Annie’s Mailbox: Birthday party invitation comes with food request

Dear Annie: My husband and I received a printed invitation from a friend to attend her husband’s surprise birthday party. Before I had a chance to RSVP, she emailed, saying she hoped we could come and, if so, asked that I bring an appetizer. I was taken aback and didn’t realize I was co-hosting this party.

Should I respond that we’ll:

1. Attend with the appetizer and birthday gift?

2. Attend, decline on the appetizer, but promise to send money to offset the cost of food and inquire if there will be a cash bar?

3. Send regrets?

I guess I’m having a problem with asking guests to provide the food. I could understand bringing something if a bunch of friends decided as a group to have a potluck or if I had volunteered to cook. What am I to do? – Unwilling Co-Host

Dear Unwilling: It is OK to tell your friend you would love to attend the party but prefer not to be responsible for feeding her guests. However, if this is a very close friend, it would be gracious of you to agree to her request, even though it was totally inappropriate of her to put you on the spot. Maintaining friendships sometimes requires overlooking such impositions.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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