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The food lover
She orders a lot, but usually can’t finish, leaving the both of you with leftover food and a hefty bill.
The solution: Make it clear before ordering that you don’t have much of an appetite. “Suggest politely that the two of you order a couple of dishes to share first, explaining that you can order more later on if you’re still hungry,” says Yvonne Anjelina, director and chief etiquette coach of The Etiquette School Singapore.
She’s the party girl who’s always pushing you to down one more tequila shot – and then another, and another…
The solution: Before you head out, decide how many drinks you’re willing to have and stick to it. Tell her that you only have a certain amount of cash, so she won’t order too much. If she tries to make you drink more, suggest doing something else instead, like dancing, suggests Agnes Koh, director and founder of international etiquette authority Etiquette & Image International.
The extreme dieter
She counts calories and sometimes doesn’t eat at all – a killjoy when you want to enjoy your steak.
The solution: Choose a place that serves light food like salads and soups. If she still chooses to skip the meal, say lightly: “I feel guilty eating when you’re not. How about a salad or a glass of sugarless iced tea? We can walk it off later!” Jean, 28, a civil servant, says: “If a friend chooses to count calories, I’ll do my best to choose a place that serves healthy food. But I won’t eat less because of her.”
The chi-chi eater
She loves going to posh restaurants for your dinner dates. But those big bills are bad for your wallet.
The solution: Pick an eatery within your budget and sell it to her by saying, “I heard the food is really good, and the ambience is great!” Andrea, 29, a copywriter, says: “I try to be the first to suggest a restaurant, before my friend has the chance to recommend a pricey place. I’ll also ensure that the place I choose is somewhere she would find acceptable. I also try to be a little more insistent by emphasising why I want to try it, so she gets the hint.” If she doesn’t, politely explain that you can’t afford the place she wants to eat at. Add that you’ll be happy to do a posh place once in a while or on special occasions. Keep your tone light so you won’t offend her.
The penny pincher
She’s always cautious of spending money. At times, when you dine out together, she doesn’t have cash, so you end up settling the bill. But she seldom pays you back.
The solution: Suggest going Dutch before the dinner date, or tell the wait staff that you’d like separate bills. Alternatively, Agnes suggests, when the total bill arrives, tell your friend nicely: “Let me pay first, and I will divide it when the check comes back.” Melissa, 27, a corporate communications manager, was constantly paying for meals when out with a friend. The latter was low on cash and seldom paid her back. “I eventually told her truthfully how I felt. I said I understood that she was in a difficult situation, but that I was also feeling the pinch.” Melissa even offered some money-managing tips, which her friend was receptive to. “Since our talk, she’s always paid her share.”
This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine November 2013.
Eating out with your friends might actually help you to lose weight! Find out how here.