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How to split the tab (without losing friends)

Whether your friends are open about money or more private with their finances, splitting the bill at dinner can be tricky.

Do you have to pay for other people’s drinks if you didn’t order any? Do you chip in for an appetizer you didn’t eat? How do you split tax and tip?

The good news is that mobile payment systems like Venmo and Zelle have made splitting the bill quick and easier than ever. But they haven’t completely removed all the awkwardness from eating out with friends.

Here are a few ways to avoid looking stingy, overpaying, or ticking anyone else off. One of the best ways to avoid confusion (and later, resentment) among your friends is to definitively decide before the meal which way you’re splitting the check.

If you know one of your friends is on a limited income, try to avoid putting them in a position where they might have to pay for things they didn’t order. The tactful way to do this is to let that friend decide which way of paying works best before the meal, and sticking to it.

They may be more comfortable paying the exact dollar amount they owe instead of splitting a tab evenly.

Question: When you go out to eat with friends, how do you pay the bill? Evenly? Each person pays for his/her own?

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