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The Cost of Doing Friendship – Signed Contract Required

Also syndicated at BonBon Break
Dear Parents of School Friends,

It has come to my attention that the door has officially been opened for parents to cut loose their crazy and start charging other parents for things that at one time (last week) used to be be considered the ‘cost’ of maintaining ‘normal’ friendships.  I feel that it is my responsibility to protect our family from the possibility that you too may one day try to express your parental frustration through a passive-aggressive invoicing system.  Because of this, we are asking that all of the parents of our kids’ friends sign this simple contract.  (We would prefer for it to be notarized, of course).

Friendship Contract – For Friends Ages 5-10

 {You}, known as “First Party,” agrees to enter into this contract with {Us}, known as “Second Party” on {date}.

This agreement is based on the following provisions:

  1. First Party will not send invoices for any birthday parties that Second Party fails to attend, even if Second Party totally selected the “Count Us In!” option on Evite and still bailed at the last minute. Perhaps, if First Party is so concerned about the financial impact of children’s birthday parties, they should consider hosting parties at home or requesting that all guests bring their own food and beverages to help offset the costs of unexpected no-shows.
  1. First Party will not charge Second Party directly, nor send invoices, for snacks consumed during play dates at First Party’s residence. This includes, but is not limited to: Gogurts, excessive quantities of Pirate Booty, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, popsicles, hot chocolate, cereal, crackers, Goldfish and pretzels. Exceptions may apply if Second Party consumes 2 (two) or more Go-Go Squeeze Applesauce pouches, because damn those things are expensive.
  1. First Party will not hold Second Party responsible for the value depreciation of toys and/or furniture that experience reasonable wear and tear during play dates at the residence of First Party.  Reasonable wear and tear includes, but is not limited to: fingerprints, general stickiness, popping off of parts that can be popped back on, bending of Pokemon cards that hold a retail value of $1.99 or less, unfolding of an entire linen closet worth of sheets for fort building and limited usage of art supplies (no more than 10% reduction in usable material). Exceptions may apply if Second Party leaves all the caps off of the markers, because seriously kid, put the damn caps back on.
  1. First Party will not hold Second Party responsible for gas, mileage or inconvenience of having to return any items that Second Party left at a play date at First Party’s residence. This includes, but is not limited to: socks, shoes, backpacks, homework, water bottles, lunch boxes, leotards, dress up clothes, hats, clip on earrings, real earrings, rainbow loom bracelets, favorite pens/pencils, rocks and/or stuffed animals. It is acceptable for First Party to immediately dispose of abandoned underwear and be judgey of the Second Party for a period of no less than one year for such an oversight.
  1. First Party will limit ‘general friendship’ charges to: $1/minute for late pick up from play dates and $10 per unscheduled school pick up/drop off (vs the $5 per scheduled school pick up/drop off fee).


We are confident that having all of these issues addressed at the beginning of our ‘friendship’ will help avoid any potential awkwardness moving forward.

This agreement is subject to the laws and regulations of the state of {State}.

Please sign below:



(First Party)


Like posts about issues with kids’ birthday parties?  You should read this post about how to get out of doing Thank You notes for your kid’s next party.


Once upon a time, Susanne Kerns was a Senior Account Director at an advertising agency working for two of the top brands in the world.  Nine years ago she traded in her corporate life for a life as a stay at home mom, raising two of the best kids in the world.  She started her blog, The Dusty Parachute as a way to dust off her online advertising skills and begin her job search. Instead, she now uses it as a way to spend lots of time on the computer so her kids think that mommy has a job.

Susanne’s essays have been featured in Scary Mommy, BonBon Break and Redbook and she is also a contributor in the upcoming books, It’s Really 10 Months, Special Delivery and Martinis & Motherhood – Tales of Wonder Woe & WTF?!  You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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24 thoughts to “The Cost of Doing Friendship – Signed Contract Required”

  1. Wow! I’m an empty nester and I gave birthday parties every year for my kids as they were growing up. The expense was part of the gift and we never gave it a second thought. This makes me wonder where the heart is in planning a party if you just complain about it after. And…If there were no-shows, well … I wonder why?

  2. I won a year’s supply of Go-Go Squeeze at Disney Social Media Moms last year and every time I open the front door there’s a new delivery (I know, I should get out more). I wish I lived closer to you because I’m constantly buying new friends with them. Though I will certainly be using this contract in future befriending…especially since I’m a serial birthday party screw up. Love it!

    1. Oh man, now that’s a great perk! I think my son could eat 5 of them at a sitting and says that ‘regular’ applesauce just doesn’t taste the same. I’m going to try cramming some ‘regular’ stuff into one of those pouches one of these times and test his theory. 🙂

  3. This had me crying. Looks like we had the same idea. My favorite part was about trying “to express your parental frustration through a passive-aggressive invoicing system” Also the Pokemon cards with a retail value of $1.99 or less & “Exceptions may apply if Second Party consumes 2 (two) or more Go-Go Squeeze Applesauce pouches, because damn those things are expensive.” You seem quite reasonable & fair in your friendship contract.

    1. If all of those exceptions seem very specific it’s because they are custom tailored to my daily life. (I apologized for an hour the last time I found out my daughter asked someone for a GoGo Squeeze – those are for VIPs only!) Now sign the contact so our kids can hang out and play! 🙂

  4. That story killed me. Sometimes people just make me shake my head, of course we’ll need to sign a contract to agree about that now won’t we. 😉

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