Af­ter fam­ily re­u­nion, cou­ple asked to pay

The Buffalo News - - LIFE COLUMNS -

Dear Carolyn: Over the week­end I at­tended a fam­ily “re­u­nion” out of state. Ev­ery­thing went beau­ti­fully un­til I got home and re­ceived a text stat­ing that I owed $50 per per­son. My husband and I re­ceived the in­vi­ta­tion sev­eral weeks ago and there was never any men­tion of a fee on the in­vite.

It’s not the money! I strongly re­sent be­ing told, not asked, to con­trib­ute.

Should I send the money and not say any­thing, or make a fuss? Note: my husband and I hosted a week­end for my rel­a­tives and paid all costs for three restau­rant din­ners and never charged any­one.

– Ticked Off

Yes, be­ing billed af­ter the fact is clunky and ob­nox­ious. But there are so many other ways to spin it.

If they had passed a hat dur­ing the party, would you have been an­noyed? “Hey, we split up the food and venue costs and it’s $50 per per­son” – would that have ran­kled? What if some­one had sent this around via email be­fore­hand?

You ab­sorbed those costs your­self once, but is ev­ery­one in a po­si­tion to do the same? Did ev­ery­one want or ex­pect you to pay or would they gladly have paid their shares? Is ev­ery­one who does have the means to af­ford it all ob­li­gated to pick up the tab? As qui­etly as you did?

Point(s) be­ing, a re­u­nion with a lot of peo­ple (yes?), es­pe­cially one that in­volves peo­ple trav­el­ing from all over, doesn’t just hap­pen, and the food and space and other ac­com­mo­da­tions for a large group don’t just ma­te­ri­al­ize. Some­times it gets ex­pen­sive and messy and some­times the peo­ple run­ning it don’t do ev­ery­thing grace­fully.

And if you don’t pay your share, some­one else will have to – the most gra­cious and/or self-sac­ri­fic­ing fam­ily mem­ber, most likely, as op­posed to the most fi­nan­cially equipped. If you see all these points and it’s just the way you were asked that would mo­ti­vate you to make a fuss, then please see how point­lessly neg­a­tive that fuss would be and pay the tab.

Dear Carolyn:

My spouse and I have no pets, and our small condo isn’t re­ally pet-friendly. We are host­ing a fam­ily get-to­gether, and one rel­a­tive asked if she could bring her dog. We aren’t thrilled about the re­quest, but her dog is small and well-be­haved, and she has been a very accommodating host to us in the past, so we de­cided to say OK.

Well, now an­other rel­a­tive, who has a bigger and less well-be­haved dog, has asked to bring his dog as well. Is there any po­lite way to say yes to one dog but no to an­other dog?

– Not Thrilled

Sure. You can say you agreed to the one dog be­cause it’s small, but draw the line at that. You can even ad­mit you failed to an­tic­i­pate that yes to one dog would open the door to oth­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions, and you’re sorry about your lack of fore­sight. Les­son learned. What would be im­po­lite is for any of your guests to com­plain about your de­ci­sion not to host any more dogs.

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