Broke-Ass Etiquette: Birthday Dinners

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Got a question about how to be a polite Broke-Ass? Email Half-Price Headliner with your queries and get schooled on how to be proper-like.

Q: Dear Half-Price Headliner,
I have a few birthday dinner invites in the next month and I’m not sure I can afford to go to all of them.  Is it rude to not go because of lack of funds, or should I just deal and pay up?

A: I feel your pain.  The way I see it, you have a few options, but if you follow these main rules, you should be ok.

1. If you can’t afford a fancy-ish birthday meal at a restaurant of the Birthday Boy/Girl’s choosing, that’s their bad, not yours.  They forfeited the right to expect everyone to attend when they picked a venue that might be cost prohibitive to some.  Apologize and meet up with the party after dinner for drinks.  If they’re cool, they should understand.

2. Go big or go home.  If you do decide to bite the bullet and attend, great! Have fun and commit to enjoying to celebration despite the cost.  What you should not do is attend, but refuse to order anything.  You know you’re going to end up getting some pity food, and you don’t want to be forever known as the Birthday Dinner Mooch.

Side note: In case you weren’t aware, it is usually common practice for the party to take care of the Birthday Person’s meal, so if you aren’t eating/paying  anything, that’s a double whammy of rude.  Don’t be that guy/girl.

3. One of the pitfalls of being a grown-up is splitting the check.  The days of figuring out exactly what each person owes for what they ordered are over, and you need to act accordingly.   Attempting to order a five-dollar item and water while everyone else is stuffing their faces and ordering another round is only going to make you hungry and grumpy when the check comes and everything is split up evenly.

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Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Ali was born and raised in the Wholesome/Creepy capital of the world, Salt Lake City, UT. Once she was old enough to blow that pop stand she escaped to the place that was the anti-SLC: The Peoples Gay-public of Drugifornia aka San Francisco (holla 30 Rock!). You can now find her throughout this glorious city slurping Pho and scheming with her best friend Pinky doing what they do every night; try and take over the world.