DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 51-year-old woman who has a lot of friends. I've been to engagement parties, weddings, baptisms, first communions, kids' birthdays up to the age of 18, etc. I'm blessed to have so many friends. I have never been married or have kids. I do not make a lot of money, and my friends know that.
I have dear friends in Australia who are paying my way next year to stay with them for 3 1/2 weeks. I am not a selfish person, but the idea came to me that, given all the things I've been going to, I thought it might be my turn to have a celebration for me.
My friends from Australia are giving me money for my expenses for the weeks that I will be gone. I would be able to use that money for spending.
GENTLE READER: How fortunate you are to have those spontaneously generous friends in Australia.
And how sad it is that instead of inspiring gratitude, this leads you to begrudge your own past generosity and think about extracting payback from other friends. If that's the way you believe that friendship should work, Miss Manners suggests that you start worrying about the time when your hosts tally what they spent on you and plot to get an equivalent return.