Any phrases or idioms that one can use to tell someone who is perhaps ashamed to eat at your house as a guest. Something other than 'take those shackles off, help yourself, make yourself at home'. Something that can let them feel more comfortable and more welcome.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    I'm wondering what's wrong with make yourself at home. Seems like a perfectly reasonable suggestion.
    – J.R.
    Jul 3, 2015 at 23:34
  • 2
    Before starting a good meal, somes hosts say: "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"
    – Tushar Raj
    Jul 3, 2015 at 23:37
  • 4
    I would say, “Don’t worry—I didn’t cook the food myself, it’s probably not lethal”. But then I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who was ashamed to eat at my house, and I have to say I’d find it extremely bizarre if someone said they were. I might be ashamed of serving my own cooking, but the concept of a guest feeling shame at eating at a host’s house is … very odd. Did you perhaps mean people who feel bad because they feel like they’re being a burden by making their host have to cook dinner for them? Jul 3, 2015 at 23:45
  • "Eat! Eat! Before it gets old!" sometimes works. Note that some people say "cold" or "mold" instead of "old," but the former seems somehow pushy, and the latter is just gross.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 4, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    If you don't eat it now, you're just gonna get it again tomorrow ;-)
    – Jim
    Jul 4, 2015 at 2:08

2 Answers 2


"My house is your house" (or "mi casa es su casa") is a common phrase used to tell a guest that they can be comfortable as they are in their own home, and can do as they please (within reason).

I always tell my guests "I'm a terrible host, you'll have to help yourself. Eat. Drink. Nothing is sacred."


People have different reasons for being shy, and react differently to different forms of speech. The best phrase to make someone comfortable would probably vary with the person, setting, relationship, etc.

That said, what usually works well for me is not to ask them whether they want to eat, but to give them a choice of food right away - "Hey, let's have some chips and salsa. You like mild or hot?" Whichever they name, they'll now feel like they were part of the decision, and will be less shy about eating.

If this doesn't work and they instead say something like "oh, I'm really not hungry," then don't get too much on their case. Maybe they really aren't hungry. Or maybe they have some reason for not eating that they'd rather not talk about. Let em be.

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