Friend changing plans to go out to dinner at hers

(56 Posts)
Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 14:58:25

6 months ago I introduced my friend (friend A) to my NCT group as she was feeling lonely since all her mum friends had gone back to work. She has one DD who is the same age as ours (2yrs). She has since become part of the group and comes to all the picnics, BBQs, brunches, etc.

Last week one of the group suggested all the mums went out to dinner as we hardly ever meet up all together these days. Everyone settled on this Thursday as the best day. Friend A emailed this morning saying she is broke and would we be able to come to hers for a ready meal and DVD on Thursday instead (and give her some money). The trouble is I think most of the group were really wanting to go out as we all spend lots of time at home in the evenings and somehow going to hers for a ready meal doesn’t sound so exciting.

Am I being unreasonable to think she should just stick to the plan this time and not commit herself to events she can’t afford in future – or just not come? Also how do we tell her we want to stick to the plan of going out? I also feel like because she is ‘new’ to the group everyone will start to resent her for doing this kind of thing (she’s done it before with drinks out).

HayDayQueen Mon 16-Jun-14 15:00:15

The 'nicest' way of doing that would be to say 'Oh, I really fancied a night out actually. Maybe we could go to yours on another night?'

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Mon 16-Jun-14 15:00:41

Text back 'everyone's really looking forward to going to xXxX restaurant, sorry you don't think you can make it, we'll hopefully be making it a regular thing so maybe next time?'

It's tricky really as it's hard when you are so skint. Maybe it's a good idea to plan nights in as well as nights out, if she can't make the nights out then that's up to her but at least she will be able to afford nights in.

Discobugsacha Mon 16-Jun-14 15:01:46

I would just say ( nicely) that you really fancy going out as you haven't done it for so long. Could you go to hers the next week maybe?

SarcyMare Mon 16-Jun-14 15:03:01

i would reply, "ahh i was looking forward to going for a grown up meal out in a resturant"
make it a jokey sort of response but that would give other people permission to say something similar also.

But also organise something cheaper in the same message, like how about a bring your own bar-b at my house next weekend.

restandpeace Mon 16-Jun-14 15:03:09

I can see both sides. In future why not do a mix of both? Just say, sorry but we want to go out thus time, suggest she comes after fir a drink?

SarcyMare Mon 16-Jun-14 15:04:35

"But also organise something cheaper in the same message, like how about a bring your own bar-b at my house next weekend."

after reading other people responses i said it this way round as I always feel uncomfortable arranging things at other peoples houses.

Objection Mon 16-Jun-14 15:06:43

Are you or any of the others in a position to subsidise her?

CoffeeTea103 Mon 16-Jun-14 15:08:18

I think you can suggest her idea is good but for another day. Assuming her child will be there too, it will totally change the atmosphere. I agree though try to mix it up, some nice nights out and cheaper ones too.

MrsKoala Mon 16-Jun-14 15:11:07

Something similar happened in my NCT group, it was my birthday and i wanted a grown up evening out so arranged drinks at 7.30 and dinner at 9pm on a Friday night. 2 of the group didn't want to do this as didn't want to be out late if their babies needed them. One said Friday was their family day so could we do Tuesday, and because they wanted to be home by seven could we eat at 5pm. And another suggested we do a lunch with the babies instead. It just wasn't what the rest of us wanted so i answered breezily that i was sorry they couldn't make it and would see all that could at 7.30 on the Friday.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 16-Jun-14 15:11:37

Can't you just offer to lend her the money? She can gets yours next time. Then maybe do cheaper things in future? Go to cheaper meals out or use vouchers to get it cheap. I wouldn't want to exclude a friend for being poor.

Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 15:11:58

Phew so we are not being totally selfish for not immediately agreeing so it suits her. I could pay for her but I'm not exactly rolling in it. She seems to go out with her dh quite a lot so I guess it's just a question of priorities.

DejaVuAllOverAgain Mon 16-Jun-14 15:27:26

Tbh, if I was looking forward to a night out I wouldn't want to change it for a night in with a ready meal.I don't like ready meals and staying in, even at someone elses, would change the atmosphere.

I rarely go out due to lack of money but I wouldn't expect other's to give up their night out due to my lack of money. I'd simply say I couldn't go and arrange anothet night for a meal in like pp's have suggested.


BackforGood Mon 16-Jun-14 15:38:58

Agree with most - I'd reply that the whole point is feeling like it's a "proper" night out, in a restaurant and getting dressed up etc. which has been arranged for this time - sorry she can't make this one, but yes, let's all get together in someone's home next month/ the next time.

(Am I the only one who thinks it's odd to give someone money to eat in their home? confused)

Ragwort Mon 16-Jun-14 15:42:34

I agree it's odd to give money to someone for eating in their home hmm - it's different if it is a 'pot luck supper' ie: everyone brings some food to share, but to hand over a £5 note or whatever sounds odd.

However some time ago a group of us got together and bought a few of the 'dine in for £10 meals' from M & S and that worked quite well smile but agree, it is not the same as a 'night out'.

Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 15:45:21

Backforgood yes that was another point that annoyed me. She's been to other people's house for lunch/dinner. Usually the person hosting does the main and others bring salad/pud/drinks. Giving her money is odd because what if she chose stuff someone doesn't like or charges more than one of the others can afford?

I think I'm going to have to be brave and tell her. I feel like it will sound unsupportive of her situation though sad

PeterParkerSays Mon 16-Jun-14 15:46:33

Where are you going for the meal? Could she have a cheaper meal, or a starter instead of a main course?

I wouldn't want to just give money to someone for them to go out and buy me a ready meal to eat on their sofa.

NewtRipley Mon 16-Jun-14 15:46:34

Maybe you could offer to pay for her to go out, just this once?

Are you sure it's a ready meal and not a takeaway?

rookiemater Mon 16-Jun-14 15:46:37

No definitely stick to your guns.

A month or so I suggested this to someone - we had arranged a couples night out and they hadn't got round to getting a babysitter, the other two couples had. I felt a bit annoyed and put out on the evening as we had paid for babysitters, then we ended up paying our full share of the takeaway, plus they acted a bit like they were hosting. it was an expensive night just to go round and eat some takeaway - although I was the one who had initially suggested it so couldn't really complain.

Also asking for money for a ready meal hmm, I don't think so.

rookiemater Mon 16-Jun-14 15:47:17

Oh and I wouldn't be offering to pay for her. We can't always afford to do everything we want and that's it. If she wanted to suggest some cheap BYOB restaurants then that would be different.

RobotLover68 Mon 16-Jun-14 15:47:36

this exact thing happened to me a few months ago - I was looking forward to a night out with 2 friends, friend A (single parent) then said oh I haven't got a babysitter - we didn't have the heart to say "no" then proceeded to sit there with not much to say because she didn't send her kids to bed so the conversation was stifled (to say the least) - won't be falling for that one again! say "sorry you can't make it" as the others have said

Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 15:52:17

Yep it's definitely not a take away - she said ready meal or oven pizza! We were planning on going to an Italian chain e.g zizzi or ask so not exactly fine dining. I think one of the others said they had a voucher too.

MarmaladeShatkins Mon 16-Jun-14 15:56:13

I've got a friend that does this and it's hard. If the other three of us have arranged to go for an evening out with her, there's always a text a few days before saying "can we just do a meal (use of that word alone makes my skin crawl blush) at one of our houses as I am broke." It puts a dampener on it. I wish she'd just say "I'm skint this time, I'll come to the next one." If I've got a babysitter arranged, I don't want a staid night in in someone's lounge.

NewtRipley Mon 16-Jun-14 15:58:40

This one is tough. If it's a pattern of unreasonableness then I'd say that she maybe has to miss this one out. If she's really desperate then I'd still offer to pay.

I can't imagine one of my friends going about it quite the way she has - we'd probably offer to just come for a drink before/after, or eat less. A ready meal is one thing, but getting you to pay is pushing it.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 16-Jun-14 16:05:44

What DejaVu said.

I think it's kind of selfish to expect everyone to come to her house and make do with a ready meal (yuck).

stripedtortoise Mon 16-Jun-14 16:11:52

I don't see anything wrong with what she's suggested particulary. Apart from asking people to pay for a ready meal. That's a bit odd. But other than that, if she was a friend of mine, I'd appreciate she was skint and go along with her idea. Or I'd offer to pay for her meal (if you're able) and get the money back at later date.

To be honest, your post seems like you might be a bit put out that you introduced your friend to your NCT mates and she's getting on well with them and organising things at her place. It's really hard being a newbie and NCT groups are known for bitches, so I think you should cut her some slack.

Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 16:17:56

Striped - I don't think shes getting on with them that well tbh. my first reaction was 'oh that's a shame but it's more important that we all see each other I will wait to see what the others say before saying ok'. Then one of the others said they had been looking forward to going out but ok.. And then I saw two of the others today who said they were peed off and didn't want to go to hers as they don't get many 'nights off' from the DC

rookiemater Mon 16-Jun-14 16:40:37

NCT groups are known for bitches hmm - really? As far as I am aware they are a group of women who have been through classes together, no more likely to be bitches than any other group.

Another thought - you could suggest she comes along for coffee rather than the meal - a mum at our class get togethers does that.Or she maybe doesn't know how much Zizzis is with a voucher - usually half price so could get a main course for less than a tenner.

PrimalLass Mon 16-Jun-14 16:42:25

Could you go to Pizza Express and use Tesco vouchers?

PrimalLass Mon 16-Jun-14 16:43:46

I would say, Ok we really would prefer to go out so let's see how we can make it work.

zipzap Mon 16-Jun-14 16:47:13

If you've spoken to most of the rest of the group and they're in agreement with you that they want to have a proper night out, then I think it's fine to say that actually, no, this time you want to stick to the original arrangements but that next time the group meet up during the week you can all sort out a night in - be it a pot luck supper, bbq etc. Say that as you've got the voucher for a cheap night out this time you want to make use of it, if she doesn't want to come then no worries, it's not compulsory and you'll see her soon. Then get everyone to send a similar message.

If she's done it before then definitely need to nip it in the bud now otherwise you might find that she will always agree to go out to things and then decide at the last minute that she doesn't want to pay so changes it to be something that is easy for her - and the rest of you will never get your night out!

Charging a fiver sounds like she is wanting to make money from the evening in that she is having as well as the ease of staying in her own home and the 'glory' of hosting. Talking about having your cake and eating it and charging for it too grin

Inertia Mon 16-Jun-14 16:48:06

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that you've made the plans for this time, but maybe next time you could make plans to do a bring-a-dish type arrangement at someone's house (the paying for a Tesco pizza at someone's house is a bit of an unusual suggestion though!)

zipzap Mon 16-Jun-14 16:55:54

oops, cross posted with several posts there.

In this case then, I think it's fine to say that this time, the majority vote is to carry on with the pre-agreed plans as the rest of you had been so looking forward to it and that you're looking forward to a restaurant meal rather than a ready meal. But that you'll all arrange a night in together one night soon.

If she really wants to go then she will postpone going out with her dh or save up.
If she doesn't want to go then she won't.
If it's a control thing that she is trying to bend the group to do what she wants then tough, the rest of the group have spoken! I think it's fine to go with what the majority want, particularly as it was the original plan. Just be cheery and upbeat about it, say thanks for the offer but no thanks this time and we'll look forward to seeing you soon even if you're not by the sound of it!

Redmamma Mon 16-Jun-14 17:13:58

I'm really glad we are not being unreasonable. I feel like I am supportive to her - I have her DD 7-8am twice a week because she has to go to work before her DM can get to her house. I just feel like she's taking it too far by trying to cancel everyone's night out because she can't afford it.

She did do it with drinks once - three of us were supposed to go to the pub and she then opened the invitation to the rest of the group for wine at hers. None of them could make it and then she cancelled the whole thing at the last minute.

The comment about NCT being bitchy is not true in my experience. The women I met have been such a support to me these past two years.

Fortheloveofralph Mon 16-Jun-14 17:22:57

Text back 'Sorry don't fancy pizza/takeaway in, am desperate for a nice meal out. Why don't you come out for pudding or a drink after to make things cheaper'

dustarr73 Mon 16-Jun-14 17:30:31

She sounds monneygrabbing to me.You would be cheaper if you were going to hers to order a takeaway at least you could have what you want.

Go out dont give in to her,i hate people like this new to the group and try and change your arrangements.Tell her she can come along tot eh next one,which will be at her house and you all bring a dish.

YouTheCat Mon 16-Jun-14 17:34:16

I think she's holding out for you lot to cave and go to hers or to offer to pay for her meal. Either way I'd just say you were all looking forward to going to a restaurant to eat but would arrange something cheaper next time.

Redmamma Tue 17-Jun-14 08:55:00

The friend was supposed to be coming over for coffee this morning but has just sent a text 'can't make it today, sorry'. No kisses or anything (she usually puts one or two).

I also emailed everyone last night to say that as everyone was excited bout going out we could not split the bill as usual and just all pay for what we eat/drink. She has not replied to this.

I'm really worried I've upset her and I feel quite childish about the kisses thing. Is it normal to feel hurt by the text she sent?

eddielizzard Tue 17-Jun-14 09:01:33

stay strong. she's probably a bit miffed but hopefully realising that doing this isn't on.

i wouldn't be happy going to someone's house for a ready meal when a night out was planned. and i had to pay for someone else's choice!

flipchart Tue 17-Jun-14 09:02:59

Your overthinking it.
Yes she maybe sulking but so what. Your an adult and stated your preference. Nowt wrong with that.

OliviaBenson Tue 17-Jun-14 09:03:03

Seriously you are worrying too much over this. You can't be responsible for her all the time. Why are her feelings more important that the wishes/feelings of the rest of the group who want to go out to eat?

I'd text back, saying that's a shame, ask her if she's ok and arrange the coffee for another time.

Isabelleforyourbicycle Tue 17-Jun-14 09:05:10

She probably knows she was pushing her luck with the alternative plan and now is a bit embarrassed. Don't worry about the text kisses (although I too over analysis stuff like that)...move on, this will blow over.

Enjoy your night out and the company of those supportive friends you've made, focus on that instead.

(Wishes I had had a decent NCT group envy

Redmamma Tue 17-Jun-14 09:17:04

Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try not to make it awkward and just act like nothing is wrong. I think it's difficult because I have this feeling that deep down we might be being a bit unreasonable/unkind and so I feel a bit guilty. I suppose I just always want to please everyone

MooncupGoddess Tue 17-Jun-14 09:19:45

You're totally in the right here so don't be guilt-tripped! Enjoy your night out.

Dubjackeen Tue 17-Jun-14 09:23:00

Enjoy your night out. Sounds like everyone has been looking forward to it, so go for it. I've never heard of charging someone to eat a ready meal in their home. She could be onto something there, buy a few three for two offer and charge everyone full price wink

I'm sure the xxs will reappear on the text messages when she needs you to mind her daughter, so don't worry about that. If she wants to sulk because you didn't all agree to cancelling your night out, to pay for a ready meal in her home, so be it.

MsVestibule Tue 17-Jun-14 09:37:27

Yes, she's definitely sulking. Not putting kisses on texts is what I do when I'm sulking, so I know what I'm talking about grin.

Honestly, just ignore her behaviour. Let her sulk as long as she wants to; she'll get over it. You've stated your case, the rest of your friends agree with you, she's not happy, she'll get over it.

dustarr73 Tue 17-Jun-14 09:39:38

I wouldnt worry about her,she wants to guilt trip you in to giving in to her.If you give in now the next time will be harder to stand your ground.And everybody pays for their own is the best way to do it

CustardFromATin Tue 17-Jun-14 09:47:12

She is bu. It was a good idea to suggest about the paying for your own too - I wish more of my friends would do this, with 3 little ones we're never flush with cash, and I'm not drinking as feeding, so would definitely head out more if there was a chance to order a starter, drink some water and not pay for everyone else's main courses and bubbles!

You sound considerate, balls in her court now...

bleedingheart Tue 17-Jun-14 09:54:28

You aren't being unreasonable so please don't feel guilty OP.

Could she have seen this thread?

Maybe she has realised others aren't happy with the change and is sulking now!

I've had some experience of people changing plans because of the cost but IME it is rarely people who actually do have money worries who do this. They me usually say no straight out as they don't want to hold others back or they juggle their finances and buy the cheapest meal they can.

gingercat2 Tue 17-Jun-14 10:07:36

You're not being unreasonable, she was being cheeky.

Redmamma Tue 17-Jun-14 10:18:17

Oh no I hope she hasn't seen this thread. She's not really a computer person - not on fb or twitter and didn't know wha t a blog was until a few weeks ago!

I hope if she has seen it she would see that I'm just really worried about upsetting her and don't want her to feel excluded. Although I suppose I was a bit annoyed at her trying to hijack the plans.

Ruebarb Tue 17-Jun-14 10:54:58

Hear hear bleeding heart - the people who make the most fuss about cost are not the genuinely hard up - they normally keep quiet and just excuse themselves. Obviously this friend has been able to attend many of the other get togethers so you are not excluding her from everything - if you went out for a restaurant meal every time I could understand her getting upset. There are probably some people going for the meal who could not attend other events - everyone has to accept you cant do everything. I think she is definitely bu to expect you to change your plans for her and you have suggested doing her idea another time - totally reasonable

dustarr73 Tue 17-Jun-14 11:10:44

Why are you worried about upsetting her,she doesnt give a fig about your feelings.Seriousl;y go and enjoy yourself ans stop worrying.

noneofyours Tue 17-Jun-14 11:16:08

OP don't worry so much. If you always change plans for someone else then it ends up that very few people are happy, just like if you wait for everyone in a group to be able to go out to go out then you'll never get there. Much better to arrange and if people can't make then do another night as well and if your friend can't afford it then let her arrange a pizza night another night.

There's been times when I've not been able to afford a dinner or night out, I've just sucked it up, given my apologies and suggested we meet up again in a couple of weeks or offered people over on another, additional, night. Yes, it's shit when you're at home and everyone else is having fun but you can't do it all and you can't expect people to change plans to suit you, or one other person. Especially if it happens a lot.

Vintagejazz Tue 17-Jun-14 12:57:13

It really annoys me when people are constantly changing plans to suit themselves with no regard as to how it's going to inconvenience other people, or ruin a night out for them. I agree that if a group have agreed to treat themselves to a night out in a restaurant then you make a choice whether to go or not to go. What you don't do is expect the entire group to settle for something less just because you don't want to be left out. Then another week you can suggest all getting together for a takeaway or a meal deal or a drink in the pub.

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