Just Bring Yourself?


Our friend Cathy loves to entertain.  She recently had her friend Becky over for a dinner party and was surprised when Becky showed up empty handed!  But that’s not the whole story…

Becky did indeed ask Cathy “What can I bring?” to which Cathy cheerily replied, “Nothing – just bring yourself!” So, Becky did as her hostess instructed and showed up empty handed.

Apparently, Cathy thinks that even if you tell a guest to bring nothing, they should still bring some sort of small thank you or hostess gift as a courtesy.  Half of our friends think Cathy is insane – after all, how can she take issue with Becky doing exactly what she told her to do?  But the other half of our friends think she has a point, and that no matter what the hostess says, it’s rude to show up empty-handed.

So, what do you do when a hostess says “just bring yourself”? As a guest, should you take her word literally – or should you always show up with a little something?

Tell us what you think!

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4 Responses to “Just Bring Yourself?”

  1. cat says:

    Cathy is a jerk

  2. Molly says:

    I think when you ask a hostess, “What can I bring?”, it really means, “What can I contribute to the dinner?” and so a hostess who has planned out a menu will say “bring nothing” unless she’d like something specific, such as “I’m serving apple pie, will you bring some ice cream?”.

    So when the hosts of a party say to me, “Don’t bring anything” I assume they don’t want me to contribute to the dinner. However, I still would never show up empty handed and I would bring a hostess gift such as some pretty soaps, cute kitchen towels, fancy cocktail napkins, or a bottle of wine or bubbly for future use by the hosts.

    A host/hostess is never going to say, “I don’t need anything for the dinner itself, however, it would be nice if you brought me a small gift to thank me for all the time, money and effort I put into this dinner”. So I think a grown up guest should figure it out on their own and not show up empty handed.

    That said, some people such as Becky don’t understand this. So while I think Becky needs to get some more social skills, I don’t think Cathy should be annoyed at her for following her instructions.

  3. Sue says:

    I agree with both of the above statements. Cathy should not expect people to bring her something just because she is having a dinner party. If this is a bunch of people who regularly do this at their houses, I do not feel it is necessary when the hostess says just bring yourself. However I do tend to feel I should bring something if there is a large number of people but there are times I have shown up empty handed. Also my friends all know that I love to cook and am good at it so if there is a special part of a meal like an Italian or Irish dessert as an example, I do get asked to bring specific things.

  4. Quinn says:

    A hostess is often being polite when she says to just bring yourself. A good response is to just be polite and bring something like wine or cookies. Everybody lies… It’s part of the polite thing.

Any Thoughts?