Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We had some long-time friends over for dinner last night with their little girl. We enjoyed a nice meal, had some great conversation, shared some wine and the kids happily played together. When they were leaving, my friend said next, we come to her house. We both looked at each other and sort of laughed.

A nice life they have indeed, a beautiful and sweet mild-mannered two-year old in a pretty house–all seemingly manageable. Here? Three boys in often loud, chaos that involves weapons, a sharp eye for anything breakable, plenty of wrestling and always farts. Do you really want to have us over?

While I concede we don’t always make great company at “your house” it isn’t just the kids. I spend my entire visit at someone else’s house scanning the room for potential towering launch pads for bodies, breakable treasures that seem to have blinking lights on them flashing “Get me, Sam!” and apologizing profusely. A good time had by all? Most often not.

Maybe we should go more places so they learn to behave, but I am sure that will come in time. For now, they are little boys and too many rules just makes for lots of conflict. Conflict makes for frustration and frustration makes for punching! Don’t even ask me to take them to a restaurant, I will likely laugh right in your face (unless there is outdoor seating).

While I don’t usually enjoy myself at the home of others (unless the kids are home with the babysitter), it sure is nice to be invited. We do a fair amount of entertaining here, which I love. I have shared before how much I love to have a great meal with friends. But, it seems as most often, the invitation to someone else’s house is never extended.

I try to think that not everyone likes to entertain like I do, but then, being the obsessively-insecure-about-any-kind-of-relationship-outside-of-my-marriage kind of girl that I am, I obsess and think they don’t like us. I think they came over here, we chatted over dinner and they didn’t have a good time and decided they didn’t like us. But really, I think it is more that people just don’t like to have people over any more.

Do you keep score? (That is a hint to comment, all you stealth blog-readers). Do you expect a return invitation if you welcome someone in your home? I certainly don’t want the invitation if it is nothing more than a formality, a “now we have to have them over to our house.” Trust me, it is no picnic in the park to have us over (unless we are outdoors, then all of the above doesn’t apply and the boys are great). So, the invitation itself has become just as good as the actual event.

In other words, just getting invited makes me feel validated. Then, I usually talk them in to coming back over here. Not a martyr, just want to actually enjoy myself and that is most often done in our own home where anything they break, I know I already paid for.

6 Thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Do You Keep Score?

  1. Sally Hardgrove on October 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm said:

    I think people don’t entertain anymore. For the longest time we hosted evening after evening with no reciprocity. For the last two years (at least) we’ve kept to ourselves. Blame lingering sense of scarcity from rough economic times, and frankly a blue funk that won’t go away. But I hear you. For a very long time we didn’t go to people’s house with a single toddler or early childhood kiddo because he was hell on wheels with no impulse control. Didn’t help that a friend with no filter when it comes to judging others made it clear that she considered his hyperactivity the result of poor parenting and no limit setting. I got tired of hearing about what a great mother her 20 something niece was because her kids were under control. That hurt deeply and I don’t think our relationship will ever recover.

    Anyway Kris, you’re not alone.

    • Ah, yes…the judgement. I think when I wrote that in 2006, I had yet to fully experience the judgement of my wild 5 year old with no impulse control. It no doubt came certainly thereafter.

  2. I think this is such an interesting post. We never entertain and in fact are the ones who are always invited over. I think our friends take pity on us for not cooking and think that we won’t survive if they don’t give us a home cooked meal every once in awhile. I used to also suggest that we would have our friends over in return but one friend told me that she preferred to have us over and that it hurt her feelings if I felt like I needed to return the favor or “keep score”. Just let us entertain you and enjoy it, age told me. Now I just let her a

  3. (I hit submit too early). Now I just let her entertain and feed us and we do things she would enjoy in exchange. I just bought her cards against humanity and now we play it when we go over, so we offer in ways that we can. I think most people have a difficult time just accepting people doing things for them. I’m going to stop keeping score and allow people to be giving. Great post!

    • Yes! It’s just the thought…knowing they actually want to spend time with you. I don’t care where it is. In fact, formality makes me uncomfortable so the “courteous” invite is my worst nightmare! Just go and be where it feels best 🙂 Thanks, Peter!

  4. No. We don’t, and honestly, I tend to agree with most of your readers – people just “don’t have people over anymore”. I don’t know why. As you know, our kids are grown and gone – but even people OUR age “don’t have people over anymore” – they tend to say, “Want to go somewhere?” or “Meet us for a drink?” or “Go to a concert?”, etc. It’s almost like inviting you to their home WOULD imply an obligation – that “second date syndrome”, or something worse. Should you bring a “gift”? Should you reciprocate within a specified time frame? Is some sort of “spousal coordination” required? Good grief – it’s just a friendly gesture. We used to have a “group” when we were younger – 5 couples – we all “rotated”, we knew each other well, we knew to keep breakables out of the way at all our houses, we knew our kids were raucous & it was okay, we went from house to house to house and did “potluck and played cards because we all had no money”, it was great. But – we got older, moved away, and life moved on. What ever happened to “just friends”???

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