Hosting / Guest Etiquette
December 20, 2018 10:27 AM   Subscribe

If you were hosting an event for a large group of people and said BYOB and we'll be getting a takeway (ordering food in), would you be offended if a guest brought their own food?

I understand this is an extremely broad question but I'm hosting about 12 people tonight and since it's been a busy week I'm not cooking, instead we are ordering in.

One of the guests sent me a picture yesterday or a giant batch of food that they have cooked up and will bring with them. My husband and I are both working this week and have no food in the fridge or time to cook for 12 people after work ... these specific visitors are on vacation and obviously not working during the day, and clearly had time to cook some food to bring for the party tonight.

Do you read this gesture as "Oh - they had free time and were doing something nice, thoughtful and helpful. Lovely!"

Or do you read this as "That's bad guest etiquette, to bring food when I specifically stated we were ordering in... it just muddies the waters a bit"

I'm SUPER English and have always been taught to take your cues from the people hosting. I.e. if someone said "come over - we're getting pizza tonight" I wouldn't show up with a pizza I cooked at home. But I am extremely rigid and unspontaneous so I appreciate I may be entirely crazy! Also, I live in North America now so standards may be different... just wondering what YOU would think if you were in my shoes!

Honestly, I think it's a nice gesture that caught me a little off guard because I wasn't expecting anyone to feel the need to bring food... but my husband's family can be extremely passive aggressive at times and there's a tiny party of me that wonders if it's a bit of a jab? But I know I'm overthinking it... and just wondering what YOUR take on this would be!
posted by JenThePro to Food & Drink (47 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I may very well be in the minority here, but I would be put off by that. I think it would have been fine for your guest to call you and ask, "Hey, we have lots of time this week and we'd be happy to bring food in; would you like us to bring something for the party?" and then you could accept or decline. But to basically announce to a host, "Hey, here's the food you'll be serving at your party"? Nope, not cool; that's not their place as a guest.
posted by holborne at 10:32 AM on December 20, 2018 [8 favorites]

I definitely read this as, “Hey, we have time and thought we could make something to share to help out.” I am, however, a product of the world’s most casual culture and also agree that the best way to do this would have been to ask you first.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:33 AM on December 20, 2018 [17 favorites]

Datapoint from Northern California: I would interpret an invite that said "BYOB and we will be ordering some take out" as being invited to a potluck where I should contribute food and drink to the group effort.
posted by jamaro at 10:33 AM on December 20, 2018 [80 favorites]

North American here. I haven't been in a situation where the host says "BYOB and we'll order take-out" but potlucks are common enough in my circle of friends. Crossed wires?
posted by basalganglia at 10:35 AM on December 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

Midwestern transplant to New England. I would have asked first if I was the guest but I read this as a kind gesture or perhaps a misremembering of BYOB as potluck. Even if it's intended as passive aggressive, if you receive it with gratitude their attempt at needling falls flat. Yay less food to buy!
posted by donnagirl at 10:36 AM on December 20, 2018 [12 favorites]

I'd interpret it as people with dietary requirements making a bunch of food they know they can eat.
posted by kimberussell at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2018 [86 favorites]

You say you're in North America now--are you, by chance, in the midwest? Because that's where I'm from, and this sort of thing was entirely common and not (usually) passive aggressive, especially amongst slightly older people and/or people who've grown up in the region.

I always find it a little bit weird, but my parents and their friends would all do things like this. "Oh, we're going to the Lukasics for supper--I'll make some soup to take with us." Or they'd be hosting people for holiday meals, and relatives, etc, would show up with crockpots of meatballs, entire damn hams, etc--not as a planned thing, but just to "bring a little something."

I also agree with the interpretation that "BYOB and takeout" leaves open the implication that people should contribute food and/or money for food--I'd probably ask the host to clarify, but more self-confident people might not bother.
posted by mishafletch at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2018 [14 favorites]

BYO(giant)B(atch of food)
posted by phunniemee at 10:43 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

100% depends on the specific people. If a friend I'd think it was nice, but my grandmother pulled this shit with my mother for her entire life and it was most certainly not intended to be nice.
posted by something something at 10:44 AM on December 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

It's not what I would expect someone to do; my expectations are similar to yours in that "BYOB and we'll order in" means "show up with booze, don't bring food", but I don't think I'd be specifically offended either.

Being offended at things that were not calculated to cause offense is a waste of time, IMO. And even then there are better responses.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:48 AM on December 20, 2018 [32 favorites]

To me, that's a 100% a thoughtful gesture for your guests to make and bring food; they may be the sort who feel fulfilled by cooking, or who believe that guests should always bring something to a party.

You can still order in as you planned, so it won't hurt your gathering.
posted by Annabelle74 at 10:51 AM on December 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'd read absolutely no malice into it! I'd assume it is because they had time and wanted to bring something to share. Maybe they love cooking. Maybe they have specific dietary requirements (this would 100% be true for me; I know there's no food I can order for takeout that's going to work with my needs.) Maybe they wanted to show their appreciation for you hosting. Maybe they wanted to supplement takeout food with something nice and homemade.

If YOU had cooked a special meal and they showed up with their own spread of food, I'd find that odd and tone deaf. But you don't have time and they do. Don't take offense, take it as their contribution, same as if they'd thrown down a $20 to help pay for pizza.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:51 AM on December 20, 2018 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't be offended at all and wouldn't take it personally. As mentioned above, it's most likely due to dietary restrictions or because they love cooking and wanted to add something to augment the take out food being ordered as a gesture of good will.

By the way, here in in New Jersey I've grown up being invited over for meals and asking what can I bring...most likely I get told, "we're good - just bring yourself." Or sometimes, "I'm so glad you asked, could you bring that wonderful appetizer you made last time or just a bag of ice, I'm afraid I'm going to run out."

When visiting my mother-in-law in Ireland, we were invited to a neighbor's house for a meal. Out of habit, I asked what we should bring to contribute. Mo-in-law was horrified. In her eyes, the host was responsible for everything and by bringing something extra, it would send a terrible message to the host.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 10:53 AM on December 20, 2018 [14 favorites]

I would interpret an invite that said "BYOB and we will be ordering some take out" as being invited to a potluck where I should contribute food and drink to the group effort.

100% this. Nobody in my friend group tries to cater / cook an entire party because people will always, always bring stuff. Too much stuff. Even people who don't cook will bring storebought stuff. It cannot be stopped. So we plan a small, but reasonable, spread and expect that the gaps will be filled.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2018 [7 favorites]

I've attended many events - not usually private gatherings, but people get their norms all over the place - where "bring a drink, we'll be ordering some [food]" means that you're being invited to an event where there will be a minimum amount of food provided, not an event where the hosts are providing an entire meal. I'd chalk this up to misunderstanding and try to insure that my take-out didn't clash too badly with what they were bringing.

Also, my perception is that once you're in BYOB territory, there's no formality left and people aren't going to be too worried about taking their cues from the hosts. While I might view it as over-casual if someone showed up naked and stinking at a BYOB event, my expectations would generally be extremely casual otherwise.
posted by Frowner at 10:55 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Among friends, I'd think it's solidly Option A, and honestly B wouldn't have even occurred to me unless they, I don't know, brought it up again in a snottier way? I'd imagine that they're thinking (a) now you don't need to buy so much expensive food! and (if they're picky), (b) their preferences/needs won't impact anyone else because they can just eat their big dish. Now, if you'd said you were having food catered, even if that just meant "buying parbaked meal components from a store/restaurant," I'd think it was weird and water-muddying for them to bring something else unless it was because of dietary restrictions on their part. To me, "BYOB and we'll order takeout" sounds way too causal for a potluck-style dish to mess up, though personally I'd follow instructions and just bring beverages.
posted by teremala at 10:56 AM on December 20, 2018

I’m in the US Midwest. Some people view all invitations as potlucks. I host an annual party and send an invite that very explicitly says don’t bring food because I know people will if I don’t. I add a line saying I’m a control freak to take the edge off. But really, I take a lot of time to plan a menu with foods from a specific country, and I don’t want anyone messing with that.

One very belligerent person called me in advance to tell me she’d purchased a cake for my party. She specified that the cake would not fit with my menu. In other words, she outright said that she chose something I didn’t want on purpose. Now that’s rude. We had words and have not spoken since.

Yes, I would say it’s rude to bring food without asking, but as someone who reads etiquette books for fun, I’ve learned that lots of people just don’t know what I consider basic rules or grew up with cultural expectations very different from what the experts consider correct. In this case, you really can’t know the person’s intentions. It might be passive aggressive. It might be an attempt to be genuinely helpful. If I didn’t know, I’d err on the side of assuming good intentions while privately vowing to be more explicit next time.
posted by FencingGal at 10:57 AM on December 20, 2018 [10 favorites]

Maybe there was some confusion about the "we"---maybe the guests thought that the "we" referred to everyone attending the party rather than just the hosts? And these guests did not want to spend money ordering in so they made food?

When I first started hosting, I used to provide my guests with a lot of information about the event thinking that the guests would better enjoy the gathering if they knew what to expect. I've since found, though, that guests really just want to know what they need to do/bring and that telling them more just muddies the water.

In this case, for instance, there doesn't seem to be a reason for them to know in advance about take out, so I might have said "BYOB and Sweetheart and I will provide food. We are planning on having Thai (or whatever). Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions."
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 11:00 AM on December 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

I am not sure I would have mentioned the ordering in/take away part. I would have said BYOB and left it at that. Unless you are expecting them to contribute to the cost of the takeaway. I would not be offended, but I do not offend easily. Usually, to me, it is, whatever, I meant well.
posted by AugustWest at 11:00 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

My rule for this kind of thing: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by people being well-intentioned bumblers. It may or may not be the done thing where you are, but if not, hey, it's not going to hurt anyone. Probably they have some weird dietary restriction and this is their way of dealing with it. Whatever. Life is too short to make a problem out of people giving you food.
posted by HotToddy at 11:09 AM on December 20, 2018 [9 favorites]

I read your invitation as "BYOB and money for takeout" and I'd rather cook/bake than spend my limited restaurant budget on shared food at someone's house.

You may not have intended it to sound like that but "we'll be getting a takeaway" is unclear as to who "we" are.
posted by headnsouth at 11:14 AM on December 20, 2018 [19 favorites]

Another vote for reading your invitation as “everyone will chip in for takeaway.”
posted by CMcG at 11:16 AM on December 20, 2018 [13 favorites]

Thanks for all the responses!!! I knew it was me being weird and not the other way around.

I shall firmly put that tiny niggling offended part of my brain on lock down and be super grateful for the food and happy for the company!
posted by JenThePro at 11:21 AM on December 20, 2018 [11 favorites]

It might very well be a passive aggressive jab, but if YOU accept the gesture gracefully, like it's no big deal and go the "oh, how nice, but it really wasn't necessary" route, while proceeding to provide exactly the same amount of food you would have anyway, then you can limit the damage their overstepping might do and come off the gracious host despite their attempt otherwise.
posted by stormyteal at 11:25 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

While there are definitely passive agressive folks in this world, I honestly can't view this as anything but a well-intentioned, generous act, especially since they let you know in advance. This way you won't order too much, and it helps you plan the whole "takeway" bit better. To me, a BYOB and takeaway gathering would mean all contributions, not just beverages, are welcome. Also, dietary restrictions/preferences are real, and this has the added benefit of removing that from the equation for these guests.

Since you are British and now living in North America, there also may be some confusion around the word "takeaway." To me (an American) that means ordering food close to the time of the event for pick-up or delivery, often with input from your guests. If you meant catering, however, and this is an order you placed in advance and already paid for, I totally understand your annoyance, but I doubt these guests would have interpreted "getting a takeaway" as catering and already set. I hope this helps and you have a wonderful time!
posted by katemcd at 11:29 AM on December 20, 2018 [5 favorites]

Yes, I have British tendencies and it would stress me out as the host, but as a guest I would think "hey they want to have people over but don't want to cook, I like to cook and have this food, maybe that will cut down on the takeaway bill and maybe people will like it too". As long as it was sort of on theme, like if you were ordering Thai and they were bringing lasagna that might be odd. But ordering takeway to me implies you split the bill, so part of my 'guess culture' tendencies might be that they don't want to pay for takeaway or eat food that wasn't prepared at home etc and want to help you with the 'not cooking' part. But the bottom line is definitely that they are most likely trying to be nice with the offer, with no bad intentions at all.
posted by bquarters at 11:50 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm British and I would assume that person either a) thought take-out was too unhealthy, or b) could not afford take-out, neither of which I would have a problem with and IN FACT would prefer because organising a take-out order for more than like 3 people is hell.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:55 AM on December 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

or c) they don't like take-out, or d) they are really picky about take-out and e.g. hate pepperoni and in their experience when someone says "we're ordering pizza" they mean "we're ordering pepperoni pizza", or e) they have dietary requirements that take-out rarely meets. Again, no problem with any of that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:57 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I’m half British, half American. I would interpret this as a kindly meant and mildly inconvenient contribution (because now the takeaway has to complement whatever-the-hell-it-is, which is more of an administrative burden on you than a favour). I would marvel at the rich psychological and cultural tapestry that is gift-giving and favour-doing, and move on graciously.

Sounds like that’s what you’re doing. You’re not wrong if you’re a teensy bit annoyed, either. Your party sounds lovely, hope it’s a big success!
posted by Concordia at 11:59 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’m American, and pretty much everything I’ve read recently about how to have a social life when you have dietary restrictions encourages people to bring food they know they can eat to parties. And to bring a lot of it, so it looks like you’re generously sharing rather than being a weirdo eating your own bag lunch. The advice usually adds that doing this allows you to be part of the social event even if you can’t eat what others are having, because really the most important part of socializing is the company and not the food. So I’d assume they were following that advice.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:10 PM on December 20, 2018 [8 favorites]

Yeah, honestly, I've been to parties like this as a guest, and I find it kind of stressful as a guest with dietary restrictions. If you're cooking, I can make my preferences known beforehand / offer to bring a dish. Getting takeout would be too vague for me - are you planning to order Chinese? Indian? Pizza? Very few places actually work as someone who follows a more low carb diet (Chinese food - sugar and starch in all the sauces; pizza is just out; Indian I need to watch out for the sugar in the sauces and the rice etc. etc. Even if something looks good on paper, there are often subtle reasons why it wouldn't work, so I'd look super high maintenance if I kept ruling things out) So I might hit upon this idea as a way of getting around this and probably risk looking a little rude. The way in which they did this - do the thing first, ask for forgiveness later - screams dietary restriction to me.
posted by peacheater at 12:24 PM on December 20, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you were hosting an event for a large group of people and said BYOB and we'll be getting a takeway (ordering food in), would you be offended if a guest brought their own food?

If I were the host I'd have some low-level annoyance because I am a bit of a control freak (i.e. I have enough dishes to make sure everyone can eat dinner but what if the well-meaning person brings soup...?") but I'd presume they were doing this because of either financial or dietary restrictions and would get over myself. I'm from New England and potluck culture is sort of ingrained and I've very rarely lived anywhere where there have been reasonable takeaway options so the idea of hosting-with-takeaway has never really been a thing especially for larger groups. I'd see them sending you the picture and sort of letting you know beforehand that this is their plan instead of springing it on you which seems mannerly.

my husband's family can be extremely passive aggressive at times

Just checking, this isn't a family member who is doing this, right? Because if someone with a history of passive-aggression were doing this to me, I'd be changing my interpretation.
posted by jessamyn at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm American, and while all the discussion about the dietary restrictions is valid, I don't think you're 100% crazy to be a bit taken aback by what you described as a giant batch of food.

I still think they are just being considerate, but if they start asking what else they can bring and flooding you with potential menus or whatnot, I would tell them politely that you have it covered.
posted by queensissy at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

In late, but one more to the chorus saying this is not intended as a slight or offense - and please do not read it as such.

They may be trying to be helpful, ensure that there's food at the event that they can/want to consume, or maybe they don't have the money to chip in for carry out - and the invite was unclear on what the carry out would be and whether money was expected.

I do not like my food choices being made for me, and I try to give others broad leeway in providing their own alternatives - so long as the guest isn't demanding you go above and beyond, just accept it as a sign they wanted to spend time with you & others enough to bring food so they can participate.
posted by jzb at 1:08 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

In case any one still cares, here are some answers to popular questions:

1 - They do have dietary restrictions in the sense that they don't eat dairy or meat
2 - This is why I suggested Indian take-away, plenty of Vegan / Veggie / Dairy free options
3 - Everyone loves Indian food, we've all eaten Indian together many times
4 - They made a veggie Indian Chickpea curry, so very much in-keeping with the "theme". Good sign!
5 - Finances are a Non-issue with them. In fact, QUITE the opposite
6- Everyone definitely understands what BYOB means and what I meant by ordering in.
7 - we have had a couple of mis-understandings with this particular side of the family in the recent past, where mis-communication has caused problems/ tension. We are all working on better communication and kind of walking on egg shells with each other. Another indicator that this is very much a good will gesture on their part - trying to mend relations etc.
8 - I am a bit of a control freak and VERY much a planner... when plans change on a dime it definitely stresses me out. That is 100% on me and something I'm working on!
9 - Having said that, if our guests had said "Hey - we were thinking of bringing a chickpea curry with us, is that OK?" I would have said "YES! SOUNDS WONDERFUL".. so maybe it's the blindsiding / not being asked first that has really annoyed me? Again - says more about me being a control freak than anything.
10 - When I got home last night and asked my husband what he thought of them making food to bring, he also read it as a passive aggressive move... but that's what happens when your family is like that, you stop being able to see kind gestures for what they actually are .
11 - THANK you all for putting this into perspective for me and helping me see this as a kind gesture rather than something to get annoyed about! I can be such an overthinker sometimes... I guess I'm just tired.
posted by JenThePro at 1:13 PM on December 20, 2018 [20 favorites]

Even if it's intended as passive aggressive, if you receive it with gratitude their attempt at needling falls flat.

Definitely this! Based on your update I think it's possible (though certainly not definite) that this is something more than simply a nice gesture - but there's no reason for that to change your response. If it's a genuine gesture, your enthusiastic thanks will be well-received, and if it's meant to be some sort of passive-aggressive thing, your enthusiastic thanks will undermine its effectiveness. Win/win!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:51 PM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is one of those things where you can't lose. I mean, if they were trying to be passive aggressive they did it by putting in a lot of effort to cook a ton of food for your party. That's hilarious! Either they wanted to help or they wanted to jab, but either way you end up with extra free catering!

So shrug off any ill feelings and take it at face value. Family made food for your party, that's a good thing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:56 PM on December 20, 2018 [11 favorites]

When I read the above-the-fold, I thought "No, that's fine" -- like this person had dietary restrictions and wanted to make sure their own food was covered and it was basically enough to feed themselves (with a bit of extra to share). With the information on the inside -- that this was a giant batch of food (and your follow-up that it was similar to food you'd likely be ordering), it does seem a bit passive-aggressive to me.

But sometimes a gesture can be kindly meant and also passive-aggressive (I notice sometimes people don't realize they're being passive-aggressive despite the fact they 100% are). So I think this is a case where it's both.

I'd accept it genuinely, still order whatever takeout you were going to, and enjoy the party.
posted by darksong at 2:27 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

As an aspie, people are always doing uninterpretable things. Likewise, I get funny looks a lot and I have no idea why. A dear friend of mine who is very bright and social and successful chooses to interpret weird behaviour as wellmeaning rather than malicious.

I like that strategy. If I like someone enough to invite them around, and they do something like bring shit, I assume it's because they're being nice, they like me, they want to make me feel good and they think they've hit on a strategy that will work.

Go with the flow.
posted by b33j at 4:38 PM on December 20, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would find this so generous and a kind gesture that would lead to infinite more invitations to them. North American here - having hit both coasts - but not the midwest...
posted by Toddles at 5:01 PM on December 20, 2018

Also if they were trying to be passive aggressive the joke is basically on them. Like...they had to do all the work and you get to do all the eating AND save some cash. Lord I wish I had more jerks like this in my life.
posted by Toddles at 5:03 PM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

It would have been nice if they’d asked first. But on the other hand, they made something that fit your party theme, and took some of the burden off you, so I’d consider that a solid base hit after a foul ball.

The next time you decide to host a gathering like this, maybe say something like, “We’re planning on BYOB and takeout from Such-and-Such. We’re happy to supply all the food, but if you’re thinking of bringing an additional dish, message me and let’s talk about it.” That should at least encourage people to run it by you first.

Americans really, really like to bring food to stuff, though. Maybe it’s basically a vestigial mentality left over from frontier days, when food was hard-won and if you didn’t have enough stored away, you might not make it through the winter. That’s basically what the holiday of Thanksgiving is about, right? So people say they care by bringing you food, so that your survival is ensured. It can certainly be weaponized if someone wants to be a jerk, but for the most part, it’s a cultural habit. It’s generally considered a faux pas to bring food to someone’s dinner party with a planned menu, but I think a lot of people get their wires crossed between “A good guest brings a gift for the host” and “Food = caring”. I’m sure a psychologist could spend a whole career unpacking the American relationship with food.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:55 PM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm from a casual, laid-back place, but in my family this would 100% be a criticism of your party planning. Recently, my cousin told me about how she really showed the other parents something, made a point by bringing cookies. "And then they had the nerve to thank me!" I said they thanked her because hey free cookies and didn't know they were cookies with a message. Honestly, it is best to dismiss any petty intentions from your mind because looking for the subtext in everything will drain your energy, while oblivious gratitude will annoy the hell out of people who are gifting secret message food.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:40 AM on December 21, 2018 [6 favorites]

Back in my early 20s I did this for holiday parties of "fresh" friends I wanted to like me (I was a transplant to the area) because I knew I had plenty of free domestic time to do it compared to everyone else, and I love cooking. I intended it as a source of pleasure and a gesture of support for the hosts, but there were hosts who most definitely took offense and over a decade later I still feel sad when I think about it. This is all to say some people definitely can feel weird about it, so if you need validation for some of your confusion etc. I guess there it is. Also simultaneously to say I did not intend it to cause bad feelings so your guests likely don't either (especially given the circumstances you mention, their free time, etc.). The older I get, the more I try to operate from a "give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean well" standpoint whenever possible--and hope others are doing the same for me.
posted by ifjuly at 7:28 AM on December 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think this situation has been alluded to above - among my friends, all gatherings are potlucks, except for one friend who loves cooking huge batches of food. She sends out a detailed menu weeks in advance with all ingredients listed and what dietary restrictions will be accommodated. In every other case the host provides some food but not enough to cover the full brunch or dinner, and sometimes it is takeout or delivery. There is usually some group texting the day before just so we don't end up with too much or too little of something. (Northern California, everyone in mid 30s - late 40s. FWIW I'm lactose intolerant, love Indian food, and have unwittingly eaten dishes made with yogurt or cream only to realize hours later...)
posted by kiripin at 12:07 PM on December 21, 2018

If I were unable to eat dairy and going to a party with Indian food, I'd want to make or bring something of my own. (So much butter.) One traditional route is a granola bar in the purse. But if I wanted to really be part of the event and not risk looking aloof or standing out by not eating, then this would be a brilliant option. They even made enough so that they can share with other guests freely, without worrying about running out or going hungry.

On your end, the thing to do is to show them that you really do have the vegan thing down by checking with the restaurant and ordering a few dishes they can eat. Then tell them specifically which dishes are dairy free, that you confirmed with the restaurant there's no butter, and so if they want they can have some of those dishes too, for variety.

That is probably also the "how to win at passive aggression" tactic if they're actually trying to one-up you, by the way. But more importantly it's the kind thing to do and lets you assume the best of them.
posted by Lady Li at 12:26 AM on December 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would only infer malice if they food brought was absolutely terrible and I would respond by graciously insisting they take the leftovers home with them with a firm "Oh no, we couldn't possibly".
posted by srboisvert at 10:40 AM on December 26, 2018

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