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Manners of Paying for Dinner

Keep yourself and your friends in check.

By
Trent Armstrong,
November 9, 2009
Episode #103

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Modern Manners Guy back with another trip into the mail e-bag. Have you ever eaten dinner? Ooh. Wait, there's more. Have you ever eaten dinner and then had a fight over who was going to pay the bill? In this episode I'll take a look at some different dinner scenarios and discuss who should pay.

Who Should Pay the Dinner Bill?

I recently received an email from a friend of the podcast who had a particular problem. She says:

Hi, Modern Manners Guy. I have a few older friends who I go out to eat with once or twice a year, and they always insist on paying the whole check.  I don't want to be disingenuous, but should I be putting up a fight when a friend offers to pay the bill?

Dear listener, good for you for having friends who care for you! One thing to remember in your situation is that it's okay to be doted on a little. There will certainly come a time when you graduate or get a higher paying job and will be able to buy dinner for them or someone else.

Manners of Paying: Group Outing

This is a common question, though so let's look at a few different types of group dining experiences. The first of which is the friendly meetup. When a few folks decide to head to the same eatery around the same time and sit near each other while eating, the expectation should be that everyone is going "dutch" or paying for him-or herself.

Unless the outing is couched as a proper date, it is poor manners to expect someone is going to pay for your meal. You should always have the means to cover your portion of the bill. Even if you are getting vibes that someone has interest in you and might offer to pay as a sort of date experience, you should always be prepared to pay for your own food.

Even if you are getting vibes that someone has interest in you and might offer to pay, you should always be prepared to pay for your own food.

You shouldn't go if you can't afford it. You should just wait until the next time.

Frequently, on non-date occasions, one party will snatch up the check when it arrives. At that point there is usually a little game that ensues. The second party gives a "tsk-tsk" and talks about how it would be much better if they paid for their own food. Then there is a little argument that should be graciously lost by the second party with the intent of purchasing the next meal.

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