With Out-of-Town Visitors, Is It My Treat? Or Yours?

July 21, 2011 | By | Comments (5)
“Coming to Visit” was the subject line on an email I got a few weeks ago.  Some out-of-town  friends were traveling to New York City and staying in a hotel near my apartment.
My friends’ children — a law student and a film maker — were in town too, as well as their daughter’s boyfriend.  I invited everyone to my apartment for cocktails with my husband and me before heading to a neighborhood restaurant, where the seven of us had dinner.

Later that night, I asked my husband how much the meal cost, assuming he’d paid the bill. We were, after all, the de facto hosts,  since I had organized the evening, picked the restaurant and was entertaining on my turf.

He looked at me shiftily. “I don’t know,” he said. “They picked up the bill.”

I was taken aback. “We were the hosts,” I said.

“I know, I tried,” my husband said. “But he wouldn’t let me because there were five of them.”

Was this a terrible lapse in manners? I’ve always believed that with out-of-towners, you pay. They’re visiting you, after all. The only exception is when visitors who are staying at your home for multiple nights say they want to treat you as a thank you.

What do you think? In my situation, would you have paid?  Do you routinely pick up the check for your out of town guests, or no? And if your guests outnumber you, does that change the equation?

(image courtesy of RealSimple.com)