DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I invited some friends and their significant others to celebrate my birthday, I asked people what date and time would be best, and reserved a nice restaurant based on their availability.
A week before the event, a friend who lives the farthest away called and suggested a different place. She said the original place was "pricey," and that it would be far for her to travel (over an hour). She encouraged me to pick somewhere 30 to 40 minutes from her.
In the end, I did cave and pick a different restaurant, because it was important to me that my lifelong friend be present to celebrate. However, I can't help but be annoyed with her. I have gladly traveled over an hour in the past to locales of her choosing, including to her birthday. If it's truly too expensive for her to have dinner with friends, she could order appetizers only, split the bill with her boyfriend or simply not come.
So what should have been done here? Was it wrong of her to wrangle the host into accommodating her personal concerns? Or was it wrong of me to choose somewhere out of a guest's price range?
GENTLE READER: They were not your guests. Were you the host of this party, as well as the guest of honor, Miss Manners would have supported your indignation that a guest tried to renegotiate the terms.
But you were only asking your friend to buy herself dinner while paying tribute to you. That she wanted to go someplace she could afford seems eminently reasonable. Of the three cost-saving suggestions you mention, Miss Manners would have chosen the third.