When does a wish ‘not to be a nuisance’ create a greater embarrassment?

A relative came to visit this weekend, bringing a friend. We’d never met Friend, so – planning the menu at the last moment, as you do (or at least, as we do) – we decided to phone Relative to ask if Friend has any dietary issues. Turns out that she does, but Relative didn’t want to put us to any trouble, so hadn’t told us. Good job we phoned.

This meant rewriting the menu and the shopping list – not a big problem, and we are, after all, likely to try to cater for dietary issues, given our own situation. A bit more notice would have been nice, so we could think it through better, but hey, it was fine. However, think how embarrassing it would have been for us and for Friend as we offered food, only for her to have to say ‘sorry, I can’t eat that because …’

Much better to be upfront about any issues, taking the hit of the mild embarrassment of ‘I’d love to come for dinner but …’ instead of the major embarrassment of declining food cooked specially.