‘I’m cursed’: My friend canceled Christmas lunch — now we’re on the hook for a 50% restaurant deposit. He expects us to split it. Is that fair?

December 25, 2023 | by


In this article, titled “‘I’m cursed’: My friend canceled Christmas lunch — now we’re on the hook for a 50% restaurant deposit. He expects us to split it. Is that fair?” the author explores a predicament faced by an individual who has been left in a difficult situation due to the cancellation of their Christmas lunch by a friend. Not only is the person left without plans for the day, but they are also burdened with a 50% restaurant deposit that they had made on behalf of the group. The author raises the question of whether it is fair for the individual to be expected to cover the cost of the deposit alone or if it should be divided amongst the entire group.

‘I’m cursed’: My friend canceled Christmas lunch — now we’re on the hook for a 50% restaurant deposit. He expects us to split it. Is that fair?

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Setting the Context

In the midst of the holiday season, a group of friends had made plans for a joyous Christmas lunch. However, their plans took an unexpected turn when one friend canceled at the last minute, leaving the rest of the group on the hook for a 50% deposit made to the restaurant. This unforeseen circumstance has resulted in a dilemma that raises questions of fairness and financial responsibility.

Explanation of the Dilemma

The dilemma at hand revolves around whether it is fair for the remaining friends to split the 50% restaurant deposit after one member of the group canceled their attendance. This unexpected financial burden has left the group in a difficult position, as they are now faced with either absorbing the cost themselves or dividing it amongst them. It is important to analyze the different perspectives and considerations in order to determine the fairest course of action.

Background Information

Explanation of the Tradition of Christmas Lunch

Christmas lunch holds a significant place in many people’s holiday celebrations. It is a time for friends and family to come together, share a meal, and enjoy each other’s company. This tradition often involves making reservations at restaurants well in advance.

Details of the 50% Restaurant Deposit

As part of the reservation process, the restaurant required a 50% deposit from the group to secure their booking. This deposit was intended to ensure that the group would honor their commitment and offset any potential losses for the restaurant in the event of a cancellation.

How the Deposit was Mistakenly Made

Due to a miscommunication or oversight, the deposit was made by one member of the group on behalf of everyone. However, when the cancellation occurred, the group was faced with the challenge of how to handle the already-paid deposit.

The Dilemma

Feeling Left Alone on Christmas Day

The cancellation of Christmas lunch by one friend has left the rest of the group feeling disappointed and even abandoned. They had looked forward to spending this special day together, and now they find themselves without plans.

Unexpected Financial Burden

The 50% restaurant deposit, which was intended to secure the reservation, has now become an unexpected financial burden for the remaining friends. They had not anticipated having to cover the entire cost themselves and may face financial strain as a result.

Questioning the Fairness

The core dilemma lies in the question of fairness. Is it fair for the remaining friends to be responsible for splitting the deposit when one member canceled their attendance? Should the friend who canceled assume some financial responsibility for their decision?

Analysis of Fairness

Considering Personal Circumstances

To determine fairness, it is essential to consider the personal circumstances of each individual involved. Financial situations, prior commitments, and the value placed on the tradition of Christmas lunch may vary among friends.

Evaluating the Friend’s Responsibility

The friend who canceled holds a degree of responsibility for their decision and the subsequent financial burden it has placed on the group. It is important to evaluate whether they have acted in good faith and if they should contribute to the cost of the deposit.

Assessing the Impact on Relationships

The resolution of this dilemma has the potential to impact the relationships within the group. It is crucial to weigh the fairness of the financial decision against the potential strain it may place on these relationships.

Weighing the Financial Consequences

Splitting the deposit among the remaining friends may have significant financial consequences for each individual. It is important to consider the affordability and the potential impact on each person’s financial well-being.

Alternatives to Splitting the Deposit

Seeking a Replacement to Take the Friend’s Place

One alternative to splitting the deposit is to find a replacement for the friend who canceled. If another person can attend the Christmas lunch and take their spot, it may alleviate the financial burden on the remaining friends.


Negotiating with the Restaurant for a Refund or Credit

The group could also explore the possibility of negotiating with the restaurant for a refund or credit. Given the unforeseen circumstances and the potential loss of future business, the restaurant may be willing to accommodate such a request.

Finding Other Friends to Share the Cost

Another option is to seek participation from other friends or acquaintances who may be interested in joining the Christmas lunch. By sharing the cost of the deposit among a larger group, the financial burden for each individual could be reduced.

Considering the Friend’s Responsibility

Examining the Friend’s Role in the Cancellation

Analyzing the friend’s role in the cancellation can help determine their level of responsibility. If the cancellation was due to valid and unforeseen circumstances, their financial responsibility may be different compared to a cancellation without a legitimate reason.

Assessing the Friend’s Financial Capacity

The financial capacity of the friend who canceled should also be taken into account. If they are in a position to contribute to the cost of the deposit without significant hardship, it may be reasonable to expect them to do so.

Reevaluating the Friendship

The actions of the friend who canceled and their response to the financial implications can shed light on the nature of the friendship. It is worth considering whether their behavior aligns with the values of trust, consideration, and mutual support that are often associated with close friendships.

Discussing the Issue with the Friend

Initiating a Conversation about the Deposit

Having an open and honest conversation with the friend who canceled is essential to address the financial burden placed on the group. This discussion can provide an opportunity for both parties to express their perspectives and concerns.

Expressing Feelings and Concerns

During the conversation, it is important for the remaining friends to express their feelings and concerns regarding the financial burden. Clear communication can help facilitate a balanced and fair resolution that takes everyone’s perspective into account.

Exploring Possible Solutions

Engaging in a constructive dialogue can lead to the exploration of potential solutions. It may be possible to find a compromise or alternative arrangement that is fair and satisfactory to all parties involved.

Exploring Legal Options

Researching the Legality of Splitting the Deposit

If the discussions with the friend do not yield a satisfactory resolution, it may be necessary to explore the legal options available. Researching the applicable laws and regulations surrounding deposit refunds can provide clarity on the legality of splitting the deposit.

Consulting a Lawyer for Advice

To fully understand the legal implications and potential outcomes, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer specializing in contract law or consumer protection. Their expertise can guide the group in making informed decisions regarding the deposit.

Understanding the Legal Standing of the Deposit

An exploration of the legal standing of the deposit can help determine the rights and obligations of all parties involved. This understanding can inform the group’s decision-making process and assist in finding a fair resolution.

Lessons Learned

Reflecting on this experience can provide valuable lessons for the group and future decision-making. It is important to consider how to avoid similar situations in the future, such as establishing clear guidelines for deposit payments and addressing potential cancellations in advance.


Determining a Resolution

Resolving the dilemma of splitting the 50% restaurant deposit requires careful consideration of various factors, including personal circumstances, fairness, financial impact, and the friend’s responsibility. Open and honest communication, exploring alternatives, and potentially seeking legal advice may be necessary to reach a satisfactory resolution.

Reflecting on Fairness

The group must strive to find a resolution that is fair to all parties involved. This fairness extends beyond the financial aspect and includes considering the impact on relationships and the values that underpin the friendship.

Considering Future Plans and Trust

The outcome of this dilemma can shape the group’s future plans and the level of trust within the friendship. Moving forward, it is important to learn from this experience and establish clear expectations and guidelines to ensure a harmonious and fair group dynamic.

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