“Do You Want To Split It?”

It’s not your decision how anyone else’s money is spent.

How many times in your life have you gone out with friends and family for dinner? Of those times, how many were spent arguing over who would pay – who would pitch – or if you should split it? And of those times, how many of them were slated with:

“Split it? Well no, then don’t worry about it, I’ll just pay.”

Manners are of the utmost importance to me. I was raised to be thankful, giving, and above all, I was raised to always offer to pay. It was the polite thing to do – even if you knew the other person would never let you, you’d offer. There were always those awkward times when they would let you, but that’s fine! It’s not your decision how anyone else’s money is spent.

One thing that has always bothered me growing up is that when you offer to “split” something, people assume it means you are unable to afford their portion of the tab. Clearly that is not the case. I wouldn’t make a dinner plan if I were unable to afford it, and I certainly wouldn’t leave you high and dry if you were to forget your wallet, but I also believe splitting bills is appropriate depending on the circumstances.

Given that we all have different feelings towards bills, dining out, events, and so on, it’s probably fair to assume we all have a rule of thumb or several rules when it comes to the time of payment.

Here are my thoughts:

When to pay the full bill

  • When you arranged and invited guest(s) for dinner

  • When it’s the guest(s) birthday or some sort of special celebration

  • If they paid for the last meal/evening out

  • If and when you feel like it!

When to split the bill

  • When out at a large group dinner and meal/drinks are unevenly divided amongst guest(s)

  • When out with a friend and you mutually decided on the event

  • When the bill is over $150.00

  • If and when you feel like it!

As you can see, my rules are quite limited, but I do feel that they can be broken. It’s only fair to give your friends options regarding what they are comfortable with. Flexibility is always a key component when it comes to these sort of situations as we were all raised differently. A night out should not be filled with judgement, but about the meal, the conversation, and the atmosphere.

One other thing to note is that splitting the bill sometimes means you pay for only your portion of the meal, or you could be paying for some of theirs if the totals are uneven. If you are truly unwilling to pay for their portion, just tell them. Honesty about money is the first step to making these conversations no longer deemed as taboo.

What about you? What are some of your rules when out for dinner? Do you think it’s far to split the bill? Let me know in the comments!

PS: If you or your friend are unable to afford a dinner out in the first place, consider that. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to eat in. And it’s okay to avoid the overpriced chicken from the latest restaurant. You decide.