• Resolving Problems

Our friend never invites us to her home

Published: June 1, 2016 | By | 18 Replies Continue Reading
There might be many reasons why someone doesn’t invite people to her home.


Hi Irene,

Our friend group consists of five young 40-ish-year-old women. All of us have kids. Three of us are married. Two divorced with kids. We all live in the same neighborhood, in similarly styled homes, and get together at least once a month, and try to fit it in the weekends when our single-moms are available.

Problem is when we plan these gatherings one of the single/divorced friends never takes a turn to either initiate something or host it at her house. Instead I basically have to sequester my family to the top floor of our home so I can host my friends, while her house regularly sits empty 50% of the time.

The rest of us are perplexed and growing frustrated that we are always hosting and she shows up expecting to always be the guest, rarely bringing wine or anything for the hostess except her thirst for whatever we’re serving. Help!

We like Meg and do enjoy her company but she is not contributing much to this social circle. Should we ask her directly about this or just stop inviting her?

Signed, Claudia


Hi Claudia,

How fortunate you are to have a nice group of friends who live nearby and enjoy each other’s company.

Not knowing Meg, I can only guess why she never hosts your friends at her home:

1) Could she be embarrassed of her home? Perhaps, it isn’t as “put together” as others. Or could she feel insecure or anxious as a hostess?

2) Could she be short on funds and not really be able to afford hosting one of these get-togethers?

3) Can she feel that others have taken on the responsibility because they enjoy hosting and not even be aware that she is letting someone else down?

4) Could she feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a single/divorced mom and feel like others are better able to take on hosting?

You all enjoy her company and it sounds like she enjoys yours so why leave her out of the group? How would you feel if you saw her around the neighborhood afterwards?

Instead, if it really bothers you and you feel that she is shirking her responsibilities while you are sequestering your family, can’t you simply tell her your feelings (in private) and ask her whether she could host next time so your family can have the house to themselves?

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (18)

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  1. Tracy says:

    I agree with Jared here. Simply and doesn’t attribute all masses of reasoning as to why this is happening. Only she knows and guessing just kind of makes this more of a focal than it need be.

  2. Rachel says:

    I’m kind of saddened by the replies here. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed friends over because of the state of the house. I had to lie to my friends about why I couldn’t go down to their house (my parents didn’t want me to, because they knew I would have to return the favour) and why they couldn’t come over to mine. My parents never had friends over either. On the extremely rare occasion that relatives would visit, my parents would be filled with shame and rushed around trying to make things look at least presentable. My house is filled with clutter (more extreme than just a bit of mess that you can ignore…there’s piles of junk…I suspect my family has a bit or hoarding or packrat issues).

    Might this be the case for your friend? You could either suggest to make it fair that everyone takes it turns, or go out to a restaurant or some other place to make it easier.

    For me, personally, I don’t think I could ever host a get together. I have anxiety and low self-esteem, with terrible cooking skills. If it was relaxed, with no expectations of fancy food and stuff with a good friend or two, I could manage. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for me, particularly because I haven’t got a clue about wine. Perhaps this is also how your friend is feeling?

    • Dee says:

      Rachel, this was EXACTLY my same situation growing up. Right down to even if relatives came over we’d try to make it presentable, even for family. My mom was a terrible housekeeper and a hoarder.

      Not to mention we didn’t have a lot of money and furniture was raggedy, and we continuously had roof/ceiling problems due to leaky roofs and rain, so sometimes the ceiling would be falling down/damaged and it would take a very long time to get repaired.

      That was the only reason me and my sister could never have friends over and my friends did wonder, but I’d just lie. Thankfully, non of their parents seemed to care that I was usually at their house.

      My mom was also a loner and hated company. She would never ever dream of hosting something at home. I think people should have stuff at their houses if they really want too, but not because they expect others to invite them over.

      Not everyone is a hostess and it takes a lot to do that–including having a presentable home.

    • Margie says:

      Would you be uncomfortable hosting a potluck — and asking one of your guests to choose/bring the wine? That way, you’d be relieved of the worry of cooking.

  3. Salstarat says:

    If it rankles other women in the group that they are being “used” and always the ones to host functions at their home there is a very simple solution: GO OUT TO A RESTAURANT or have a picnic in a local park instead of your homes. In this way, everyone is on “common” ground and no one is forced to have to purchase, prepare all the food and clean up the house later. If you go to a restaurant, the bill should be split evenly. If you choose to have a picnic, everyone should be allocated certain foods to bring INCLUDING your reticent friend.

  4. Susan M. says:

    My friend, (who lives four blocks from me) went to a lot of trouble to host a block party last summer. To be candid, she absolutely loved doing it! There was a great turn out, and everyone had a wonderful time. In a very nice way, she was chatting with a few guests, (who were showering her with compliments!), she asked if someone else might take a turn next summer; since it had been so enjoyable, that maybe it could be an annual event. The response that she got was (I was stand right there!), “You did such a great job, was, here, again, next year!” This were kind, decent folks, who must not have gotten the whole picture.)-;

    • Sandra says:

      Your friend sounds like a generous soul with a gift for hospitality. We can only hope that her guests realize, at least, how much elbow grease, time and expense is involved in throwing a party. Maybe they do realize it — and that’s why they are not volunteering next year.

  5. LATASHA says:

    That seems to be typical of women, they gossip behind each others backs instead of just coming out with it. Ask her to her face the “Why.” Men are usually more direct, if they have an issue with another man they tell him. If this bothers you and the other women this much as it obviously does, be a women not a pack of sneaky “Mean Girls,” and ask her, don’t just shun her. Hear her out, its the only way to discover and determine her reason(s) for not reciprocating, legitimate or not. Look, your a group of grown women, act like it an ask her, it’s the only way to find out, get to the bottom of this issue instead of whining an complaining about it behind her back.

    • Shaz says:

      I agree with you and Irene. This reminds me of a group of girls I went to school with. (Mel’s being weird. Why is she being weird? I just don’t get her… and so on. Yeah, Mel’s parents are in the middle of a divorce…HELLO) Just ask her directly if she doesn’t like hosting. Some people just don’t feel comfortable hosting, especially with her situation of the stress of divorce I imagine. I used to love hosting, then have had some severe anxiety following a bereavement, so I became weirdly self-conscious and conscious of my home so I rarely have people for dinner anymore. I can cope better with one person than a group of people descending on me.

  6. Mary says:

    I see judgement of this single woman without knowing her financial details and other stressors in her life such as illness or job requirements, or perhaps her child has an illness or demands enormous amount of attention,or she aids a sickly parent on the weekends. It’s easy to sit back and judge. I choose to start from a position of not applying my own life experiences and internal filters to her situation, and giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    It’s so funny to me how people hate to be judged, yet so quickly do it to others.

    • Linda says:

      I don’t think anyone is judging this woman. You’re right that it’s wrong to judge without knowing someone’s circumstances. Yet, at the same time, I think it’s valid for others to admit they feel “used” when this sort of thing happens — often. Nobody likes to feel used.

  7. Mary says:

    Jared, Amy and Irene worded my own thoughts. The only thing I can add is I love hosting and have hosted for more years and events I can count, yet I get insecure about my cooking skills around certain people. I don’t even want them over, would rather meet at a restaurant. This is because their expectations are not realistic. I’m not saying that is the case here, just sharing from my heart.

    Also you might see if she ever invites *anyone* over. If not, it’s probably not about you guys. If she invites others but not you guys, it’s about something in that circle of friends.

    Answer is the same, in my op. Whomever is closest to her needs to approach her alone and with great sensitivity and ask her first if she feels comfortable a) contributing more in the food department and b) every 6 months or so hosting at her place. If she doesn’t feel safe sharing from her heart, something deeper is going on, but I suspect she will start to host and bring more food.

    As far as sequester in the family, I’d look for alternative options. Resentment seems to be building over that.

  8. lottie says:

    An even better idea from Linda,make arrangements to go out for lunch or dinner. She wont come…..sorted. Lottie

  9. lottie says:

    She is a cheeky madam. There are takers who scrounge off others. It doesn’t matter who has what but she should at least bring a bottle or make something.It doesn’t matter who has husbands partners or how lovely their homes are, just a token gift, even a bag of toffee would be nice. But no they seem to expect.

    I once worked with a person just the same. One day she was upset because her birthday had been overlooked. So I mentioned that she never sent cards to anyone, so why expect. She was angry much to my delight saying that I had more money than her and that she can’t afford cards and gifts because she had children.She doesn’t have access to my financial affairs so just assumed I could keep giving,and she could take. I fail to see that as a good reason not to pay your way. But no,every opportunity she was first in the queue.This friend could put aside enough money to buy a cake or bottle.

    Excellent idea Jared to mention the expense.Plus like Jared says she is socially ignorant,or just plain tight. Lottie

  10. Linda says:

    I’ll bet a lot of people are reading this post and nodding in recognition! I’ve belonged to several social groups, similar to Claudia’s, over the years — and there is always, always, at least one woman (or couple) in the group that never volunteers to host. It is baffling, is frustrating, and yes — it absolutely annoys all of the others in the group who make the effort to host.

    I will never forget a couple in our former couples group — because they offered to host. But they were always the first to show up at a party and the first to ask WHO would be having the next party! They had a beautiful home and the money to entertain, and everyone knew it. (Besides, our gatherings were always potluck!) We’d been inside their home — once — to drop something off — and noticed that everything inside was perfect and lovely. So being ashamed of their home/lifestyle was not the reason they didn’t reciprocate. We learned from one of their teenaged kids that they didn’t like to spend money on entertaining — nor did they like the mess of entertaining. The only parties they had were graduation parties for their kids.

    Long story short, after the other 4 couples in our group hosted parties several times — and the neat freaks didn’t volunteer their home once for a potluck … well, the group eventually drifted apart.

    I see the same situation with some women in my own neighborhood group — and I am talking about simple potlucks where the guests bring most of the food and their own beverages!

    Of course, if Meg is embarrassed about her home, or maybe her lousy housekeeping habits, she might need reassurance that you all love her just the same — and that she shouldn’t be afraid to have people in her home.

    I like Jared’s idea. Suggest to your group that you “rotate” hosting your gatherings. Bring a notebook and have everyone pick a date. Keep it potluck and BYO — so that the host/hostess doesn’t have to shoulder the cost. If that doesn’t work, stop hosting in your homes and plan to have dinner or drinks or coffee in restaurants.

    Otherwise, over time, resentment eats away at the group friendships and eventually dissolves them. I’ve seen it MANY times. Saddest of all: The people who don’t reciprocate in these relationships still can’t figure out “what happened” when their friendships drift apart.

  11. Amy F says:

    I can understand why your friend would have more challenges having people at her home: finances, feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence in her hosting skills etc., anxiety, depression, issues with her kids, however, she should participate by bringing something to the gatherings. I would give her a pass on hosting at her home. In my social group some people host more than others, and some never host for a variety of reasons including some enjoy hosting more than others. We don’t expect everything to be divided equally and are understanding that some give in less tangible, but equally important, ways. When we collect money for gifts, we ask people to contribute what they can and everyone is comfortable with that arrangement because we’re not keeping score.

    Next time you’re planning, ask everyone ahead of time what they’re bringing, and make sign up sheet or ask her specifically if she wants to bring dessert.

    In the interim, perhaps you can think of ways to host that don’t involve sequestering your family or making you feel so put out. I don’t see why you can’t entertain without banishing your family from their part of their home.

  12. Jared says:

    To be honest, the fact that you sequester your family so your friends can visit astounds me. In my experience, as soon as a friend gets married or has kids, I’m told that he is too busy to ever do anything with me again. They wink out of my life for good.

    You seem like a very dedicated friend.

    This other woman may be embarrassed about her home. Is she of the same economic status as you? It could likely be a money issue.

    Unfortunately, some people are ignorant that they have to contribute to some activities like this.

    My suggestion would be that you openly plan with everyone to rotate a schedule.

    “As much as I love hosting, I can’t do it this often. Let’s make a schedule so we can each take a turn hosting.”

    Another option would be, “I don’t mind hosting, but I think everyone else should contribute food/drinks. It’s getting expensive, and I love having you all over.”

    Either of these options would set the boundaries and let this friend know what is expected, not just from her, but from everyone in the group.

    My guess is that she may be socially ignorant that she is expected to reciprocate or contribute.

    Good luck!

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