For me, my answer usually depends on my relationship to the person who is offering. If my best pal wants to hang around and help with the dishes while we gossip about the evening and finish off the wine, the answer is likely to be yes. But if it's someone I'm just getting to know then I default to my politeness gene and insist that I'm OK. In either case, I always refuse at first just to give whomever is asking an out because the truth is, sometimes people offer to be polite but they really don't mean it.
Another important factor is the size of your kitchen. My current kitchen is so small that if more than one person is in it, we quickly resemble an advanced game of Twister. I'll also admit that I'm a little particular about how my dishes are done (rinse and scrape before washing, please!) and can sometimes be a little too bossy about the whole business. This is also true for people who have dishwashers that they need or want to be loaded in a particular way.
But sometimes it's just a matter of mood. After a long and boisterous evening, it's not unusual for me to crave some alone time so standing by my self at a sink full of hot sudsy water with my favorite music blasting is exactly where I want to be.
What do you do when the inedible offer for helping out with the dishes comes?
(Image: Alexander Turnbull Library)