Rude Dinner Guest

eychnNovember 28, 2006

I have been hosting holiday luncheons and dinners for my husband's family for the past 10 years. My brother-in-law has started bringing his wife to the gathering for the past 2 years (1 year of dating and 1 year of being married). However she has never brought anything to my house and she has never once said thank you to me and my husband. She just simply shows up, eats, and leaves.

When I am hosting any luncheon or dinner, it is my gift to my husband's family. So I don't expect any gift in return. However, how rude can one person get by not saying thank you and showing any appreciation and graciousness? I know we are family now but I don't think I should put up with her any longer. How should I tell her about her obnoxious behavior without putting strain on the rest of the family?


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You shouldn't! Her rude behaviour is inexcusable but not worth a family rift. Ignore it, it's the way she is , accept and move past it.

Trust me others notice this type of behaviour, take the "high road".

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 12:21PM
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Ditto, chase... However rude, you can't really make her "gracious; she's just not. Don't stoop to her level.

You could very politely say specifically to her..."Hope you enjoyed the dinner, Victoria, and that everything was to your liking; Glad you came". She could just be painfully shy. It would be interesting to see how she responds, but I wouldn't expect much. She was probably never taught social graces, and just doesn't get it, and never will.

Or, maybe you could wrap her up a Miss Manners book for Christmas (JUST KIDDING)!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 12:36PM
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A third vote to say nothing. You are absolutely right; she should be saying thank you. But that's her bad karma. It's never our place to teach other adults manners, and it never works, either; it just makes people feel defensive and that you are controlling. In the case of a new sister-in-law, it is also just begging for trouble. Don't comment on her lack of manners any more than you would comment on her lack of taste in clothes.

This has been going on for only two years, and although I agree that it is rude not to say thanks, how is it really harming you that you feel you "don't think [you] should put up with her any longer"? I don't think it qualifies as "obnoxious behavior" -- she probably just doesn't know any better (you didn't mention that she thanks others, just not you, or something). Maybe she will learn from your family's example.

Maybe there is something else going on here -- am I the only one who senses that this is not your favorite person? -- and it wouldn't matter if she did get a clue about saying thank you. But if you really want to know whether there is a way you can confront your new sister-in-law and tell her that you will no longer tolerate her obnoxious behavior, without putting a strain on the rest of the family -- well, to ask the question is to answer it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 4:46PM
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I agree. It might be rude of her to not say thank you, but do you really know *why* she's not saying thank you? I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on these issues and my bet is that she's not an evil ill-mannered girl. Perhaps if you made an effort to have a relationship with her (go to lunch or shopping together, etc) it would help you to understand where she's coming from. It could be that she came from a home where manners were not taught, etc.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 4:48PM
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Thank you for all your response! I used to give homemade baked goods for everyone to take home. But I got no thank you from her ever. She just took the baked goods and leftovers when she left. Plus she likes to be the center of attention and cut everyone off during a conversation. Both my husband and I agreed she is a cheap and self-centered person.

So next time when I see her at my house, I will make sure to say "Hope you enjoyed the dinner and you are very welcome!" when she leaves without thanking anyone.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:26PM
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>> I will make sure to say "Hope you enjoyed the dinner and you are very welcome!" when she leaves without thanking anyone.

Well, eychn, I think that is very telling and will be perceived as (as I perceive it), a shot. I agree that it sounds like you don't care for her (and I'm not saying you have to), but perhaps she feels the same about you? It's sounding as though you do want to take a shot at her and have her say ouch, but don't want the rest of the family to know that you did it. I hope I'm misinterpreting that.

Wouldn't you feel better about yourself if you just graciously said "Hope you enjoyed the dinner" and left it at that?


    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:19AM
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suzieque, I think you said that very well.

eychn, why did you even ask? Every one of us said the same thing: don't say anything. But you proudly announced your intention to say something snarky to her that will serve no purpose other than to make her feel bad. She is rude not to thank you, but that doesn't mean you should be rude or nasty in return -- and in fact, in MHO, deliberately trying to embarrass a guest -- let alone a new in-law -- is ruder than failing to say thanks, which is indeed rude, but not cruel. You are a host, with the duty of hospitality. How is being sarcastic and mean to the new in-law, at holiday celebrations, supposed to contribute to the happiness of your husband's family?
Sorry for being so harsh, but it just makes me feel terrible to see questions about how to be mean characterized as "entertaining" questions. It's one place to blow off steam over a rude guest -- this is a great place for that -- but if you are looking for support for being rude to your guests, I don't think you will find it here.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 5:02PM
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I agree with Gellchom and Suzieque.

I have a feeling there is more to this story than just having a rude sister in law. I take it that you don't like her and maybe she doesn't like you.

I know how frustrating it can be to work so hard to entertain the in-laws and then feel taken for granted. I once had a huge dinner for fifteen members of my husbands family. Sit down. I pulled it off well.

Only to have my mother in law over dessert to say in regards to my desserts that everyone should have been on their trip they had recently gotten home from. "Those desserts were really good." It was so rude and hateful. I didn't say a word. My brother in law however called her out on it at the table while I just kept my mouth shut and took a sip of my wine.

Family is family. If you are looking for a huge thank you for everything you do for family every time then good luck. Let me know how that turns out.

I wouldn't waste my time worrying about it. Spend your time on energy on something more important.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 5:33PM
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Nicely said, Gellcom.
As for her saying thank you....Yes good manners say thanks are polite after you have been entertained, but good manners also say that a hostess should never elicit thanks. If you are entertaining to be thanked, I would say you are about as rude as your SIL.
Let it go....
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:46PM
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Thanks for everyoneƂs input! I probably will host less family gathering in the future. But if there is any luncheon or dinner, I will change it to potluck. Hopefully, it will create a more casual and social environment.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 12:13PM
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I am assuming this entertaining has become a family "tradition" if you have been doing it for 10 years. Why would you change it to a pot luck? You mention that it is a gift to your husband's family.

The issue with your SIL could be any number of things, she may be intimidated by your ease in entertaining. She is newly married and obviously doesn't have the same rapport with your inlaws as you. Why not try and make friends with her? Try and see it her from side? I know it is impolite to be rude and not saying thank you.

I have to say that you are obsessing way too much on this particular person and I am not sure why. It would be kinder of you to befriend her than to change family traditions drastically.

I would continue to entertain the way I wanted and also try and make nice with your SIL. Everyone will be happier in the end.

Just my $.02.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 5:29PM
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eychn, thanks for taking our remarks in stride.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with your begging off from doing all the holiday entertaining in the future, whatever your reason. That is a lot of work and expense. Who knows -- maybe someone else has even been waiting for a turn to be host. And I know you will never forget to thank them. Potlucks are fine, too.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 6:22PM
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I don't know, it may just be my family however we don't give eachother thank you notes for gifts or even say "thanks for having us over" I mean we are family and we don't feel we need to say anything. Granted we do say "this turkey is good" or something like that. However noone is upset if that doesn't come up. We are just happy to be together. Noone cares about much else.

Does your brother thank you personally every time? Either she thinks that since they are married him thanking you is for both of them or she is from a family that this doesn't need to be said.

I feel that you are getting annoyed over nothing. Families do things differently. My husbands family hugs everytime we see them (every other week) my family rarely hugs and we only see eachother like 3x a year. It is just learned behavior.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 4:07PM
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This thread interested me because I have a daughter in law that is exactly the same way as far as saying thanks. I know she is more than painfully shy but she continues to come to our home with our son but doesn't seem anxious to leave. They have been married 6 years and have a toddler (whom she uses to avoid interacting with the other adults). I have resented times that I have given her gifts for herself or the baby and nary a thank you. She doesn't offer to help when we have meals, though my son does. She can eat meals with us and never comment. I have come to the conclusion that it is shyness (which must hurt terribly) and not rudeness. (Although she was an only child raised with a strange single mother who has no social skills.) It seems incomprehensible that one could be unable to open their mouth to say thanks. She will answer if asked a question but then everything gets quiet. My son is happy and she seems perfectly content so who am I to question it? I told him (in her presence) recently that he had been blessed with a wonderful wife and since then, she seems to be warming up considerably!!! Our darling 18 month old granddaughter is very outgoing and social......go figure!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Well, Pat, I think you probably have sized up the situation perfectly and have wisely concluded that it's just the way she is -- it isn't about you or even how she feels about you at all. She just has some pretty heavy social problems. You understandably feel resentful that she doesn't thank or help you, but you have figured out how not to take it personally. I know that's a lot easier said than done.

I think it must be very disappointing to have a daughter-in-law who doesn't thank or seem to appreciate you and perhaps just isn't much fun for you in general. But here again you are very wise, focusing on the fact that your son is happy with her and your little granddaughter is turning out just fine. That daughter-in-law is lucky to have you. I wouldn't be surprised if she loves you a LOT.

You are a wonderful example to us all! I hope my kidz will choose partners I enjoy, too, but if they don't, I hope I will remember your excellent perspective.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 5:41PM
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Thanks again for all your input. My sister-in-law is not shy (as some of you suggested) at all. She loves to talk about herself. We have gone out with in-laws and family members for other get together dinner. And everytime the bill came, she would loudly say she was poor and her husband should pay for her. She is a lawyer and has 2 houses; she can't be that poor.

So as I posted previously, I will definitely cut down hosting any family luncheon or dinner.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:05PM
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I would have taken her comment at the restaurant as a joke..don't you think her husband (even if was just a boyfriend at the time) would have been paying for his family type functions anyway? Just because she talks about herself doesn't make her bad person (boring, maybe); she still may just be insecure and not know what else to talk about.

I do think there is something more going on. Maybe she is upset because she has to spend the holidays with the in-laws instead of her family. Maybe her husband has told her things that make her feel insecure being with your family. Maybe she has offered and wants to host the parties, but her husband won't allow it? Maybe she brings the items to her family gatherings, and the husband is supposed to bring items to his family gatherings and he's the one you should be mad at about not helping out, not her.

I do think the lack of thank you's is very obnoxious, but I still have a feeling there is a lot more to the story.

I certainly don't mean to make you feel you have to defend yourself as it does seem like you are the unappreciated victim in all this, but I have learned through years with in-laws that things and perceptions are often way off base.

The only clear cut thing I see you are really having to put up with her is her not saying "Thank You" to you. I wouldn't change your Holiday parties over it. Ask your BIL himself to bring something if you don't think they are pulling their weight on the Holidays but be sure to thank him. I say kill her with kindness...I really think this is the best way to deal with the situation and I think it will help in the long run.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:18PM
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carla35, thanks for your suggestion. I will definitely "kill her with kindness" if I have to see her again.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 12:07AM
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You have told us that you and your husband feel she is "rude,""obnoxious," "cheap," and "self-centered"; that "she likes to be the center of attention and cut everyone off during a conversation," and that after 2 years you "don't think [you] should put up with her any longer."

Perhaps she knows how you feel about her, and this is part of why she is not at her best around you, especially at your home, where she may feel she is not really welcome. It can be hard to be around people that you know hold you in bitter contempt, even more so when they are your new in-laws and you can tell they have no intention of accepting you.

If you two have expressed these feelings to others in the family, she may also feel that you are trying to poison people against her. I'm not saying that you have done that, but maybe she thinks you have.

Just a thought.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 12:50PM
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Hi Gellchom! Just a note: Thanks for your kind words. I have 6 other daughter in laws.......all kinds! I have to be understanding because of all the personalities. I love them because my sons love them and I'm sure they could dredge up plenty of things about me they would change! I don't think I'm the butt of too many MIL jokes. I'm blessed.......

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 4:16PM
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This reminds me of an aquaintance of mine whom every time we get together she has negative things to say about her MIL. Not sometimes, every time. I assumed at first that she was looking for advice, so I'd say things like, "I quit ripping on my inlaws because that's where my DH came from, and I love him too much to shred his roots." Nothing I ever said made an ounce of difference. I have now grown bored of her lifelong hatred and now just tolerate our occasional greetings laced with complaints about you know who. She's not looking for advice - just looking for a place to lay down more complaints which if she'd only realize in the end, it will never make her feel better. Being more mature than you ever thought possible is the ONLY thing that will ever allow you to handle this situation in such a way that will relieve your anger. LIfe is just too short.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 5:36PM
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I have recently been following this entertaining board as I have been posting to business related boards as I am involved in decorating and remodeling. Now, what I have found is that there are many people who simply are not grounded in the social graces. It's as simple as my parents teaching me to say please, thank you, yes ma'am, no sir, to eat with my mouth closed, etc. My parents were intelligent and could carry on conversations on many subjects. On the other hand, they taught me not to interrupt other people but to listen to what they had to say. As odd as this may seem, some people do not even know how to respond to a simple greeting. We have a new DIL who simply cannot carry on a conversation of any substance. I've always said we get to pick our friends.

Now, we do entertain frequently and have a group of friends with similar interests and backgrounds. We revel in their stories about family and careers. Some times the best laid plans of mice and men requires that we make the best of a bad situation. Very simply, a rude person will not be invited back.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 9:42AM
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gelchom: I was hoping that someone would pick up on eychn's feelings about her new SIL. When we feel that way about someone, often we never have to say it out loud. They can read it in our body language, our glances to our spouse when the offending person speaks, or tells a story. She can tell that you do not like or respect her without you ever having to actually say it. I imagine that her lack of thanks, could be that she can "feel" how you feel about her, and she doesn't want to be there (who can blame her...would you want to be at a family dinner where you know the host can't stand you? Of course not! No one would. And yet, within families (and business) there are certain things we are expected to attend, whether we feel like it or not. And whether we are comfortable or not. So I imagine she is there because she has to be for family peace, but perhaps she is not thankful to be there. That she can "feel" the vibes towards her, regardless of what you actually say to her, and if that is the case, perhaps her spirit does not feel thankful. She may instead feel uncomfortable, and anxious and relieved to leave.

It is very hard to feel a spirit of thankfulness towards someone who does not like us.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 2:37PM
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bnicebkind, you said that very well.

I have to say that although I agree that this sister-in-law ought to say thanks after being entertained (and is she even the only one who doesn't?), I give her huge marks for continuing to show up at all at the home of a sister- and brother-in-law who seem really to hate her and who say so many ugly things about her. She's been around such a short time, too -- sounds like they may never even have given her a chance. I feel sorry for her husband, too; it's got to be awful to have your family badmouthing your wife. If they aren't careful, they are going to ruin their relationship with him, too. What a mess.

The OP and her husband don't have to like their SIL. But at least for the sake of his brother and the larger family, it would be wise to try to learn to accept her. And when they are hosts, they have the obligation to treat her as graciously as any other guest, whether or not they like her at all. If eychn doesn't feel comfortable with that, it is perfectly acceptable for her to pass off the hosting duties to someone else in the family.

In fact, I was surprised to see what the actual question was at the end of the original post. I thought it was going to be something like "Should we be gently trying to teach her to thank hosts, so she won't be embarrassed elsewhere, and if so, how?" or "How do we keep all the other guests from being embarrassed when she is rude?" But there wasn't any question about entertaining at all, just how to cut the SIL without getting blamed by the rest of the family.

It's rude for guests not to thank their hosts. It's inexcusable for hosts to show contempt toward and try to humiliate their guests.

Even in Turkish (see two posts up!)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 5:07PM
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****However she has never brought anything to my house and she has never once said thank you to me and my husband. She just simply shows up, eats, and leaves.****

***Plus she likes to be the center of attention and cut everyone off during a conversation. Both my husband and I agreed she is a cheap and self-centered person.***

***And everytime the bill came, she would loudly say she was poor and her husband should pay for her. She is a lawyer and has 2 houses; she can't be that poor.***

I have to agree I think there is more going on in this situation rather than just saying thank you. Its obvious you don't like her. Based on your statements I think the crux of the "Thank you " issue is you feel she should appreciate more of what you do considering you spent your money to do it. There are many references to her being cheap and having money and just taking what you offered such as the gift baskets without a thank you.

Would you be happier if she showed up with something she spent money on like flowers for the host or a bottle of wine. I could be waaaaayyyyy off so forgive if I am but this seems to have a little to do with money in addition to rudeness.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 12:33AM
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I think you probably resentful from all the work you put into the function and are expecting something that just isn't going to happen. When you put together the function next year I would mention a month or so ahead of time that this year it will be potluck and when you send out invitations you could assign each person something in the invites. If this is more of a gathering that you make phone calls for then just simply ask each person as you call if they could bring something. That alone would allevitate the stress you must feel getting ready the function. I do agree regardless of whether you too are friends is no excuse for her not to thank you as she leaves. I understand your resentment.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 2:36PM
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let us know how the family pot-luck dinner turns out...btw, has dh said anything to his brother?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 2:40PM
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Wow, this is my first time over on this forum and you all seem so nice. I wish I had read this thread when it was more active.

I, too, think there is more to this story than just not getting a "thank you." I think the personalities are rubbing each other. I can relate to that too. The way the OP described her SIL sounded as if she was describing my SIL. Every little "annoying" thing that my SIL did was magnified and just the thought that I had to spend time with her would put me in a foul mood (which wasn't fair to my DH).

I think what really needs to happen here is that the OP needs to call her SIL aside privately and talk to her about their relationship---maybe go out for a coffee? Give her a chance to explain.

If you allow her to continue to annoy you, and even to change your family traditions on account of her personality, then you are giving her too much control over you. She's going to eat you up inside and you're going to "hate" her more.

My SIL and I had a little talk, which did wonders for my soul. No one is going to change our personalities, but at least we understand where the other is coming from and it's okay that we don't see eye to eye. We'll never be best friends, but encounters are much more easier and enjoyable because there's not that unspoken tension between us. (It's easier for DH too)

Leave your DH out of this and his brother or any other family member. This is between you and your SIL. Your DH shouldn't be saying anything to his brother about your feelings towards his wife.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 5:52PM
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I have learned the hard way sometimes, that disdain and joy are both contagious. You'll be amazed at how your life changes when you start to spread joy around everywhere you go. It will get reciprocated back to you, and that is the truth.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 11:02PM
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Proverbs 23:6-8
Do not eat the bread of the man who is stingy: do not desire his delicacies; for he is like one who is inwardly reckoning. "Eat and drink!" he says to you; but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels which you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.

After reading the backstabbing, judgemental phrases she uses to describe this woman, I can only imagine how akward being forced to spend "family time" over the holidays in the company of such a "host & hostess" must be.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 1:38PM
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