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Etiquette when friends visit with their Helper

(13 Posts)
VulvalHeadMistress Mon 10-Jul-17 07:42:14

I haven't put this on Chat or AIBU because I'm not flameproof.

So friends we made when we lived in Asia are visiting for the day soon and are bringing their helper.
We didn't have a helper, and I never felt very sure about how to handle situations where I was the host and they were therefore a "guest", except in reality they aren't.
Normally they would just make themselves scarce with the kids, and would never have joined us at the table.

Anyway, We will all be eating together at our dining table, and there is no separate Staff Area and of course here there are no helpers (I know, I know). What do you think is the best/least gauche way to cause minimum fuss and embarrassment to everyone.

NapQueen Mon 10-Jul-17 07:44:10

Ask them?

"Hi, would you like your helper to have a bedroom near you for ease? Also, shall I include them in numbers for dinner or do they usually sort themselves?"

Brokenbiscuit Mon 10-Jul-17 07:44:24

I would just assume that they would eat at the table with everyone else. But then, I'm not a big fan of hierarchies!

rizlett Mon 10-Jul-17 07:44:44

Might you make the eating less formal and have a buffet/eat outside rather than be sat at the dining table?

Is it just the meal that is a problem?

StealthPolarBear Mon 10-Jul-17 07:46:54

Are you now in the UK? Then I'd say the only separation would be a separate child table, if that's something you'd usually do.

amnesty124 Mon 10-Jul-17 07:48:15

Depends where you are in Asia. If the helper is Filipino perhaps have her sitting with the kids? If you were somewhere like India - the maid would feel completely uncomfortable at the table. Also would the maid be able to eat the food you are preparing. I think asking your friend outright what to do would not be offensive.

newbian Mon 10-Jul-17 07:51:56

Definitely ask your friend what they'd like you to do. If their plan makes you deeply uncomfortable, you should say so in advance. On the other hand I would not assume the helper wants to eat with you and/or eat the food you are eating so it's better all around to clarify beforehand.

VulvalHeadMistress Mon 10-Jul-17 07:54:51

We are now in Europe, and all the children are now old enough that there is no kids table.

I do think the less formal eating is a good idea, buffet/picnic in the garden would be possible depending on the weather.

We were in SG and I'm pretty sure their helper is a Filipina (although Indonesian is a possibility too).

VulvalHeadMistress Mon 10-Jul-17 07:56:49

Thanks everyone, it is great to be able to ask people who get this.

Cantseethewoods Mon 10-Jul-17 16:03:02

I would ask your friend what her helper would prefer (before anyone jumps on me, yes, she could ask the helper, but the answer will be "whatever you like ma'am"). I know my helper would prefer to eat separately if she isn't there in her capacity as a nanny to the children - she has no desire to socialise with us, understandably.

However, agree that a buffet/ picnic /bbq might work best in the situation. Another thing is that she will almost certainly offer to help and will probably actually quite want to so as to avoid just sitting there so maybe think of a few things she could help with if she wants to.

Also, if she is Indonesian then it's likely she won't eat pork or want to cook it, so if she is helping just be aware of that.

.........and this is why I don't bring my helper to the UK grin

Therealslimshady1 Mon 10-Jul-17 16:09:34

Are maids now called helpers?

I had this situation when DB and SIL visited from Singapore, they only stayed a few days. The maid ended up eating with the kids, so that is no help to you.

I left it to DB and SIL to decide how to make the set up work.

I pretty much treated her like a normal guest, but she preferred not to have dinner with us. Which I thought was a shame.

Windycityblues Mon 10-Jul-17 17:18:07

I would ask the visitors what would work best from their view, is there a separate kitchen area that you plate some food for her? Obviously if the kitchen/ dinning space is all one this won't help. Informal eating may help or you may find that she just works during the meal, in which case she may need food left out for her for later.

newbian Tue 11-Jul-17 00:28:26

Therealslimshady in Singapore and Hong Kong the governments are now using "foreign domestic helper" as their official visa status so helper has essentially replaced maid/amah/etc as the common term.

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