Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jan 11, 2014 10:21 PM

Birthday tea with acquaintance

An acquaintance (seen on 3 occasions) of a new friend (known for approx. 1 year) invited me to a birthday afternoon tea. I was surprised at the invite, but gladly accepted. I am new to town and had not experienced a proper tea since I lived in NYC. I arrived after everyone was seated and since they all ordered the most expensive service, happily obliged. There were 4 of us and when the check came the inviter told the server to split the bill 3 ways. I tossed in my credit card, but was a bit taken aback since her boyfriend and best friend did not offer to pick up her tab. I also bought her a modest birthday gift, to boot, drove into the city and parked (they took the T/subway).

I am hoping I wasn't invited to buffer the bill because it certainly felt that way. Thoughts on etiquette?

Feeling kinda salty in Boston,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. so the three of you paid for the birthday person's tea? that sounds normal to me.

    your preferred mode of transport certainly isn't their concern.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I wouldn't have have also taken the time to select and bring a gift to the occasion if I also was expected to split the tab of the b-day person, who is a friend of a friend...

      Agree about the transport...just added insult to injury.

      I do appreciate your take on the matter.

    2. This type of question pops up frequently....many feel if you are invited, then they are guests...and guests should not pay. I do not disagree...however, i know not all are like in mind or I fully expect to pay my fair share.

      The boyfriend is a CHEAP ASS.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        my b/f would pay for me, but if it's my friends? we pitch in together and equally to treat the birthday person.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          If I were the BF, for a table of four, I would pay for everyone invited. and thank them for coming....Sometimes it pays to look good on birthday.....I could include a crude joke here, but only if requested.

      2. I also would have felt a bit "used" by the acquaintance "inviter".

        Do you think the birthday friend was aware of the dynamics here? If I was the birthday person and knew about it, I would feel bad. The inviter would forever remain an "acquaintance" for me!

        1 Reply
        1. re: sedimental

          Not sure. I would have just preferred to have been told "we are taking xyz out for her birthday at 123". Then that would have been my gift. Over it now...

        2. We're you enjoying yourself during the tea or was there other aspects that left you uneasy? If these were older/ better friends would you still have felt used when the bill came?

          2 Replies
          1. re: viperlush

            I enjoyed the tea and conversation. It can be awkward when you're getting to know people in some social settings.

            I quite possibly might have been overthinking....I would not have given it a second thought if it was a long standing friendship. In fact this is the first time I have posted on such a topic. So your point is well taken ;)

            1. re: SoFlaSartorialista

              It can be difficult to navigate new relationships. And as you can see from this thread and others on this subject, there is no clear consensus. I'd just be thankful to have friends, and be included in a celebration after recently moving to to new town. Now you know for the next time.

          2. Just be sure they know when it is YOUR birthday so they can repay the favor.