I’m currently on a vacation with two of my friends - as would be expected, we’re trying to keep costs as equally spread out as possible.

When I originally planned the trip, I was planning on going alone - and had one special hotel on the trip that’s rather expensive (about $300). When I invited the other two friends, they told me they didn’t want to spend that much for the hotel, but I told them that it was okay because I was willing to pay for it all, because I was going to by myself originally anyway. I figured this was because they aren’t as financially well off as me, so I didn’t mind (though I did ask them to contribute what they could to it).

Fast forward to today, we’re in the middle of the trip with three days left. My friend told me she wants to go on a tour that would be even more expensive than my hotel pick, and when I mentioned that it was more expensive, she said directly that she’s willing to pay more for her tour than contribute her even share to my hotel.

As such, the hotel cost has not been included in the running tally of costs - we have a ledger of what everyone spends to try to keep the spending even, and because of our original conversation, it wasn’t marked down.

I feel like I have been cheated, as I offered to pay for the hotel because I thought they wanted to be frugal on the trip. Now it seems that’s not the case, as long as it’s THEIR thing they spend money on.

How can I approach my friends about this? All I would expect for is for the hotel to be counted on the running ledger, so it’s accurate to what we each spend. I don’t want to burn any bridges just yet however, since there are a few days left in the trip.

  • 1
    Have they lived in your hotel room? Apr 5, 2018 at 13:06
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    @Raditz_35 I don’t mean to be spiteful, it’s just that my understanding of their finances was wrong. I don’t mind paying for people who can’t pay, but I have an issue with paying for people who won’t. I thought the case was the former, but now I know it was that latter. In any case, I’d just like to let them know how I feel without being spiteful, and just see what they say. If I get a no, then fine, but at least I’ve said my part. Apr 5, 2018 at 13:23
  • @DeutcheKnabe yes. They spent the night, had the included sauna and breakfast, etc. Apr 5, 2018 at 13:23
  • @vavskjuta Just to be clear, you all stayed in the one room that you had already booked for yourself? You didn't book rooms for each of them?
    – user9837
    Apr 5, 2018 at 13:25
  • @Raditz_35 good point. Although, I’m not sure the best way to word it I guess - that’s probably part of my issue lol. I can’t decide what exactly I want to say, I just want them to know how I feel. That being said, I think Link got to the crux of the matter, which is what I was leaning toward anyway. Apr 5, 2018 at 13:50

4 Answers 4


I feel like I have been cheated, as I offered to pay for the hotel because I thought they wanted to be frugal on the trip.

I'd like to challenge this. Think about it from your friends point of view. In the initial discussion of the trip, they did not find staying in the nice hotel to be important enough to warrant spending $300. They offered an alternative (a cheaper hotel) but you offered to just pay for it.

This does not mean they couldn't afford the nice hotel, or that they didn't want to spend $300 on the trip, it probably just means that while vacationing they felt that their money would be better spent on activities rather than a hotel room.

Your offer to pay for the hotel was very generous, but realistically after you offer to pay it becomes a gift, their motivations for wanting or not wanting a particular hotel are immaterial.

Now on to your question:

How can I approach my friends about this?

Your best bet here is to bring up to your friends that you misunderstood their intentions.

Hey Bob and Joanne, I decided to stick with this hotel because I thought that it was beyond the budget of everyone's vacation. If I had realized it was affordable but just unwanted, I might have picked something else with the rest of you. Lets try to communicate about this better for the next trip.

It's important to not place blame or any expectation for payment because you already offered to pay without any clarification of their reasoning. Now, your friends might very well offer to contribute more once your feelings are clear, but they would also be perfectly in the right to just apologize for the misunderstanding and carry on with their day.

In short, I think the best course of action here is to bring up the nature of the misunderstanding and hope for the best. If they decide to contribute more, great. If not, chalk it up to experience. A bit of money which you were already planning to spend anyway is probably not worth the strain to your friendship or the negative impact it would have on the rest of your trip.


Why cheated? If she didn't want to spend that much for a hotel it doesn't mean that she wouldn't spend that amount of money in a way she finds more appropriate.

You thought that she didn't want to pay for the hotel because of her lack of money, but this was just a wrong view from your side.

You already said that you will take care of it, so I don't see any reason for changing the plan. My personal point of view: I wouldn't ruin the travel or, even worse, the friendship, for a 300$ hotel. You enjoyed it? good, that's it.

  • While you're right in this case, knowing when to let sleeping dogs lie and when to enforce boundaries when people take advantage of you is an important skill. Your answer doesn't explain why this particular case is one the OP should let slide.
    – Kevin
    Apr 5, 2018 at 19:27
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    @Kevin it does: “this was just a wrong view from your side“ - or is being wrong not a good reason to let it go?
    – DonQuiKong
    Apr 5, 2018 at 19:36
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    It's easy for some people to tell themselves that their view is "wrong" when, in reality, they're being taken advantage of and letting their boundaries be trampled. If you can explain why the OP's view is wrong in this case (they didn't communicate their expectations when they offered to pay for the hotel, so it's unreasonable to add those expectations now), I think your answer will avoid sounding at all like someone should just roll over in conflicts like this in all or most situations.
    – Kevin
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:27
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    @Kevin, I'm not convinced that "when people take advantage of you" is actually what happened here, assuming you're using that phrase in its negative connotation. What appears to have happened is that they made it clear they didn't want to spend that sort of money on accommodation (with no indication of why) and you said you'd cover it (with no indication of why). They took you up on your generous offer, they did not take advantage of you, they just took advantage of your generosity, which is in no way negative. My friends often make offers like that (as do I) and it balances eventually.
    – user10819
    Apr 7, 2018 at 9:40

The term "cheated" is probably not exactly what you mean? Rather than cheated, this felt more of feeling "under-valued"? Or feeling oneself is taken for granted? Sorry I don't really know the right word for it and I might be wrong about my interpretations, but I felt some underlying issues...

You have stated that you friend doesn't want to spend too much on hotel. And many have explained that it is likely due to a value perspective differences between you and your friends, and yea... I agreed on it as well.

Maybe you have left out few more details here. But what I think the issue is, lacking of communication in your friend and her having a thought that "you will be fine with it".

Consider the following scenario:

Friend A: Hey, let's go out for supple! 
Friend B: Aww... sorry, I am on a diet... 
Friend C: Hey guys, McDonald is having a McNuggets offer at 6 for $3. Let's 
go for it! 
Friend B: Oh... okay yea, sounds a good deal. Sure! 

As much as the reasoning seems that Friend B agreed to go because of the deal, but Friend A could easily thought otherwise.

  • Why does Friend B rejected me? Does Friend A mentioned he/she's on diet?
  • Is it really because of the deal, or it is because of Friend C who asked?
  • And so on...

While Friend A can be thought as being too sensitive, but likely this kind of scenario won't be just happening once. Friend A probably will not be saying anything at all (because of scaring of being thought as too sensitive). Eventually, all those will add up, and gradually, Friend A will be drifting off from Friend B and C, while both of them be clueless on why is that so.

On the other hand, I am not indicating that Friend B is not valuing the friendship neither he/she does anything wrong by going for the McDonald's deal despite mentioning he/she is on diet. But he/she could do is by giving some explanations and asking back Friend A. For example:

Friend B: Oh, that's super tempting. McDonald hardly has any deals. Aww... 
Hey Friend A, I am sorry. I am going to take back my words about dieting 
for... tonight. Let's go for this delicious and super-tempting McNuggets! 
Yea? Are you okay about this? It's MC-NUGGETS...!!

Of course there will be many ways to explain, depending on your style. But many might would have think this action is not needed or troublesome. Yes, but this would make the friendship last longer because you are respecting and showing you value the friendship.

People might argue that true friendship will understand what you thinking and words are not needed. Yea, depending on the closeness and context. But no as well, as you will accidentally be taking the friendship for granted. People tends to change due to many reasons, so always don't assume you know the other person just because you have knew him/her for 20 years.


After a long essay, I agreed with what Link0352 posted that you should clear the misunderstanding with your friends. And then, try not to think so much at the moment and just enjoy your trip first...!


I told them that it was okay because I was willing to pay for it all.

That's it, man, game over :-)

Your reasons for telling them that are pretty much irrelevant, since it appears you didn't provide this information to them at the time.

It may well be that they decided to spend the extra money because you had graciously saved them some money.

If you now go to them and say you feel cheated (or just say they should be putting in some money that you had promised they didn't have to), that's not going to make you look very good.

I don’t want to burn any bridges.

That's a good attitude to have. Unfortunately, it means sucking up the costs without complaint.

You want to know the best definition for a real friend? Someone who will give you a non-damaging sum of money with no real expectation of getting it back. That's why I always tell people to try that with their "friends" on social media, to educate them on what the word actually means :-)

My advice is to write it off. You went into this with eyes wide open regarding what you would be paying.

And, next time, assuming it bothers you, just don't make the offer. If they're reticent to spend large on the accommodation, organise it so that they stay in a cheaper hotel somewhere nearby.

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