who’s pay­ing?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

Get­ting around the land­mine of who set­tles the bill.

WHO pays for din­ner on the first date? On the third? What if the event is an evening out with relatives, a birth­day cel­e­bra­tion or an im­promptu of­fice out­ing?

Deb­o­rah King, pres­i­dent of Fi­nal Touch Fin­ish­ing School in Seat­tle, Washington, clears up the con­fu­sion.


First date: Who­ever is­sues the in­vi­ta­tion picks up the tab. It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re male or fe­male, go­ing out for lunch or din­ner. If you asked, you pay.

Sec­ond date: The sec­ond date goes by the same prin­ci­ple as the first.

Third date: Some­time around the third date, the per­son who is not pay­ing may want to start chip­ping in. A gra­cious way to in­di­cate this might be to say: “I’ll buy the tick­ets for the show, why don’t you pick up the tab for din­ner?” Or go ahead and pur­chase tick­ets ahead of time for a sport­ing event you know your date will en­joy. Sim­i­larly, there may come a point where the per­son who has been pay­ing wants to split ex­penses more evenly. A po­lite way to broach this topic is to pick a time when you’re both com­fort­able and ask a gen­tle, hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tion, maybe: “What do you think about the

woman some­times pick­ing up the tab?” If the an­swer is along the lines of, “I’d never stand for that,” you may not want to pur­sue the topic. If the an­swer is more favourable, press on.

32nd date: Some women never, ever feel com­fort­able pay­ing, and King says that’s per­fectly fine – if com­mu­ni­ca­tion is good and both love­birds are on the same page.

Dou­ble date: The cou­ple that does the invit­ing pays. If you’re not pay­ing, it’s a nice ges­ture to cover the tip.


Birth­day party: The res­tau­rant birth­day party can be a so­cially am­bigu­ous af­fair. Who’s host­ing: the birth­day girl or the best friend who made the reser­va­tion?

Still, King points out, “some­body had to put the word out” that the event was tak­ing place. This per­son may not be the host in the clas­sic sense, but he or she is the per­son to whom you can ad­dress the rel­e­vant ques­tion, “Are we all chip­ping in?”

Group of co-work­ers: Again, it’s a good idea to ask up­front and be clear about who is pay­ing. Faced with the dreaded split­ting of the bill, King likes to es­ti­mate her share, rather than do­ing elab­o­rate cal­cu­la­tions, and to err on the side of gen­eros­ity. The worst thing that can hap­pen when you take that ap­proach, she says, is that the server gets a bonus.

Fam­ily af­fair: Just be­cause you’re the one or­gan­is­ing the pe­ri­odic night out, com­plete with in-laws and un­cles, doesn’t mean that you have to foot the bill. Ev­ery­one does their part fi­nan­cially, just as ev­ery­one would help out (bring­ing dessert, clear­ing the ta­ble) if they were eat­ing at your home.

Out-of-town guest: It’s a nice thank-you ges­ture for the guest to pay for a res­tau­rant meal.

Con­grat­u­la­tions! Now you know the rules. Un­for­tu­nately, your din­ing com­pan­ions may not. Al­ways pre­pare for this pos­si­bil­ity, King says.

For in­stance, bring enough money (or the ap­pro­pri­ate credit card) on a first date, even if you were not the one who is­sued the in­vi­ta­tion. – Chicago Tribune/ McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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