When is it ok to say no to going out for lunch with colleagues? Is it ever ok?
Today, I got invited to go to lunch with the team. It was an informal lunch. As always, I agreed. A few moments later, I sat back at my desk and thought of all the bills I had to pay and the savings that Vie and I had talked about. I opened up on my online banking, pulled out a calculator and ruled out all the bills/expenses that needed to be taken care of through this pay check. At the end of it all, I realized I would only have $60 spending money this pay period.
Today is the beginning of the pay period and if I went out to lunch today, I would spend close to $20, which would leave $40 for the next 2 weeks. So, I told my boss, “Sorry, but I really don’t think it would be a good idea for me to come out to lunch with the team today.” She asked why and I told her I’m in saving mode and don’t think it’s convenient right now. She said ok and they left.
A little while after they left, I got a call on my cell phone and it was her again. She asked me if I was going to drive there and surprise them and I said no, I’m really not coming. Her next response is what bothered me. She said, “Well you’ve really offended everyone by bailing out on the last-minute.” I apologized and said, “I really didn’t want to; however, my financial situation does not allow me to go out for casual lunches.” She said, “What’s $5, $10 going to hurt?” We went back and forth a couple of times and then she sounded as if she was mad and said ok, bye.
Maybe I handled this situation wrong and should’ve just said, I brought my lunch and don’t want to waste it. But if I said that I was in saving mode and didn’t think it was a good idea, why was I asked over and over again? Why was I forced to explain my financial situation? Why wasn’t a NO, enough?
For the rest of the day, I can bet my life on it, I will be treated as an outcast for not attending the lunch. But why can’t these colleagues/friends just understand that not everyone’s financial situation allows them to eat out every day?
I guess, I’m just making a big fuss over it. Maybe it’s not as bad as I’m predicting it to be. But regardless of that, why would anyone get offended if one person bails?