Oh Wow, this is Awkward: When the Check Arrives

It’s an unfortunate reality but for the most part, women are uncomfortable discussing money. Whether that be negotiating a raise or balancing one’s personal finances.

A little over five years ago, I was an intern earning well below the federal level of poverty.  However, I was always befriended by people who out earned me (tremendously.)  With that, I was often invited to dinners, galas, performances and events that would have required me to spend more than my net earnings for the month.   

In the “Oh Wow, this is Awkward” series, I will confront uncomfortable money scenarios and how to address them.

As always, merci beacoup to everyone who voted on theses topics via my Instagram poll.

L’addition s’il vous plait

Scene: A group of friends are dining.  Several of the friends order appetizers (not to split amongst the table), entrees and multiple alcohol beverages.  You order, a salad, tap water and dessert.  The bill arrives and it’s decided that it will be split evenly.  You begin to feel angry because your portion of the check is only $22.oo but now you must pay $75.oo.

What do you do?

I utterly detest the multiple card splitting restaurant scene, but I do understand the logic. There was a time when I could not place the entire bill on my card and workout the logistics afterwards. 

To prevent the unbalanced meal to payment ratio, I recommend requesting a separate check prior to placing your order with the server.  If you have a close relationship with the group you’re dining with, make it known that you’d prefer to split the bill according to what each person has ordered, versus an even split. Again, prior to ordering. 

Irrespective of your income bracket we are communal beings. We all long for social experiences with friends/loved ones and that typically involves dining out. However, if your disposable income isn’t in the black, letting your friends know (in advance) could potentially avoid awkward outings. 

To ensure that you remain the social butterfly that you are while maintaining your budget, the following tactics can be used:

1.       Having a candid conversation about your desire to not spend a lot of money dining out can go a long way.

2.       Suggesting/organizing the meetup at a restaurant with a lower price point.

3.       Hosting a potluck happy hour in residence (you and your group of friends can rotate locations.)

4. By using coupon apps such Groupon, LivingSocial, etc. you can save a tremendous amount of money on dining. Before selecting a dinner/lunch location, check discount apps for deals.

5. Pre-fixe menus are heaven sent! I’m not only partial to this dining experience because the name is francais (that certainly doesn’t hurt) but knowing how much your meal will cost alleviates uncertainty.

6. Invite your friends for one course, or coffee. There isn’t a rule that mandates you to order a full meal when dining. If you want the restaurant ambiance but not the cost, specifically invite your friend(s) to have coffee or dessert. Making this known in advance provides those in attendance the opportunity to dine ahead.

Et voila mes amies, I hope that the tips listed above can assist with awkward group dining situations.

Have you experienced this before?

How did you handle splitting/addressing the bill?

Ciao for now!

Cover photo was taken during a weekend trip to Montreal.


  1. Keshaun

    This has happened so many times to me to the point I get anxious during big group dinners. Now I know to grab the waiter and say excuse me my check will be separate thank you 🙂

    • Thank you for commenting dear! Never be timid about controlling your money. It may feel weird at the moment but you’ll thank yourself and feel such a relief shortly thereafter.

  2. This is why my rule(s) of thumb are – i only go to group dinners of 6 people or less, i try to pick up the tab for everyone (if my bank account allows) and only go out with folks who are happy to rotate picking up the tab, because splitting hairs over who ate what sends me into orbit!

    • I could not agree more! I go to great lengths to avoid the “I didn’t order an appetizer” scene when the server arrives with the check. Planning ahead or only dining with like minds is truly The best method to avoid uncomfortable splitting the bill experiences. Thank you so much for commenting!

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