You’ve had a lovely dinner. Your boyfriends, parents, colleague, in-laws, boss or friend engaged you in relaxed and constructive conversation. The food was quality, too. And the hammer falls and as the topic of splitting the bill arrives you realise that the seas of friendly discourse and going to get choppy.
The question being “who pays?”. In reality, there are only three outcomes: either one person picks up the whole bill, you split the check or you both dine and dash (we don’t recommend the third).
The toughy is deciding who pays. Business Insider think they have a handle on the nuances of splitting the check or not, as the case may be.
They consulted an etiquette expert on how to handle the bill in 10 dinner situations you might find yourself in. These are just general rules, there is no established rulebook, however.
1. Dinner with a date
“Whoever asked for the date pays, regardless of gender”.
2. Double dates
“Split between couples, and whoever asked for each respective date pays”
3. Dinner with a boyfriend/girlfriend
“Take turns treating each other, or split it evenly”
4. Business dinner
“The inviter should always pay. Businesses should pay when taking clients out for dinners”.. but business employees should always laugh at clients’ jokes.
5. Dinner with an acquaintance
“Split evenly if the meals are close in price. It’s okay to ask for separate checks if one person’s meal is much more expensive”.
6. Dinner with a close friend
“Split evenly if the meals are close in price. Sometimes close friends will also take turns treating each other with the expectation that it will one day be reciprocated”.
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7. Birthday dinners
“It is traditional for everyone to pitch in for the guest of honour, but if you’re throwing your own celebration, other people are not expected to pay for you”.
8. Dinner with a coworker
“Each person usually pays for what they ordered”
9. Dinner with a close family member
“Parents usually pay for their adult children, unless the child wants to make a gesture and cover the whole bill. With your siblings, split the bill or take turns treating each other”.
10. Dinner with in-laws
Truly the gauntlet of the etiquette sphere: “Typically the most senior family member is expected to pay. If the younger family members have more means or want to make a special gesture, they might pick up the check.”