1 in 3 People Are Against Splitting the Dinner Bill Evenly—Here's How to Handle It
The key is communicating before you sit down to dinner.
Meeting friends for drinks or dinner is a fun way to unwind and catch up after a busy week. It's an opportunity to try new foods and share what's going on in each other's lives. But eventually, the check will come, and that can sometimes lead to awkwardness or confusion as everyone is unsure how to handle the bill. It may seem like the easiest thing is to split it evenly, but if one person had three martinis and the steak while another had salad and a seltzer, that may not be very fair.
For this reason and others, a new study of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Fogo de Chão found that one in three people are against splitting a dinner evenly. If you fall into this group but are unsure how to address the issue when the check drops, you'll want to keep reading. We spoke to a finance expert and a life coach to find out how you can tactfully pay your fair share.
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Communicate ahead of time.
"Regardless of whether one is thinking about how to split the bill or whether to share food at a restaurant, the key is for the parties to communicate about it before arriving at the restaurant, or at the very least before food or drinks are ordered at the restaurant," says health and wellness coach Ronel Quinn Kelman, NBC-HWC.
Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert, also suggests asking your dinner companions how they'd like to pay, so you know whether to bring cash or a credit card.
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Don't be afraid to put one person in charge.
Even if you and your group make a plan about paying for only what you ordered, there's still the matter of dividing that up.
"As a former math teacher, I usually take charge of determining the splits of a group meal," shares Thomas. "I do this because another problem with dividing up a group meal bill is including not only the cost of the food, but the alcohol, tax, and tip as well."
If everyone at the table is trying to calculate this on their own, they may make mistakes or use different tip percentages. Putting one person in charge streamlines the process and alleviates any further awkwardness.
Request separate checks.
If the restaurant will do it, the easiest way to avoid splitting the bill is to request separate checks. That way, there's no question of who owes what, and everyone pays their fair share.
"This is common practice these days, so most waitstaff are used to this and don't mind providing multiple bills to a table," said Woroch.
Of course, that requires extra work for the server, so it may be something to avoid doing if the party is very large.
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Know that it's OK to say no.
As with any social contract, it's important to keep in mind the people involved and what they bring to the table.
"When dining with friends or family who tend to over-order or order a lot of drinks and always split the bill evenly, you can politely decline the invite to eat out," says Woroch. "Instead, meet them for a drink after dinner and keep separate tabs at the bar."
If your budget doesn't allow for a pricey even split, you're well within your right to pass on the get-together.