A coworker ďJanĒ and I have developed a bit of a friendship outside of work. We chat on Facebook every other day and have dinner or go to a concert about once a month. We get along nicely with all of our coworkers, but Jan and I have developed a much deeper relationship than I have with any others. I keep our outings quiet at work, although I have heard Jan mention it in front of others once. I am not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, plus if they wanted to develop a friendship outside of work hours, I wouldn't reject the idea. I have just never been invited to anything with anyone else.
Another coworker ďMelanieĒ is performing in a concert and has been actively advertising amongst all the coworkers. Melanie has these shows once or twice a year and no one has ever suggested that I attend with them (in fact, I donít think any of my coworkers have ever attended). But I have always wanted to see the show. So, this time around, I invited Jan to attend with me, as my treat, and she excitedly accepted. I have not told Melanie that we are going (partly because we currently work different days), but apparently Jan did, because she came to me with a way to get discount tickets.
I was approached by a third coworker ďEmmaĒ. Emma learned that Jan and I were attending (I believe from Jan) and she wanted to know if she could tag along. I said that I would need to speak with Jan. I am slightly upset that Jan would mention an outing to Emma when she wasnít invited (we know here, that that is rude), but I suppose itís possible that Emma overheard Jan telling Melanie that we are attending. (I have no problem with Melanie knowing; sheís going to find out anyways!) And while I like Emma and actually donít mind that she joins us, I am slightly upset that she basically invited herself (again, we know that that is rude). But I am trying to go with the flow and not get too hung up on the details.
My problem is with the purchase of the tickets. While I offered to pay Janís ticket, I never offered to pay Emmaís. (In fact, Emma did mention that she would pay me back.) I really canít afford to cover all three tickets (mine, Janís, and Emmaís) and I am slightly concerned that other coworkers will find out and that this outing is going to grow in sizeÖ covering four or five tickets will completely blow my budget!!! So, my etiquette question involves tickets. If Emma ends up joining us, do I need to offer to pay her ticket? I donít mind paying for Janís ticket, but I worry that it will get out that I paid for her and then Emma (and maybe others) will be upset. I also donít want to back out of paying for Janís, because this could put her in situation where she canít afford to attend at all. Plus, I asked her to attend as my guest. How would you handle this situation?