Q: We invited two of our very closest friends to join us at our beach house for an extended weekend. Each of the invited couples prepared a dinner (one on Saturday and one on Sunday). We provided the home, amenities, wine, etc. On the last day of our trip, we were asked to share in the costs of the two meals. We were offended and upset. Should we be? How should we handle this?
A: Assuming each couple offered to provide a dinner, it’s understandable that you were offended. In fact, it’s thoughtful, but of course not mandatory, for house guests to offer to prepare a meal or take their hosts out for a meal as a gesture of appreciation. Nonetheless, if your guests expected all three couples to share in the cost, they should have said they’d like to prepare a meal with the understanding that the expense would be split three ways.
At this point, what’s done is done and it would probably be better not to say anything about that particular weekend. However, if you invite those couples again in the future and they offer to prepare a meal, you could say that, since you will be providing everything else, you don’t think you should be expected to share in the cost of the meal. Since you say they are your very closest friends, hopefully they will be understanding. Nonetheless, this is only a suggestion.