I’m all for going big on birthdays. I’m happy to be included in an ensemble dinner celebrating my friend’s birth. What I do not enjoy is picking up the financial slack for the other diners. Explicitly, attendance at a birthday dinner means you are communally paying for the birthday boy/girl’s dinner, drinks, and gratuity. I was recently at a dinner of about 15 people celebrating a friend’s birthday. I told the server to put birthday girl’s order on my tab. Whether the majority lack mindfulness or are just cheap, only 2 people of 15 attendees offered a contribution to the birthday girl’s portion of the bill. I can’t excuse such grotesque and tacky behavior. These grown folks should know better. Err on the side of generosity in dealing with matters that involve communal cash. Verify the bill is adequately covered including a generous tip for the server. If you are invited to such a dinner and finances are a concern, it’s your responsibility to budget for you + 1, which may mean you order one less drink or a less expensive meal.
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