When you eat out with other people, do you each pay for your own food and drink or divide the bill up so that everyone makes an equal contribution? How a bill should be split can be a big source of conflict among friends, especially if one person is trying to avoid contributing at all. It can be difficult to know how best to split things up fairly without antagonizing anyone in the process as money can be a touchy subject and people don’t always react well to being prompted for their contribution towards a bill. Here are some tips for dealing with problems that may arise as a result of dividing up the bill.
What to Do When Someone Won’t Pay Their Share
In groups of friends, there is often one person who tries to avoid coming up with their fair share of the bill in the hope that someone else will cover it to avoid rocking the boat. As well as being annoying, this can leave you rather out-of-pocket if they ordered expensive food or drinks while you only had a drink and a cheap bite to eat. If you’re making the effort to eat and drink frugally, it’s understandable that you’ll be peeved if other people don’t, but still expect you to split the bill equally.
Dealing with friends who are blissfully unaware of a problem. While some people are deliberately trying to get out of coughing up the money, others may not actually realize that their lack of contribution is causing issues. If you’ve previously paid for a friend’s meal or drinks, he or she may assume that you’re happy to continue doing so. In this situation, you need to make it clear that the free ride won’t last forever and that you expect him or her to start paying their own way from now on. A few subtle phrases such as ‘That should cover my share’, followed by a move to push the bill in their direction as a nudge may be enough of a prompt to get the message across. If not, it may be time to force the issue a bit more. You may want to consider asking your friend outright whether money is in short supply to see what kind of response you get. I’ve also found that some people don’t remember to include tax and tip when they throw money into the pot. Just a simple statement like, “hey everyone, remember to factor in tax and tip” should easily prompt them to throw in some more money.
Get separate checks. If subtle hints don’t do the trick, think about requesting separate checks so that each member of the party is only billed for their own food and drinks. This way, you’re not responsible for paying anyone else’s bill. If you’re worried about how this might come across, you can always claim that it’ll be easier if everyone can pay via their preferred payment method. This is the main reason why my group of friends tend to ask for individual bills, because we often want to pay in different ways. For example, I may want to pay in cash while another friend may want to use a credit card and said friend may not want to have the full amount charged to her card, even if I’m going to be giving her my share in cash to cover it.
Be cautious. While you may be unhappy with the current situation if someone isn’t paying their way on evenings out, money is often a very sensitive subject and many friendships have been damaged through disagreements relating to it. It can be difficult to approach the subject of someone not paying their way without it seeming as though you’re accusing them of being a freeloader. If you feel that this is genuinely the case, a frank discussion could clear the air but otherwise, a few subtle actions may be the better option to keep your friendship on track.
Before you order anything, it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to paying the bill. If someone has no intention of contributing, it’s better to know this in advance and perhaps go for cheaper menu options to accommodate the fact that you’ll have to cover for them. Ideally, have everyone pay for what they ordered, because this is the fairest way ofdividingup the bill. Have you ever had problems with splitting the bill between friends? My guess is that you have!