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Dutch Awkward

Several years ago “Dave” and I were living in the same city. He worked at a local junior college part time. I was struggling with work and school. We met through a friend. And that’s how we started off. Since money was tight for both of us, mostly when we went out it for just for coffee. Or if dinner was involved we went Dutch. I never had an issue with this.

Now I know that he wanted to move the relationship to the next level, but I didn’t want to. He seemed fine with being friends. One year, he said that he wanted to take me out for my birthday and made it a point to let me know that he was “going to take me out.” Now, I did take that to mean that he was going to pick up the bill. Also he said that I could pick any place that I wanted to go (so no burget restrictions. And I wasn’t going to choose the Ritz). I wanted to do an Indian resturaunt. One that we usually walked by. The menu was on the outside with prices. The cost of the place would not have been a surprise. Granted this wasn’t the cheapest, but I didn’t choose the priciest either. As we were planning this ahead, he could have/should have known that dinner for two would probably run about $30 dollars (I would have stuck with soda or water to keep the tab down).

Again I will mention that money was tight for Dave. Dave postponed the birthday dinner saying that it wasn’t in the budget at a particular time. Fine, some bills come or there could have been some surprise. Having also forgone things because of no money I can understand.

Finally birthday dinner night arrives, actual birthday is long since past. We go out. Order reasonably priced items on the menu. No booze. Remember he had said that he wanted to take me out and postponed until he had some money. The check arrives. Dave looks at it, then at me and says “go dutch?” The bill was close to $35, but still. What annoyed me most was don’t make such a big deal about taking me out and then asking me to pay for my own birthday meal. Yes, I did pay half. Even if I had been the least bit interested, this would have killed any chance for him moving onto a higher level.

We did go out again as friends. Always dutch. That was fine with me. FYI he has since gotten married and is quite happy with two kids. A nice guy, just a little clueless.   0308-11


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  • inNM March 16, 2011, 2:16 pm

    @Michelle P.
    No, after that experience I started giving him serious distance, unless he and I were in locations with mutual friends. I “lost” his number, his Facebook information, and his email address.

  • Anne April 2, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I agree with the OP that when you offer to take someone out to dinner, you pay.

    I think there is another etiquette lesson we can learn, too. I know the OP was young, so I’m not picking on her. But to the rest of us, “Dave” postponing the dinner because it wasn’t in the budget is the cue for the birthday girl to suggest a much cheaper place to eat. It was good she chose a cheaper restaurant in the first place, but it seems it was more than the young man had meant to pay when he made the offer.

    When it comes to treats, it really is the thought that counts. A pancake dinner at a pancake house with a friend on the birthday is much nicer than a fancier treat much later with a friend who has told you he would have to budget to meet your choice of restaurant.

  • alm1003 April 26, 2012, 4:07 am

    Reminds me of a law firm I once worked in. A partner and another colleague took a client out for a very nice lunch and afterwards the client sent a nice note thanking them for lunch. The same client was then livid to discover that the firm later billed him for the entire cost of the meal. I was thrilled to learn that the client immediately uplifted his files and put no further work through the firm. Brillant – especially as partner and colleague were having an affair and well known for staying in expensive hotels and eating in swanky restaurants at the expense of their clients.

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