I have hosted and attended many bridal showers. Lately, I’ve noticed that hosts frequently ask attendees to pay a flat fee to cover the costs of food, drink, décor, party favors, etc. I’d like to think I’m generous. I have no issue covering my food, drinks or special activities, but it irks me to be asked to pay for things like party favors. Am I cheap, or should hosts incur some costs?

K.

Traditionally, the maid of honor or all bridesmaids host (and pay!) for the bridal shower. But I, too, have noticed the trend toward pay-to-play bridal showers, birthday parties and other occasions, where hosts ask attendees to pay their share of the total costs. I can’t tell you why this has happened. Perhaps parties have grown more lavish, hosts have grown poorer or online payments have become extremely easy.

I don’t think you’re cheap — and I’m certain I will receive several (very angry) letters about hosts asking guests to chip in. Maybe the best way to think about this, though, is that our culture is always changing, and so are its parties. No one is forcing hosts to spread costs among guests, and invitees can always refuse invitations they don’t like. But for many this particular ship has already sailed.

At least once a week, someone steals my sandwich from the communal fridge in our office break room. I bring lunch to save money, so it’s doubly annoying that I have to pay for two! How do you feel about notes on refrigerator doors asking thieves to cease and desist?

HUNGRY

It can’t hurt, right? If the person taking your sandwich is a hardened thief, a note will probably have little effect. But if this person is doing the wrong thing without thinking about it, maybe clouded by laziness or hunger, your note may help: “I’m hungry too! Please don’t steal my sandwich.”


For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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