Figuring Out the Bill at a Large Group Dinner

Modern Manner's Guy's classy way to handle the "tug-of-war" over the bill when dining at a restaurant with a group.

Richie Frieman,
June 19, 2012

Figuring Out the Bill at a Large Group Dinner

If you're going out with friends for dinner, figuring out the bill can be tricky. The key is to know ahead of time what kind of gathering you’ll be attending.

If it’s a casual meal with a few folks who 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.

However, frequently, one party will snatch up the check when it arrives. At that point, a little game 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.This little tug of war is a nice way of expressing gratitude and humility, but don't play the game if you fully intend to lose every time. That is disingenuous, selfish, and deceitful. And it will result in far fewer invitations to dinner.

Also, it's very important to not take things too far. It is polite to tug a little, but graciously conceding is just as important as offering to pay for yourself. A "thank you" and an offer to get the next meal should be sufficient.

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