My sister had just gone through a traumatic experience and recently come home after being away for a few months. My husband and I wanted to spend some quality time with her. Talk things over, tell her we loved her, stuff like that. We invited only two of our closest friends to join us. We all met at my parents house so we wouldn’t run the risk of running into our other friends and offending them by not having invited them. Well, one of our not-so-close friends, “Lydia,” must have heard my sister was in town and dropped by to see her. She wasn’t someone we saw regularly, and although we liked her just fine, I groaned and wondered how the heck we were going to avoid a tag-a-long. We kept quiet about our lunch date, but Lydia asked my sister what we were up to and there it went. Lydia excitedly invited herself (or rather pushed my sister to invite her) to come with us. “Well, OK,” I thought. “A lot of effort for nothing, but it’s better not to hurt her feelings.” And we really were broke back then, so we couldn’t afford to do another lunch date for awhile. Oh well. So we go out to eat, the six of us now, not able to have the heart-to-heart we wanted to have.
Then the waitress comes back with the check. “Will that be separate checks?” We were paying for my sister and one of the two close friends. That was already understood before we left. Lydia looks at us helplessly. “Don’t you have money” someone asks. “Yes. I have money.” Good. “Ok, so not a problem.” Wrong. “I only have a debit card.” Uh… “So you do have money in your account, right?” Did she want a freebie or what? I had no idea. “Yeah,” she replies, with a tone of exasperation. “But I only have a debit card!” This went back and forth for a little while, till we were all so uncomfortable that my husband finally decided it would be easiest if he paid for her and avoided ever going out to eat with her again. She had a full-time job, no rent, no car insurance or other bills to worry about. We were broke. So weird. And awkward. Ugh.
This happened one more time, but not to us. But we were there. Still awkward.
Beth the Other Admin