Do you always grab for the tab, or do you and friends/roommates split even the smallest expenditures?
The first can leave you open to exploitation. The second can be aggravating if it becomes an exercise in, “SonyaAnn got the extra cup of ranch dressing so she owes 30 cents more.”
Treading that ticklish territory is the subject of my latest column over at MSN Money, “Your best friends’ bank: You.” (Edited to add: This article is no longer available since Microsoft changed platforms. Sorry about that.)
The “let’s split it evenly” situation can rankle, too, if you have a chicken Caesar salad and iced tea while everyone else at the table has appetizers, a couple of beers, an entree and dessert.
As I’d previously noted in “The bank of girlfriends,” some people find it easier to give than to take. Yet that can lead not just to budget-busting (can you really afford to pay so often?) but also to hurt feelings if your refusal to be treated is interpreted as, “I don’t need your help.”
These and other financial minefields are covered in the piece. The PF experts I interviewed offered interesting tactics for dealing both with the moochers and the mixed-martial-arts-deathmatches over the dinner check. (Hi, Linda B.!)
I’d be interested in your feedback after you’ve read it. To get the conversational ball rolling:
- If you take turns treating, does it concern you whether it winds up being “fair” in the long run?
- Have you ever argued with (or wound up dropping) friends you felt were taking advantage of you?
- Did you ever loan $100 to a temporarily straitened pal who never repaid you when things get better?