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How to Split the Check With Friends

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Who doesn’t love hanging out with friends and going to dinner with a big bunch of them is usually great for a laugh. Or two. But the laughter usually stops when the check comes. First you realize how much you ate and drank and then if the server hasn’t already done so, you have to figure out how to split everything up. Sometimes someone ends up paying for more and we can all name one person who ends up eating or drinking a lot and not paying their way. Here’s how to split up the check and do it in a graceful manner.

1. Default – Split everything equally among the number of people. Over time, the differences are just a wash. To make this one work, avoid the above mentioned glutton.

2. Do Choose Something Affordable – Not everyone makes the same amount of money and not everyone’s life costs the same amount of money, so try and find a restaurant that everyone can afford. I knew a woman who would always be going out to dinner and say, “I’d invite you, but you can’t afford it.” Wow. Thanks. As if I needed to feel worse about broke. Finding a place is super easy with services like Open Table. Just a few clicks and you can filter restaurants by dollar amount.

3. Don’t Expect Subsidization – If you get the surf and turf or the tasting menu with wine on a regular basis and your friends get soup and salad or a sandwich and an appetizer with red wine, don’t expect them to subsidize your expensive taste, so if this is the case, you should insist on paying more.

4. Do Pay Attention – Pay attention to what your friends are ordering. If there is one that is getting an appetizer and a glass of wine and five that are each getting the foie gras and a bottle of wine, have Appetizer Annie just pay for hers and the rest of you split the more expensive portion of the bill.

5. Don’t Get the Short End of the Stick – If you’re routinely having to pay more than your fair share, say something but be polite. Just explain that you’re more comfortable covering only what you ordered. Same way if you always have a soda and everyone else had six rounds of drinks. You shouldn’t have to pay for alcohol you didn’t drink.

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