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Dining Etiquette: Splitting the Bill

This week on TikTok, creator Bria Jones shared a story in which a friend of a friend who was present at a group dinner, still has not paid her back for covering the bill with her credit card.

If you've ever been out to dinner with your girls or any group of people, you know that it's pretty typical for one person to offer to cover the bill to make it easier for the waiter, and the other parties pay that person back after the dinner.

In Bria's case, she still hasn't received the $240 this guest racked up, and it's causing conversations to ripple through the internet about what is the proper course of action to take.

So I'm here to help you understand this practice better, so you don't end up being talked about on an international social media platform.


Let's get one thing clear, when someone offers to put their card down to cover the bill: it's not a gift.

This person is not paying for you out of the goodness of their heart. Unless it is explicitly explained that they want to cover your meal as a birthday gift or "thank you" gesture, do not assume this is a debt that they are incurring, without the expectation of being paid back.

They are operating under the assumption that if you racked up a $240 tab at dinner, you had the means to pay for it. And that is the correct assumption.

If you plan to pay for your dinner with credit, then do NOT allow someone else to cover your part of the tab. Because you will have to pay back in cash, what you planned to pay for with credit.

This is a lesson in speaking up and advocating for what works best for you, even if it seems contrarian. Yes it's probably easier for the waiter or waitress to put everything on one tab - but if you are operating under a specific budget or plan, it is your responsibility to take care of your bill.


So what do you do if you find yourself in a pickle? You communicate.

Part of the issue with the situation with Bria, is that the woman who owes her money is not communicating with her. She is reading the texts and has seen the TikTok's, but is not explaining herself or explaining when she thinks she can realistically pay Bria back.

Instead, she's ignoring Bria's attempts to get any answers.

This only makes her look worse and even less reliable.

If you find yourself in a bind, and needing extra time to pay, the best thing you can do is be open and honest. People are often more understanding than you might think. By being honest, and giving a truthful response, you will garner more empathy and hopefully prevent a ruined relationship.


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