What Makes You Not Invite Guests Back?

Dinner party faux pasMy recent bout of entertaining got me thinking about what makes a good dinner party. No matter how much effort you put in, and as charming you try to be, the conversation doesn’t always flow smoothly. And let’s face it, some guests are just difficult (but not any of my recent guests, who mostly read this blog).

I don’t expect a lot from guests, but some things drive me crazy.  So here’s a fun question to start off the week: Did your guests ever do something that made you swear never to invite them back?

I’ll start off with something mild: I don’t like it when guests take lots of food and leave it on their plate. Even worse is when they let their kids do it. But that’s probably not enough for me not to have them again.

I am off on a trip to Colombia and the US, hurricane-permitting, for the next couple of weeks, and for some of the time I will be a houseguest. I want to hear what drives you crazy, so I won’t do it to my hosts!

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image: Editor B



  1. Generally it drives me nuts when guests let their kids get my house discombobulated, and don’t bother to tell them to tidy up.

  2. I don’t like it when my guests don’t eat. I’ve made large meals for large families and it’s one thing when kids are picky, but when parents also are, it peeves me.

  3. I agree with Abbi, though I’m not sure what you can do about picky.

    What I hate is when people eat – at a kiddush, for instance –before they come over knowing full well they are coming for a meal!

    I had some guests who actually told me, during the meal, that they were not longer hungry because they had eaten at the kiddush!

    I heard that a Rav here has put a stop to large, elaborate, meal-like kiddushes in his shul because it is disrespectful to all the women who went to the trouble to prepare meals that people will not eat because they filled up at the kiddush.

  4. It frustrates me when I have very demanding guests. Once I had someone who asked for so many different things, that I barely had a chance to sit. Ice, soup nuts, salt, more drinks etc. It hasn’t happened just once, we host a lot! I think guests should realize that the hosts have worked very hard and they also deserve to sit and enjoy the meal. It the water is empty ask, can I refill the pitcher. If you’re dying for soup nuts and there are none on the table, maybe just live with it!

  5. If guests stay late into the night or all afternoon I am more careful to only invite them back when I don’t want to nap.

    I also don’t like when my family or guests fill up at kiddush, especially if they are late. But if I know everyone will have a big kiddush, I can plan accordingly. Less work for me!

    If guests are picky or have dietary issues I just want to know ahead. I enjoy a challenge, but I hate making food people won’t even try.

    If I have several guest, I hate when one monopolizes the conversation. It makes me feel bad for my other guests who aren’t enjoying themselves.

    Usually when I don’t invite people back it has nothing to do with them. My husband just likes simple quiet lunches and we often put the kids to bed before Friday night dinner. And I think our guests won’t like what we like. We don’t usually eat hot food in the summer and we often eat parve or dairy lunch.

  6. Ms. Krieger says

    I love having guests in general, and I am pleased if people stay late…it is such a pleasure to have company.

    The only time I consciously decided to not invite someone back was when the person was actively rude…she went through my refrigerator to look for something her toddler would like better than what was being served, she commented on what she perceived as the non-religiosity of my family when she found out my husband was not born Jewish (not in an unkind way, she was comparing her Russian background and ours, but it is not something a polite person should comment on at all) and she generally took liberties that I found obnoxious.

    But I felt bad about my decision not to invite them back. She was Russian-Israeli and new in the US and I am sure some of it was just different cultural norms…then again, I’ve met plenty of Russian Israelis I’ve liked and haven’t found unbearably rude, so I didn’t feel too bad.

  7. people who don’t make conversation and people who are rude. i agree–i want to know if someone is vegetarian,celiac or allergic tosomething…….i have a variety of things i can make and i’d rather cook food that people eat.and if your child or spouse is so picky about food—make what they like and i’ll heat it up.makes me nuts to see someone pass on almost every dish

  8. My kids agreed particularly with people who let their kids make a mess and don’t make them clear it up, as they are usually the ones who have to deal with it!Adults who go upstairs without asking first. People who take food with their fingers (not cake, but eg chicken…) We’ve only ever actually decided (during the meal) not to invite one family back, but there were real medical-behavioural issues, which we felt we just couldn’t cope with as a family.

  9. Wow you guys are a tad bit harsh…..i usually eat what’s on my plate, but in general i hope people aren’t watching that kind of thing b/c that would make me terribly self conscious! j/k. No, but seriously, i can understand parents who don’t control kids being a huge annoyance (we factor it in when we decide which combo of families to invite and actually remove toys that will make a big mess if we can’t trust the fam to clean up)…but the rest of the annoyances could just be different styles of eating that you cant predict ahead of time. Some people just aren’t big eaters…and if I’ve made too many sides, it’s also on me. Plus, I know that in the past two years, our style of cooking has totally changed from sweet heavy foods to more veggie oriented food. It’s really hard to go to a house and then indulge on that kind of food again…and vice versa, i’ve had people come who wouldn’t touch the veggie dishes in our house (i was terribly embarrassed in that case, and made note to self to always try to have more of a balance even if it wasn’t our preference. Kiddush is hard one b/c if its in honor of a simcha than those ppl also want their food to be eaten…but in that case it might be equivalent of just not accepting another meal..i.e..thanks for the invite, but we have a kiddush that day, so we won’t be able to make it.

  10. Two words: Conversation domination.