In This Small Kitchen: At a Dinner Party, Who Pays?
New York City restaurants are expensive. Go out with a group to a “reasonable” joint, and you’re out $40 a person.
In comparison, hosting has a lot of perks–relaxed atmosphere, no wait for a table, the thrill of playing grown-up–but thriftiness is not always one of them.
I love hosting dinner parties. I don’t mind spending a little extra money to have my friends over. And I count on them to bring wine, beer, or whisky–alcohol being the most expensive part of a night out. Many of my buddies do reciprocate, inviting Alex and me over for dinner and parties.
Things don’t always work out fairly. I’ve been to a dinner party where the host asked guests to chip in twenty bucks apiece, and we guests felt blindsided. I’ve tried to reciprocate past dinner invites only to find friends too busy to make plans–or ending up at convenient restaurants where we wind up splitting the bill. Potlucks are democratic in nature, but they’re a different animal.
So is it worth the money to host friends, not knowing if you’ll recoup the cost, or maybe risking being reimbursed in a currency other than money (love, friendship, dish washing, generosity, gratitude, a drink)? What’s your take–as a guest or a host?
P.S. Here are 10 cheap dinners for friends.