Open Thread

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  1. Ashley

    I am requesting advice for hosting a surprise birthday dinner for a coworker at a local restaurant . A friend and I are making arrangements for the dinner and mailing invitations, but are concerned because we had not planned on paying for everyone’s meal. This is a sit down, order from a menu, Japanese restaurant. We will of course pay for the guest of honor but is it rude to not pay for the other guests who we invite to join us? Also, if this acceptable, should the invitation be worded in a specific way to indicate everyone will pay for his or her own meal?

    • Elizabeth

      Sure, you are not “hosting” the event, but you are “organizing” it. The invitation could read something like this:

      SHHH It’s a surprise!
      Ashley and Friend invite you to join them in a surprise celebration for Coworker’s birthday.
      We’re meeting for dinner at Sushitown at 7:30pm, the birthday girl will arrive at 7:45.
      Entrees run about $20, a normal dinner tab is around $40 with drinks. Cake will be served for dessert!
      Please RSVP by (date) so that we can make a reservation.

      Alternatively, you could be even more explicit: “Ashley and Friend are organizing a surprise celebration for Coworker’s birthday, and you are invited!…”
      As long as you state the prices on the invitation, there’s no way that anyone could confuse the situation and expect to be treated.

  2. Gen

    This has been troubling me for several months now and I don’t know how to move forward.
    My Friend B offered to help out my other Friend A (I am the connecting link between them) get ahead in A’s career by giving her some work to do, that he would both pay her for and also use to promote her to his colleagues. No price was determined but B has often been very generous to A in the past and there was no concern that A wouldn’t be compensated; rather this was an casual agreement. Also, no deadline was set for A to deliver the work. The work (small business financial reporting) should realistically have been completed in about two weeks’ time. After about three weeks, Friend B emailed Friend A, asking if she was still interested in completing the task, or should he ask someone else to do the work. Friend A sent him two (of four) reports about a week later. He emailed her about two weeks later, inquiring of the remaining reports. She responded she had been very busy and would send them to him shortly. About two weeks later, he sent her a final email, asking if he should expect the remaining reports; she never responded to this last email.
    I am embarrassed that Friend A didn’t politely excuse herself from the work at some point. Friend B has told me he agrees that she didn’t handle the situation well, but that he was able to shrug it off.
    I am very close to both friends but I find myself politely declining Friend A’s suggestions that we get together to hang out, particularly since she’s acknowledged to me in a text that she “blew it” with Friend B and hasn’t “made things right.” In my eyes, since she knows the situation was handled badly, she should now make an effort to clear things up.
    I’m having trouble moving past this. If you tell me I should get over it, I will sincerely try to move on.
    Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

    • Elizabeth

      Friend A not only made herself look bad, but also she made you look bad since you were the one that recommended her. Plus, her continued reluctance to clear the air or apologize reveals something rather unpleasant about her character. You found out that your friend was not quite the person you thought she was. This is no small thing, and I too would reevaluate the friendship in this situation. You can have a frank conversation with friend A, express how you’re feeling about it, and give her a chance to explain. Alternatively you can back away from the friendship. I don’t think you have to just get over it.

  3. Marlyn

    We have sent birthday , Christmas ,and graduation gifts to my niece and her husband (both ministers) since she was a child and then, since they married We have done the same for their 2 sons (one now married) who are in their twenties, and now we include the niece by marriage. They thank us rarely ( maybe 5 times ) in all these years . They are religious, smart, and benevolent toward mankind in general. Do I keep this up, say nothing or what? I’m resentful and hurt.
    Sincerely, fed up aunt & uncle

    • Elizabeth

      Do they send you gifts and cards as well? These are no longer kids – they are adults, and as such your peers. Unless there is reciprocity, I say stop the gift-giving and just send a card!

    • Alicia

      Say something. Or for some occasion send really nice stationary and a note saying that you knew they must need good stationary as they never send thank you notes. But do not stop without a hint.

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