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Unused Tickets

My friend “Gwen” let me know that she was planning a trip to my city and would be meeting up with her friend “Sharon” here. Sharon is a sports fan from England and was eager to see a soccer game in the U.S. so I asked if the two of them would be interested in attending a game in my city. They both agreed.

A couple weeks before the game, Sharon mentioned it in an e-mail and seemed excited to attend. Meanwhile, Gwen complained about the already agreed-upon date and time and the length of the game and informed me that she hated soccer. Despite this, they both reconfirmed that they wanted to go. Also, I felt that I owed it to the foreign traveler, Sharon, to follow through on my offer.

Gwen arrived in town before Sharon, and I gave her their tickets so that no one would need to wait at the gate for anyone else. I said that we could meet at the seats a few minutes before the game started. Since I hadn’t met Sharon, I thought we could chat for a bit before the event got underway.

On the evening of the game, I brought along some team memorabilia and snacks for each of them and planned to treat them to dinner at the stadium as well. I was excited to play hostess at this event. I was optimistic that all would turn out well despite Gwen’s grumbling … until the game had been going on for half an hour and they still weren’t there.

I was interested in watching the game and wanted to get some use out of my own ticket, so I stayed. I also wanted to be there to be polite to Sharon. Gwen didn’t call or text to say they’d be late, and I decided that it was not my responsibility to inquire about their whereabouts.

They arrived after the game had been going on for 40 minutes (I had actually been at my seat for 55 minutes, since I arrived 15 minutes early).

Gwen introduced me to Sharon and said, “I bet you thought we weren’t going to show up!”

I smiled weakly and said, “I thought you got lost!”

Gwen explained that they had been shopping at the stadium vendors and sampling beers. She was drunk. She proceeded to painfully clap her hand on my shoulder and thigh, wring my neck, hold a beer right in front of my eyes, block me from exiting the row for a few moments each time I got up (including when I was getting up to buy our meals), and make loud insulting remarks about me, all apparently meant as good fun.

I did say, “Could you stop that, please?” early on, but I don’t think she noticed that I was speaking. Mostly, I was shocked and speechless.

I stayed for most of the game because I didn’t want to be rude to Sharon, who was angled away from Gwen and me and didn’t seem to notice Gwen’s behavior. At the time, it seemed inappropriate to call her attention to Gwen’s behavior or to declare, “It was very nice to meet you. I need to leave now!” after just a few minutes. I did leave a bit early “to beat the rush.”

What might I have said? Would it have been OK to leave before they arrived? To leave just after they arrived? 0913-12

I think what you said was fine.   As for leaving, you paid for your ticket and you could stayed or left whenever it suited you.    Pity poor Sharon who had to docilely go along with whatever antics Gwen inflicted on her while she tried to be a good guest.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Bint September 19, 2012, 10:12 am

    I would bet money, being English myself, that Sharon was utterly mortified, could not say anything to disrespect her hostess, had no idea whether she ought to say anything to you about it on her own behalf (even to apologise might have antagonised Gwen) and thus sat in silence wishing she were anywhere else.

  • Cerys September 19, 2012, 10:26 am

    If you’d left before they arrived, it would have been rude – plus, as you say, you had paid for your ticket and wanted to get your money’s worth. Leaving just after they arrived would have been even worse – especially for Sharon. I think gritting your teeth and bearing it was the best thing you could have done in the circumstances – although, depending on how long Gwen and Sharon were going to be staying, you could have suggested that you all get together later, at a different location. That way, you’d have been able to catch up with a less-drunk Gwen, and Sharon wouldn’t end up feeling abandoned.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith September 19, 2012, 11:00 am

    At the first real sign that someone does not wish to accept the hospitality you have offered, it is reasonable (and sometimes prudent) to rescind it. Why on earth should you be subjected to the antics of a drunken, insulting and bullying friend? You could have aborted the adventure at the email stage when Sharon complained of hating the day, time, duration and nature of the event and based on precisely those grounds. (“I can see that this event is not your cup of tea, so let’ just get together some other time. Have fun with your friend and enjoy the visit!” Certainly you could have left without comment at any point along the way while she was busily making a muck of your attempts to be hospitable. In this unusual instance, you would have had every right to leave, but in most hosted events, it would be the offenders who would need an escort to the door. I don’t understand the perception that hosts are obligated to submit to unpleasantness or outright abuse. It has no basis in reality. The idea that you will accept whatever treatment comes your way meekly in the goal of…what, really? That’s not to say that anyone need take note of every slip of the tongue and ill considered remark. But drunken insults? No. You wouldn’t accept it directed at any of your guests and should not accept it when directed at you. Boors and bullies, special snowflakes and gimme pigs, beware- the hosts and hostesses of the world owe you nothing more than a quick exit with as little fanfare as possible.

  • Library Diva September 19, 2012, 11:06 am

    I’m sorry OP had that experience of finding out her friend is not the person she remembered, or a person she still likes. Gwen’s behavior was appalling. I feel sorry for Sharon, and also sorry for OP that she put some effort into planning a nice evening and didn’t have it valued.

  • Margaret September 19, 2012, 11:18 am

    I imagine Sharon was “angled away” from Gwen because she was embarrassed by her behaviour.

  • Angel September 19, 2012, 11:44 am

    I would have walked out of there the minute I discovered that Gwen was drunk already, even before she got to the game. I don’t put up with obnoxious drunks. I would have made an excuse, and left. If I have my own ride home I don’t need to put up with that nonsense.

  • Cat September 19, 2012, 12:20 pm

    A f riend who considers it good fun to make loud, insulting remarks about you qualifies to be an ex-friend. I have no use for drunks to begin with and for one to allow you to purchase tickets for some event that was her idea to entertain her friend, to arrive under the influence, allow you to buy them both dinner, and insult you-no.
    She owes you an abject apology.”Oh, I was drunk.” is no excuse for the way she treated you. Anyone as nice and as accommodating as you are is worthy of much better friends.
    I’ve had friends like this, and I make it clear that I will not tolerate abuse from friends any more than I do from those who dislike me. With over seven billion people in the world, we can all afford to be selective about those we honor with the term friend.

  • Brockwest September 19, 2012, 1:10 pm

    There are two issues here, 1) the inappropriate behavior and 2) the guest’s unwillingness to be at the match.
    1) We’ve all had to experience boorish behavior from guests/relatives/dates/friends. I’ve had enough, so when I’m in public and the person is not behaving, particularly from alcohol, I simply leave. If I was their transportation, I tell them I’m leaving and they are welcome to come with me or stay, but I still leave.
    There is a great risk that the person’s behavior will reflect on you and that you may be in trouble with the venue/ get banned/get arrested. It’s not worth it.
    I had a date-from-*** who got drunk at a venue I adored. The manager came over and told me I had to get her to behave. I tried unsuccessfully. I politely went to the manager and explained my situation,that she was a first (and last)-time date, that I was unable to control her, and would be leaving, but that she refused to go. He understood, and I remained welcome at the venue.
    I’ve had party guests get inebriated/stoned and causing a commotion. I absolutely do request they leave. Mind you, I go way way out of my way never to be confrontational and to bite my lip, but I draw the line at inebriates who are interferring with the joys of others. I had one former friend at my “I’m opening my business and have invited all my important future contacts party” who got drunk and obnoxious, even to putting fake dog poo in the pate’ and yelling at the Vocalist. I politely but firmly removed him from the party. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door as he slurred that his date had fallen down into the sewer. She had. Amazing.

    2) The second part of concern that I was expecting, but did not read in the story, was that after the OP bought the tickets the guest decided she hated the sport and expected the OP would be stuck with tickets. This has happened to me many times and really gets to me. I have contacts that can get VIP seating, but I use them very sparingly, so when asked by a friend to use my contacts, it sort of uses up one of my brownie points. Several people now have asked me to get them VIP tickets (expensive), then changed their mind later and refused to pay for the tickets. They are off the future-ticket list, but I still haven’t figured out a way to prevent it. (I have to get the VIP tickets first, in order to find the price.) I have learned, painfully, that no transfer of tickets takes place without the payment. The old “oh, I will send you a check” excuse doesn’t fly and creates a problem. I simply say, “great, I’ll send the tickets when I get the check.” This is even more important if relatives/friends/neighbors/co-workers are involved as money owed can be a great problem, so I choose not to have a money-owed situation.

    I’m an experiential person. I get zapped once, learn from the experience and don’t get zapped the second time, but I definitely get zapped the first time.

  • Lo September 19, 2012, 1:31 pm

    You probably should have called. It’s totally reasonable to call if someone is that late. After all, you have a right to be concerned. Something might have happened. You might have sent a text saying, “I’m here, are you having trouble finding the seats?” or something to that effect.

    I drop Gwen immediately as a “friend”. Bad enough to be drunk in a public place without also being a bully. Extraordinary lack of discretion and shame.

    I probably would have stayed to, though, for Sharon’s sake, so I completely understand. I would have wanted to make sure she was okay. She probably did notice, was too polite to say anything but too out of her cultural element to interfere. I really feel bad for her in this situation. It was good of you to wait for her. She may have been Gwen’s friend but I would have felt responsibility too. As an American I always feel it’s our good duty and responsibility to show foreign tourists the best of us, take good care of them and pay close attention to their comforts, especially when they are participating in something new.

  • Cat Whisperer September 19, 2012, 8:19 pm


    It sounds to me as if OP went “above and beyond the call of duty” in being polite to Gwen and Sharon. Can’t fault OP on anything she did.

    Regarding whether it would have been all right to leave before Gwen and Sharon arrived: no, IMO, that would have been unacceptable unless OP had a bona fide emergency that called her away or OP had already planned to leave early and Gwen and Sharon had been informed in advance that OP would need to leave the game by a specific time. Otherwise, it seems to me that despite having already distributed tickets, OP would have been rude to not have stayed to at least meet Gwen and Sharon.

    Regarding leaving early once they showed up and it was apparent Gwen was drunk: that’s a toughie. I think this is a case for falling back on the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want them to treat you. If I was in Sharon’s place, I’d definitely feel better to have OP stay rather than leaving me to deal with Gwen. It sounds like Gwen was drunk to the point where it might have been merciful to take Sharon aside and ask her if she needed or wanted some intervention: did she want a ride to somewhere, rather than having to ride with (drunk) Gwen?

    Now, with regard to Gwen: unless Gwen called OP the very next day to grovel with abject humility and beg forgiveness, it seems to me that Gwen gets an immediate demotion from “friend” to “acquaintance,” and has some work to do to earn her way back to “friend.” That work would include an explanation of why Gwen allowed herself to get so spectacularly drunk, and what she is doing to make sure that kind of public spectacle of herself never happens again. If Gwen wants to coast along as if nothing happened, I’d conclude that she values her pride more than she values her friendships and that would be the beginning of the end of my relationship with Gwen as anything more than “someone I used to know.”

  • Margo September 20, 2012, 7:31 am

    I’m with those feling sorry for Sharon. It sounds as though she got stuck with Gwen behaving inappropriately and couldn’t see a way out – In her position I would have bee nmortified and struggling to see a way to make anything better.

    I don’t think it would have been rude to have left although like Cat Whisperer, I think that leaving, and offering Sharon a lift / the opportunity to leave too would have OK.

    I personally would have called or sent a text when they were late, becaue I’d start from the assumption that there was a problem (ie they were lost, or one of them was unwell) because showing up late without that kind of reason is so rude.

    I also think that at the pooit the Gwen was wingeing so much it woul have been fine to withdraw your offer, or to tell her that you’d be happy to escort Sharon to a game, if Sharon wnated to go and Gwen didn’t (and perhaps suggest that the three of you meet for a meal before or after the game)

  • Michelle P September 20, 2012, 10:00 am

    OP you did nothing wrong. There is no excuse for Gwen’s actions. You did not have to leave an event you purchased a ticket for. Drop Gwen, and get better friends. You seem awesome, so I’m sure you have others.

  • Enna September 20, 2012, 10:12 am

    I think I would have stayed for Sharon’s sake to make sure she was okay too. Bu I think Gwen should be dropped as a firend. Did the op tired to call her? If someone is being really bad then I see no problem in leaving, if you are scared of what could happen especailly when it come to your own safety.

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