Paying for Dinner

I recently stayed with two friends while visiting their city, and to thank them I told them that I wanted to take them out for dinner.

“No, no!” they said. “We’re just happy to host you while you’re visiting!”

I planned to pay for dinner anyway, and when we went out to dinner on our last night and the check arrived, I pulled out my card and insisted on paying — but my friends ended up handing their card to our waitress and told her to just split the bill.

This may seem like a silly question, but is there a nice way of insisting on picking up the check? — B.

There are never silly questions around here, but the answer to this, I’ve found, is really simple: Do not argue about it. In fact, if you want to pick up the check, don’t talk about it beforehand — just go ahead and do it.

This is what I do when I’m planning on picking up the check: Before dinner is over, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. When you’re away from the table, flag down your server and give her your card (or cash, or whatever you’re paying with), and settle the bill before you sit back down. When dinner is over, say, “I’ve already settled the bill. Thank you so much for [insert nice thing your dinner date(s) did for you]!”

That’s pretty much it! It’s kind of you to offer to pay for dinner. And of course, you can still send your friends a thank you card.

Photo: DieselDemon

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