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What is the etiquette on paying for other people's meals?

(12 Posts)
mirry2 Thu 06-Jun-13 10:12:41


HabbaDabba Wed 05-Jun-13 19:40:57

mirry2 - from the sound of things my 'old country' is probably the same as RichMan's. This is based on his loo story. Been there, seen it, done it. smile

thesecretmusicteacher Wed 05-Jun-13 16:14:53

Redlocks - well exactly! you can see there is much scope for, confusion, passive aggression and even causing offence!

I have lived in another country where "can I invite you to..." meant "I will pay" but otherwise each person would run through what they ordered with the waiter at the end and get separate bills, even if that meant half a dozen of them.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 05-Jun-13 14:43:55

If it's dinner with friends who roughly earn the same then we split it.

With family there is a fight to the death over who gets to pay. Dirty tricks, such as pretending to go to the loo and secretly paying are pretty common. If its a friend and I know I earn a lot more then I would insist. If its new friends and we issued the invitation then I'd assume we would pay.

Redlocks30 Wed 05-Jun-13 14:35:24

To the OP whose DH's culture is one where you pay for the meal of the whole extended family-who pays though? I don't understand that one-surely it must be a different person each time you go out or the same person might end up paying every time. Does the person who booked the meal pay? The one whose idea it was? The one whose birthday it is? There must be more to the etiquette than that?!

If it's being taken out 'as my treat', it's fairly obvious though.

mirry2 Wed 05-Jun-13 14:35:11

habbadabba - where is the 'old country'? I though it referred to the UK

HabbaDabba Wed 05-Jun-13 14:31:00

I was about 26 before I had a friend from the 'old country'. Up to then all my friends were English. The first time we went out to lunch I suggested that we split the bill 50/50 as opposed to separate bills. She smiled, told me that I been in the UK too long and paid for both of us.

Yup, a real culture clash smile

thesecretmusicteacher Wed 05-Jun-13 12:14:09

Thanks. That's what I thought. DH feels mortified if he doesn't offer to pay for friends' meals which seems over the top. But my (American) in-laws once really offended my (English) aunt and uncle by not taking no for an answer after offering to pay for a meal we'd all had. A real culture clash!

AgentProvocateur Tue 04-Jun-13 22:46:29

What Tropicalfish said. If we invite people out for a birthday etc, we pay. If its just a run-of-the-mill meal out, we split it.

HabbaDabba Tue 04-Jun-13 22:46:09

In English culture buying a round of drinks is the only time you ever pay for others. With friends and colleagues bills are split. The way you split depends on the people concerned. Some will just split it evenly regardless of who ordered what. Other people will ask for individual itemised bills.

When it comes to visitors, we normally take it in turn to 'treat'. I've no idea what other people do.

tropicalfish Tue 04-Jun-13 22:37:31

Well generally we pay when we take our parents out to a restaurant.
With friends we split it equally.
Some people take it in turns to pay for meals.

thesecretmusicteacher Tue 04-Jun-13 22:29:48

Dh and I have realised that we genuinely don't know what the etiquette is about when you should pay for someone else in a restaurant, whether it's friends, colleagues or visitors. The only time people pay for me is when it is on expenses. In my family we didn't eat out. But dh is a foreigner from a culture where you pay for your whole extended family's meal.

Please educate us. Tia

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