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I 'fussed too much'.

(101 Posts)
Witzend Sun 09-Jun-19 14:10:45

Don't know whether IABU to feel miffed - dh thinks I am.

We recently had two of his Canadian relatives to stay before their major holiday in Europe. One middle aged, one elderly. TBH I barely know either of them.

I went to a fair amount of trouble, making a cake, plus soup and quiche for lunch, etc.
They both ate like birds, wouldn't touch my soup or cake, and had just slivers of quiche. (Might add that dh and a visiting BiL ate heartily of everything so I don't think it was my cooking!)
They both ate very small portions of (home made) evening meal, too. Didn't touch the pudding (lemon tart, though I didn't make that)

At no point did I urge or try to make them eat more than they wanted. I've often had guests who've been both very big and very small eaters, so well prepared for either.

However, in the 'thank you' email recently sent to dh by the younger, it said, 'Witzend, you fussed too much.'

WTF??? Dh thinks it's just unfortunate wording, and that she means I went to too much trouble - not that I think I went OTT at all, just what I'd normally do for guests.
Personally I think it was rude.
At any rate, if dh ever wants to invite them again, I shall book myself a mini break and he can do the 'fussing'!

Glammy57 Mon 10-Jun-19 19:07:55

Well done, OP for being such a good hostess; you put me to shame! ?

Blinko Mon 10-Jun-19 19:22:23

We've hosted Canadian friends a few times in the last five years or so. We do notice that they seem to like to eat out, they hardly touch salad or veg, but eat mountains of meat and potatoes... The young woman in the group this time (a few weeks ago) only wanted fries or burgers, even in a very good gastro pub where the menu was pretty extensive.

I must admit I'm surprised that their eating habits seem much more akin to those in the US. Or perhaps it's just that we are more European in outlook (and diet) than we think.

CanadianGran Mon 10-Jun-19 19:26:36

I, like some others here, think it was just a bad choice of words. I don't think it is necessarily cultural, although I'm not sure how the British use the word. Please don't make a fuss could translate as please don't go to the trouble.
I would reply that it was no trouble at all and we were happy to host.

As hosts, I expect to feed my guests with nice meals, and will ask them their schedule if they have plans. If that is fussing, then I'm guilty!

As a guest, I would appreciate any amount of extra attention, but certainly wouldn't expect it. Unless they were rude in other ways, I would say it was water under the bridge.

moggie57 Mon 10-Jun-19 20:09:17

maybe they had a dairy intolerence. maybe you should have asked what they liked?. or maybe taken them out to dinner etc.maybe they not used to eating rich food. and dont forget their language differs from ours in meanings. yes i would be a little put out .choice of words not good . but you wonderful hostess .well done...

moggie57 Mon 10-Jun-19 20:14:57

this reminds me of when i visited my penpals family in usa. they made a "fruit salad" to me that would mean chopped up fruit. but no it was what looked like a milk i didnt touch it. they said you didnt have any. i said i thought it was they were really sad that i didnt have any on my salad.....i said i could have some for dessert but they said no and put it back in the fridge.

Nvella Mon 10-Jun-19 21:38:43

One of my worst guests was Canadian (I am sure it is coincidental) but she stayed with me for 2 weeks in London and I had arranged several nice things to do (boat trip down the Thames, visit to Ascot etc. All she wanted to do was sit outside Starbucks and smoke and she couldn’t forgive me for having given up smoking! In the end she left a few days early in a temper and I have never been so relieved!

kwest Mon 10-Jun-19 21:57:31

I have really gone off entertaining as we have got older. However I love the idea of drinks and nibbles and then decamping to a restaurant. We did this a few years ago and our guests brought nibbles as well. We were having such a lovely time we wished we had not booked the restaurant, but of course having booked we had to attend.
Your guests were horrid Witzend. How rude! There is an expression known as 'ghosting' people, i.e. acting as if they no longer exist. Maybe these guests should be ghosted?

curlilox Tue 11-Jun-19 12:44:33

I've been a guest at a house where the hostess has had a small appetite and she simply multiplied up what she would eat, forgetting that she had invited some men with large appetites among her guests. Very little left for anyone else. I would much rather be your guest !

Witzend Tue 11-Jun-19 13:10:51

Well, I'm over it now, but we've had so many guests of all sorts, ages and different nationalities over the years, and nobody else has ever accused me of fussing too much!

Alas, another experience of a Canadian guest was not the happiest, a cousin in his 50s who I'd never even met before. He stayed 10 nights and was a blatant freeloader. I took him sightseeing all over London and not once did he put his hand in his pocket.

Which I could have excused in a guest from abroad, only he then wanted our dd who was over 20 years younger to go pub crawling with him - and again he expected her to pay for all his drinks - until she finally said, 'Come on, it's your turn now.'

After he left, there was not so much as an email to say thank you!
Never again.

Alexa Tue 11-Jun-19 13:46:53

Witzend, please don't worry. There is no reason they would intend deliberate discourtesy.

The word 'fuss' is odd. I never heard of pet animals being 'fussed until the past two years or so. People said 'stroked' or 'petted'. I suppose Canadians say fussed too much when they mean went to a lot of trouble for them.

Starlady Tue 11-Jun-19 14:41:16

I'm going to chime in w/ those who think it may have been a matter of unfortunate wording. Unless they were rude in other ways during the visit, then I would say it's a sort of backhanded compliment. Either way, I would be annoyed, too, and think it's best for people to just say "Thank you." But that's just me.

As for the two women eating so little, it's possible that was due to health issues, as others have said, or maybe they are simply on diets. That might explain why they didn't eat the cake or the lemon tart. (IDK why any of that would keep them from eating soup though.)

I don't think it necessarily has to do w/ their nationality though it might. Sometimes it's just a matter of socially inept individuals or families.

I generally tend to get more in than I anticipate needing when DH and I entertain (which I admit we don't do much of these days). As a friend once told me, "Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."

If you ever have these relatives again, you might want to ask first if there are things they can't eat, and perhaps, provide some alternatives (if you even want to bother). But I would still have the cake, etc. available for the men, who apparently enjoyed it quite a bit!

IMO, you did , a great job, and shouldn't worry about a few poorly chosen words. I know I would enjoy your hospitality immensely!

Starlady Tue 11-Jun-19 14:42:37

Oops! My second sentence should have beet written as follows: Unless they were rude in other ways during the visit - then I would say it's a sort of backhanded compliment

willa45 Tue 11-Jun-19 15:22:22

Fuss has many meanings and (depending on context) can have a positive or negative connotation. The term 'fussing over' had the following definition....

fuss over someone/something - to give a person a lot of attention to show that you love them. Example: Everyone was fussing over the new baby.

Given the above definition, 'fussed too much' may have been a somewhat clumsy way of showing appreciation.

As I mentioned earlier, Jet Lag could explain their lack of appetite. Depending on what part of Canada they came from, there could be up to ten hours difference from Greenwich time. That means a Noontime meal in the UK would be the same as eating around 4 AM back home or even earlier.

Callistemon Tue 11-Jun-19 15:25:26

Well, if they had said 'thank you for the great fuss you made of us, it was much appreciated' that may have made it clearer!

Eloethan Tue 11-Jun-19 15:29:00

I, like others, think that maybe the word "fuss" has been misinterpreted, although I also agree that it was an unfortunate way of describing all the care you went to.

As Callistemon points out, "making a fuss" of somebody is meant to be complimentary so hopefully that's what was intended.

Glammy57 Wed 12-Jun-19 00:32:10

Kwest - I’m with you on this one! Let me know if you’d like to hook up....?

DanniRae Wed 12-Jun-19 09:13:32

Why do people come on a thread and constantly say the same thing? We get it - the word 'fuss' has a different meaning in Canada.
Sorry to be grumpy but wanted to say "Please let's move on!!"

bikergran Wed 12-Jun-19 09:18:06

Hmm...a few words for rude guests if they ever came again!

Mcdonalds! or KFC! with a map showing directions hmm

bikergran Wed 12-Jun-19 09:19:56

I believe the word "root" means something else in another country.

Root here in uk meaning to root for something as in search for something.

JackyB Wed 12-Jun-19 10:09:19

I don't want to sound as though I am on the side of Witzend's guests, but here are some thoughts on the matter that have occurred to me whilst reading the thread:

- After a long haul flight, I don't feel like eating much for a few days. With jet lag, not only can your tummy get a bit muddled through the cabin pressure problem, but also you are completely out of sync with your daily rhythm. I find that the eating and digesting takes longer to acclimatise than the sleeping/waking cycle.

- They might not have meant that Witzend fussed by cooking too much food, but she may have been what they considered fussy in other ways; e.g. asking if they had slept well, if the towels/beds/bathroom facilities were OK, maybe the normal housekeeping routine seemed hard work to them (you don't know what sort of conditions they live in, perhaps they have staff?!?!)

Despite those thoughts, I would certainly still have been miffed.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 12-Jun-19 10:30:39

This coming Monday I shall have house full!!!

I shall shop on Friday/Saturday, batch cook 5 meals and freeze, so that we can decide on the day what we fancy or shall we go out. Make cakes on Sunday, and then hide them from myself!!!

After 5 days two of our GC (9 & 10) come to stay also, that's when hopefully the sun shall shine and we can BBQ or go to a Bistro on the beach which will suit all of us.

All guests leave next Sunday, I shall collapse on sofa with a large wine, the washing of bedding, towels etc will wait till Monday.

Hard work - definitely, but there is nothing better than being surrounded by family in my opinion.

Grannyrebel27 Thu 13-Jun-19 14:11:18

How rude! I'm extremely annoyed on your behalf at this total lack of respect for you. I have my Canadian friend staying atm and if she behaved like that I'd show her the door

Anja Thu 13-Jun-19 15:12:08

Witzend you book that away break if ever they fetch up in your neck of the wood again ??

Tweedle24 Thu 13-Jun-19 15:31:05

I don’t think it was meant as an insult. I think they were just appreciative but were trying to tell you that you had no need to go to so much trouble.

jura2 Thu 13-Jun-19 15:37:54

Just talked to guests from San Francisco- and they agree this was 'lost in translation' - and didn't mean what we would think it means in UK english.