent invited you in for a cuppa.

Mybabystolemysanity Tue 02-Jan-18 08:06:38

It's my tiny, cluttered house, I'm afraid. There isn't really anywhere to put guests/visitors. Have new year's resolution to remedy this.

WeAreGerbil Tue 02-Jan-18 08:08:56

I wonder this too. There's a little ad if people I've hosted many times for parties, meals etc. that I don't get an invitation back for. I'm a lone parent and it's not as if I have loads of money and also I do get excluded from couples things, so my social life is not great. I had another friend who also did a lot of hosting and we used to joke we'd never go to a party if we didn't hold them ourselves. I guess there are many reasons people don't do it but it's disappointing for those of us that do, although to be fair I've now pretty much given up.

Silverthorn Tue 02-Jan-18 08:10:01

I have no idea Op. I always try to return a favour of hosting. Sometimes it will be a while but we always try to have a bbq and invite people who have hosted bbq for us, or a Sunday roast, etc.
Even friends with small, under construction houses have managed to host us for a reciprocal meal.
Are you particularly wealthy and flashy? Sounds like these 'friends' are riding the gravy train iyswim.

endofthelinefinally Tue 02-Jan-18 08:10:23

My lovely friend is married to a pathological hoarder.
She cant sit comfortably in her own house, much less invite anybody.
I always invite her to mine and dont expect anything else. I know how much she worries about this.

LikeARedBalloon Tue 02-Jan-18 08:10:38

My reason used to be my now Ex H. Perfectly charming and friendly outside the house, grumpy bastard inside the house. I never invited anyone in as I didn't want the grief it would cause later when they went. If you enjoy hosting it then why not continue? If you don't, then stop.

extinctspecies Tue 02-Jan-18 08:11:29

I'm afraid I'm guilty of this. I find it really stressful giving dinner parties and have never given a drinks party. There are some people I owe, and frankly I'm embarrassed about it - and you have reminded me I need to remedy it this year.

One issue is my DH always drinks too much, and I can't see a way of avoiding that if we are hosting something.

But i would always ask someone in for a cup of tea.

FrancinePefco Tue 02-Jan-18 08:13:38

we'd never go to a party if we didn't hold them ourselves

TBH that is exactly how we have started to feel. sad

This might have been part of the reason why we decided not to bother this year, opting for a quieter Christmas just with immediate family.

OP’s posts: |
MaisyPops Tue 02-Jan-18 08:15:20

Because we live an hour to hour and a half away from friends and it's currently a pain in the arse for people to get to us, a taxi each way would be extortionate and it's a long way for a quick coffee.

We tend to go round to people who live closer to work or the people who live half way between our friendship group ( 3 couples like us who are in the sticks don't end up hosting).
When we move closer, we'll happily host lots. It's just right now it's a total PITA here so unless it's friends staying for the weekend, we tend to go to others houses, coffee catchups in cafes as it is more convenient for all concerned.
We bring wine, nibbles and the pudding etc when someone does food for us all.

ZoopDragon Tue 02-Jan-18 08:18:47

Some people hate hosting or having people in their personal space. Their house might be cluttered or dirty. They may not have a guest loo. Perhaps they have pets who dislike strangers. Or they can't afford to splash out on drinks and party food, or don't want to. Or they have no idea how to host because they grew up in a family who were very private.

I didn't start hosting until I married. It never occurred to me to host before then, although I went to plenty of parties and dinner parties blush

I had to learn from my DH how to look after guests, prepare for a dinner or drinks party, host a BBQ. We have guests regularly now and I enjoy it, but I was clueless at first!
Hospitality is the key to a good social life. I've come to realise it's all about how welcome you make people feel... it doesn't matter if the house needs cleaning, the food isn't perfect or the cat keeps jumping on people. If you open your doors to them, make them feel relaxed and cared for in your home, it deepens the friendship in a way nothing else can.

sandgrown Tue 02-Jan-18 08:18:58

Our house needs lots of big remedial work which we can't afford just now. I only invite closest friends to visit at home but I have reciprocated by taking people out for a meal. One couple always ask us to go to theirs as they don't have babysitters so we take something or pay for a takeaway on "our turn".

hidinginthenightgarden Tue 02-Jan-18 08:22:59

I really enjoy hosting. I like organising things though so enjoy the prep as much as the event. Others will be the opposite so reasons -

House in bad shape.
Poor cook.
Don't like hosting.

SpicyTomatos Tue 02-Jan-18 08:23:37

A lot of people host parties for their own enjoyment. If it was a great sacrifice then there would be no birthday parties.

BeyondThePage Tue 02-Jan-18 08:24:48

my neighbour who hosts has an immaculate house, with a designer for a husband. My - identical build - house is shabby and old-fashioned in comparison, I don't really want the comparison to be made, I also have a dog who doesn't really like visitors, and I don't like having to shut him in the garden.

All excuses really, I don't actually like having people in my house, I'm a rubbish host, and don't like people very much. I would not go to theirs if there was not a level of insistence that I feel uncomfortable turning down.

MiraiDevant Tue 02-Jan-18 08:26:51

All reasons above - except the givers and takers.

Not all hosts are generous and not all guests are "takers". Some hosts are mean - I went to "drinks" over Christmas. I brought two bottles of Champagne, a bottle of gin, two bottles of tonic, a stilton, some nuts and some flowers.

The only food provided was crisps and the only drink cheap fizz and Asda cola. The whole thing was over in three hours.

Memories of dinner parties where my lovely expensive wine was ferreted away and cheap plonk and a plate of pasta was considered ample reward for travelling forty miles on a freezing night.

I hate hosting - many reasons. So when I am invited I make sure I am a very generous guest.

Some people hate travelling or being guests - especially if they have young children, transport problems or pets they can't leave but have a large house and enjoy having people there,

Would you be keen to go to a barbeque on the balcony of a one-bedroom flat in a inconvenient location miles from the nearest transport? Or would it make more sense to use your huge garden with plenty of parking near a mainline train station?

As long as both guests and hosts are happy and are equally generous it should work. And - among real friends - it really doesn't matter

Silvercatowner Tue 02-Jan-18 08:28:10

I don't actually like having people in my house, I'm a rubbish host, and don't like people very much. I would not go to theirs if there was not a level of insistence that I feel uncomfortable turning down.


FrancinePefco Tue 02-Jan-18 08:31:43

If you open your doors to them, make them feel relaxed and cared for in your home, it deepens the friendship in a way nothing else can.

That beautifully and eloquently sums up our intent Zoop. Our house is never going to be featured in Dream Homes - but having people round does force us to have a good clear out and tidy beforehand and fix the sodding toilet roll holder AGAIN

OP’s posts: |
Nettletheelf Tue 02-Jan-18 08:33:24

I often think about this (DH and I are regular hosts but 50% of our friends do reciprocate). Clearly not everybody is a hoarder/chronically shy/too skint to buy food and drink, so we’ve concluded that it’s a mixture of laziness, social anxiety (ie can’t cope with the imagined stress of hosting) and thinking that they will cause offence to regular party givers by setting up rival events! The last one is bonkers but a couple we know actually said that.

Your decision to skip the Christmas drinks do might get some of your neighbours thinking. If anybody asks, you could say that you felt that you were hosting all the time and fancied a rest, followed by a significant pause!

Fintress Tue 02-Jan-18 08:34:07

We are guilty of this with one couple in our circle of friends. Mainly due to the wife. She is obnoxious beyond belief when she’s drunk. Another couple in our group had a party a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t go as I was ill, my husband went for a couple of hours. We caught up with them on Sunday and I apologised for not going and was told I should be thankful as after my husband left the female in question was hammered and falling out with everyone and making a scene. The friends that had the party said that’s the last time, no more, she was a disgrace. To be honest she is barely tolerable when sober but her husband has been best friends with mine since they were teenagers so I tolerate her on occasion.

Makes me sound a bitch but believe me I’m not the only one. One of her best friends unfriended her on FB and went NC after she got drunk and made a huge scene in a pub when she started ripping into her own husband, shouting and screaming at him for no reason. He is actually very nice, easy going. Too easy going for her. I don’t want to be around people like that.

TheTurnOfTheScrew Tue 02-Jan-18 08:36:26

i think if you aren't in a position to host, whether through size/condition of house or some other reason, that's ok, it's helpful to let people know that you have had a nice time but aren't in a position to reciprocate (no more detailed explanation required). Otherwise I worry that no return of invitation means that I am one-sidedly pursuing a friendship, and you are too polite to say otherwise.

CheapSausagesAndSpam Tue 02-Jan-18 08:36:42

I stress about this due to a general lack of confidence. I worry I won't be a good host or the food will be rubbish.

I do host sometimes though...I make myself or it would just be rude!

BarbarianMum Tue 02-Jan-18 08:36:48

Dh and I are thinking of hosting our first "part" (really it will be 4-6 couples) in years this year. The reason its taken so long is that our house is shabby and I'm a bjt insecure and know I'll spend the week before worrying nobody will come. blush

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