Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates



Dear Urban Diplomat: My friends’ kid damaged my basement wall, but they didn’t offer to pay for the repairs. What gives?

Dear Urban Diplomat: My friends' kid damaged my basement wall, but they didn't offer to pay for the repairs. What gives?

(Image: slworking2)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I recently had friends and their two boys over for dinner. While we ate, the kids played in the basement, and one of them threw the other into the wall, badly denting the drywall. The parents seemed vaguely embarrassed but mostly amused, and didn’t offer to pay for repairs. We’re incensed. What should we do?

—Double Income, Definitely No Kids, Davisville

The parents should have offered payment, which you, as polite hosts, should have refused. Since neither of those civilized responses were forthcoming, you now have two choices. The nuclear option is to send them the repair bill. Do this and you won’t ever have to worry about them coming over for dinner again. In addition, you’ll gain a reputation among your circle of friends as a tactless ­tightwad. Option two is to opt for restaurants or their place for future engagements until such time as the boys are no longer expected to accompany their parents to dinner parties.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at

  • horizoncarrie

    Why not ask them to help you repair it. If it was just a dent, its easy to fix on your own without calling a contractor.

  • Casey

    Ask them for recommendation for affordable contractors to put it in their heads that you do in fact need to fix it and it does cost money

  • Diamond

    Well, how about being honest, communicative and diplomatic – and kindly ask them whether they would mind paying for or sharing in the expense of the repairs. If not the issue is not addressed, you will just end up carrying a negative feeling and it will eventually backfire. Don’t put a serious face on when you mention it, do it when you’re having a glass of nice wine – you’re friends after all, you should be able to talk to one another :) And if they’re true friends, they won’t mind.