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20-40-60 Etiquette: I'll bring the fruit!

by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Published: July 28, 2014

Editor’s note: Today we invited two guests to add to the 20-40-60 team’s answers. Questions about co-hosting parties have come up before, and we think it is important that all hosts participate together in party planning, especially since they are coming together to honor a mutual friend. Readers, let us know what you think.

QUESTION: My friend has a very demanding job that has never allowed her to do much outside of the work realm. Consequently, she has never developed an understanding of how to host social events. She has compensated by buying a food platter, bringing drinks or contributing money when needed. Yet when it comes to actually planning the details, she is clueless.

I, on the other hand, have lots of experience. I seem to always get stuck doing everything from cleaning the house to buying flowers, cooking and setting out china and crystal. Oh, and don’t forget, the cleanup after the party.

How do I get my friend to better understand that when it is your turn to entertain in your home, you can’t just show up five minutes before the party with a fruit bowl?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Why don’t you just tell her? Let her know what she needs to do before the party. Maybe even make her a “to do” list. That always helps me!

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: First, I don’t think your question has anything to do with whether your friend works a demanding job or not. Different people have different skills. Assuming that people who work full-time don’t know how to throw a proper party just because they work a demanding job furthers the divide between those who are employed outside the home or work in the home. You may not have meant that, but your question comes across that way. We’re all on the same team here — the one of making the best decisions for our individual families — and attributing the lack of a skill to either situation is unnecessary and patronizing.

I apologize for the lecture. That is a discussion for another day. Your question about how to get your friend to participate fully in the party process is a good one. Meet well ahead of time to divide up tasks and list them out so the different hosts can volunteer for different jobs. Your friend may have volunteered to take an easier route before because she knew her schedule better than anyone else. Maybe she’s ready to do something more, and you don’t have to take on all the tasks like a martyr. Assign them out before the event so the expectations are clear. Everyone should be chipping in equally, but sometimes people absentmindedly let others take the brunt of it in a communication vacuum.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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