FWP: Cursed with a Generous Friend
PROBLEM: I have a friend who always picks up the cheque, brushing it off with, “It’ll all even out eventually!” But this is not a friend I care to see very often, so actually, it never quite evens out. I’m left feeling awkward that I didn’t pay for my meal, and awkward that I didn’t invite her out for one “on me.” Any clever suggestions for how to weasel my way to split the bill next time, and make it the norm from now on? (Polite insisting doesn’t work.)
LG: You are trapped against your will in the super-max prison of your friend’s generosity? I have literally never heard of a worse human rights abuse. In these cases, there’s only one course of action: hunger strike. Don’t order anything. If you don’t order anything, she can’t torture you with her largesse. Now, she may try to make you eat (she’s probably required to, by the dictates of good manners). Let the drip of her encouraging words sustain you, but remain firm: No food shall cross your lips until you achieve your God-given right to split the bill and pay for your own meal.
Or, you know … get over it.
SB: Every time?! I’ve seen that move pulled, but not with such insistence and commitment. It seems like your “friend” is trying to feed her way into your affections. I like L’s approach: hunger strike! She’ll never see it coming — but make sure you’re ready to see it through.
Your only other option, the way I see it, is to out-aunty her and pull the stealth card move. Yes, it’s that one where you give your card to the waiter beforehand and he just hands you the paid bill and your card at the end of the meal…. #auntymaneuver #endthereignofterror #micdrop
MM: OK, either your friend is wealthy and generous and so fond of you that she has just made up her mind to pay for all your meals forever (but is throwing in the “It’ll even out” so you don’t feel awkward about it); if this seems like a possibility, I agree with LG: Get over it. There are worse things in life than generous friends. You seem to be guilty of not reciprocating her affection more than the splitting of the bill.
Or, this person has no friends at all, and she thinks she can keep your around by paying for all your meals. Go with it, and just tell yourself you’re the generous one for hanging out with her. She must be insufferable.
AV: I’m chortling at Liesl’s response and nodding at Sahar’s – #auntymaneuvers #ftw.
Another sneaky way of evening the score (in our minds) is to give the friend a gift of some sort — birthday? anniversary? housewarming? Or even a present of gourmet goodies the next time you’re having dinner — and cross out the balance sheet in your head. And if this is someone you can do without, then post-gift-balancing, perhaps don’t meet anymore? Alternatively, only agree to meet for coffee or drinks — and reduce your mental debt.