Hosting Headache: Unexpected costs

by Daniel Post Senning on June 11, 2013

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.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanna Keiler June 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm

With friends like these…I like the suggestion above, but think it is a little meek in the response. A direct approach in thinking about this situation is more in order. In my opinion, the guests are suffering from a lack of gratitude, and were it my situation, I would go ahead and pay them as they requested, then reconsider inviting them ever again in the future. If they ask about it in the future, feel free to let them know that hosting four people four a long weekend turned out to be more costly and energy-draining than you anticipated, and probably will not happen in the future (at least for them). Perhaps inviting more grateful and less entitled individuals/couples is the way to go from now on.

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jordi June 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I agree with Vanna; I would have paid them and then not invited them again. It certainly does seem that they were ungrateful and I would not subject myself to that situation again.

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Michelle January 17, 2014 at 7:06 am

Well said, Vanna; I agree completely.

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