The Dos and Don’ts of Visiting a Lebanese Friend’s House for the First Time

Lebanese mothers are the most loving, most generous, and most caring mothers in the world. She will feed you wara2 3enab, open her doors for you 24/7, and even lie to your parents and say you did spend your night studying with her son/daughter, but only if she found you worthy of being her child’s friend. However, if it’s your first time at your friend’s house, and you feel the pressure of their mother’s approval of you as a friend of their kingly and queenly son and daughter, here is what you should know:


#1. Do praise her house

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“I love the way you matched your fake Van Gough painting with the yellow-painted walls!” Okay, don’t overdo it. Just keep in mind that complimenting her taste in furniture, color-matching skills, and ability to fit 50 perfumes and creams in one small dresser can go a long way. It means you appreciate her talent in creating a warm home, and she will like you for it.


#2. Do not be too nice

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Telling her the color of her eyes is pretty is not something she will appreciate. It can actually get creepy if you’re a guy, as it will mean you have been staring way too much at your mum’s friend. Be nice, but not too nice that she feels you are trying to be the “teacher’s pet.”


#3. Do compliment her son/daughter

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This is your ultimate win. Even though your friend has failed all subjects, you have to tell her that her kid is the smartest. Even though your friend has never offered to buy you a bottle of water, her kid is the most generous. Even though your friend has practically taught you all the dirty words you know, her kid is the politest. Smallah hal sabe zake tale3 shaklo la ellek, Tante.


#4. Do offer to wash the dishes

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Act like your life depends on it. You know she will never let you wash the dishes, and she knows for sure you would never dare get near a dish. This is all a test, and this is a vital challenge. 3anek ya tante! Ana deyman bejle bel beit aslan. “Let me! I always wash the dishes at home anyway.”


#5. Do not hesitate if she let you do the dishes


This is rare but can happen. Here, the conditions of the challenge differ. The mother is now testing your cleanliness. Don’t be surprised if you catch her sniffing the dishes. Some mothers need their kids to have friends as clean as their own, so they do not get influenced negatively.


#6. Do make yummy sounds when eating

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She will ask you if you liked the food, your answer is always: I LOVED it! She will ask you if her tabbouleh is better than your mum’s, your answer is always: Akeed (of course) tante!

Never give your actual opinion on her food, and always, always, eat everything offered to you. Even if you do not like kibbeh, even if you are allergic to garlic and you were offered batata hara. A night at the hospital is nothing compared to an eternal wrath of a Lebanese mother.


#7. Do agree with her on everything


Mothers like to complain to their kid’s friend about their own kids, about how messy their room is or how they are not helping her with house chores. It’s vital to agree with her on these things and brag about how much of a help you are to your mother, even if it isn’t true. Sometimes she will ask you a tricky question before starting to rant her kid out: Do you help your mother at home? Your answer is, of course, yes.


#8. Do not take her hospitality for granted

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Mothers love the idea of their kids having friends, and will try to pamper you with homemade cake and orange juice. Don’t start asking her to out the lumps from the orange juice, and don’t put your feet on the couch just yet. Answer her spoiling with gratitude. Make her feel as though her happiness about her kid having a friend is mutual.


#9. Do talk graciously about her in front of your friend

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If you are in high school, your friend would probably apologize for his/her mother’s niceness and say how much of an embarrassment she’s being. Please let them know you appreciate that their mother is doing her best to make you feel comfortable as a guest and that they should appreciate her too.


#10. Do not refuse their love

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If you really are a good friend of her kid, she will probably love and treat you as her own. Once she feels that you genuinely care for her child, she will always have her home open for you at all times.


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