DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to a charity fundraising dinner by "Rich Friend 1." This is not an event I was otherwise planning to attend because of the cost, although I make a modest financial contribution annually to that charity and provide many hours of manual labor for it as well (between 50 and 60 hours a year).
A few days later, another lady who was a paying attendee, "Rich Friend 2," asked me how much I had donated during the event. Fortunately our conversation was interrupted and I did not have to reply. She pressed the question on me again a few days after that, and did so in front of mutual friends.
My response was a smile and "I can't imagine why that's important to you, but in any case I was very pleased with how much was raised." She then said Rich Friend 1 would like to know also. I then said, "Hmmm, she hasn't asked me." Rich Friend 2 then told me that a guest at a charity dinner is expected to donate money, which makes me think she already knew that I had not donated on that occasion.
I smiled again and said that I had not been her guest and truly feel it is my business (read: not your business) how much I donate to charity.
Is Rich Friend 2 correct that an invited non-paying guest to a charity event is expected to donate money at the event? Am I off base for finding Rich Friend 2's question rude and not one that required me to divulge the information requested? If Rich Friend 1 asks me the same question, what would be an appropriate response?
GENTLE READER: Your friends are not very charitable, are they? Not to mention being inhospitable and nosy.
Although guests may be invited to such events in the hope that they will become interested in the charity, there is no charge for being a guest. And you are already a donor, not just of money, but more significantly, of your time.
Miss Manners' advice, then, is to continue deflecting rude interrogations, and perhaps to run with a better crowd.