Birthday dinner went wrong

thedr
thedr Posts: 77
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I have a friend I’ve known for over 10 years. Each year there are there of us who go out to have dinner on each others’ birthdays. Traditionally the others pay for the birthday person. This year when it got to my birthday he seemed reticent to go out and, in fact cancelled last minute saying his shoulder was playing up. Nevertheless he went for a drink that evening and we postponed the meal until the following week. 

All 3 of us met for the meal. At one point he started talking very loudly about the price of the items on the menu. He ordered desert, even though I said I was quite happy to go without.  Then, at the end, he started saying “Oh I didn’t expect it to come to that.”  repeatedly implying he couldn’t afford it. In the end we split the bill 3 ways breaking the normal tradition the birthday person not paying, around £40 each. 

A short time later he tells me he’s booked a holiday “last minute” with friends. He’s also been spending quite a lot on doing up his new house. So he seems to have money. And I’m left feeling a little hard done by. I’m wondering if I should say something but then I’d appear mean. 

He is debt free, mortgage paid and lives on his own. 
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  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,390
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    I'd leave it but before the next birthday double check you're now all paying three ways as the new tradition
  • Someone spending a lot of money doesn't necessarily mean they have money to spend. Often it's just debt.

    Agree with above. This has now become the new tradition as far as going out with these friends go.

    What did the 3rd person have to say about it?
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,394
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    What did the 3rd person have to say about it?
    sounds like OP was the birthday person and the one who had to pay out unexpectedly, politely declining a desert to save cost. 

    difficult one to deal with - presume there may be someone else involved in the spending of money on the house and holiday and perhaps he doesn't feel he has choice in that
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,445
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    edited 1 October 2023 at 9:08AM
    I'd be annoyed that he wasn't honest if he really couldn't afford to pay half of the birthday person's bill.

    Unnecessary to complain about the cost of items.
    Why not just say up-front before the meal "I'm a bit strapped for cash, can we go somewhere cheaper or each pay for our own meals".

    Given his attitude and the fact that he cancelled one arrangement for 'health' reasons then went out on that day anyway, I would have insisted on each paying for what they'd ordered.

    What opinion did the 3rd person in the group have?

    I'd certainly not be paying for his meal when his birthday comes around.

  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Posts: 1,609
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    It is not worth confronting someone unless you are extremely close and in a position to offer help. You are obviously unaware of what is happening in your friends life regarding money anf their priorities. Maybe it is a tradition that's run its course and on the next birthday something different is planned. it could be that it reverts to normal and continues. Men are known to find it hard to talk about personal issues do not hold a grudge and be open to friendships changing as you all age.
  • thedr
    thedr Posts: 77
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    What did the 3rd person have to say about it?
    The third person said they were happy to split the bill 2 ways but left the decision to the person who indicated he wasn’t going to pay.
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,445
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    thedr said:


    What did the 3rd person have to say about it?
    The third person said they were happy to split the bill 2 ways but left the decision to the person who indicated he wasn’t going to pay.
    But did he say anything about the attitude of the person who indicated he wasn't going to pay?
  • thedr
    thedr Posts: 77
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    Pollycat said:
    thedr said:


    What did the 3rd person have to say about it?
    The third person said they were happy to split the bill 2 ways but left the decision to the person who indicated he wasn’t going to pay.
    But did he say anything about the attitude of the person who indicated he wasn't going to pay?
    He did not, just “I’m happy either way”. 
  • maman
    maman Posts: 28,365
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    It's likely that the 3rd person is a bit strapped for cash. Probably in previous years, he'd have been able to do work on his house, book a holiday and go out for a meal but things are tighter now and restaurant meals have gone up considerably. 

    I'd suggest that you discuss before the next birthday whether eating out together is still financially viable. Far better than having the uncomfortable conversation in the restaurant. 
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