I recently had a couple stay with us from out of town. They were not invited guests, per se. They were friends who chose to visit (e.g.: we are coming to town for a visit) and by default, our place was the only option (other than a hotel).
So far, all good - no issues. We spent a few days prior prepping for their arrival - all the usual things - washing linens, cleaning bathrooms, clearing out space, etc.
I had another thread on the Home Cooking board, where I asked for food suggestions for them during their visit - as it was my desire to make them feel welcome and comfortable.
They came in late Friday, and I had snacks waiting for them. It was late (after 9pm) and they arrived straight for the airport. We noshed on crackers/several kinds of cheeses/salami and hummus/veggies, mixed nuts, and another friend brought over mini cheesecakes.
The next morning we headed to breakfast. There were 5 of us in total (the couple, us, and the friend from the night before (a lady)). When it came time to pay for the check, the male house guest announced he'd like to cover the tab for the lady... and long story short, we ended up splitting the tab evenly between the house guest couple and ourselves (it was my suggestion to split it evenly vs 3 and 2- which I was happy to do).
We parted ways for the afternoon, with the intent to reconvene in the evening around dinnertime. So, my husband and I decided to host a bbq - the same lady from breakfast would be in attendance as well as another couple who are mutual friends of everyone. We spent the afternoon shopping for the supplies and prepping and had a wonderful evening surrounded by great food, good wine, and pleasant company. So far, all good!
Fast forward to the next day - and the situation that rubbed me the wrong way. We met for a late brunch - this time it was us, the house guests, the same lady and another female friend of one of the house guests that was new to the rest of the group. When the bill came, the male house guest picked up the tab for both of the ladies and left my husband and I to take care of our portion.
Had he not picked up the tab for the others, I wouldn't have been AS bothered by this - but, after spending quite a bit of money on their visit, I was taken aback by his lack of reciprocity towards the only people at the table that had been shelling out for his visit.
I will say that as I think about this - I know I'm being especially sensitive as money is tight for us and deciding to go out twice and host the group on Saturday, as well as the snacks on Friday - used a big chunk of our 'food' budget. Which, again, I willingly and knowingly did.
To me, picking up the tab for everyone EXCEPT us communicated an air of ungratefulness on the part of our house guests and the effort we went through in having them stay with us for the weekend. Again, that's not to say that's my expectation of all house guests (to pick up our tab if we go out to eat)... I know everyone's monetary situation is different.
I was starting to think if this was a male/female thing - meaning, the male wanting to pick up the the tab for the females and not picking up our tab because my husband was present?? I know it's not a money thing for the house guests (I know everyone says you really 'can't know someone's financial situation' - but in this case, I do). I also wondered if there was an expectation that their tab be picked up (since they are the visiting guest). I know I don't feel that way when I visit someone (I try to pick up their tab, since I know it takes work to host someone!), but perhaps that's not how everyone feels. Ages range from late 30's to mid 40's.
As I was doing the clean up from their visit - I found myself increasingly annoyed and insulted - and also feeling silly/petty over such a small thing. I switched gears and focused on their visit and the fact they cared to make the trip and spend time together - but the miffed feelings still crop up.
So, 'hounds - I ask you - what's your standard when you host or are house guests? What do you expect of your guests and what do you do in return? And, if you were in a similar situation as mine, would the house guests behavior of excluding you when picking up the tab for everyone else phase you at all?