Split the bill to maintain partnerships

Dont let disagreements over splitting the bill be the end

Don't let disagreements over "splitting the bill" be the end

Usually when I go out to dinner with my good friends, we split the bill. We typically eat “family style,” but at the end of the day no one is really concerned if one persons entree was $2 more or something.  It tends to even itself out.  Of course there is one semi-regular companian who hates splitting the bil.  He’d rather calculate it out to the penny. 😦

So on a recent outing, for someone’s birthday we split the bill.  And amazingly enough, he didn’t press for spltting the bill.  I didn’t think anything of it until someone else informed me his friend had 3 drinks.  And everyone else had beer or soda.  Based on the amount/per person, their items were actually 30% more than the amount each person chipped in.  I know his is headed to “Random rant” territory…but keep on reading.

So in this situation, there are a few potential outcomes:

  1. Split the bill as usual, it wil even out next time
  2. Everyone contributes based on the individual items they ordered
  3. Split the bill but chip extra to make up the shorfall on your end, and let everyone else contribute a few dollars less.

But in reality, among your regular circle, #1 is the most reasonable option.  We all know it’ll even itself out over time.  #2 can come across as petty, but makes sense when ordering preferences are all over the map.  #3 is my favorite option, because it keeps in the spirit of splitting the bill, and doesn’t make you look like a moocher.  And of course everyone in the group can choose to subsidize your drinks, appetizers, lobster, whatever. But in the end, it really depends on whether or not you’ve had dinner with this group of people once, a few, or tens of times.  If you are in the 10s well don’t worry about.  If its in the first few times, then it is iffy, because you’ll either not be invited next time, or only invited when everyone’s going out for low cost meals.  Once you are a regular in the circle, it is no longer important.

The same thing is true in your relationships with channel partners.  In general business partners should split the difference, but the early interactions are critical.  The party with the most to gain in the relationship should make sure the party they are trying to persuade into a permanent relationship feels like the new partner is fair and accommodating.  If not, you’ll have ended the relationship before it even got of the ground.  So my take, be exact early, because in the end it’ll work itself out — and you’ll have a new friend or partner, instead of a resentful one spreading bad word of mouth.

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