I host regular game and activity nights at my house. I have a somewhat open group of friends that I invite, and these people are welcome to bring an additional friend as well. I want everyone, especially newcomers to feel welcome, so I provide everyone with free food and drink. I usually order take-out. The regular attenders are part of a group chat where we discuss details related to the events, such as the time it will be hosted, what food will be provided, and so on.

For a few months now, I have also invited my little brother (he is graduated from high school and has a job). My problem: He is the only person who I need to go specifically out of the way for. It does not really matter what we order/make that week, he will ask for something different. His requests are drastic enough that I need to order an individual serving for him. (For what it is worth, these requests do no come from dietary restraints. He is just a picky eater.)

For a while, I have happily catered to his needs, however, as the group has grown quite large, this has become more frustrating. I have to arrange many details for these game nights, and spend quite a bit of money. Having one order turns out to be much easier on me, and much more cost effective. I do no think it unreasonable to have my bother either settle for what is provided for free or bring his own food.

But, I do not know How to politely ask him to start bringing his own food? Especially since I had been catering to his special requests for some time now and wish to stop.

  • Have you ever had any conversations with him about how his requests affect you?
    – Rainbacon
    Jun 24, 2019 at 16:58
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    Not about this, specifically. I have mentioned in the past that he tends to make the world "wait for him," that is, he is the last one to get into the car, asks people to wait outside the restaurant until he shows up (late) so that he doesn't have to look for the table we are sitting at, and other similar examples. However, it is worth mentioning that this conversation happened after I "snapped at him" and, though it was not damaging to our relationship, it was not how I would have liked to present my feelings. Jun 24, 2019 at 17:01
  • Do you want to warn him upfront, or just say 'no, we're eating X' whenever he asks for something entirely different again? (I feel it might make a difference to answerers because the first one will probably also involve picking a moment/setting/way to introduce the topic).
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 24, 2019 at 18:09
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    Last time I told him that I was getting an order of X from Y restaurant, he said "can you get me an order of Z instead? They have that at Y" I suppose I could just respond with, "I am getting X for the party. If you want Z then you can you will need to provide it yourself"? Jun 24, 2019 at 18:18
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    since the group is getting large, have you considered to switching to "pot-luck" for the food, where everyone brings something for the group?
    – DaveG
    Jun 25, 2019 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


From what you're writing (including your comments), it seems that it's mainly logistic and the money is secondary to that, if we put aside other behaviors of your brother as you stated in the comments.

On your direct question How to politely ask him to start bringing his own food? I would say that you can tell him you already have a lot to arrange for those gatherings, and it's being hard to follow and take care of things you can't decide by yourself (like what's the food you're ordering). Then, you can ask him to order the food he wants, and mention that it doesn't have to do with him specifically, rather the fact that it's a lot on you. If money is not the issue, you can offer him to order it on you, but that he will take care of it.

You can also ask him to help you organizing this and making the order by himself for everyone, that way he has the choice of what to order for himself, and you don't take him out from the rest.

If money is a problem, you can tell him that in your calculations you put X money per person or a total of Y for the whole evening, and open with him the fact that his different will makes you expend more money that you planned on the evening, and maybe ask him to split with you the cost of his order, or that each time another one of you will order for him.

About moving the responsibility to the brother and keep paying:
From my experience, it has a good chance of working if the person has some kind of social awareness, and can understand that sometimes there is a trade-off between peoples wills. If the person is too much into himself and believe everyone should "serve" him - it wouldn't work (obviously) and will probably cause a fight about "why you can't do XX for me, it's just XX why do you care" etc.
I'm assuming your brother isn't as I described in the last part of that paragraph, since although you have critique on his behavior - you're still inviting him and want him to hangout with you (i.e his not intolerable).

A suggestion on how to do it:
You can first ask him to help you one time with the order, since you have a lot of stuff (of course that he will also order for himself what he desire), and later tell him that it was very helpful and it let you organize other things more calmly, and ask him to help you with it also in the future.


From my experience with extended family and practical siblings, I think you may be worrying too much about politeness, he's your brother. And because he's you brother, I think you're way, way, way over complicating this. Siblings relationships usually don't require much, if any, formality or etiquette. In fact, excess politeness and formality is somewhat suspicious because it's usually a setup for a big ask.

Just tell him you're not doing any more. You don't owe him an explanation. Your house, your party, your rules.

"I'm not mom and this isn't a restaurant, deal with it. See you at 7."


"Oh, you want Z. Great, you can stop on the way...and bring enough for at least 5. Thanks bro!"

Shouldn't be any more complicated than that. If he whines, keep in mind, that's not your problem. If he's used to this with your parents, you can't leave any opening.

Alternatively, just don't give him the opportunity by even telling him where the food is coming from...even if he's the only person you don't tell. :)

Backup 1: How to Deal With a Selfish Sibling?

"So compromising never helps. You have to treat your sibling the way you want them to be treated, nothing else...Remind your sibling that they are an adult, and they are accountable for the things they do."

Backup 2: 10 Great Ways to Deal with Selfish People

1-7 only. 8-10 are impractical for siblings.

Backup 3: How to Deal With Spoiled and Selfish Adults

"For example, if your spoiled nephew, who is 22 years old but acts 15, decides that stopping by your house every day to raid your refrigerator after work is preferable to buying his own groceries, tell him you need him to stop by the store and buy milk and sandwich meat on his way over tomorrow....Continue to hold them accountable, but don't allow their aggravating behaviors to inspire you to behave in ways you ordinarily would not.

You can't enable his behavior, it will only make it worse.


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