I work for myself and am building my income. My problem is that when I go out with my friends whom I’ve always hung out with before from when I was working full-time, they always split the check by the number of people even though they order multiple drinks and appetizers and dessert and I only get an entree and maybe one drink but then they expect me to pay the same as them so I am essentially financing much of their bill. I hate to be petty but this is hard for me right now with a limited budget. How do I handle that without seeming like a jerk?

—Feeling Awkward (United States)


One thing you could do to be proactive is to ask for a separate check when you’re ordering and you let your friends know you’re handling financial stuff in a new way because you’re working for yourself now. Anyone who is truly your friend should understand and be fine with it.

If you feel comfortable with it, they’ll probably be fine with it. If you’re emanating awkwardness and embarrassment about it, they might pick up on it and might feel weird about it too as a reflection of what you’re feeling.

Give it a try and see how it goes. And congratulations on experimenting with new ways that work for your new life!

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