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May 2011
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Ys [userpic]

Spawned by a conversation with my husband (fenton, who may make a poll of his own, he's playing with his new permanent account) and his sister (zylch, who doesn't (yet) have a paid account and so just has a post on the subject).

Hypothetical situation: You throw an annual holiday party for your colleagues, who range in age from 23 to near on retiring. This is the only social event that you host/attend in a given year (no, not even having friends over for dinner or movies). You have two children whose ages range from 3 to 10 during the years that you do this.

ETA: It is generally polite to ask one way or another, when you're not the one hosting. In this poll I'm not talking about failing to ask or making blind assumptions, I'm asking, "What's the general cultural assumption/norm in your world?" At one point in the poll I made a comment about asking first; what I meant there was really something like, "It varies so much that I have to ask every time or I wouldn't know," or something along those lines, not "I ask to be polite." Just FYI.

Poll #511085 Parties and Children

How do you deal with your children during the party?

They're treated just like anyone else who's attending the party.
Allow the children to be present until their normal bedtime, at which point they are put to bed.
Feed them dinner early, present them briefly to your colleagues, and then send them to go play quietly in their rooms. (Think Sound of Music.)
Don't allow them to meet the guests at all. Demand that they play quietly in their rooms the whole time. If possible, pretend that they don't exist. (Think Harry Potter.)
Something else. (see below)

If not one of the above, how do you deal with it?

Do you expect the same basic convention when you go to a party someone else is hosting?

Yes, but I ask first because it varies in my social group
No, most of the parties I go to have different standards
Something else. (see below)

Other parties-and-children expectations:

If you have kids, do you expect to bring them with you to most parties? Do you expect other people to bring their kids to most parties you go to?

Yes, it's rare that I go to a party where children aren't expected
Yes, but there are generally arrangements made there for the kids seperate from the adults
No, parties are for getting away from the kids
Something else. (see below)

Yet more other parties-and-children expectations:

Do these expectations change significantly in your mind based on whether the party/gathering is "formal" or "informal"? (For these purposes, assume "formal" means "the most formal thing I ever bother to go to/host"...if you don't ever go to White Tie dinners, then don't answer as to what you would expect there. This is about what you generally do/assume/experience.)

Yes, very different assumptions between formal and informal gatherings
Only subtle or occasional differences
No, not really all that different
Something else. (see below)

What else about formality?

I'm sure I forgot some important bits. Feel free to tell me in comments.

Current Mood: curiouscurious

Do you know that they reviewed the menu? I wouldn't have bothered to try and if I had, would not have probably read through the justifications for ratings.

"You would be wrong..."

I do not mean you would be dissapointed millions of times about the issue of kids welcomness based on certain word combinations. I mean that the entire genre of "manner rules" that are presumed obvious are guarenteed dissapointments eventually with someone, somewhere. I am not saying my kid assumptions are "standard". I am saying that there is no such thing as a homogeneous 100% of the time reaction to anything when it comes to human behavior, and that I can promise for every manner rule anyone on this planet has, there is at least one person who totally is ignorant of the rule. Therefore in my life it is insane to bother to be annoyed that they didn't share my rule instead of just confronting and resolving the issue going forward.

It is clear that this new person is not a part of your relatively homogeneous (in terms of manners and their associated behaviors) friend set, but you knew that when the person was invited by someone else. So why expect them to be? This is like a game of telephone and then getting annoyed at it.

Julie: Hey, I am having a pink party, wanna come?
Jenny: Sure, can I invite Susan?
Julie: Sure.
Jenny: Hey, this friend of mine is having a party, Susan, and I want you to come. Can you?
Susan: Hey, cool. Sure.
Susan: Good lord, she's a psycho. Why on earth did Jenny want to introduce me to her? Note to self, do not trust Jenny's judgement of people.

Holding people to rules they are ignorant of, whether because it was left out of a relay or they came from a different planet or for any other reason, seems pretty unproductive as responses go. That, really, is all.

"The person paying the bills makes the rules. They are *not* obligated..."

Absolutely. To me, though, it's a stupid reason to refuse to be clear to people with families, especially considering I may not invite a baby that will be born by the time of the wedding, but who I could not possibly anticipate in making out invitations, and whose existance would prevent the mother's attendance if not invited. It's cool by me to say "Hey, guys, expensive formal event with no kids, please. We understand if that doesn't work for you and respect that, but need to keep control of the finances on this thing."

I would vastly prefer that to them thinking they're not welcome, that it is rude to ask, or a million other things that might cause the failure of someone being there who I wanted to share the day with. You are welcome to say nothing more in your wedding invite than "Somewhere, some day, something will happen in a white dress", but I think not many people would show. So each person picks a threshold of useful data to impart. What you pick will exclude some people you didn't want to exclude if you just pick the words based on "obvious" instead of "as precise as I can figure out how to be". That might be fine with you. It's not fine with me.

"They don't need *any* reason other than "No. We don't want this.""

They can have the rule that everyone there has to wear a lamp shade on their head, for all I care. But if they make the rule and assume that everyone understands that from saying "There will be light" in the invite, or because you are in Germany and that is standard practice across all of Germany, they won't have all the guests meet the rule. It would be much more effective to say "please do not bring your children" instead of being irritated that they didn't know they must wear a lampshade because they came from Norway.

This is about communication and resolving conflicting assumptions and being as explicit as possible, not weddings or standard kid rules. You could send ten people the same one sentance and at least one of them would get something totally different than what you meant. You then have a choice between being annoyed that they can't read, or explaining yourself. To me, being annoyed is unproductive, pointless pettiness instead of a resolution that would allow positive emotions for and from all parties instead.

I dont *CARE* if they read the menu-- MY job was to provide the information. You can lead a horse to water.... But if the horse is being shown where the water is, and still isnt drinking it, and there's no other water around, I still call it a stupid horse.

I think the real part where we differ is that you are much more easygoing about what happens on your time/money than I am. Just that simple. That's not a value judgement. It's an observation.

There's no particular way to "be productive" in this situation as I have no intention of making this particular person part of my social circle anyway. The only thing I can do is realize that when dealing with this specific *macro* group of people that I do in fact *have* to spell it out, which I frankly resent, but I will do it anyway because it's better than the alternatives.

My larger complaint in *all* of this is that the polite thing to do is *ask*, especially when you're being invited by someone who is *not* the person organizing the event. Had someone asked me, I'd have said no.