The process of splitting the check can ruin the most pleasant dinner.
Dining out with friends can quickly turn disagreeable, when the check is presented. And, depending on how everyone handles this all too frequent occurrence, relationships and stomachs can turn sour.
Q: If I only order a salad and soft drink, why am I expected to pitch in an equal portion?
A: If you are on a tight budget where every dollar counts, consider speaking up before everyone places their order.
If it’s a one-time get-together, or once or twice per year, let it go and split the bill.
Adjust your attitude before accepting the invitation, order equal to your dining companions and enjoy the meal.
If money is a legitimate concern: Be honest with your dining companion(s) from the beginning. You don’t have to dump or disclose your financial woes (that’s a good way to put a downer on the party).
Options on how to split the check:
• I’ve been out too often this month, I have to start watching it.
• I’m realizing that saving a couple of dollars here and there, really adds up. (Carry cash; small bills so that you can quickly add up your portion and lay it on the table.)
• Why don’t we put it on separate bills this time. (Request it when the server takes your order.)
• Never go out to dinner with them again (or suggest meeting for breakfast, lunch, or maybe just for dessert).
• Use the old “honesty” approach: my meal is considerably less, so here’s what I owe. (Adding an additional couple of dollars won’t hurt and shows that you ARE NOT trying to be cheap, just fair.)
• If it’s the same dilemma time after time, then bite the bullet and have a “go for it” dinner. Order similar items, if you don’t drink, order dessert, and just accept that you’re splitting the check.
• If the relationship is long-term (and you wish to maintain it), it has many positive aspects, or it’s a family member, where the “unbalanced” split-check is the only drawback, then I say, split it, attribute it as part of their charm, and move on.
Final thoughts: Check out Venmo and other apps to pay your pals.
Consider this the next time you ask your server to pay separately: It him/her 9 times to complete the process! Taking time away from assisting other tables; possibly affecting their tip.
Another way to look at this expenditure, is as an investment. You are investing in friendships, maintaining relationships, and having a good time.
Helping Businesses and Individuals Find Success Through Better Communication and Social Skills
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”
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