Most people don’t openly talk about money unless it’s a harmless conversation about how to save money on gas or your favorite personal finance software you’re using to manage your household budget. We’ve probably all encountered a few awkward money-related situations when we were forced to deal with some matter over money with a friend or family member. We don’t like to talk about it because maybe it reveals too much about our personal life, or we’re afraid what others might think.
So, how do you handle these types of situations? Here are three examples and some ideas of what to do when dealing with awkward money situations at a restaurant. These are just a few examples, so I’m interested in learning about your experience in the comments.
Splitting the Bill
Splitting the bill is sort of awkward for me for a couple of reasons. My portion of the bill might be larger, or visa versa. Also, I want to be fair in the situation and I certainly don’t want to end up paying more than I should, especially if it’s a big family dinner and we’re trying to control spending.
What do you do? In past situations I’ve been up front with the waiter or waitress as soon as we’re seated, letting them know who is in my party and that we’ll need a separate check. I think taking lead on this matter just makes it easier for everyone. But, I’m more open to splitting the check if it’s just me and a friend who I meet for lunch often. I think the money probably averages out overtime. At the same time, it’s okay for me if it doesn’t because they’re my friend.
The Other Party Insists on Paying
This situation has happened to me often and it’s usually with my parents. While I appreciate their generosity it can become somewhat awkward if they are always insisting they pay the bill.
What do you do? In these situations I’ve learned it’s okay to let mom and dad be my parents even though I’m a grown man with a family. I’ve done my best to pay and it’s just a hopeless cause. But this doesn’t mean I should expect them to pay. Each meal I assume I’ll be paying until told otherwise. To show my appreciation, I’ll sometimes purchase gift cards at a favorite restaurant and give them as a gift, or have even told them beforehand I’d like to take them to dinner. Sometimes they let me!
Calculating the Tip
Some parties like to ask the other party how much they plan to tip. My feeling is this is a personal matter and it’s a little awkward to share how much you plan to tip.
What do you do? When someone has asked me in the past how much I plan to tip, I’ve politely told them. It would be too awkward or rude for me to tell them it’s none of their business. Generally speaking, if it’s a large group at dinner and the waiter or waitress has done the minimum to serve us, I tip 20%. In fact, it’s not often I tip below this amount. I would say someone has to really do a poor job, or just not care to get anything less than 20%. All this being said, I like this for a response: “I tipped 20%, but feel free to tip whatever amount you’re comfortable tipping.”
How have you handled these akward restaurant money situations? What other situations can you think of that have led to awkward feelings at the dinner table?
Photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar