Saturday, February 09, 2008

Birthday Dinners out

Why is it when you are invited to someone's birthday dinner you are expected to fork over $ to pay for their dinner? I find this a very common theme.

We were invited out to dinner last weekend for a friend's BF birthday. We were okay with realizing that the dinner would include paying for his meal. Turns out that it wasn't just his birthday, but also the birthday of one of the Birthday Boy's Friend as well. So 2 birthday people's dinners.

I nearly flipped out because we didn't know the other person and only came because we thought it was for the friend's BF birthday since she made the reservations and invited people. It was not mentioned that other people had birthdays. So one guest said let's just split the check equally, which really pissed me off, because we did not drink wine nor did we intend on chipping in for people's birthdays we didn't know.

But then we got saved. A third person in the group turns out, it was their birthday the same day as the birthday boy's and when it brought up that people with birthday's should not pay, then it suddenly was 3 people not paying for meals. At that point, the friend hosting the party said nevermind, every pay their own. It was becoming way to complicated and I think she could tell that some people out of the group were feeling disgruntled over the fact they were paying for people they had never meet before (I fell into this category).

I suppose this is why I hate having adult birthday parties at restaurants. There is such an awkward feeling of whose paying for what. That it gets really complicated. I also hate the fact that unexpected surprises of costs occur (such as the two additional birthday people).

I guess one option is to have a party at your house and pay for all food and drink. This way people feel less obligated to pay and if others happen to have a birthday around the same time then great.

I wonder when it starts that you invite people out to dinner for a birthday celebration (or any celebration) and the invitee starts to pay? Does that never happen? Rarely? Or maybe when you establish yourself in your career and have more money? After you have kids and invite people over for their birthdays?


DogAteMyFinances said...

Ugh. I hate those. You don't even get to talk to the birthday person because they're six people away. The service is mediocre. You end up next to a third-order friend, and it's like an awkward first date.

I'd rather go to a BBQ. Heck, I'd rather bring half the stuff to the BBQ.

Living Almost Large said...

Very much so.

MEG said...

I've only been to restaurant birthday dinners where everyone was really close and knew each other as well as the birthday person.

In those situations it's easy and not awkward to assert that the 3-5 guests will all split the bill at the end and the birthday girl/guy will not pay. Or if one person orders a side salad and water then you can just discuss it and change gears to "everyone pay their own and we'll all add $5 for the birthday girl's portion" or whatever.

If there are more people than 6-8 people present or if the guests aren't all very close then I think each couple/guest should pay for their own meals, including the birthday person--unless of course a close friend/family member/spouse offers to pay for theirs.