I just finished reading an article on CNN about individuals who send out invites to their friends for a party without asking them to pay for any of it and then expecting the friends to go dutch when the bill comes. For a second I felt like I was reading a bad chain letter forwarded to me by a distant cousin; I almost went to Snopes to check and see if this was really happening to people. Are there still people who are either this aloof or this self centered out there that they would send out an invitation to dinner and not indicate on the invite that the attendees should expect to split the entire bill?
Don't get me wrong, if I am invited to a dinner party out on the town I have no problem footing my bill. I'll avoid high priced alcohol and stick to something from the middle range of the menu. When a host informs everyone at the end of the night that they should just split the bill 8 ways and I have to subsidize everyone else's filet mignon and alcohol induced stupor then that is a different beast entirely. Maybe it's just living in a relatively small Midwest town that I don't run into this, or possibly I just don't have the tolerance to put up with anyone who would pull this kind of stunt long enough to get a dinner invite!
If you can't already tell, this is a great way to lose a friendship or a business acquaintance. The last time I checked common courtesy hadn't been taken out back and shot so if you plan to have guests split the bill for dinner, make it straightforward and easy. Ditch the open bar and coordinate with the restaurant to offer a package deal for dinner and 2 drinks. When you send out the invitation be sure to include a line stating, "While I am picking up a portion of the dinner, guests are kindly asked to pay $20 to help cover the fun time that we are all about to enjoy together!". This kind of invitation may turn off a few people who were just looking to score free booze but in the long run your real friends will appreciate your honesty and the good times you all shared!
Do people really ask friends to pay for their parties?