What Irks You?

It’s Monday morning again and my first thoughts linger over the disappointment from yesterday. Do you enjoy inviting friends round to share your passion and creativity over a delicious dinner? A meal which you meticulously research, plan, and prepare for them? Do you spend considerable time and effort in designing an elegant setting to accommodate this dinner? Do you spend your hard-earned money on the highest quality ingredients to ensure the best possible gastronomic results for your guests? Surely, pouring your heart and soul into bringing enjoyment to your guests has its own reward. Or, in this case, maybe not.


Tell me then, when all your time, effort and money has been spent, have you been able to graciously accept your guests’ last minute cancellations to all your considerable efforts? To realize that your table setting for eight has been reduced to yourself, your partner, and one guest? And when the latter phones at the precise time the meal is supposed to start and tell you that they will be thirty minutes late, are you able to react with grace and understanding? I confess, these things irk me.


Is it a “Mainer” thing to be so chronically lackadaisical when it comes to following up on one’s simplest commitments? I don’t understand. What has happened to being able to rely on someone’s word? When did this respectable quality of human character disappear from our culture? When did it become not a big deal to ignore our commitments? We all expect businesses to honor their word to their customers, but it is no longer in vogue to offer this same courtesy to each other?


I know firsthand about the extensive time, effort, and money that is invested in hospitality entertaining. Perhaps that’s why if I accepted a personal invitation to a friend’s dinner party, I would never disrespect them by cancelling at the last minute, arriving late, or worse yet completely fail to show. But I hope that even if I knew nothing of the behind the scenes work involved, I like to think that I would still honor my commitment and plan accordingly to make sure I could arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time, ask what I could do to help, and show my appreciation to the host for the invitation and the dinner because that is the decent thing to do.


At the expense of turning this blog into a sermon, I do wish to leave you with a few thoughts. It is NOT acceptable to disregard personal commitments. “Your goat ate your homework” is not okay in the adult world even if we get away with it more often than we care to admit. Millennials get a bad rap over their self-entitlement issues and blatant disregard for personal responsibility. But what of their role models? Perhaps it’s not too late to start showing by example. And if, some time in the future, you are honored with a personal invitation to someone’s home for dinner, please choose your answer wisely.

Am I going to stop hosting dinner parties? Of course not. There is a lesson here. If you're considering hosting a dinner party, choose your guest list with the utmost care as it will make all the difference to the success of your evening.