To put this into context, myself and my friends have always enjoyed going out for dinner and drinks together, as friends do. There have been a few occasions over the years where I’ve came home feeling a bit peeved over how much I’ve had to pay. Someone please tell me – am I the petty one here?
Rewind to around 12 months ago. I had just lost my job and money was tight. Nonetheless a friend was leaving the country and we organised a bit of a get together over dinner – needless to say I didn’t want to miss it, and set aside some cash to get the cheapest thing on the menu. I ordered a salad and tap water, relaxed in the knowledge it only came to $15.
All around me, my friends were ordering lots of cocktails, starters, mains, deserts, steaks etc. They were giving me weird looks when they saw I had ordered a salad, and more weird looks since I was driving and therefore not ordering alcohol. The time came to pay and without any discussion we split the bill. It came to around $70 each (reminder that I ordered a dumb salad and water). When I raised this I got disgusted looks from some of the people at the table, a couple of people told me ‘dont be such a tramp’ and I sucked it up, as mortified as I was.
Fast forward to last night when I was faced with a similar situation. Again, money was tight, I was driving and therefore didn’t order any alcohol. Again, we split the bill and I had to fork out around 60, despite ordering the cheapest thing on the menu with water. My friend said ‘look, if you can’t afford to split the bill, don’t go out for f-ing dinner’.
A highly embarrassing situation to be in, and now I feel like I can’t go out for dinner with my very well to do friends unless I’m prepared to go all-out and order everything on the menu.
My partner insists that splitting the bill is the done thing and I shouldn’t go out for dinner with my friends unless I’m flushed with cash.
Am I the wrong one here? I kinda feel that if someone at the table isnt ordering wine, cocktails and steaks then it shouldn’t be expected that they pay for everyone else’s. Am I being miserable here? I wouldn’t expect someone else to pay for mine, in fact I would step in and say ‘that person literally ordered a salad, how about they just pay for theirs?’
Some advice would be appreciated, including tips on how to deal with these scenarios in future (no stupid answers please.