This also reminds me of a similar revelation I had a while back: a person who says “no, thank you, I’m fine” all the time makes for a lousy guest. The dance of giving and receiving is what brings us together, and “being no bother” is actually just a recipe for estrangement.
I must be a lousy guest. And I never knew.
I generally refuse offers of things out of a sense of duty: thou shalt not maketh they host wait on thee hand and foot. I feel like I'm imposing if I actually accept something being offered to me upon arrival at someone's home.
Host says, "Can I get you anything? A stiff drink? Soda? Water?"
Me, completely parched to the bone, croaks, "No, thanks. I drank some three days ago," and then I collapse from dehydration.
Seriously, I was taught to refuse offers (and I will not be swayed by Mafioso) because one didn't want to be any bother. I was also taught to say "Yes, Sir" and "No, Ma'am," which I still do to this day, though the line is blurring as to whom it is appropriate to say that, now that I am "of a certain age." And in the spirit of "Bless your heart" (which I could never bring myself to adopt), I learned to say "Wow, that's interesting" when what I was really thinking was, "You gotta be freaking kidding me!"
I guess I never considered that it was rude to not accept. Of course, I knew that some hosts insist until you give in, and what can you do when that happens? Not much. They win. Drink up, Sweetheart.
I actually have a philosophy about it now, especially if what is being offered is of great value. Politely refuse once, and thank them. When it is offered again, politely refuse again. You need to be serious, not coy. You are turning the offer down because It's Too Much.
If they go away, and after long enough to have considered it (like days, not minutes), offer a third time, then jump on that train, Sister! If I give you 2 full, honest refusals, and you offer again, then I very well might accept. So...if you want me to have something, you may have to wear me down.
But how about the ones who only offer once? Or maybe offer again a little later? Isn't it possible they are secretly hoping you'll be polite and refuse them?
If so, don't offer it to me more than twice.
What about you?