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Posted @ 2/15/2011 2:10 PM By Elise
Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I had a dear friend join my husband and children for Christmas dinner this year. My friend said at least four times during the Christmas dinner "You slaved away all day long in the kitchen." This friend has known me for 27 years and has been at my home before for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and knows I love to cook. I later asked her privately what she meant or what her point was, and she said, "If indeed I said that, well, you have my sympathy for cooking."
How should someone respond to such unwelcome declarations of slavery and sympathy?
If you were ever in a situation that you are insulted when someone is a guest in your home, I would handle it exactly like you did. Questioning her in private on what she meant by her comment let’s her know your feelings are hurt, and she said something that is insulting to you. An appropriate response to “…you have my sympathy for cooking” can be something like, “No need for the sympathy. I love to cook, and love to entertain, and do not feel like a slave at all. It gives me great joy to make a great meal for my family and friends, especially on a holiday.” This type of response should make it clear that you did not appreciate her comment, and hopefully will prevent her from saying something like this again. If it is said with a smile then it will get the point across, but not blow up into an uncomfortable argument.
Here are some helpful tips when you are invited to dinner at someone’s house:
· Do not come empty handed. A bottle of wine or flowers in a vase are always welcome gifts.
· Offer to help with any preparations, from setting the table to assisting with cooking.
· Do not sit down at the table until your host invites you to.
· Start eating after the hostess takes her first bite of the meal.
· Honestly compliment the cook on some aspect of the meal after a few bites.
· Thank the cook for dinner after the meal is finished.
· Offer to help clear the table.
· Follow up with a phone call or note the next day to say thank you.