P is for Pay

A friend of mine called regarding an awkward situation she encountered, and I'm pretty sure you've encountered it at some point in your life or career also.

She was invited to a luncheon that included an introduction by a peer to their boss. When the check came, it sat uncomfortably on the table for what seemed like an eternity. The "inviter" made no move to suggest they were going to pay. My friend, being schooled in proper etiquette, was under the assumption that the person who invited her would be picking up the check. However, since it had been sitting there, she thought perhaps she might be expected to pay, and she offered to pay. The check was then picked up by the boss, not even the person who arranged the lunch!

Here are some guidelines for taking the awkward out of this situation:
  • If you invite someone to lunch, coffee or drinks, you are expected to pay. If the event is not hosted, make sure that's clear while you're doing the inviting.
  • They may offer to pay. This is because they are polite. Pay anyway. Insist on paying anyway. Tell them they can invite you next time and they can pay (be sure to offer to pay then, too, because you're also polite).
  • The Business Etiquette lady has some things to say on the subject. Click here for her take.
Tip: arrive before they do and hand your credit card to your server. You'll be signing the check by the time they realize its arrived, and they will admire your stealth!

To Your Success!

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