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Jan 19, 2009 09:44 AM

How to tactfully avoid inviting others.


We are friends with two other couples. Nearly every Friday night, we go to dinner with one of the couples and often with both. There is another couple who shows up at our watering hole and expects to be included. In the past we have, but it is always an added stress to the evening.

Last Friday I just pretended they were not at our watering hole and avoided them and therefore the subject and the woman asked why I am mad at her/them. I'm not angry, I just don't want to go to dinner with them.

In the past they have gone so far to ask the bartenders where we are having dinner if they arrive after we've left the bar and headed to dinner elsewhere. We also have a newer watering hole and they followed us there. I am not good at tactful confrontations and would prefer not to be a full out bitch this coming Friday. Any advice is welcomed.

  1. Oooh, that's a tough one Janet. How do you "tactfully" do that sort of thing? Coward that I am, I'd probably move to a new City and change my name and/or have plastic surgery to alter my appearance!! This should be a good thread.... Adam

    1. I'm curious what you mean by they followed you to your new watering hole? How did they know you had moved your Friday night dinner to a new locale? Are they stalking you against your will or did you tell them you were moving your group of four to a new locale?

      2 Replies
      1. re: taos

        I don't know how they found out. My guess is they asked a bartender at our older watering hole (we frequent both places). Luckily we were on our way out when they showed up the first time. Last Friday we went to the new watering hole and the bartender told us "our friends" had been in the night before looking for us. She also calls me during the week and I let her calls go to my voicemail. She also will call another woman from our group to try to find out from her where we will be. She let it go to voicemail also.

        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          You've gotten some great suggestions. In addition to some of them, I'd stop sharing information with the bartender/informant. I'm pretty friendly with the bartenders at my regular watering hole and I can't imagine them telling someone where I went. If they did, I'd stop sharing that information with them.

      2. It's rude that they expect to be included when they obviously aren't, but are there specific reasons you don't want their company (manners, other unwanted behaviour, stiffing the others with the check and only paying for their salad while drinking everyone else's wines, hygiene)? You may need these to let them know why you don't enjoy their company. ie "I'm sorry, but your spouse always hits on me after too many drinks, and I really don't appreciate it."

        They're making an obvious attempt at being included, but if you don't want their company, you have to let them know. Telling someone that you don't enjoy their company is never easy, and if the hints are continuously ignored, you will have to be blunt. Otherwise it will be an ongoing "I'm really sorry, but we were having a private party. Maybe some other time?" even if that is a complete lie, while having to continually make adjustments to your own plans to accomodate the unwanted guests.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Caralien

          You are right....but I'm not sure how to do that tactfully. The reasons we no longer want them is they are moochers, the male is always complaining and in a bad mood, they fight, and she is a sloppy drunk (and always gets drunk).

          Last time we went out with them, it was us and the couple who we go out with the most. The bar tab was $200.....we paid that. Dinner was $300...the other couple paid that and we gave them $50 cash. The unwanted couple gave our friends $9 toward the tab.

          Also, the time before that we went to one of our favorite places and the woman of the unwanted couple was drunk and was EXTREMELY rude to our waiter. That night we had a group of 14 and the waiter (who had our table all on his own) was doing a phenominal job and I was very embarrassed by her behavior. I have a thing about people who are rude to waitstaff and the like.

          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            Well, no wonder! They think they can spend a whole evening drinking and eating with you guys -- for $9. Tell them their share is $200, and they'll stay far away!

            1. re: Janet from Richmond

              This may be the opening youare looking for...take the offensive.

              Call up the cryer and tell her that since you and the other couple boughtthem dinner last time, you've made reservations for the six of you to go to XYZ restaurant this Friday and the restaurant would like their credit card for the meal and drinks.

              1. re: jfood

                Or next time they show up at the restaurant let them eat with you and when the bill comes go "oops, we all forgot our wallets. Silly us".

              2. re: Janet from Richmond

                I think I'd have to end the "friendship". Do they have email? I'd email them and avoid an in-person or phone conversation.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  I'm still trying to get my head around how they got out of contributing any real money here. So it was 6 of you for drinks that came to $200 (wow, but that's another story), and the same six of you at the dinner table which came to $300? So when it came time to close out the bar bill how did that go? One couple said "we'll take care of this" with the unspoken assumption that there would be some kind of reciprocity at some point? Seems that even splitting the tab evenly would be a big improvement (I'm operating on the assumption that this might still be "unfair" if M&H are heavier drinkers, but it's better than the alternative). Yeah, it's not quite as "nice" as "we'll get this", but it's not *that* hard to say, "we'll put this on our card; let's make it an even split with you two couples each throwing in $65" or whatever. And if M&H don't have that much cash, you can just say "Ok, you can get dinner then and we'll work out the details". It seems that they are preying on the fact that you and some of your friends have the "reciprocity" thing down, but they aren't playing by the usual rules. Of course separate tabs would make this all *much* easier.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    All that helps with the Mooch, but it doesn't help with the sloppy drunk.

                    1. re: DGresh

                      When the bar tab came, my husband paid it. This is generally how it happens and yes, we generally get ripped off because when the time comes for the dinner tab it is often forgotten (not necessarily maliciously) that we paid the bar tab. This is my husband's doing (and his credit card) as much as anyone's. My husband is a "payer" by nature....always buying people a round, etc. That night Dh paid the tab and told our good friends (the #1 couple who we've been friends with for many years) that they and M&H could split the dinner tab. Mooch & Hooch often fight during dinner (he's crumudgenous <sp?> she's hammered) and he rushes to "get her home"...which is the perfect out for ditching the tab. Therefore our friends got the tab and my Dh gave them $50 to balance it out.

                      There are so many issues with M&H...the tab is only one aspect. They fight, he's perpetually in a bad mood and always complaining about the place (food and/or price as he would just as soon have chicken wings and cheap vodka), she's drunk to the point of barely being able to eat her meal. It's just not enjoyable.

                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                        wow. You're right, the tab is only one aspect. Not a pleasant situation.

                2. Janet, you have a history on CH or I'd be asking, is this a joke??? How does the bartender know where you're going if you don't tell him/her? How do they "follow" you to the new place? And, if confronted by the people, can you say something like "Jack and Jill are like family to us and we make time in our lives to see them regularly and cherish the two on two on two time. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have time right now to broaden our circle of friends. You're really nice people (HA - sound like yucks to me) but right now we just don't have any more time to spare. They pick a third watering hole ! and dare them to follow you. What do they do anyway? Drive up and down the streets looking for your cars? Unbelievable. What I recommend is easier said than done. I'm no good at it either. Good luck.

                  1. If space permits, have you thought about doing the Friday happy hour at home? Purchase a few bottles of preferred drink and have pizza delivered. This would eliminate any unwanted guests from joining in (and you could save $$$).

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: maddogg280

                      I think this is a good suggestion. Perhaps if you all do this for a few weeks, this couple would get out of the habit of sniffing out your location. Then, you could try resuming your old habits, and see if they've found a new routine. One can hope.

                      1. re: maddogg280

                        Friday nights are our thing (we entertain at our home about two times a month & no they aren't included) & we love going out, trying new places, seeing other friends (who do not presume they are invited to dinner and vice versa...we don't invite ourselves to dinner with them <g>). Many people will join us for a drink, but this is the only couple who stalks when it comes to dinner.

                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                          Do you only have two watering holes in your town? I'd avoid the usual places for a while, or take the at-home suggestion until they are out of your hair.

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            She's in Richmond, VA - definitely more than 2 watering holes there! :-)

                            1. re: RGC1982

                              Call me stubborn, but I am not willing to do that for a number of reasons. Being childish...we were there first. Not being childish, both places treat us VERY well and we spend a lot of $$$ at both places and bring people in and at the risk of sounding self-important, it would hurt both places if we left. We know the owners, management, bartenders and staff. We can always a table,good wine, good food, great service and yes, everyone knows our name. The second watering hole has been open only a couple of months and we are promoting them hard and trying to bring people in. It's also 5 miles from our home and the first neighborhood place in our neighborhood. We live outside of town (LindaWhit can attest as she has been to my home) and convenience is important, but more importantly it is about more than a drink or a meal.

                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                Of course it is. As has been said several times, you should not have to make your plans based on what Mooch & Hooch are doing. Or, really, you should not have to run and hide from them. It's just demeaning. Besides, they'd just track you down. I fear there's still a drama ahead.

                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                  You are certainly not stubborn. I would never change my regular hang outs because of these two oafs. I hope it works out for you, but I do think there will be a drama played out before you are free of Hooch and Mooch. Good luck- and even if it is only January, this is probably going to be the most entertaining thread of 2009!

                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                    Yes, where Janet and her DH live is definitely residential only. No fine dining within a short drive (at least when I visited them). And I can attest to the fact that they are very welcomed into their regular places - at the time, they were all a bit further drive away than I had expected. However, at every place they took me too, the host/hostess, waitstaff, and barstaff greeted them very warmly, AND the same staff made me feel completely and utterly comfortable as their guest.

                                    So if they've found a great local place, I know I wouldn't be wanting to have to skulk around avoiding a place that has become a "regular" place in a very short while just to avoid Mooch and Hooch. I agree with Janet - they were there first. :-)

                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                      Perhaps you could enlist the help of the restaurant owners, management, etc. Let them know that under no circumstances do you want the other couple seated with you. If that doesn't work, and Mr and Mrs. Mooch still try to impose their unwanted selves on you, perhaps you could tell them that you and your fellow diners are having a confidential discussion and would not be comfortable having them there. I know it sounds harsh, but you needn't be apologetic.