Dear Barb—Dinner Dodgers

Dear Barb:

Recently I prepared a large meal for eight people.  The day before the dinner one of the couples cancelled and then on the day of two more people cancelled.  Aside from the fact that I had spent days planning and preparing this meal, I ended up with a lot of leftovers, which I will have to throw out.  Food is way too expensive to just throw out.  The reason these guests cancelled was not because of illness, or bad weather, which I would have totally understood.  It just seemed as if something better came up, or the planning on their part was flawed. 

The dinner party was not a last-minute arrangement, it was planned at least a week before.  My husband and I feel unappreciated.  It’s as if the time and money we put into preparing this meal was unimportant to these friends.  When I mentioned this to other friends, they were casual about it and said that’s what people are like now.  I think that’s disgusting that someone would treat a person with so much disrespect.  My husband and I are probably a generation older than the two couples that cancelled.  Maybe this is a generational thing? How do you ever count on anyone if they can’t keep their word for a simple dinner engagement? Now I am reluctant to plan another big meal.  Do you think I’m overreacting? This is not something I want to go through again.  Thanks, Alison. 

Hi Alison:

So sorry, and I do agree with you that this was disrespectful.  As you say it is understandable if there is an illness or other unexpected event, but obviously that wasn’t the case or they would have told you.  You are right, your time and work is not being appreciated, obviously something more interesting came up and they decided to choose that option.  Perhaps social media is encouraging people to do these types of things, as you do not have to call and speak to the person directly to cancel, you can just text and so don’t have to face the fact that you hurt or disrespected the other person.  I can definitely understand you not wanting to do this again.  Perhaps the next time you could meet at a restaurant, that way if they don’t show, you haven’t been preparing a big meal for the last two days.  Another option would be to suggest meeting at your home, for a drink.  Have some snacks ready to put out and if they don’t show you are not out all that food and work.  Sad to say, this does seem to be a common occurrence with a younger generation, as some basic manners have gone by the wayside.  It seems for a lot of people today it is acceptable to waste other’s time, whereas this was not acceptable behaviour in the very near past.

Thanks for sharing Alison.

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