How to Ask Nicely for Friends to Pay Their Own Way at a Resturant?

Let friends know what to expect when inviting them to dinner.

Let friends know what to expect when inviting them to dinner.

In some countries, you don't have to worry about asking your friends to pay for their share of the bill at a restaurant. In Sweden, it's expected that each person pays his own way. On casual outings with friends in Scotland, the bill is split evenly. However, in the United States, anything goes. If you invite friends to dinner and you expect them to pay for their share of the bill, it's best to make it clear up front. Then there won't be any awkward moments when the bill arrives.

Call your friends on the phone or speak to them in person when you see them.

Tell your friends the plan, such as, "John and I thought it would be fun to meet a few couples for dinner next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Michelangelo's. We'd like for you and Matt to come."

Tell friends your specific intentions, politely, so there's no room for doubt, "The plan is for everyone to pay their own way. Do you think you can make it? If so, we'll count you in when we make the reservation."


  • If a couple is on a tight budget, they might more readily agree to attend because they will know they are in control of how much they spend.


  • Be careful in your phrasing. Never say, "John and I are hosting a dinner at Michelangelo's..." or your friends will expect you to pay for their meal.

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