Going Dutch with Friends

Modern Manners Guy tackles the tricky topic of Going Dutch...with friends.

Richie Frieman
2-minute read


Most people associate “Going Dutch” with dating, but there is more to this concept than romance. For example, this past weekend I met a good friend for a movie. I bought the tickets ahead of time, and when we got to the theater, he offered to buy the popcorn. It was an even exchange of funds and we didn’t think twice about it. However, I understand that when it comes to opposite sexes meeting up for a meal or event, Going Dutch takes on a whole other hue. 

In short, Going Dutch means I pay for me and you pay for you. If you eat a lobster dish, while I eat a burger, you pay your way and I pay mine.  Not, “You asked me to come out with you… so you should pay.” Nor is it based on gender roles. In fact in a recent Modern Manners Guy episode called Should I Bring a Friend as a Wedding Date? I mentioned my friend Charlie who was asked to be a date for a wedding by a strictly platonic friend, but ended up paying for the entire night, as if they were involved in a romantic relationship.

In this example, the two were supposed to be Going Dutch, but since Charlie paid for parking, drinks, tips, etc., he was essentially taken advantage of. And this is where you need to draw the line.  Going Dutch means splitting things down the middle – or based on what one person does versus the other. Does parking cost more than the tip for the coat check employee? Sure it does. So make up for it somewhere else, like a drink later that night or a larger piece of the tip for a meal. It’s simply improper to take advantage of someone’s naivety or niceness by bending the rules of Going Dutch.

When you find yourself in a situation where someone doesn’t quite get the concept of Going Dutch, feel free to point it out. Try something like, “Since I got parking, you want to grab the first round of drinks?” Or, “Do you want to split an order of onion rings to start out?” It may seem tacky to constantly keep a tally of who paid for what out loud. So if you feel uncomfortable, take a subtler approach, “Sure, we can split the meal, but since you had the lobster, you want to pick up the taxi?

If you think it’s rude to speak up, think again. It’s much unmannerly to get taken advantage of and let someone treat you like a walking, talking ATM.

Do you have a great story about Going Dutch?  Post all the details in the comment section of the Modern Manners Guy web site or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

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