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JLeslie's avatar

If a friend is staying with you for 2 weeks or more, do you expect to cook for them?

Asked by JLeslie (65561points) November 22nd, 2019 from iPhone

Let’s assume you don’t have to cook for family anyway.

I’m alone at home, and I have a friend visiting. She has her own rental car, and used to have her own house here, so she’s not friends that in me while visiting. I have plenty of room in my fridge and pantry, and told her she should feel free to use anything in the kitchen, or any of the food, and there is plenty of space for her to buy whatever groceries she’d like to keep here.

Even before she arrived I asked what she likes to have for breakfast or snacks, bread or cold cuts, etc., so she wouldn’t have to go to the supermarket right away. She kept saying, “it would be what you have in your house anyway.” My thought is, don’t be so sure. Everyone else either gives me their list, or says they’ll go to the store when they arrive, something along those lines.

We went grocery shopping and she didn’t buy anything. She did bring some instant oatmeal with her that she has eaten a few days in the morning.

I’ve tried to plan having lunch or dinner at home, I’m happy to cook something, but can’t quite nail her down on that, and so there isn’t much food in the house if she is home. I don’t want to buy food that will go bad, or I wind up eating all of it when I don’t want to. That has already happened. I don’t mean she has to plan being with me for lunch or dinner, I just mean even if it’s that same day, so I can make sure I have something for us, and make sure it’s something she will like.

I could give you more examples of what is frustrating me, but I won’t drone on.

When you have guests do expect to cook for them? When you visit people do you buy some of your own food to keep in the fridge?

Remember I’m talking about two weeks or more, not just a few days.

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17 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Don’t seethe. Don’t talk behind her back. If it bothers you, say something to her.

And no, I wouldn’t expect to be a cook for her during her stay.

Vignette's avatar

Your house your rules. Just let her know she is welcome to stay and that you would appreciate that she be responsible for herself.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’m not seething, I’ve tried to talk to her. No real answer, so I give up.

We went to the supermarket together. She wasn’t buying anything. I asked again if she wanted to keep anything in the house. We were in the produce section, and I asked if she eats strawberries, she said yes so I bought a pack (they go bad so fast I prefer to buy them when it’s not just me eating them) and the next day she was at a market with another friend and bought strawberries. WTH? We don’t need more strawberries with a full container in the fridge. I don’t think I can be more clear that my fridge is her fridge while she stays with me. That’s just one example.

I’m not angry when I speak to her, just trying to have food in the house she likes.

@Vignette If she only would at minimum be responsible for herself. That’s not really happening. And, by responsible I just mean answer a question or two or make sure she has some food to eat whether she buys it or I provide it, whatever suits her.

chyna's avatar

Everyone in my family knows I don’t cook much nor do I have much in my refrigerator. When my aunt and cousin came to spend 10 days, we went to the store and got stuff they drink, tea and coffee, sandwich and snack fixings and we all ate toast for breakfast. Between me and my brother, we took them to dinner every night. They paid, I paid, brother paid. We were really too busy to cook.

canidmajor's avatar

Is she essentially using your house as a hotel? That’s fine, if that’s understood, but a bit awkward if not.
I would expect to do some cooking for a guest, but in your type of situation I wouldn’t bother unless we could pin down some specifics.

Personally, I would not be at all comfortable with someone visiting in the situation you describe.

cookieman's avatar

We’re Italian. We expect to cook for you if you stay with us for two minutes or more.

chyna's avatar

—Going to @cookieman’s for vacation.—

canidmajor's avatar

Stopping by @cookieman‘s just to say hi. For at least 15 minutes.

rebbel's avatar

If we have visitors we cook.
Our house, our beds, our food, our hospitality.
The people that have stayed with us have chipped in when doing groceries, and we take turns cooking, or we cook together.
In Greece, everybody, anybody, that comes as a visitor to the family, is considered family.

I must admit, me being Dutch, that I had to get used to this custom, but I’ve adjusted quickly, and it’s natural to me now.

janbb's avatar

If she has access to a car, I would plan a fictitious day out of the house for yourself and ask her ifshe would be kind enough to go food shopping for dinner and cook it. Tell her you are running low on some other things and can she pick them up as well? Then vanish for the day and come back at suppertime. Or suggest that you go out for dinner a couple of nights.

My cousins are my usual overnight guests and we often walk to the bakery for breakfast and they will insist on taking me out for dinner. I usually have one dinner planned and lunch fixings in the house. This is for a weekend stay.

My English in-laws would come and stay with us for six weeks and sit on the couch while we prepared dinner.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor It’s sort of like hotel, but we’re friends too. She has other friends here in town as well. One of them is one of my best friends here. It’s absolutely fine with me if she makes other plans, if she includes me, doesn’t including, it has nothing to do with me feeling she has some sort of obligation to me to spend time together nor to spend time eating together, I want her to be able to be here like when she owned her own place here. It’s only about living in the same house and simple communication for me.

The good friend I mentioned who is also friends with my guest, they both like line dancing, and I don’t, so they go off and do that together 4 or 5 times a week. That’s fine. I gave them my entire two week schedule so they basically know my free time and occupied time. They can join me in anything they like on my schedule, or do their own thing. They don’t have to work around my schedule, it’s simply so they have my schedule. There are some classes we all do anyway. It’s very much like a cruise ship here with lots of activities. I’m basically invited to everything they do and vice versa, it’s not a matter of feeling left out.

I don’t want to cook or waste money on food that will go bad. I also don’t want to not have food in the house if she is hungry. I just wanted either a little direction in what she eats, or for her to buy it herself, and at least a touch base on plans for the day.

Some days the group of us have dinner plans at a restaurant, and then I know what’s going on. One example that is frustrating is I came home to find her at the house at 1:00 and she hasn’t had lunch, and she’s working, and she isn’t taking care of eating so to speak. I offer her some food, and she ate it, but I just don’t understand why she isn’t taking care of the food herself. It’s not just this one instance.

@janbb I said to her one day if there is anything specific she wanted to cook we certainly could. She mentioned just buying a roasted chicken already made. I think she isn’t thinking about cooking while on vacation, completely understandable. I told her the supermarket here has chickens if that’s what she’d like, but I didn’t really get a straight answer. I would buy the chicken for her if I knew she was going to be home to eat it. I’m trying to eat less meat at home myself. I already wasted money on coffee and a new filter for my keurig, because she asked me if that was my coffee machine and mentioned that she was sure I already had stuff in my house like coffee, milk, bread, and that would suffice, but I don’t drink coffee, and turns out either does she! I put a new water filter in the Keurig and bought coffee pods (expensive) because usually we use the refillable pods, made her coffee and French toast (I know she likes French toast) and turned out she drinks coffee with about a table spoon of made coffee to a cup of milk. Basically, she doesn’t drink coffee.

I absolutely don’t expect her to cook for me, and I wouldn’t ask her to. I just don’t want her to starve. I also don’t want her to feel I didn’t provide food for her if she expects hosts to do that, because I’m trying, but after spending some money and it going nowhere, I’m not spending anymore, I don’t want to waste food, time, or effort, and I don’t want to eat something not on my diet or extra calories, just because I don’t want it to spoil.

SEKA's avatar

@cookieman‘s house is going to get crowded if we all show up on the same day. I’m always ready to eat some authentic Italian spaghetti

@JLeslie Have you suggested that she cook some of the meals?

janbb's avatar

How about discussing with her the night before what meals you plan to eat together the following day and which not? Or say something like, “There’s tuna and rye bread or salami in the fridge for lunch, fix your self something whenever you’d like?”

A counselor years ago told me it was always a good idea to talk about your and the other person’s expectations in advance of a trip or visit. That helps a lot in alleviating issues.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No, I wouldn’t expect to cook for them for two weeks straight and if they know what’s good for them, they wouldn’t want me to.
The last house guest & I went out a lot but we did have some meals at home. I had asked her ahead of time what she wanted me to burn the hell out of so that was helpful.
My husband cooked too (he’s good) so I had that help.
I’d directly ask her what she wants to do for lunch/dinner & go from there.If you don’t want to go out or cook,point her in the direction of the stove.

jca2's avatar

My house is small so I don’t have visitors for long periods.

When I visit other people for the weekend, like the parents of a good friend who live a few hours away, I go with my daughter. The times I’ve been there, I’ve spent over $100 bringing foods that we would want to eat and for everyone to eat (fruit, crackers and dip, etc.) so we’re kind of taking care of our own needs and also not feeling like we’re taking the foods of the family. The mother asked me why I brought all that food and I said it was because if my daughter wanted a banana, I didn’t want to feel like I’m taking the bananas that were for the family.

My aunt has a huge mansion in Nevada. She said when she has long term visitors, she tells them “My house is your house. Eat whatever you want, cook whatever you want. We want you to feel comfortable.”

My mom used to complain that when my stepfather’s parents came over to stay, my stepfather’s mother would sit there and say “can you get me a spoon?” My mother found that annoying because she felt that the MIL could get up and get a spoon herself. The MIL wanted to be waited on.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I wouldn’t spend one more second of thought or worry about it. You asked, she is not giving you info, so I’d assume as an adult she is taking care of herself. Surely you’d know if she was broke and hungry.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I’m like you and your aunt. If I’m staying long I bring or buy some food for myself, and when I have someone over I tell them they have full access to the kitchen and to make themselves at home and I show them all the space in the pantry and fridge that they are welcome to use.

Edit: If I were staying with you for an extended period I would go to the store with you most likely and we would discuss what to have for dinner I would think. That’s how I usually do it. For just a few days I wouldn’t think about it probably, but if I was bringing my child along I would just like you.

@janbb I do try to ask the plan for the meals and if I should cook. I can’t get a straight answer. I think she is more the type that she doesn’t want to decide. My friend made the decision to cook tonight, because her husband is tired of eating out (me too) so my house guest will eat over there. I’m invited, but I’m not going. Multiple reasons, one of which is I have a lot to do today. We all just had lunch together, so it’s not like we weren’t together, and tomorrow night we have a reservation for hibachi. See, but I’m just home alone, I don’t have a husband and mom (her 92 year old mom lives with her) to cook for anyway, and who help eat up leftovers.

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