#475 When your guests do the dishes even after you told them not to

It’s dinner party night.

Yes, sweaty and flushed, you run around baking bread and breaking eggs before that doorbell bing-bongs, the guests ping-pong, and everyone sits down to eat up your delicious homemade meal.

Of course, you enjoy the dinner — you love it, it’s great — but you don’t really enjoy it. No, you’re running around refilling glasses, folding napkins, scooping seconds, warming pies. You’re cleaning crumbs, wiping babies, and keeping an eye on the kids table. While everyone sits and chats you’re a Tasmanian Devil of dining room insanity, whipping into a whirlwind and making sure everyone enjoys their meal.

By the end, you’re completely and utterly exhausted. Your bones are bleeding, your skin is stinging, and your body is aching for a tender hug from a cushy couch.

This is why it’s great when your guests offer to do the dishes after the meal.

“No, no, no,” you say. “Sit down, sit down, sit down.”

But they insist, but you insist, but they insist, but you insist, but they insist … and then finally you just stare back at them with hollow, broken eyes and give up.

Now you crashland on the cushy couch as your guests fill the sink and bubble up the suds. And what a beautiful moment of sweet relief it is when you walk back in there and see everything sparkling clean.

Plus, for the rest of the week to get to enjoy the Treasure Hunt that comes with finding your own dishes in all the wrong cupboards. But it’s no big deal so just smile and enjoy those Gravy Boat Rescue Missions and Wooden Spoon Search Parties with a smile.

Yes, this one goes out to guests who wash the dishes even after we told them not to. Today we say thanks for love, thanks for the memories, and thanks for scrubbing the crusty casserole dish.


— Email message —

“I just finished my Master’s degree and despite a never-ending job hunt move home in three days to live with my parents.  I have no clue where I’ll end up in the next six months and can’t help but feel defeated at times.  Regardless, reading The Book of Awesome helps to remind me that while jobs and homes may change, some things will always remain AWESOME!” – Amanda

Photos from: here and here

38 thoughts on “#475 When your guests do the dishes even after you told them not to

  1. I am the dish-doing guest. I always feel so guilty. It feels awesome to be helpful, even though it sucks to do dishes. I hate dishes.

    Good luck with the job search, Amanda!

  2. Amen to both ends!! It’s always a relief to not wash them after making dinner, and it is satisfying doing a friend’s dishes after they’ve fed me.

  3. I secretly believe this is why God made grandmas. Also to hem jeans and cut tags out of shirts.

    1. Lucky. My grandma just bakes mothball-tasting/smelling cookies and complains about her ailments. Haha.

  4. LOL, the tasmanian devil of insanity! I can relate!

    btw, I saw the Book in the airport bookstore today shelved between “Superfreakonomics” and “Save your Brain”. That was pretty awesome product placement. :)

  5. Oh, yeah ! :D It’s ALWAYS good when someone does something nobody ever wants to do… For you ! Woohoo :D Lurve them always. Same thing as when you get gifts. Meow.

    1. Everytime I play soccer with my friends, I always volunteer to be keeper first cuz everyone hates it and I don’t really mind that much and hate the discussion. You just made me think about that =P

  6. Man, I’m jealous; no one’s ever offered to clean up after a dinner party! But I can imagine it to be totally awesome!

  7. Yes. It’s also awsome when you make dinner for your family, and you get a sibling to do the dishes, even though it was your night to do them. Awesome.

    1. Oh my gosh, when a sibling did ANY chore that you were supposed to do … So. Awesome. Not that that happened very often either, but every now and then … Word to my sister!

  8. Yes, YES. And, girls, because it doesn’t happen very often is exactly why it’s so delicious when it does.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect or even wish guests to do my dishes, but I do sit back in loving wonder when they do.

    Loved the punch line here about the Treasure Hunt afterward!

  9. The treasure hunt afterward is…frustrating! We host lots of parties, and you hit the nail on the head: when others do my dishes, I can never find stuff later! What’s awesome is when others do my dishes and then leave little hidden treats (chocolates!) in places that I find throughout the week. Once I left a late-night cupcake in a beautiful little box to an unsuspecting neighbor. When she opened her fridge the next day, instead of boring milk, she found. . . cupcakes. Who wouldn’t love it? http://www.livewithflair.blogspot.com/

  10. I try to remember to be this guest, especially for my friends that still have no dishwasher :) I think it’s just as awesome to be the friend making someone else’s night easier as the one being helped out!

  11. I really love that, and a corollary to this is when the babysitter does dishes when you really don’t expect them to.

  12. Yep! That’s me! Its sooo nice when I lose the ‘don’t do the dishes’ battle but I do miss the social conversation in the kitchen that goes along with the drying and towel snapping but my aching feet and a glass of wine on the couch win…sometimes! Awesome!

  13. Wotcher!

    Love it! Hate dishes. Would rather be blogging….. Speaking of which, I should probably be doing those right now…


  14. I’m a huge fan of guests doing any sort of cleaning up after me. Sometimes I serve pop-tarts and my guests will offer to throw away the paper plate or even dust up the crumbs. I just love that kind of thoughtfulness.

  15. I just noticed the teeny tiny smiley face in the top right corner of the website! That’s AWESOME! :)

    1. never seen this tiny Smiley so many peeps talk about :( is it still there? can anyone point it out?

      1. I recall Bekah asking Neil why he removed the smiley, so it once was there! You could ask her over at the continued journey of awesome blog: 1000 Awesome Friends.org…
        Bekah was moved to create: Smiles are everywhere, you can ask her about thios one too…very nice blog!!!

  16. I seem to be alone with the matter, but I absolutely HATE it if someone else does my dishes. Definitely not awesome at all.

    I can’t explain why. I guess I’m just a bit neurotic in some way, but if it’s my house and my dishes, then I’ll do the dishes. If someone else manages to sneak up before me and does the dishes, I’ll just have to do them again.

    I do appreciate the gesture of offering to help, but I’m just… not able to accept, in this case.

  17. this JUST happened to me this weekend at our little dinner party/get together. I, foolish one that I am, continued with the “no really, we will take care of it” to a point that my sweet friend gave up and did not finish doing the dishes. What in the world was I thinking????

  18. this makes me happiest after a night out when there are cups lying everywhere and stains on the coffee table and your friends who stayed over help! that’s when you KNOW it’s a real friendship

  19. I LOVE to wash the dishes by hand.
    I especially love to wash them for those who cooked for me; this is one way I can show my gratitude for the meal and to God for the ability.

  20. You Rock I get up in the morning
    evry day and read your article and same with my mom you inspire us and you britin hour day you see my alarm wakes me up on my IPod that’s in the dock over my bed so I get up I turn araned and turn it off then I see would you like to see the awesome thing today so I click yes show me And that is how I start my day

  21. Two thumbs up for the ones that pitch in, post supper!!! :) I always help with dishes, it’s the least one can do to show their appreciation. And for the ones that don’t, please just stay home lol

    1. Way I see it is this,
      1. Invitation
      2. Accept
      3. Friendship
      4. Stories
      5. Music
      6. Laughter
      7. Shared
      8. Nourishment
      9. Dishes
      10. Water
      11. Hands
      12. I LOVE washing dishes
      13. A sparkling kitchen The feeling of accomplishment
      14. Appreciation
      15. And a thumbs up from you too?!*
      Count me in! I’m there! That is lots of awesome!!!

  22. Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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