We recently had the extended family over and it in the process it reminded me of a conversation and then enactment of said conversation with my supervisor. The conversation went something like:

Supervisor: The rules of hospitality are quite complex.

Me: ???

Supervisor: Well if you are invited to someone’s place for a meal you usually bring a gift, what sort of gift do you bring, chocolates, or flowers indicate different things. What do you do?

Now this of course is not that profound a conversation until you realise that when I invited my supervisor to dinner we had to play it out again.

And then of course we recently had the family over. This is always an interesting process. We have hosted the family in at least 3 other locations than our present one and depending on who is there determines the loudness or quietness of the event. In other words each time we do it there is a noticeable difference and to my thinking it gets back down to what my supervisor said, “The rules of hospitality are quite complex”.

Each person who comes to an event has a different expectation of what their role is. Some people just sit, others wander around, some help in the kitchen or in the cleaning up, others leave everything to their hosts including feeding them the peeled grapes, just joking about the feeding part. The rules are complex. The hosts may expect a quiet night, the guests may expect a noisy one. The hosts may have lots of food or under cater, the guests may not have an appetite or may be ravenous because they missed lunch. The rules are quite complex.

We were glad we had everyone over and will do so again.

So how hospitable are you and what rules of hospitality do you expect people to follow?