Author Topic: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?  (Read 8149 times)

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Cheesy Dane

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Hello all

Long time, no see! Can you believe I kinda forgot this great board existed?  :o

But now I could really use some great advice.

I'll try to keep it short:
For some years now I have hosted an annual Christmas party. I invite my friends, and there is both a "hard core" of long-time friends and some newer additions. Everyone gets along great socially.

My issue now is that I am very disappointed with a few of my friends' behavior at the last party, and this has made me decide to change the conditions.

As it has been until now, I have hosted and planned and paid for everything. The usual standard in my group of friends is to do these parties potluck-style, but I like to do that "little extra" in my hosting. :)
The last two years, I have held the party in a kind of community hall where you have to pay a rental fee - I have informed my guests/friends in the invitation that if they choose to come to the party, I would ask them to contribute to the rental of the room. So it's not like I have sprung this extra charge on them in a "by the way"-style.
The amount they have to pay is equal to about 10 dollars - so in no way a fortune. And if this amount is a problem, they know up front and can choose not to participate.

The first year it was no problem, but this (last) year I am so very disappointed with everyone's failure to pay.

The party was on Dec. 8, and I still need payment from more than half of the guests!
I told them they could pay beforehand by bank transfer or just give me cash at the party.

I am especially disappointed in two of my friends, let's call them Jane and John.

Jane "always" has problems paying. She doesn't have a lot of money, I know this, but she is also very scatterbrained and simply forgets. She is the type who can be surprised by the fact that she should probably buy a birthday present more than ten minutes before the party begins, etc. ;) I have reminded her about the payment several times, and she keeps making excuses - my account number is wrong (it isn't), her bank made a mistake, etc.

John is the type who at the end of the month is always complaining that he has no money for food - yet he still tells me, both in person and on FB, that he has now bought a new TV or books on Amazon for hundreds of $$, so it is clearly a question of prioritizing his money. Which is his choice - but when he can't pay me a mere ten bucks, it grated my nerves to read just ten minutes ago that he just bought a new Soda Stream ...  :P

So!
My question is this:
How can I announce that next year, the party terms will be different without "outing" the people whose behavior is the reason for the change?
I want to make it a potluck next time, so that there's no money between us.

Alternatively, I may decide to just not invite Jane and John, since this is not the first and only social offence they have committed ... but then how can I reply when they ask me why they haven't yet received an invitation to my annual Christmas party?
They will ask, and just giving a "standard" response won't work with friends, I think. Nor do I want to lie and say I won't be hosting a party at all.


I know that when you loan people money, including paying in advance and letting them owe you, that you should always be prepared for not getting the money after all. But I'm still really disappointed in my friends for standing me up like this ... considering they get free food, beverages and entertainment and can't even be bothered to pay me a small amount to cover a minimum of my expenses. :(

BC12

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 05:26:38 AM »
I know that when you loan people money, including paying in advance and letting them owe you, that you should always be prepared for not getting the money after all.

In that case, I think this is one of those times when you should come to terms with not getting the money you loaned them. It would seem weird to me to go after them for their share of the community hall you decided to rent.

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How can I announce that next year, the party terms will be different without "outing" the people whose behavior is the reason for the change?


Very easily. "Hey, friends, my holiday party this year will be different. Here's my plan..."


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Alternatively, I may decide to just not invite Jane and John, since this is not the first and only social offence they have committed ... but then how can I reply when they ask me why they haven't yet received an invitation to my annual Christmas party?

This idea of hosting a party while also charging guests to attend is sort of strange to me, but I suppose you'd handle unwanted guests the same way anyone else would. Something like, "It's going to be a small gathering, but I'll see you next time" or if you're comfortable enough, "Sorry, but you can't come because you owe me money from my last party that you didn't pay to attend."

Cheesy Dane

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 06:14:14 AM »
I know that when you loan people money, including paying in advance and letting them owe you, that you should always be prepared for not getting the money after all.

In that case, I think this is one of those times when you should come to terms with not getting the money you loaned them. It would seem weird to me to go after them for their share of the community hall you decided to rent.

Quote
How can I announce that next year, the party terms will be different without "outing" the people whose behavior is the reason for the change?


Very easily. "Hey, friends, my holiday party this year will be different. Here's my plan..."


Quote
Alternatively, I may decide to just not invite Jane and John, since this is not the first and only social offence they have committed ... but then how can I reply when they ask me why they haven't yet received an invitation to my annual Christmas party?

This idea of hosting a party while also charging guests to attend is sort of strange to me, but I suppose you'd handle unwanted guests the same way anyone else would. Something like, "It's going to be a small gathering, but I'll see you next time" or if you're comfortable enough, "Sorry, but you can't come because you owe me money from my last party that you didn't pay to attend."

I'm not trying to be obnoxious, but why would it be weird to ask for the money they owe me just because it's for a hall and not any other kind of money?

I believe I've explained my reasons for charging for the hall. Again, usually these parties in my circle of friends are potluck, so people have to bring a shared dish and their own beverages. Here they get a "free party" and only have to pay ten bucks for the rent of the hall.
And again, I wrote in the invitation that there would be this charge. If they didn't want to pay, they could have declined the party.
In my head, it's the same as accepting invitation to a potlulck and then showing up without a shared dish.

BC12

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 06:48:37 AM »
Quote
I'm not trying to be obnoxious, but why would it be weird to ask for the money they owe me just because it's for a hall and not any other kind of money?


In my opinion, it's weird because the hall was something you chose to rent for a party you hosted, and you're passing on that expense to your guests. You said:

Quote
The usual standard in my group of friends is to do these parties potluck-style, but I like to do that "little extra" in my hosting. :)


You and your friends have something that has worked fine so far - the potluck. But you like to do that "little extra" to host your party in a rented hall, but you're not going to pay for it yourself.

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Here they get a "free party" and only have to pay ten bucks for the rent of the hall.
And again, I wrote in the invitation that there would be this charge. If they didn't want to pay, they could have declined the party.

Yes, they could have declined to attend that annual holiday party that all their friends were going to. And they should have, since they were unwilling or unable to pay the entrance fee.

Just a note. I would be so much happier going to a party that only asked that I bring a dish to the potluck rather than asking me to pay a certain dollar amount up front. It's the perception.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 06:56:24 AM »
Well it's not really a free party if there's a cover charge.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Ceallach

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 07:11:37 AM »
Well it's not really a free party if there's a cover charge.

I agree.  It's more of an event, in which case perhaps selling "tickets" in advance would give OP more of the outcome she's looking for. 

I don't think there's anything rude about this type of event - it sounds fun - but the expectation has to be clear for the guests, if they're expected to contribute it should be in advance or at the door, otherwise the host/organizer is going to fall into the role of debt collector but without any leg to stand on really.
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


perpetua

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 07:18:53 AM »
Leaving aside the ins and outs of cover charges (which I think are fine if everyone agrees up front to it at the planning stage, not so fine if it's sprung)


So!
My question is this:
How can I announce that next year, the party terms will be different without "outing" the people whose behavior is the reason for the change?
I want to make it a potluck next time, so that there's no money between us.

I don't think you have to do anything. You don't need to mention hall hires on the next invitation to differentiate it from this year, somehow.
Just... invite them to a potluck.

Cheesy Dane

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 08:12:31 AM »
I feel a little misunderstood here. :)

I have announced in the invitation that I would like them to contribute to the cost of the hall.
I didn't tell them at the party or anything like that. And it's an informal Facebook/e-mail event invitation - I don't send out a stationery doubleprint with a "PS: The entry fee is ten bucks."

And it hasn't "worked fine so far" with a potluck, because I have never invited to a potluck. I have invited to a party/get-together where I paid the food and beverages. Then the last two years, I have asked them to contribute to the cost of the room because I felt it became a bit too pricey for me.

It's a gathering of 12-15 people. It's not like I can pocked a thousand bucks because I invite 100 people who have to pay an outrageous "ticket price".

In any way, you make it sound as though I am wrong for asking for money clearly and upfront, whereas I still think my two friends are rude for not paying a price they have agreed to by saying yes to the invitation.

I didn't ask whether it's wrong or not for me to ask for this money - I asked for advice on how to announce that next time it will be different, without making any of my friends look bad in front of the rest of the gang.

JenJay

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 08:27:38 AM »
The only problem I foresee is that the people who RSVP they're coming and then refuse to pitch in with cash will probably still accept an invite but refuse to pitch in with a dish.  :-\

I'd try something like "Hi friends. I'm throwing my annual party, however, I've decided to change things up a bit. I'm going to book Location and make it a potluck. I'll provide X, Y, and Z, please bring a dish to share. Looking forward to seeing you!"

Or, if you want to provide the food and have people pitch in on the hall, do as a PP suggested and sell tickets to the party. "Hi friends. I'm throwing my annual party, however, I've decided to change things up a bit. I'm going to book Location and ask everyone to pitch in $10 each, everything else will be provided by me. For tickets, please respond via PM, email or text (contact details). Looking forward to seeing you!"

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 08:31:58 AM »
I don't think you've been misunderstood.  You said your social circle norm is potlucks.  You decided for this party that you don't want to stick with your groups social norm but instead provide all food, beverages, and entertainment.  But the cost is more than you can bear when combined with a rented hall.  So instead of switching to a potluck, which is common in your social group, you decided to ask your guests to help defray costs by paying $10 per person to attend.  In your mind you are applying this payment to the cost of the rented hall, but in actuality it is just funds that go to you that could just as easily be used to pay for food. 

I believe a few have commented that they personally would be suprised by an invitation to an event that said if you come, bring cash or pay me beforehand.  We are not saying its wrong just out if our social norms. 

So next year on the invite to clearly state that this years event will be a potluck if that is what you plan to do.  And since less than 20, you can probably also bring up in conversation during the last half of next year that you are switching the format.

If next year you decide to not invite the 2 who have not paid, don't invite.  When they ask, say you are needing to reduce the number attending due to cost of event but you hope to get together with them some other time. 

Edited to fix typing
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 08:34:45 AM by Hmmmmm »

WillyNilly

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 10:35:39 AM »
Honestly I think part of the problem is you keep using the word "free".  Its not a "free party" by any stretch of the imagination.  Not at all and to continue to use that word is, well, its lying.  And its kind of unfair to expect your friends to be fair to you when you are lying to them. 

I get it you think its "free" because they are free to not have to bring food... but lots of people can bring a potluck dish for 12-15 people for less then $10 cost, so... really you have no ground to stand on with the word "free" - please for the sake of language everywhere, stop using that word.

As for your issue, I think the solution going forward is to require payment in advance (either well in advance or at the door) and to simply not allow entrance to anyone who hasn't paid prior to crossing the threshold.

Shoo

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 10:40:04 AM »

As for your issue, I think the solution going forward is to require payment in advance (either well in advance or at the door) and to simply not allow entrance to anyone who hasn't paid prior to crossing the threshold.

Or....   host a party you can afford so you don't have to charge an entrance fee to your guests.

onyonryngs

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 10:45:36 AM »
I would discontinue the practice of the cover charge unless you get the money up front.  I wouldn't pay money to go to a friend's party unless it was to contribute to the tip for the band or was going to a charity or something.  Is there a reason 12-15 can't fit in your home?  It's not a lot of people. 

audrey1962

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 10:52:22 AM »
I have announced in the invitation that I would like them to contribute to the cost of the hall.

Is that the acutal language you used? "I would like you to contribute to the cost of the hall"? For some reason, this sounds to me like it could be misinterpreted as being optional. Next time, be more direct, "the cost is $10."

Just Lori

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Re: How to best announce a change of future parties due to bad behavior?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 11:03:04 AM »
How about floating out the payment issue well before you make plans:  "Hey all - I'd like to throw the annual holiday party again this year.  How do you feel about sharing the cost of the rental hall and I'll handle the food and beverages?  If everyone contributes $10, I can book the hall, but I don't want to book the hall until I have the money in hand.  Let me know by XX date if you want to participate and I'll send you my Paypal info."

If the money comes in, you book the hall.  If not, you look at alternate plans.