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How to tactfully avoid inviting others.

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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.

                              2. I was delayed posting my reply because I had a phone call. Then I read the followup re their behaviour. I have a solution. Give me their flippin' phone # or email address and I'll call and tell them what obnoxious, drunk, cheap boors they are! That probably isn't your first choice for solution but know that you always have that as an option. That phone call I took was precipitated by a take-no-prisoners email I'd written regarding a personal business problem. I had her grovelling in minutes :)

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I love you & may just take you up on that :-) The man of the couple won't care....but my biggest fear is she'll start crying (she is a crier & emotional by nature) or something. And the word will get our that Janet made Robin cry....LOL

                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                    And I bet the overwhelming response will be " 'bout damn time" and "wish I'd done that years ago." Sheesh, it sounds like a nightmare. But in a way, isn't it easier when you know they have no redeeming social value(s)?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Well I read your post decided to read others and still have the same questions:

                                      1) why do these people think they SHOULD be included?
                                      2) Why are you worrying about being tactful to stalkers?
                                      3)Sounds liek drinking/being drunk makes Robin cry. I am sure by now abouty everyone knows this.
                                      4) maybe they tip the bartender (or another source i.e busboy) better/ SO tip and tell a false place.

                                      1. re: Quine

                                        They think they should be included because they have been included in the past. I have no doubt they are completely unaware of the issues (they are obtuse about most everything, this isn't any different). Not sure why I am worried....I guess I don't want to be perceived as a bitch. And yes everyone knows how Robin is. And I will give the bartender a head's up :-)

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    or send them a link to this post. :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I agree It's not like they have redeeming qualities and you want to maintain a relationship. How do the other couples feel about this? This is one of those times where my sanity and enjoyment would prevail and I would have no trouble being polite ( not mean) but firm in that our group has been together a long time and really value our evenings together as a small group. We really prefer to remain that way . Period. Behavior as you describe doesn't warrant agonizing over " hurt" feelings.

                                    2. In addition to all the other unpleasantries involved with being in their company, I can't stand that they don't pay their way! I was wondering if the next time they intrude you could immediately say something like "Oh, we've already got a tab going, here let's ask the bartender to get one going for you!" Then immediately do just that. Act as though you're being helpful. Same thing if they join you at the dining table. When they order, say something to the waiter like "If you don't mind, would you please just start a new check for our friends? It will be simpler for us that way."
                                      I know it is awkward and undesirable to discuss the tab and check like that but perhaps if that part of the situation was handled the romance would fade. ;)

                                      I feel for you, it is bad spot to be in. I am unclear, does the couple you do enjoy feel as you do? If so, that makes it even more difficult.

                                      eta: Janet,I am sorry you're dealing with this but I must tell you, I am enjoying reading this thread! Sort of Rib Man-ish.

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: fern

                                        oooh, i like fern's approach. hit the moochers in the wallet! it'll work unless they're too drunk to "get the picture." otherwise, you, dear janet, must tell them, "i'm sorry, but you can't stalk us anymore and we don't want you within 100 yards." <ok ok, maybe not exactly that! ;-)>

                                        wait, why are you feeling bad? they are bad news. " oh, it's A & B. hello. i'm sorry but ... we really cannot socialize with you any longer -- it's just not working out. so sorry. bye."

                                        (seriously, they may be a little "off" in the mental health department. you want a draft restraining order to wave at them? {;^D.

                                        and janet, just reading your reply just below here, to fern, it seems the other couple is happy to let you deal with the moochers. i'd be freakin' annoyed, too!

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I have asked myself why I feel bad also...I know intellectually I shouldn't, but I do. I also regret I've let this go on way too long (like years <g>).

                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                            years?

                                            2009 is new, and so are you! if diane in bexley can kick out the unwanted visiting mutt and its thoughtless, selfish "parents" this year....then you can "woman-up" and tell these deadbeats, "we really can't socialize with you." (and you will be tarnished by them, too -- because that is how people are. they see you and the drunks, together. cut it off. for your own self-worth, and to protect your reputation. look, i can be down there in two hours.... let me take care of them. ;-).

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Okay :-) I'll even buy your drinks (happily!!). But yes, 2009 was the breaking point...new year and all of that.

                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                good luck. you go girl!

                                                (and when you do it, keep that video camera lens neatly hidden in your hubbie's lapel.) ;-).

                                              2. re: alkapal

                                                You're gonna wait for me to get in from NoCal, aren't ya? I don't want to miss all the fun. I only half jokingly say that there are so few opportunities for one to get righteously indignant. This is sure one, isn't it?

                                            2. re: alkapal

                                              If the wallet approach deters them from joining fine, but if not and they self pay JFR still had the fights, drunkeness and rudeness to waitstaff issue which to me is worse than the money

                                            3. re: fern

                                              The wife does but she is more laid back than I am & doesn't feel as put upon as I am the one who makes the dinner reservations, etc. My Dh is frustrated but not as pissed off as I am (typical for us). The husband of the other couple is virutally impossible to offend.

                                              And two weeks ago (the last time we were at Watering Hole A on a Friday night) Dh told the bartender that we were only paying for us...and I think that will continue.

                                              Last summer, we'd go to our watering hole on Wednesdays because DH would play golf and our club has Fried Chicken Night (good fried chicken, spoonbread, collard greens, biscuits) and this couple would show up just to get an invite to Fried Chicken Night as they knew there would be no way they'd have to pay (as the bill would be charged on our club account). It amazes me what an art some people make of mooching.

                                              Another night two summers ago, the woman passed out (literally) in her plate of Mexican food after too many margaritas. There she was face down out on the patio. Good times.

                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                oh my god. Amazing! I hate it when I feel forced into being a bitch by folks like these.

                                                1. re: fern

                                                  You got it Fern!! I feel like I am forced into being a bitch when I've done nothing wrong and in fact have been far more gracious than the situation has warranted. No good deed goes unpunished and all of that. And everyone knows if we are having a gathering at our house, not to say a word as we all suspect they would show up uninvited.

                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    Ugh. I can't wait to read the replies still to come.

                                                    Regarding being rude to the waitstaff, I remember people would say to watch how a man treats his mother etc... my Mom told me that you can tell an awful lot about a person by how they treat those in service professions. As a resut I still pay attention to that.

                                                    1. re: fern

                                                      It is true and was always one of my first date litmus tests...how my date treated the hostess, waiter, cashier, etc. I want to thank you all for the great advice and support. I feel like you all have my back :-)

                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                        I want c oliver to spend a week here and handle a few things for me...haha. ok, maybe not haha. i mean it.

                                                        1. re: fern

                                                          I'm ready; just say when and where. My husband refers to me as "Bruno" in situations like this, as in "You really DON'T want to mess with Bruno." Guess I don't suffer fools too gladly :)

                                                2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                  WAIT! You’ve been putting up with this for years?!?!? It’s time to take an axe to the Creepy Couple. All answers so far have been predicated on the notion that the offending couple are oblivious to what they’re doing. They most certainly are not. Their behaviour is borderline criminal. Even without knowing them, I would characterize them as sociopaths. They stalk you in your one hometown knowing that you’ll pay for their time out. This is theft, plain and simple, and they DO know that or they wouldn’t hunt you down. If they could/would pay for themselves I have no doubt they’d have no need for you whatsoever. There is no shame in ridding yourself of them and there are no feelings to be hurt. Say it loud and say it proud, “YOU ARE UNINVITED TO THE REST OF MY LIFE.”

                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                    You are my hero :-) Seriously, thank you everyone. I feel so much better (and confident).

                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                      Great, Janet! Based on the posts I have read by you, you are a wonderful person and these people don't deserve your time. Life is too short to put up with people like this. Be strong and end it, once and for all.

                                              2. There may be no way to do it without hurting their feelings. Personally, I wouldn't pussy foot around with the bill, finding a new place to eat or staying in. Truly the best way to handle it is head on. Keep it to the point, then move on.

                                                "I'm really sorry, but we were having a private party. Maybe some other time?" might work but it invites the possibility of another dinner. How about something like "I'm sorry we can no longer dine with you. Your drinking makes us very uncomfortable." You needn't say more.

                                                It's obvious that everyone knows about this couple and no one would think differently about you if you did ditch them.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Axalady

                                                  axalady has a very good line. use that one.

                                                  and as to axalady's comment, "It's obvious that everyone knows about this couple and no one would think differently about you if you did ditch them" -- axalady is spot on. in fact, everyone will respect and admire you for doing it.

                                                  1. re: Axalady

                                                    sure c oliver, i'll wait, but i don't know if janet can wait!!!

                                                    (somehow, i'm picturing "price-line ne-go-ti-a-tor" bill shatner swooping in to pre-empt you and me, c oliver -- "taking care" of the boozin' moochin' duo. better yet, bill shatner as "denny crane." http://www.ussvictoria.co.uk/fullofsh... that's it, janet. just imagine that you are denny crane when you tell these folks to take a hike!!).

                                                    1. re: Axalady

                                                      I think the direct approach is best...I can't tell you how many times I've heard my friends complain about other people that they keep socializing with. And when I ask them if they've told the complainees how they feel, they say, 'they should know better'. Well, that may be true, but we also have to realize that some people are just 'dense' and do not understand a snub when it is delivered to them. Sad, but true.

                                                    2. Janet, I admire your concern for other people's feelings, but....!!! I've read your posts about the way this couple behaves. There is absolutely nothing for you to feel guilty about over not liking them. THEY pushed you into feeling that way through their behavior. I would talk to the other couples you enjoy, explain to them that you're just plain fed up. Chances are they are too. Then set up a new routine. Don't go someplace where the Drearies can track you. Go your ways, have fun, and do not not not feel guilty!

                                                      There are times in life when nothing works as well as straight up, plain English honesty. It's always best when you can pull it off without guilt. I know you would not be mean or cruel, but come on, it's okay to be nice to yourself once in a while too!!!

                                                      Good luck!

                                                      1. Janet, I feel your pain. But i think you need to admit to yourself that you ARE mad at them, I know I would be. There is nothing wrong with being mad. Once you have done that next time they call to ask whats up you can answer and say something like.... "Oh, are you inviting us? Does that mean it's your treat for a change? Are 'Bob' and 'Doris' going to be coming too?" Or, "Gee, sorry we have other plans for the rest of the decade." Yeah, its only a year...but they will get the point.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          oh dear, this decade is almost over?

                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                            Next thing you know it will be the whole damned century! Why didn't Einstein tell us about this part!

                                                        2. They sound awful!! I'm all for the direct approach-life is too short to be hanging out with these types. Cheap and rude? And a sloppy drunk? I had a similar situation that lasted for about a year- a co-worker of my best friend would always go out with us and would get so stinking drunk every time! She would also skip out on her part of the tab.

                                                          Very embarrassing and I started to dread hanging out with her(and I started to resent my friend because she never called her out). The night would always start off really fun and then she'd have 5 too many cocktails and it would just turn into a train wreck. We tried the tactful approach but she didn't get it. I'm usually the bad cop in my little cicrcle, so I wound up just cutting her loose. I really don't think she cared-she found new people to mooch off of and babysit her.

                                                          Take back your Friday nights!!!

                                                          1. um, janet, go with beach chick. period.

                                                            1. Janet, you are a saint. Not easy dealing with mooch and hooch.

                                                              jfood will not go out with a couple who are attached to their new-born. the jfoods are empty nesters, have been through that phase, walked the talk of not taking the kiddies to a dinner at 730 on a saturday night and raised two young ladies that have great manners in any environment.

                                                              But jfood just won;t do it. So mrs jfood told the other wife the truth. And now when they get together for dinner it is at newparent's house. They asked jfood about it and he was completely upfront and honest. Did it hurt their feelings? it might have, but the air was cleared, they understood (may have disagreed) but the jfoods still see them and there is no undercurrent.

                                                              So the advice is let the husbands discuss with mr mooch and let the wives speak with mrs hooch.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                A little old fashioned, but it might soften the blow a bit better than one person (of either sex) pulling mooch and hooch aside and letting them know that they're unwelcome.

                                                              2. I'm sorry to say so, but it doesn't appear that there's any way to "tactfully" not invite them. You haven't invited them, and they follow you uninvited to dinner? Not OK. I have to wonder why the bartenders would tell them where you are having dinner. I would definitely tell the bartenders in no uncertain terms not to tell them where you're going.

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: sophie fox

                                                                  Well, that DOES appear to be a question that hasn't been answered. No tips til that's corrected :)

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Maybe Mooch & Hooch are spending all of their cash bribing the bartender?

                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                      Good point, C-lady. Beats paying for dinner, doesn't it?

                                                                      1. re: Caralien

                                                                        oh goodness alive, caralien, i missed this one!

                                                                        MOOCH & HOOCH.

                                                                        too funny! {;^D.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          2 of the bartenders know not to tell them.....the third was unaware of the situation (and I have spoken to him about it & he graciously apologized and said after it came out he thought "ruh-roh".) And believe me, they aren't tipping anyone well <g>

                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                            Janet, I seriously can't believe you have to go through all this nonsense. It's ridiculous. You graduated from junior high school a long time ago, time to act like a grown up.

                                                                            When you have to go through what you're going through in order not to have to deal with these people it says more about you than it does about them.

                                                                            I don't mean to be derogatory, but Girlfriend, you need to grow a set, stand up for yourself and ditch these people! Stop playing these childish games!

                                                                            Please note - I say all of this with the utmost RESPECT for you having read your posts for years.

                                                                            1. re: Axalady

                                                                              Yes ma'am :-) Your post is received in the spirit in which it was intended....you are right!

                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                Right!! No nice, nice. Off with their heads!

                                                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                                                  I've been reading this thread with fascination, as the situation sounds exactly like the kind of thing I agonize over.

                                                                                  Being honest, firm and clear with them and drawing your line in the sand is not only one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and for others in your social circle, it's also one of the kindest/most responsible things you can do for these people, especially as it relates to the woman's drinking. People are often in denial about these things and it doesn't do anyone any good to be drinking out of control and have everyone pretend it's not a problem.

                                                                                  I know it won't be easy, but hopefully what this will amount to is one or two, really uncomfortable conversations vs. frustration and discomfort every Friday for the rest of your life!

                                                                                  Practice what you're going to say out loud so that the first time you're saying these words isn't to these people. It will make it easier.

                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    Hello Janet. I agonize for you! As someone who is working on "growing a set" of my own, I can somewhat (but my gosh I still cannot believe this is for real) relate. Everyone has provided excellent advice. I would really like to reiterate DQ's advice above about PRACTICING. Seriously, do dry run either in front of the mirror or your husband. It will make the actual interaction so much easier if/when you get flustered.

                                                                                    Good luck, and keep us posted

                                                                                    On a side note: Although it is probably not one's ideal way to come across such information, there sure are great many hounds willing to 'go to battle' for you. You are very much liked and respected around here - that *has* to make you smile!

                                                                      2. Their poor behavior will continue as long as you let it. You get angry and upset and they walk away happy. If you give them phony stories or if you have to change your routines and base your plans on them, you will feel small. They need to be told directly and with-out rancor why you don’t want them included in your evening. You don’t want to hurt their feelings? That’s what they’re counting on. They will automatically go into full drama mode. That’s when you have to stick by your guns. But with-out rancor. They will finally leave. You can expect them to try it out at least once more, just to make sure. Stick by your guns. Once they are convinced that you’re not their patsy any more, they’ll move on. Are you concerned that other folks will think you were too harsh? Tell those other folks to befriend this couple if they’re so nice to have around.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                          You're so correct. A "shrink," yes??? Regardless, thanks for the thoughful, sensible approach. Rather than my beat-them-to-a-pulp attitude :)

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Well, knee-capping would work, too.

                                                                        2. People can only continue to take advantage of you if you let them. The truth, albeit not pretty, isn't going to bring you anything worse than what you've alredy paid to experience.. so I'd take the next phone call and very succinctly tell them:

                                                                          While you appreciate their interest in socializing with you that a) the group is not comfortable being in the company of the obvious consistent drinking-to-excess problem and b) because of their pattern of not paying their share your group does not wish to "share" or include them.

                                                                          wish them good luck and get off the phone. do not get into a discussion or debate with them over the facts or perceptions - and if they try it, shut it down with a firm "sorry, this isn't negotiable. good luck" and then hang up.

                                                                          They'll move on to their next victims.

                                                                          1. For an added assist - be sure to have a table that can seat only your group - no extra seats!

                                                                            What makes this so hard is that it has gone on so long. After dealing with similar situations, I now try to nip things in the bud once it becomes clear that there are problems of this sort. Life is short and much of it is filled with dealing with those you would choose not to. So I am no longer willing to do so in the limited time I have available to be with those I enjoy.

                                                                            1. Just communicate honestly with them. Tell them exactly what you are telling everyone here. That you are not angry but want to tell them that when you have included them in the past it has added stress to the evening. Tell them exactly what kind of stress and why you feel this way.

                                                                              At this point you can leave it in their court to either address the issue and do something about it or to back off graciously. If they are decent folks and see that you have no malintent they will do the right thing whichever it may be.
                                                                              If not then either way you have done your part and the responsibility is no longer on your shoulders.

                                                                              Happy eating :), Oana

                                                                              1. Look at this from their point of view. They have no other friends. They have no other life. You are the only connection they have with the real world. If you deny them this who knows what they may do. You are doing the world a favor by including them, so others won't have to. Consider this your contribution to our new president's call to service.

                                                                                Or, tell the bartender that you are going to restaurant A, but actually you are going to restaurant B.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: PeterL

                                                                                  quite funny, peterL.
                                                                                  ;-).

                                                                                2. This story is a little amazing and horrifying at the same time. These 'friends' are grifters of the highest order. One of my brothers married a grifter, and he has since become one. His wife, (my SIL), is from a family of unbelievable grifters who are masters at mooching off of anyone they can, and simply have no conscience about it. We've had to put up with this idiot in our family, but you do not when it comes to this couple! This is not a family member. They simply hang around you and your other friends because you are easy marks. You are pigeons and they are hawks.
                                                                                  That being said, I personally would have a hard time being rude to them. That's another thing that grifters have in common. They bank on the good manners of others not to confront them with their bad behavior. They count on your good manners, knowing you won't be rude. They themselves (like my SIL and her family), are completely void of any and all social graces. They are oblivious to the feelings and moods of others, because it's all about them and putting one over on you.
                                                                                  If you continue to go to your local watering holes, I would have a talk with every single bartender to make it totally clear that you will not pay for any drinks other than your own. If you tip well, the bartender will have your back. If they do manage to slime their way into going to dinner with you, be very certain that the waiter understands there must be separate checks, and that you will check the bill to be sure you are not charged for anything consumed by the grifters.
                                                                                  Once they start realizing they have to pay their own way if they are around you, they will start looking for other 'marks'. I think you will see less and less of them if you force them to kick in.
                                                                                  When it comes to people like this, my motto is 'It's every man for themselves'. Let them go an find some other 'friends'.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: mschow

                                                                                    But I don't think that making them pay their way really addresses the problem- they will just "forget their wallet" or some such nonsense.

                                                                                    The problem is- Janet doesn't want to spend her time with them- mooching is only one of the ugly behaviors. What annoys me is that rude people force YOU into being somewhat rude to them, because they are so socially clueless.

                                                                                    So, Janet, i think the only way is to be straightforward, and maybe even lie a little. When appropriate, you and your husband "corner" the moochers, and simply tell them that you and couples X and Y have been friends for a long time, and have a good easy relationship and understanding, and at this time, you are uncomfortable adding another couple to your group of old friends, you do hope that they understand.

                                                                                    Then they will protest about how much they like being part of the group, and then you can answer with "We have a lot in common with X and Y, and really feel that we do not have that common ground with you two, I'm fairly set in my ways, and I miss the times of just being able to dine with my old friends".

                                                                                    There's no reason that these boors need to turn you into one!

                                                                                    1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                                                                                      Agreed they'd play the "forgot my wallet" card. Most reactions to them seem to be based on them thinking as normal people do. Grifters, sociopaths, whatever. These are not normal people.

                                                                                  2. janet, again, forget the pussyfootin;... get beach chick to kneecap those dirtbags. or just tell 'em to take a hike. richmond hounds will thank you. your husband will thank you, that other couple won't have the ba**s to thank you. but you will be free. go girl!!!!

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      'Kneecap', I laughed out loud reading that and just woke up the dog!!
                                                                                      Well, you are probably all right about the forgetting of the wallet routine. I'm afraid Janet will have to directly confront these two, or continue to be miserable and angry every moment she has to spend with them. I feel for you Janet! We haven't had a momen't peace in our family since my brother married the grifter. It upset the complete dynamics of our entire family and has been the subject of endless fights. My parents have forbidden the rest of us to say anything to my brother or the jacka--, but my sister and I have finally just completely had it with the nonsense. One of us is going to blow soon; either way, it won't be pretty. My sister is an attorney and a former DA. Arguing with her is not for the faint of heart, or the very stupid!

                                                                                      1. re: mschow

                                                                                        That's the trouble. We wait until we blow up. Then we feel like real jerks. Just tellin' them straight out with-out all the emotion and stickin' with it works. You know, more light; less heat carries the day.

                                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                                          waitjustaminute, yayadave, YOU were the one who suggested knee-capping! ;-).

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            I'm pretty sure I've been called several things worse than "beach chick." TeeHee Probably why I sometimes think in terms of knee-capping.

                                                                                    2. Moe th’ Mooch an’ Robin th’ Rummy
                                                                                      Our good Janet in place no way funny
                                                                                      We know you good, don’t try for tact
                                                                                      They got’s to go, tha’s just plain fact

                                                                                      Moe the Mooch an’ Robin the Rummy
                                                                                      They just bad, take ‘vantage of you
                                                                                      So just plant one shoe an’ aim the other
                                                                                      Up that place (…sorry, cain’t say no futher)

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        oh sam, you da' man! ;-).

                                                                                        sam, i think your ditty would be nice in a little medieval melody. i'm thinking of something along the lines of the "brave sir robin" song from monty python's "holy grail": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwuTo...

                                                                                        the song actually has some interesting "ideas".....;-).

                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                          Gearing up for a new career, Sam?

                                                                                          1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                            jfood just placed a vacancy sign onthe chair next to the dumpster. :-((

                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              but, jfood,

                                                                                              "he's movin' on uuuuup, to the east side, to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky-y-y.
                                                                                              well, he's movin' on up, he's finally got a piece of the pie."

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                And if some joker shows up dressed like a cat with a hat and some green eggs and ham, jfood is having a feast inside. 6 degrees this morning. holy crappola.

                                                                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            I am dying here with laughter!!!! Thank you all for the kind words and for lots of wonderful advice. I will update on what transpires Friday.

                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                              I really am sorry about you having to go through this Janet, but it certainly has made for much entertaining reading! No one can ever accuse ChowHounds of not having a great sense of humor!!

                                                                                              Good luck Friend, we'll be waiting with bated breath to know what happens!

                                                                                          3. Oh Janet from Richmond I dont know if I should laugh or cry- this is terrible. I would just be clear with them. short of telling them they are cheap mooches ( sp?) I would avoid them. My friend and I have a guy who goes to our watering hole and everytime he sits near us I always say I need to move closer to a tv because of my bad eye sight and I need to see the score of the game or whatever is on. My friend Win used to tell this guy that he had to move away from him because his stool was too drafty. These people dont play by the rules- the rules of your group, are chip in equally on the bills and be nice to wait staff, they dont follow the rules, so screw em.

                                                                                            1. I can understand not wanting to confront the wife in person, but it sounds like stalks you enough that you should be able to talk to over the phone before this Friday to explain that you no longer feel comfortable with her joining your group, especially since she tends to drink to excess and harass the waitstaff. Even if she does agree to pay her way in the future, I think the surly drunken behavior is more than enough to merit kicking her out when you go to the same places and want to maintain a good relationship with the bar and restaurant.

                                                                                              1. JfR
                                                                                                You have my sympathy in addition to the reams of great advice all have offered so far.I do hope all resolves in a permanent,positive way,FOR YOU .You deserve to be quit of these people.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: lcool

                                                                                                  Good luck!!! And with as much concern and thoughts you are going forward with this-they will not be as effected as you think when you tell them no more... Those who should be shamed-seldom are! So -hopefully no more guilt or worry--

                                                                                                2. So many good approaches in this thread. I want to go on record as saying that you should in no way be forced to leave your preferred watering holes. Not fair. I think it's great that you've talked to the bartenders and that you continue to have your own check going forward. That said - bars are not a private place...

                                                                                                  My thought on handling the irritating couple would be to not try to run away, even chit chat at the bar if you see them, after all, they've been joining you for years, and then just say goodbye when you are headed off to dinner (or Fried Chicken night) - "see you later". You can say you have reservations for only 4. You can say you are having dinner with just your friends. You can say that with the new year, you are trying to really focus on the important things in life, like your friendship with the other couple, and that, unfortunately, the vibe is just different with them around and it's not what you're looking to deal with on your special night out. I think you may, at some point, need to fess up and say that her over the top drinking makes you uncomfortable and/or that (especially in this economic climate) you can't afford to foot their bill any longer... but since I know you are a kind soul, you could try the extrication process in steps to make yourself feel better.

                                                                                                  Regardless of your plan of action, make sure that your party know your feelings and also knows that if they are going to leave the topic of discussion up to you, they need to have your back and not throw you under the bus if they are approached by this couple. I am usually the one that is honest with people about things not really jelling in a social setting, and it irritates me to no end when everyone else feels the same way but overrides my communication by making nice and keeps someone around.

                                                                                                  Good luck!

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: emmaroseeats

                                                                                                    Really goooood point about "have your back." There has to be agreement and no-one waffling for these two to get the point and be convinced, "No more!"

                                                                                                    1. re: emmaroseeats

                                                                                                      Nice point emmaroseeats. Is there a word or term for that kind of behavior, when people feel the same way but override your communication by making nice? I would love to have a name for this, as it comes up for me quite a lot.

                                                                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                        "wussy appeasing traitor"? ;-).

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          Any time I think of appeasement, I think of Neville Chamberlain.

                                                                                                          1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                            yayadave, you may soon have another to supplant him. ;-(.

                                                                                                            janet from richmond's plight is almost better than a new season of 24 -- or....the sopranos!

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              Well, I really hesitated to express my attitude because it's so dour. But in this case, I think there is no appeasement possible. Off with their heads!!

                                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                er....you meant kneecaps. no need to escalate! ;-). plus, we'd have to bail janet out of jail. (as if the kneecap caper is much better).

                                                                                                    2. Mooch and Hooch went up a hill
                                                                                                      To see what they could find.
                                                                                                      Bumpt into Janet of Richmond
                                                                                                      And her Chowhound friends behind.

                                                                                                      No dice, you mice,
                                                                                                      It’s been fun, but we’re done.
                                                                                                      Look elsewhere to Mooch and Hooch,
                                                                                                      Go elsewhere Mr. Mooch and Mrs. Hooch

                                                                                                      But OBTW Mooch and Hooch,
                                                                                                      You’ll be gone but not un-read.
                                                                                                      Now you’re a Chowhound Classic
                                                                                                      Subject of a remembered thread.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                        Very cute.

                                                                                                        jfood should have copyroghted Mooch and Hooch

                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                          I think you branded them forever.

                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                              so sorry jfood, i thoughtlessly credited caralien for mooch and hooch, where she was obviously vamping off your prior post on the mooch and the hooch. ;-).

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                sorry jfood for this too--as you deserve all the credit!

                                                                                                          1. JfR, I have followed this thread with interest (as I had a similar, though not so dramatic, situation a few years ago) and only just now re-read your title. If you are willing to forego trying to deal "tactfully" with a couple whose hide is rhino-thick, your problem becomes more easily solved. Can you dispense with "tactfully"?

                                                                                                            "Tactful" is a foreign concept to these two and they've learned that you will roll over when they use bullying tactics because you were taught to behave in a more civil manner. Believe me, "manners" are not in their vocabulary. Everyone who has advised dealing with them in a forthright, no-nonsense way is correct.

                                                                                                            When you have finished explaining that you no longer wish to have them join your group, there will likely be promises, recriminations and tears. Do not back down. Use the impossible-to-argue-with phrase "it's not possible" if you feel backed into a corner. Practice this ahead of time so that it flows naturally. Repeat after me, "it's not possible". When she cries and whines "why not?" reply sweetly that "it's not possible". Repeat as often as necessary.

                                                                                                            Of course, it is necessary that the rest of the group back you up. Being the Lone Ranger on this mission is unacceptable. You have let this go far past what could be expected of anyone and it is time to speak up.
                                                                                                            Make no excuses.
                                                                                                            Be short, clear and concise.
                                                                                                            Offer no reasons unless you really want to, you owe them nothing.
                                                                                                            Do not back down.
                                                                                                            Do not change locales.

                                                                                                            Remember that you will not be the first to confront these people and you probably won't be the last. In the polite world of social give-and-take, you are a "giver "and they are "takers". It's not your job to educate them, just to be free of their bad behavior. Good Luck on Friday. There are a lot of us in your corner.

                                                                                                            PS - my story ended successfully as we have not had dealings with our problem people for a couple of years.

                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                              I really like this approach, Sherry. "It's not possible." I remember watching the movie Dangerous Liasions a number of years ago with Glen Close's and later John Malkovich's characters saying, repeatedly, "It's beyond my control." Slays me every time. There is just no way to argue with it!

                                                                                                              Good advice. Along with not backing down -- and making sure that no one else in your group does either. They're going to need a pep talk, especially that "easygoing" (code for "spineless") husband in the group.

                                                                                                              1. re: chefbeth

                                                                                                                Friday night I made dinner reservations for 4 at watering hole number 2 (us and the regular couple). M&H came in while we were dining and on their way out (they had dinner at the bar) came by with a quick hello but were reserved and I believe got the message. The four of us discussed the situation at dinner and we're on the same page. I agreed to be the heavy if there is a confrontation with the understanding that they can't throw me under the bus.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                    Good news, Janet! I'll keep my fingers crossed that this is the end, but somehow I find it hard to believe that M&H gave up their marks this easily. Fingers crossed for you!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      Great news. If the bus comes everyone will make sure Ralph Kramden is at the wheel so he can do a "Bam Zoom to the moon" on Hooch and Mooch.

                                                                                                                      But jfood has to ask. Did you check your bill to see if M&H told the bartender to include their dinners on your bill?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                        If they really "get it," by the end of the month they'll be laughin' it up with some new "friends."

                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                          Couldn't have gone any better! Great that the 4 of you are together on this. Hopefully M&H are not as dumb as they act and will let it go and move on. My fingers are crossed, too!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                            Good to read! Definitely sounds like they figured things out.

                                                                                                                            So they ate at the bar themselves and paid for themselves? Guess they're scoping out new marks, as yayadave mentioned.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                              Yes,most parasites are a slow study.Move on before they learn so not to kill the host.A little harm is ok.(self justified)

                                                                                                                      2. JfR - I can't wait to read what happens next!

                                                                                                                        I agree with much that has already been said. The only thing that I would add is that I think that I would be having a chat with the managers at the watering holes that I frequent about the relative appropriateness of passing information about one patron to another. There are stalkers less benign than Mooch & Hooch, as we all know.

                                                                                                                        Personally, unless the person asking about me has a badge, no information should be passed along. And since my life is pretty simple, there's no reason for someone with a badge to be asking about me.

                                                                                                                        Good luck and best wishes for a M&H Free 2009!

                                                                                                                        1. Might as well get my two cents in.

                                                                                                                          Sounds like you want a non-confrontational way of telling them to get lost, or to change their behavior totally.

                                                                                                                          Pearls of wisdom I have received from others: (1) SANDWICH your comments – give them a nice remark, then the message, then close with another nice comment. It provides a cushion for them to fall on and takes away your being labeled a bad guy. (2) Say what exactly bothers you in terms of how it bothers YOU and how you would like to see things change. Don’t tell them what they should do, but give them the power of a choice. Use lots and lots of ‘I’ and as few ‘you’ as possible.

                                                                                                                          Here is a hypothetical speech or letter. Tweak or ignore as you see fit – run it by the rest of the group ahead of time so there is consensus and they have your back. I would have this conversation, if you could, ahead of time, like when she calls on the phone, with the text in front of you (because I need a script!!!!) so she can think it through and decide for herself. This is phrased in the wimpiest way I can think of. Me, I’d use a baseball bat. It does NOT address the over drinking because I don’t know how to.

                                                                                                                          ‘Hi Hooch, how are you doing? How is your [dog, MIL, chit chat]. Listen, I’m glad you called [if not writing a letter]. I wanted to run something by you. We are making some social changes for our dinner dates this year that work for us. We wanted to let you know so you can decide if it works for you. First, we are going on separate tabs for everyone. That includes drinks and tips. We’ll be letting the waiters know ahead of time. I hope that’s OK. Second, we have made a resolution for 2009 to be super nice and pleasant to our wait staff. We feel sometimes that we have been short with waiters and have regretted it afterwards. We’ve agreed that if we see each other starting to get a bit tough, we quietly bring it to each other’s attention at the table (when the waiter has gone away), tell each other what we did, and we will take the information and apologize to the waiter the next time he/she comes around. We won’t argue about it at the table, but we may discuss it amongst ourselves later. So I hope you are OK that we will include you and Mooch in this. Can you adhere to these two new rules? Third, we aren’t going to argue between ourselves at the table. Sometimes we do, and again, we usually don’t feel good about the dinner when that happens. We’ve made a pact with [other couple] that if we find ourselves escalating a bit, we will get a signal from them, and we’ll either tone it down or we’ll get up for a moment and settle it outside. We are perfectly comfortable telling each other that we are not at ease with our behaviors, and are willing to change what we do to make the other couple happy. We will extend the same to you – let us know if you have a special signal you’d like us to use! So, these three changes – splitting dinner costs appropriately, treating the wait staff better than we have before, and not arguing at the table, are things we will be holding to for ourselves so we can have a relaxed and comfortable dinner. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that, if it doesn’t work for you, no problem, we TOTALLY understand, we’ll be glad to call you to get together at different times, its up to you!

                                                                                                                          Love, Janet’

                                                                                                                          Do you think she would go into tears over that? ‘Gosh, I’m so sorry I upset you! I guess we are just too harsh to be good friends for you. We will totally understand that we are not good, fun company any more for you, and we’ll miss you!’

                                                                                                                          Oh this is so much fun.

                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: leetmom7

                                                                                                                            brilliant...please send your resume to Mrs Clinton

                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                              only if mooch and hooch have nukes! ;-).

                                                                                                                            2. re: leetmom7

                                                                                                                              My experience is that letters and/or emails are extremely risky business. You lose all control over timing and vocal inflection, and if the other person is in a bad mood, whether or not it has anything to do with you, your carefully couched words turn into nightmares.

                                                                                                                              Let me offer an example of what I'm talking about. Take the sentence, "I didn't say you quit beating your wife." Now read it successively accenting only one successive word each time. You end up with as many meanings and innuendos as you have words. I ONLY use the written word as a means of communication over a problem in a legal context through my attorney.

                                                                                                                              Just my opinion, but it is based on a great deal of experience.

                                                                                                                              For me, the pragmatic answer would be to avoid the baddies. You don't owe them an explanation, and why in the world would you want to go to the trouble of including them in with modified agreements trying to restrict and contain their bad behavior? Cut them loose! They've earned it. Rudeness optional.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                plus, if they *are* proto-stalker wack-jobs, a letter gives them a tangible object which they can read -- and re-read, which gives them "ammo" -- namely, words, thoughts and emotions about which they can obsess.

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  Good point. I withdraw my suggestion. Will save for MIL :)

                                                                                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                  This is very much how I feel.....I don't think I owe them an explanation. I am going to talk to our other two regular couples about not throwing me under the bus. This Friday we are having dinner (at our new watering hole) with a couple the moochers do not know & our regular friends are going to be out of town. We went to the new watering hole last night and the bartender said Mooch and Hooch were there Tuesday night briefly looking for us. He's been given the head's up about the situation.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                    Janet, don't let your tensions regarding this situation affect your relationship with your real friends. There's been some talk about them possibily "throwing you under the bus" or being otherwise unsupportive. Stay calm, don't let your emotions get away with you, and remember they're your friends. They may and likely do support you, but as this post clearly shows, we all have different ways of dealing with conflict.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                      I understand what you are saying and agree. Best thing is I will get to use the term "Mooch and Hooch" in real life......LOL

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                    Caroline 1,oh yes
                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree at this level of ? the written word (J f R's)is ? too easily twisted into damn near anything Mooch & Hooch want,need.Yet the written word NOT SENT can be a cathartic,smart place to start.This entire thread is such a fine example.If Janet has one person that thinks "aw,they're not THAT BAD" to contend with,here is an open forum that thinks they are.Sometimes good ideas don't happen because the final nudge is missing or some old habit needs debunking.Resolve has many suits,
                                                                                                                                    to include terse,direct,blunt,barely civil and rude.Mooch & Hooch need social repositioning,no doubt they will be very dim about it.Or as alkapal said,obsess by a transfer of blame or cause etc,to justify,twist the situation.
                                                                                                                                    My wishes to J f R will be to have a lucky,great timing,get it done in one try kind of experience,not easy.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                      jfood agrees completely on the verbiage versus the written word. he was unclear in his response.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: leetmom7

                                                                                                                                      Except, as I've read Janet's previous posts on this topic, it's gone FAR beyond wanting to continue to include Mooch & Hooch in their dinner dates. I'm thinking she just wants to cut all ties, so "including" M&H in the various resolutions continues to include them in the dinner dates. By putting out this inclusive information, they believe they can continue to finagle with Janet, her DH, and other guests.

                                                                                                                                    3. I dipped into a book a few months ago "Toxic Parents" because my husband has one. It DOES say that there's nothing wrong with a letter. And it could be beneficial to you and the other. You get a chance to organize your thoughts and also to not be interrupted, especially by your or the other's emotions. And, my opinion, is that you can tell them to "kiss off" in the nicest possible way (of course) without fear of weakening or getting talked out of it. Just a thought --- and I'm still willing to meet others and deal with more aggressively :)

                                                                                                                                      1. Perhaps you need to have some "Restraining Orders" drawn up? ;-)

                                                                                                                                        1. Janet- simple solution (maybe some one's already suggested it, I didn't read all the posts) Send a link to this thread to the guilty couple. Particularly as your name and location are a dead giveaway- that ought to nip their rude interruption of your regular friday night gig in the bud! Why are you worried about hurting their feelings? They don't sound like the kind of people you would want as friends anyway. With their "issues", they could spend Friday nights in therapy, it might benefit them.

                                                                                                                                          1. wow. what a doozy. well, imho discovering your inner bitch can be VERY liberating!
                                                                                                                                            :)
                                                                                                                                            (oh puhleeze don't everybody tell me what they really think of me right now!)

                                                                                                                                            i would figure out best and most clear way to tell m&h. sorry, we are trying to have a nice time with each other, & our time together is very precious. you sir, are very negative, & a wet blanket, and you, madame, are a crybaby, a drunk, and you embarrass us when we have to babysit you. both of you fight and it makes it unpleasant for the rest of us. you are no longer welcome at our table, that is all, have a nice day.

                                                                                                                                            the key is to not feel bad about it afterward. who knows, maybe the next time, in 2011 or something, when mooch sends your very favorite bottle over to your table, & you run into hooch in the ladies', and she tells you how her bad drunk behavior was wreaking her home life and that she's reformed and much happier now, thanks for the wakeup call back in the day, you'll find that you were the hero & not the "bitch," after all. m&h may someday become decent people-- there is hope for everyone-- but you still don't have to hang out with them.

                                                                                                                                            the only thing i have to add to all the great support and advice of the others, is that ****please**** make sure that the whole staff of all your watering holes are on the same page and that everyone knows that m&h are no longer welcome at your table or on your tab. this will eliminate any confusion like the bt's "ruh-roh", & you may even discover that the hosts, servers and barstaff can have your back on this issue even better than your dining companions. you are obviously a well-regarded regular customer, and they will doubtless protect you from boorish incursion by heading off the interlopers at the door and steering them away from you. since m&h treat the staff badly, it will probably be a great pleasure for your server to let them know you are at a special private table, and for your favorite bartender to inform them that your bar tab has already been closed.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                              soupkitten, you're in friendly territory here on this thread, for sure. and i LOVE LOVE LOVE the use of "sir" and "madam." it is terribly british, and for some reason makes me think of rumpole of the bailey. ;-). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078680/ maybe because rumpole's creator, sir john mortimer, just passed away on january 16, 2009. as to "madam", we cannot forget "wayland flowers and madame." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayland_...

                                                                                                                                              i'm certain using the titles will "soften" the blow to mooch and hooch, so to speak! LOL!

                                                                                                                                              "Sir Mooch. Madam Hooch. Scram!"

                                                                                                                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                Thanks soupkitten & like alkapal love the use of sir and madam. I feel like I am armed for battle, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                              2. Have you found out who is tipping off as to where you're eating?

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: lgss

                                                                                                                                                  yes, she covered that in one of the posts above, the person apologized profusely, promised never to do it again, and was forgiven the transgression.

                                                                                                                                                2. ok, janet, you have to promise to play this just before you head out to the watering hole (o.k. corral?) friday night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJmr5C...
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Qi_K...

                                                                                                                                                  turn it up loud! ;-).

                                                                                                                                                  <and don't forget your mouthpiece.>

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                    janet, what went down? <did the bartenders act as a greek chorus?>

                                                                                                                                                  2. Leaning slightly forward. Fingers wrapped around the desktop's edge. Eyes unblinking. Waiting.

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                      methinks she's still asleep...but waiting as patiently as possible here too...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                                                                        God, I hope the baddies didn't catch her and lock her in the trunk of their car. Janet, are you okay? '-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                          I've been following this thread (but not commenting because everyone was doing just fine), and even I am eager to find out how it all went down!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                            Jeopardy music; perfect!
                                                                                                                                                            Well, it's almost 10:00 ET; where oh where is fair Janet? We're all waiting with baited breath to see what happened.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mschow

                                                                                                                                                              jfood just checked the Richmond newspapers. Nothing there. :-))

                                                                                                                                                        2. This thing could have been brutal, and here we are making light. On the other hand, it could have fizzled. Hooch and Mooch might have gone to Burger King just to experiment with paying the check.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lifespan

                                                                                                                                                              You may not have been looking at Chowhound when this thread came along.
                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411218 Over 120 people posted, then were left hanging. Later the OP posted the resolution.
                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/444218 They went on vacation.
                                                                                                                                                              If you have a lot of free time to read it, it’s a hoot.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                Ahh the silence...clearly what happened is that JFR couldnt stand the heat of confrontation so instead there was concession. Mr and Mrs JFR stuck their friends with the bill, fought at the table , berated the waitstaff for not delivering alcohol quickly enough, provided Hooch and Mooch with a months calendar of their dining plans , JFR got soused and is still in bed hungover or is up and cant remember how to log in to CH...peer pressure !!! Janet we can't stand the mystery much longer ..I may have to join Yelp

                                                                                                                                                          1. JfR, I too am dying of my lack of patience. I've been watching all week. What happened?

                                                                                                                                                            1. Aw, shucks. Maybe we ought to let up. Obviously this has not come to a satisfactory conclusion. When it does, we’ll hear from JfR. But we’re her Buds. We don’t need to hammer her. We’ve had a good time with this in a vaporous place called Chowhound, but the real life situation is difficult. It could be really ugly in so many ways. I had some things to say on the subject, too, and I’m interested in how it worked out. But if JfR is walking around with twisted up insides over this, I sure don’t want to add to her aggravation.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                The suspense continues....................Maybe later today when she gets to work we will get the details.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                                                  Unless she's still being held captive in the trunk oh their car... :-(

                                                                                                                                                              2. Maybe Janet could print out the replies from this post and hand it to the bartenders...

                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm back....sorry...I don't get online much on the weekends.

                                                                                                                                                                  Friday night we got to watering hole #2 to meet another couple (not one of our regular couples) for dinner. Mooch sticks his head in the door and leaves and a few minutes comes back with Hooch. We were driving a loaner car, so they did not recognize our vehicle, so my guess is that is why he came into make sure we were there. As they approach the bartender says that our table is ready whenever we are...no rush....and I told him we were ready to be seated. I nodded at M & H on the way to the table. After dinner we went back to the bar and the bartender said M&H left immediately after we were seated.

                                                                                                                                                                  Last night we went to dinner with two of the bartenders from Watering Hole #1 and said M&H had been there on Friday night (before they found us at WH#2) and asked where we were. They told them they had not seen us.

                                                                                                                                                                  16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                    Phew. I was worried about you. Scene avoidance is another perfectly fine way to deal with the situation. Had they been honest-to-goodness friends they might have asked for an explanation. That they left once they knew you weren't paying says everything you need to know. You were right. You were right all along. You have nothing to feel bad about. Congratulations. May you enjoy every outing from here on in. Cheers.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                      Wonderful news! Thanks for entertaining us!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                        Glad to hear it was resolved...for this instance. But it sounds like Mooch & Hooch are the type to continue with this M.O. until you do finally speak with them about their mooching and hooching and end it once and for all.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure it will come to that at some point, but I definitely did not want to do it on a night we were with Marc and Janie who we've been trying to have dinner with for over a year. I'll wait until we're with our regular Fri night friends or alone.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                            Hooray! And with any luck at all, they're just really slow thinkers and the reality of the situation will hit them along about next Thursday or Friday, and they'll never bother you again! Let's hope. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                              Speaking from personal experience (my SIL is the Queen of all Grifters), I can tell you that these type of people are completely oblivious to what is obvious to those of us raised with any type of manners.
                                                                                                                                                                              You'd have to hit M&H in the head with a 2 by 4 for them to 'get it'. Even then, people like this still will persist in being leeches. It's simply what they do best.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mschow

                                                                                                                                                                                ms. chow is right about "clueless."

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                              If it can work out that this scenario gets repeated a few times in a row, then perhaps they'll get the point and leave you alone. Why invite a confrontation if you can achieve the same result without one? Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                I definitely agree on that. I am non-confrontational by nature and in this case especially would prefer to avoid one and I am not vested in the relationship as such.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                  Now that would definitely work out to everyone's benefit--except, of course, Mooch & Hooch! (I'm thinking a movie title with that name is in the works very soon. <g>)

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, seeing M&J, who are not part of the regular rota, may have put Mooch & Hooch off for the evening. I'm betting they'll be back. Hate to be sour.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm thinking confrontation is probably inevitable. M&H probably felt uncomfortable trying their schtick around the new couple. Once the regulars come back, they won't be turned off so easily. At this point, I think I'd prefer just going for a one-time confrontation than having to try to avoid M&H indefinitely. I think all the more "subtle" approaches are lost on this couple. I'd try to have the confrontation over the phone if I could, just to avoid ruining the night. However, if M&H are too sneaky to call anymore, who knows what can be done.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm afraid you may be right. I'll let you all know what happens as it plays out.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hooray for Janet! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and heard Mooch and Hooch's conversation. I wonder if they cried!! And mooch and hooch are two of the best nicknames ever. I guess consider it all a compliment! You clearly are fabulous and people want to be in your inner circle! cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                          Any solution that involves you tailoring your evenings around them is the wrong one. You must live your life the way you choose and they must let you. Be strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Janet, that's a pretty good start to the disengagement process! It's difficult to make yourself ice someone but in this case of course something really did have to be done. You're stuck with a crummy situation any way you slice it but if a few encounters like that take care of things that'd be so great. Here's hoping!

                                                                                                                                                                                    You know I'll be checking this thread like it's Ribman to see what comes next... ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. So what you are saying is that the places you go to are regularly "overserving" the wife, to the point that she is passing out in her food. I don't know about your state, but in most states that is illegal. With the relationship you have with these establishments, seems like you would have the clout to be sure that people, especially if they are part of your group, are not being over served. If Hooch doesn't get her booze, I'm betting she heads right out the door. And you are helping keep your watering holes out of some serious trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                        For clarification, she is a GF, not a wife. And the night of the passing out incident, we had gone to the watering hole and then out to Mexican. The second margarita was what did her in. The people at the Mexican restaurant only served her two drinks. The other thing is we all suspect she starts drinking about noon each day, so it's not like someplace is serving her 4 or 5 drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                          You're in a pickle with this one. Hard to believe it's already Friday tomorrow. Hope things go easily!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                            My S in L was a start after lunch drinker.Before returning to work she stopped by her car for a stiff one.Always had two or three larger hits between work and next stop at the end of the work day.At least as bad as HOOCH,maybe worse.It was thirty years,
                                                                                                                                                                                            six booze related job losses,two cancer scares and no welcome mat anywhere before anything changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lcool

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think one problem with Hooch is she does not work. Her only child is in college and she goes to lunch nearly everyday with one of a handful of friends and rumor has it they start in on the wine early. I think at the very least she needs "something" to do..a job, volunteering, a hobby, an internet addiction <g>, something to occupy her.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                I do agree.A case made against idle time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whoa! This couple has enough money that she can be a lady who lunches? Why they're Joy Moochers. I'd say it's time to break away from them and this thread and not return unless you need help. Better you should forget about these people than continue to obsess and stress. Please live happily and well without apology to anyone for doing so.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                              K M
                                                                                                                                                                                              Virginia ,DC and Maryland have stiff rules on the books.Licensed and not servers face some liabilities if they overserve to minors and drivers.The yeah but here is HOOCH has
                                                                                                                                                                                              a minder,driver that is also her next of kin along for ??.This job / role may explain his perpetual surly,bad,irritated,irritating mood and behaviour.So if she is overserved and
                                                                                                                                                                                              clearly intoxicated while in the company of her spouse and not getting behind the wheel
                                                                                                                                                                                              it's hard to make a case against the establishment.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Same risk for the mishandling of alcohol in a privae home.Friends don't let friends drive drunk has been tested in the courts here with some success.A long with the PROM PARTY etc underage drinking,parents held liable instead of let off the hook.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Wishing you only success with the Friday Problems.Mooch and Hooch being the ???emotional and social parasites they are is a tough thing to amputate.Kindness and minor enablement just don't work.
                                                                                                                                                                                              HAVE A SMASHING WONDERFUL WEEKEND,your way.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. mooch and hooch, the story...

                                                                                                                                                                                                we were hungry...
                                                                                                                                                                                                to take advantage...
                                                                                                                                                                                                we were hungry
                                                                                                                                                                                                'cause were cheap...
                                                                                                                                                                                                we were hungry
                                                                                                                                                                                                'cause no one kicked our a$$
                                                                                                                                                                                                we were hungry
                                                                                                                                                                                                till Janet made us 'PASS'

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I have the perfect solution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a radio producer in London. Give me their number and I will ring them with my bestest, politest, most British accent and say I'm researching an item for a show on freeloaders. I've heard from Janet that they're experts in the art of getting a free meal - will they come on the programme and talk about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Job done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Better than knee-capping them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, could kill two birds with one stone. A programme about freeloaders and one about embarrassing drunks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You need to think about that. I'm sure they would see that as an all expense paid trip to London. Before you get off the 'phone they'll be packing their bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: yayadave

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right. These people are experts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        EXCELLENT! Yours is the best solution ever. BTW: would you be willing to make this same phone call on behalf of family freeloaders like my SIL and her family? Well, I can dream, can't I???!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mschow

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why not?! It's a public service after all...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            as do I,Mooch and Hooch do soooooooo deserve it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now *this* would be a great "gotcha!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. now hold on just one hard-break-radio minute, the kneecapper-as-janet-ally is an INTEGRAL part of the story. so, greedygirl, can beach chick and i get tickets over to london, too? oh, yayadave may want to join us..... ;-D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ps, in the interest of saving money in producing the segment, beach chick can pick up the bottles of captain morgan in duty-free outbound.....you know, for the "kneecapping" demo. (i mean, you wouldn't really want some canned "breaking glass on cartilage" sound effect, would ya?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think it would be a much better idea if we all convened in the States somewhere. Have recording equipment, will travel. I really fancy going to New Orleans again, and the food is good.... Or for true authenticity and to catch H&M in the act, we can all turn up at Janet's favourite restaurant and join them for a free dinner. I'm sure she won't mind! It'll be worth it to get H&M off her case.... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it belongs on H & M 's tab.What the hey after all this $$$ has been saved drive north to DC .All the savings can go for a fine splurge night out.Janet,hubby,alkapal,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                hubby and all the other locals in town that chimed in.Would be one hellova party.Not to worry Janet,you left the mooches behind to party with folks that pay their own tab.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds like you could probably develop a whole series of programs about this. The mind races at the possibilities...........

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Haven't finished the whole thread but its obvious that to them you are a free meal and drink ticket and will pursue that wagon until it stops providing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blisstone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OH, blisstone, you have stumbled across a very famous CH thread. Good ole "Mooch and Hooch."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's been fun re-reading some of the posts about the infamous Mooch and Hooch. :-) I would hope after a year and a half, they are absotively, posilutely out of the picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      did we ever get an update from janet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hey janet from richmond! wassup?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They still follow us, but we have successfully avoided dinner or picking up their bar tab. God bless them, they still try and waitstaff and bartenders head them off at the pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amazing. Quite the rep they must have amongst the restaurant community!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wow! they still try. amazing. life-long habits die hard, i guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really think after a year and a half, you should forward this thread to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. We're locking this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We see a great number of threads on Not About Food that tell stories or ask questions about rude or generally unpleasant ways that people have been treated by their friends, family, restaurant staff, etc. While it can be fun or cathartic to trade stories about the worst of personal behavior, all of these threads go rapidly downhill, with some people trolling for reactions and others engaging in name calling and personal attacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These issues are at best tangentially related to food, are often just rants thinly disguised as questions, and rarely come to any useful conclusion, but they're generating a huge amount of ill will amongst members of the community. Given that, we're putting a moratorium on threads of this nature. We'll close the current ones if they get out of hand, and we'd ask that no one start new threads in this vein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As we mention in http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360953 Not About Food is really not meant to be a clearing house for everything under the sun -- it's primarily meant to be a place for us to redirect conversations that almost but don't quite fit on other boards. We're asking that everyone please think carefully before starting any threads on Not About Food, and in particular take care to avoid the type of problem threads we've outlined in this post.