Should I offer to help cook or clean when at a friend's for dinner?

I recently went to a coworker's house for dinner. When I started to help clear the table, she said that I don't have to do that, and went on to say "in fact you should not do that." She implied that it was bad manners to do so. Is she right? Any Miss Manners out there who can answer this with authority?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You did not do anything incorrect!! In fact she had bad manners when she emphasized "in fact you should not do that".

    But it takes all kinds to make this world go round, so don't worry about it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, actually as far as etiquette goes it was very rude of her to openly chastise you, a guest, over something like that no matter what her opinion was. Huge faux pas She could have simply said something polite like "Oh, please don't trouble yourself. You're my guest. Just relax."

    As far as your question, well, it depends on your relationship with the host/hostess. It's never impolite to offer to help clear the table, but I would suggest doing just that. Offering, rather than just getting up and doing it. I usually say something vague like "May I be of any help?" if I see the hostess getting up to clear the table. I never offer to help with cooking unless it is a very close friend. And in that case I only offer if he/she is still cooking dinner when I get there and seems to be running behind. And again I tend to use the line "may I be of any help?" So, in short, it depends, but it isn't necessarily rude. And I would say always make sure to make a vocal offering before starting to do anything.

    Also, *never* offer to do any cleaning other than clearing the table when you are a guest.

  • 1 decade ago

    No it's not bad manners at least not to ''offer'' to help.. I would not interfere with the cooking but for those who don't have a dishwasher whenever I said ''I can do the washing up'' I never met with any opposition .. in fact they seemed to be expecting it.. they had done the cooking and to suggest that I wash up or dry the dishes. or both.. was always a welcome suggestion and I got never turned down. sometimes I had to do the washing up and the drying up and sometimes only one of the two.. for 6 people xxx

  • 1 decade ago

    It is always polite to offer to help after someone else has prepared you a meal. In our family, there is the cook (usually me) and the others clean up. At least you can take your own dishes to the kitchen. If the host refuses to let you help, just be polite and tidy things up on your plate etc. to make pick up a little easier.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    as avatar above said it depends.that occasion called only to clear the table,and put dishes in kitchen counter.i would never suggest to help with the cooking.unless it is for cleaning or chopping-very large quantities of veggies,onion,shelling shrimp,cherries for a pie,assembling kebabs-say putting through the skewer meat vegies etc.i would take offering to help with the cooking a little like saying:i will do it better.

    good for you caring about being polite!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Depends on the person and the level of friendship you have with them.

    If I'm eating at my best friends house I just automatically start to help with the cleaning and cooking because that's the type of friendship we ave. If I have people at my house for dinner (rarely because I don't cook that often) I do not expect them to help cook or clean. I want them to relax and talk while I do that.

    I think it's rude to start to clean. It's more appropriate to offer to help and if the host declines, gracefully accept and respect their decision.

    Source(s): Experience.
  • 1 decade ago

    Offer to help clear the table at least.

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