I’m generally pretty awkward, as people go. I manage to get into situations that seem to have no decorous exit routes. And what could be more awkward than money?
Here are 5 awkward scenarios, ones that can crop up at any given moment, and how to handle them. For, although life would be dandy if we could live it without a moment’s awkwardness, it’s not worth hurting your finances to do it.
Your over hungry friends at dinner
You’re out to dinner, order a salad and water and then watch as your friend orders the Wagyu steak and a bottle of their best Shiraz. People have different budgets and it’s hard, when you’re flush or when you’re broke, to remember that not every one is in the same boat as you.
Often, at the end of a meal, it’s suggested you split it. Incredibly awkward.
Bite the bullet, and suggest nicely that maybe you should just pay for what you ordered. There’s no need to make a big deal out of it, just say that you’re on the limits of your budget for the month and have to be careful. If they’re a pal, it’ll be no problem. More often that not, they just haven’t noticed that you’re trying to keep costs down.
At the end of the day, this one comes down to you. If they’re your family, you’re going to want to help them out and, often, will trust them. If you can afford to lend the money and feel comfortable doing so, go ahead. But you can’t be reliant financially on a quick repayment; just set up a repayment plan and agree upon when the money is to be returned.
If you’re asked by a friend and feel comfortable, maybe think about shortening the time period for repayment. A week is fair, just remind them that you have bills too and need the money back to pay for your rent or mortgage. That should make them suitably quick to return it, and negate a possibly awkward moment.
Parents wanting to pay for you
Ah, the olds. They do a lot for me and sometimes you want to make sure they know you appreciate it. And sometimes, you just want to be an adult too and be able to contribute. If your parents are anything like mine, they struggle at letting you get in on the contribution action. A way to get around this, is to bring it up beforehand. Offer to pay for desserts and coffees, while they grab the mains. That way, you have contributed and they don’t feel like you’re spending above your budget.
Estates are essentially tense and awkward. It’s a tough time emotionally, and you’ve got to try and work out what to do with the house, all the objects and the money. And if your parents have left wills that don’t split the estate straight down the middle, favouring one child over another, then things are going to go pear-shaped quickly.
Best thing to do is to discuss it with your parents beforehand, so everyone knows what is going to happen. A straight split always seems the fairest, but as long as there is open communication, many options could work.
Dating and the ‘who pays?’ question
The dating world is stressful enough, without getting to the end of a lovely (or heinous) evening and finding the awkwardness of who pays. Previously, it was always men. These days, it’s a really tough one because men can feel taken advantage of if they are left to pay without a whimper from their date and women could find it offensive if their date doesn’t let them split it.
If you asked them out, offer to pay. If they want to split it, say yes. If someone insists on paying, make sure you express your thanks and offer to get the next one. Assuming of course the date went well. Don’t ever let someone pay for you without offering to chip in. Whether a guy or a girl, treat the money aspect as if you were going out with a friend and hopefully awkwardness should be averted.