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I don't want to share my dessert!

I get together with a friend for dinner once or twice a month. We have a great time, but there’s something she does that drives me bonkers. When it’s time to order dessert, she declines to order anything and tells the server she’ll have “just a taste” or “just a bite” of mine. Of course, the server brings two spoons with the dessert and my friend winds up polishing off half my dessert! This happens every time we go out (I realize I’ve enabled it by never saying anything), and it’s not because she can’t afford to order her own.

Dessert is my favorite part of a meal, and I don’t want to share. Would it be completely rude and petty to tell her to keep out of my dessert? How do I approach this? Or do I just need to get over it?

If it matters, assume a restaurant that does not have outsized desserts.

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  1. You could always just order it to go, assuming it's portable. Obviously doesn't work for everything.

    I've been known to say, I don't want to share so feel free to order whatever dessert you want for you.

    1. You could say, "Let's get two desserts. I've got the appetite for a whole one."

      5 Replies
        1. re: MiriamWoodstock

          I agree that's a good answer, and I'm the person who always orders dessert, and always suggests sharing. But if someone says "I love the apple tart here so I'd like to get one for myself" it's all good - I'll order one of what I want, and my dining companion[s] can have a few bites, or not.

          Melody, in your specific situation, if the server puts the dessert plate in the middle of the table, can you move it in front of you, and then offer to pass the plate to your friend for a taste? Or is that too subtle (or passive/aggressive)?

          It's interesting to me thet people view dessert differently from other parts of the meal. If you ordered a salad and your friend didn't, neither she nor the server would assume that you're going to share it 50/50.

          1. re: MiriamWoodstock

            I read through all the answers posted up until now, and I think this one has the most tact but also gets the point across. If she balks at ordering her own dessert after you've said this, it's clear this will be just yours.

            You can always say that when you get dessert out it's the only time you eat it, so you really want to savor the entire course instead of sharing.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              Or slightly restructure the comment to something like: "Let's get two desserts, and then we can share each others'."

              Just thinking,

              Hunt, not the dessert person in the family...

            2. re: MiriamWoodstock

              That is a very tactful reply MiriamWoodstock. I sometimes just say, "get your own dessert, I'm not sharing" but I am not so tactful. I would be annoyed too, Melody!

            3. Looks like my two thoughts have been posted.

              1) order the dessert to go, but this deprives you the enjoyment of eating with your meal.
              2) Suggest to your friend to order a dessert too so you two can "split" or "sample" each dessert.
              3) Maybe there's a cutesy/funny way you can tell her you're not sharing. "I've been dreaming of this dessert and eating the whole thing"
              4) If she's a good friend, you can tell her you're not splitting the dessert.

              1. Thanks, all, for the suggestions. I’ve tried suggesting two desserts (“I can’t decide between X and Y; want to get both and share?”) and have been met with the usual “too full”. I generally don’t really want half of one dessert and half of another, anyway. I want one dessert, for myself, to eat at my own pace.

                Taking it to go could work sometimes, but I consider my dessert to be part of my meal and I really want to sit at the table, drink my coffee, and continue catching up with my friend.

                Guess I’ll have to be direct, though I really wish servers wouldn’t assume that every dessert is meant to be a shared dessert, especially when my order is worded as “I’ll have….” and not “we’ll share…”.

                10 Replies
                1. re: Melody.

                  Direct is the only way to go. Just remind yourself that this isn't about excluding your friend, it's about stating your needs -- a whole dessert. We all need a whole dessert sometimes! :)

                  1. re: Melody.

                    Consider it a little act of empowerment and standing up for yourself.

                    My husband and I were supposed to share 2 desserts at Emeril's once and I got one bite of the banana cream pie and then he finished it before I got another bite.

                    1. re: Melody.

                      I think if your friend says "I'm too full" then you can definitely say "Well! I'll just have to eat this ALL BY MYSELF." And definitely let the server know you are NOT sharing. All said with a smile, of course. No second fork, no opportunity to share. And if the server brings the second fork anyway, refuse it and reiterate your intention. It's the servers job to get the order right. Be assertive just as if you were ordering your regular meal ("medium rare please" and not "burnt to a crisp").

                      1. re: alwayshungrygal

                        I like "back off bitch" and blocking her fork. But I guess your way is more polite.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          Actually, I like your way alot! But I'm in sales so I've learned to be diplomatic.

                        2. re: alwayshungrygal

                          But then you're getting into "none for you" territory rather than keeping it in "I'm hungry" territory. And it makes it sound like it's all about whether the friend wants to share or not ("because you don't want it, I'll have it all"). She still won't have made it clear that she actively has a preference. The servers get such a variety of messages on the subject, they probably don't know which way is up.

                          1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                            " Oh good, I didn't plan to share anyway". And then tell the waiter that a second fork won't be necessary.

                            I do find it annoying when a waiter assumes that a dessert will be shared.

                            1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                              I hear what you're saying. In the 2nd post by the OP it is stated the friend sometimes says "I'm full" hence my response to that comment. All I'm saying is, the OP just has to be more assertive and indicate no sharing will take place. How about "This sounds so yummy, I really don't want to share today" leaving open the possibility of sharing next time. And then of course, next time, no sharing again, using a different excuse-"I'm so hungry, I want all of it. I'll save you a bite."

                              And again, being assertive to the server. Don't automatically bring a second fork! Practice this at home if necessary. Maybe the friend will get the idea after repeated meals.

                              Or possibly, just coming right out and telling the friend, "I just don't want to ever share my dessert. Period."

                          2. re: Melody.

                            Another thought...perhaps you should order dessert yourself, and ask the server for an extra side plate so that "I can give my friend a taste". Then do exactly as she has suggested...give her just a taste!

                            1. re: josephnl

                              A further thought. If you feel uncomfortable asking for a separate plate so that you can give your friend "just a taste"...you could say "I think I may be coming down with a cold (bug, flu tuberculosis...or leprosy...) so it's best that we not eat off of the same plate".

                          3. Order your dessert and ask for an extra plate instead. Then you dole out her "taste "

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: plaidbowtie

                              Exactly...sorry, I didn't see you post. Great minds think alike!!

                            2. Conveniently sneeze on your dessert when it arrives ...

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I suggest picking up the plate and licking the entire dessert.

                                1. re: small h

                                  That might work too. But I like to be a bit more inconspicuous.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    But if you're inconspicuous, how will your dining partner know to reject the food? The point is not to share a snot-covered dessert. At least I think it's not.

                                    1. re: small h

                                      Oh, small h, you've met my little brother!

                                      1. re: Vetter

                                        He was on to something. And I hope he's as creative now in his problem solving as he was when he learned this foolproof method. It hasn't gone unnoticed in the wider world.

                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kexMn...

                                      2. re: small h

                                        When we were little some fat little kid did this so not to have to share her gelato with her mother. My parents were mortified at the greed. She was old enough to know better.

                                        1. re: melpy

                                          I hope she learned to share at some point. Because while gelato is a fine thing, gelato will not let you live in its basement if you lose your job and can't pay your rent. Whereas your mother might, if you have a history of sharing your gelato with her.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            I want to say she was hospitalized for being suicidal later in life so gelato and sharing are probably low on the list now.

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                "Some fat little kid" was ? Or her mother?
                                                It is greedy, but having been "some fat little kid", the behaviour my mother was modelling by not getting her own dessert did not help with my fatness.
                                                And oh, I was a person. Sorry, but "some fat little kid" sounds quite dismissive.

                                      3. Whenever I go to a steakhouse where I know they have creamed spinach I just tell the others at the table that I am ordering one for myself and that I won't share one speck of it with anybody. I say it right ahead of time so there is no discussion when my spinach arrives - it is NOT for sharing.

                                        1. Oh my god, My mother in law does this all the time...she is nuts about weight so she never ever order anything unhealthy but on the other hand, I love having dessert after a nice meal. I'd ask her if she wants dessert and of course she says no..then when the dessert comes out, here she comes with her dirty spoon..she would get a tiny bit of my dessert, again and again...at the end, I usually end up losing my appetite....cuz there is her saliva everywhere!!

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Monica

                                            If you don't mind sharing and would prefer not to share her salive as well, how about asking for a second plate? Then you can divvy up the dessert for the MIL.

                                            And since she IS your MIL, there are some things that have to be tolerated, such as sharing your dessert, intentionally or not. All in the name of peace in the family...

                                            1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                              Actually, I did ask her once if she wants a new plate to share but she said no because she is not going to have dessert...but her spoon was all over my plate...a little dip at a time.
                                              she does the same with ice cream at a ice cream store. She samples a flavor then her spoon comes directly to my ice cream.

                                              1. re: Monica

                                                I think if you know a person's typical behavior, you can almost predict what they'll do in a given situation. Thus, my suggestion above to practice at home. If you can't change someone else's behavior, try to change your own.

                                                I know, easier said than done.

                                                1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                  I vote for telling her "Back off, Witch". ;-)

                                                  Suppose you let her start in with the first few couple of spoons, then just push the plate over to her with a smile saying something along the lines of how you see she likes it after all, please enjoy it more comfortably with the plate in front of her - then order another one for yourself - and do it, ignoring her protestations that she 'only wanted a taste' etc. If she is also the type who would accuse you venomously of forcing her to have a dessert and causing her to gain weight etc then be sure to say that she is free to have as much or as little as she wanted of the plate...and if that doesn't work then I guess you're stuck with the original situation? Just armchair-quarterbacking here... :-)

                                              2. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                I see it as the opposite. If you can't be honest with your family, who can you be honest with? And there should be boundries that the MIL has to respect. I'd just tell the server to bring an extra plate and not give the MIL the option of refusing it. Of course while smiling.

                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                  I guess it depends on the relationship you have with your inlaws. If it's warm and affectionate, then yep, you can be honest. If it's not as wonderful as you'd like, then it's a bit tougher. I only saw my now ex-inlaws once a year (living on opposite coasts) if that much, and I never felt truly loved or accepted by them. So when she didn't have any decent food in the house when I stayed there with my infant son, I kept my mouth shut, instead of saying "what the hell kind of hostess are you not to have anything to eat?" when mealtime came around. All they had were cold cuts, and not the great stuff. Even my SIL (not their daugther) was POd. I don't think I smiled then. They were a strange pair, and the woman who later replaced me as daughter-in-law agreed.

                                                2. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                  My MIL is the same, but with fries. She won't order fries with her meal because they are so unhealthy, but gets a salad instead. She always pilfers a few fries off the kids' plates, and there are plenty to go around as neither of my kids have huge appetites and always have fries left over. But she either doesn't ask, or asks while she's taking them. It's really hard to convince the kids that you do not just take food off of someone else's plate without asking first, when someone is doing it to them. Oddly, she never does this to me...because she knows she shouldn't!

                                                  I would never, ever just assume I would get bite of anyone else's dessert, other than maybe my husband. If I choose not to order dessert, that's my choice. If I wanted a bite and it were offered, fine, but I would never say 'I'll just have a bite of yours'. Pretty presumptuous! And if I do have a bite, it's one bite and then the fork is not put on the plate. My husband's germs I signed up to share...no one else's! I think I would use a variety of these suggestions until she gets it. Hopefully she will, at some point.

                                                  1. re: 16crab

                                                    Thanks for the point about the fries. My kids never finish theirs, and I really only want a few when they are fresh and hot, not a whole order. So I pilfer from their plates, starting from when they were babies and there was no 'asking'. I think I will endeavour to ask (tell?) them when we order.

                                              3. "I do not want to share my dessert." Always works for me.

                                                1. If you want to get very Emily Post on her, just say: "I'm afraid that just won't be possible." And say it over and over if she doesn't understand . And mean it. It the universally polite way of saying No in American etiquette.

                                                  1. If the cost is not an issue, I would just order two of the desserts. If your friend says "Oh, no I'm not hungry" then you can say, "well if you don't eat it I'll take it home." I think if you do that once you might break the cycle.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                      Yes. This. It's really the only way to guarantee you get a whole dessert without breaching any eitquette rules or offending anyone. One person, one plate. Just like voting.

                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                        I somewhat suspect that it is quite possible that a person similar to the described friend might then accuse one of sabotaging her diet, her figure, presuming about her choices, rudely ordering for her, imposing extra expense without her permission on her (bill) [assuming these are split bill situations], etc etc etc. ;-) :-P

                                                      2. re: escondido123

                                                        Or say, I'm so hungry, I might need to order two, and then just get one, hoping she will take the hint...

                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                          Order two--exactly what I was thinking. And follow through no matter what. She'll get the hint.

                                                        2. When the server puts the dessert down in front of you, you can pretend to sneeze all over it! Immediately point out what you've just done ("OMG, I just sneezed ALL OVER this creme brulee! I must be coming down with something! Sorry!" then pull it close to you and start eating.

                                                          Don't forget to PRETEND! :)

                                                          1. Not that this matters -- but I'm curious:

                                                            Do you split the check 50/50 or do you add up who had what?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: PaulF

                                                              We take turns picking up the whole check.

                                                            2. If your friend says she'll just have a bite of yours, simply reply "Sorry, but I'm not sharing. You'll have to order your own!" Say it with a smile but then turn to the waiter, place your order and add "Just one spoon please." That way, the waiter knows you aren't kidding about not sharing.

                                                              If the waiter does bring two spoons and places the dessert in the center of the table, simply move the dessert and the extra spoon to your side of the table. The message will be subtle but clear to your friend that you aren't sharing.

                                                              1. I understand what this is like. I went to an out of town restaurant once with friends and had literally been thinking about the homemade ice cream for months. Once the server set the bowl down, I lost count of the number of spoons that dove in my bowl and I hardly had any left. It was a big disappoinment because I can't get more easily. In this same situation next time, I would make my intentions clear from the get go that I had no interest in sharing my dessert.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Jambie

                                                                  I really dislike spoons and forks in my food from other parts of the table. My bf and I ask each other if we would like to taste each other's food first and generally put some on the other's plate, or feed each other a taste. But unexpected utensils in my food are very annoying. I am not big on sharing unless it's pizza or family style sides or agreed upon prior to ordering like sharing apps, but my entree is mine and so is my dessert.

                                                                  1. re: Jambie

                                                                    I think you should have ordered another bowl right then and there.

                                                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                                                      OP needs to grow a backbone.

                                                                      This fear and shame around ordering dessert speaks to the messed up mixed messages our culture gives about enjoying pleasure.

                                                                      I don't get servers' assumptions about sharing. I say "I'll have the..." not "We'll share the..." and without fail dessert comes delivered to the center of the table with utencils for all! It puts me in the position of having to place it in front of me to "claim" it. Ugh.

                                                                      1. re: babette feasts

                                                                        You are right Babette and I really wish I had done that. I let the situation get out of control and my dessert quickly became part of the public domain. Lesson learned.

                                                                      2. re: Jambie

                                                                        So you summon the waiter 'can we please have another bowl of icecream here?' and enjoy.

                                                                      3. I really sympathize Melody. My friend John was taken out to dinner by his parents to celebrate something he had achieved. His dad doesn't like desserts. John ordered some decadent chocolate cake and his mom didn't order any but asked for an extra fork. When John told me this my stomach turned a little. I think I may have been more dismayed than he was, but then he is used to it. The cake was very rich but between the two of them they couldn't polish it off. So John got it to go and asked his mom to please leave the rest of the cake for him. Sure enough the next day half of it was gone when he went to eat it.
                                                                        John has to put up with this stuff I guess but you don't have to. John's mom is always watching her weight and also trying to save money so I think she does have an agenda. But I have another friend who really doesn't want the food when it's time to order. We do a lot of take out and most of the time when we get the food back to my house, he decides he would like some after all. With him it's just living in the moment, not thinking ahead and when finances aren't an issue I just order some for him also and most of the time this works out. On the few occasions he really didn't want the grub I get yummy leftovers.
                                                                        Not sure ordering two desserts would work for you. How about getting your dessert to go and enjoying it in peace later? Let us know what you come up with, my friend John's story about the chocolate cake made me twitchy.

                                                                        1. We have never been germaphobes, however we have a family member who became immuno-compromised in the last couple of years, so the sanitary aspect would be my first thought. We can't risk bringing home any more sickness than we already do, so we are careful.

                                                                          Perhaps you could play that card. "With flu season coming on, I just don't feel that it's healthy to share a plate of food. Better get your own and if you can't finish it, take it with you!" Repeat each time you eat out with her.

                                                                          1. It is standard for DW and I to share a dessert and have two forks brought to the table. In fact it appears that this is so common that two forks are usually brought without being requested. I think it's kinda romantic to share dessert with my wife, especially if it's a decadent chocolate dessert. Neither one of us would normally want a whole dessert so it's usually the only way to try something for us. The germ issue isn't a factor as we swap germs on a regular basis as it is although I draw the line at her using my toothbrush. With our grown kids, there is usually an offer from someone to try their dessert. Once we step beyond people who share our genetic makeup the rules change. I would never think to share a dessert with a friend and would definitely say something if a friend tried to taste mine without an invitation.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: bobbert

                                                                              @bobbtert: It's certainly "romantic" to share dessert with my girlfriend. But with a business associate, not so much. I can't say how many times I've had a business lunch, and the server assumed I wanted to share!

                                                                              1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                A close friend, who also happened to be a co-worker at the time, and who happens to be the opposite gender from me, and I went out for a sushi dinner once. New place, trying to win over customers, I'm sure. We had such a laugh when they brought us ice cream on the house, two spoons, with a chocolate syrup heart on the plate. We took a photo of it, each had a couple of bites off our respective 'side' of the plate, and called it a day. We still joke about the romantic dessert from that night!

                                                                            2. When the server brings the dessert, immediately pipe up, "That's for me, thanks!" like you might for an entree. Leave it in front of you but ask, "Oh, did you want to try a bite?" then reach over for her dessert fork, give her a forkful and keep eating.

                                                                              1. next time your friend says "I'll just have a bite of yours" you can respond "Oh for heavens sake" turn to the server and say "Just bring us two." By the third time you do this, waving aside all protestations your friend is probably going to get the message.

                                                                                But it may well be that she really does not want a whole dessert for herself, the thought has never occurred to her that you would, and she is doing a good deed by "allowing" you to order dessert without having to feel guilty about empty calories.

                                                                                It could be a very special thing that she feels close enough to split a dessert. That does not make it your special thing, and it's not like you don't want to share, its that you want it all for yourself. Not quite the same thing since its not like they only had one order left of what you both want and you would probably be happy to share in that case.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                  This would be my style of handling the situation, too.

                                                                                  Though, depending on my relationship with the other person, I'd likely tone it down to a, "Oh, you DO want dessert? Well, I'm getting the cake/pie/etc., but please get something, I'd feel rude to sit here eating if you had nothing!"

                                                                                  Makes the point with a touch of concern. : )

                                                                                2. "Let's get two desserts."

                                                                                  "I'm too full. I just want a bite."

                                                                                  "No problem -- eat what you can and I'll finish yours for you. I'm really hungry and I think one dessert won't be enough. It won't go to waste."

                                                                                  Works well for me, and is often a useful way to persuade others to get dessert even if they didn't want just a bite.

                                                                                  1. Enough with the sneezing on your food. Just tell her to order her own. And the waiter to bring one fork. And don't let her have one bite. You train her instead of her training you.

                                                                                    1. Actually, I am almost the opposite, in one respect, but the same as your friend in another.

                                                                                      I am not normally a dessert person, and unless there is a cheese course, and a dessert course included, will always go cheese. Now, the person, with whom I might share a taste of dessert is my lovely young wife, but then she always gets a bit of my cheese plate.

                                                                                      Similar to what you describe, but with some subtle differences.

                                                                                      Now, if there are desserts, I never hesitate to share, and with the entire table, but then, as mentioned, I am not much of a dessert person, and am usually "stuffed" by that point.

                                                                                      How you express your displeasure - well I am not sure, but I would find a way, so as to not harbor ill thoughts about a friend. Maybe just order two (if they are small enough), and THEN be open to share. I'd rather buy extra desserts all night, then resent someone taking a taste of mine.

                                                                                      Just my personal thoughts,

                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        Ah yes, but then it seems from your posts that you can afford to buy desserts all night. The tough part is just buying your own, with maybe an extra for affect, so you can save our pennies for other things. Not all of us have the dollars to spare.

                                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                                          Not sure about the ability to purchase, but will admit that if a dessert is the perfect accompaniment to a perfect meal, I'd likely not cut it out. Same for my lovely wife. If she wants a dessert, I am more than ready to accommodate her, and always have.

                                                                                          I could be very wrong, but do not think that the affordability came into play, but might have missed something. It seemed to center around a certain person, wanting to dine on others' desserts. Could be a $ thing, but I did not read it that way - more of an "I don't really feel like dessert, so I will just eat some of yours. If I read things incorrectly, then I apologize.

                                                                                          In some instances, I have ordered desserts for the table, and asked that they be served, rather "family-style." That has not caused any problems, at least not that I am aware of.

                                                                                          Still, for me, a cheese course (always offered as a share for my wife), and then one taste of her dessert, always seems to work for me.

                                                                                          In very general observations, I find that most of our dining companions, are less inclined to go for a cheese course, though when there is a really good selection, I will often do a platter for the entire table. Just looking around, it seems that many do not appreciate cheeses after a meal, and think in a more "traditional" US fashion, of sweet desserts.

                                                                                          As for that affordability aspect, while I have encountered SOME desserts, that I could never afford, I can purchase most, if it is of interest to me.

                                                                                          I'd like to hear from the OP, Melody, as to how much the $ plays into things, as I just do not know.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            I was referring to "buying desserts all night" which only a few of us posters could handle--myself not one of them. The OP said money was not an issue which is why I had the same idea as you--get two desserts. Sorry that my comment was so poorly stated.

                                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                                              Sorry, but now, I think I might be more confused, than before, if that is possible.

                                                                                              Sorry for that, and it's barely "Wine-thirty" here. Must be the phases of the Moon?

                                                                                              The "v I'd rather buy extra desserts all night, then resent someone taking a taste of mine... " comment was hyperbole, and prefaced by stating that I was not really a "dessert person." It was never meant to allow that I would buy desserts "all night long," but that to do so, would be preferable to having any "ill-will." Sorry if that was not clear. I must do better.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                            2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              The money is not an issue – we take turns paying the whole bill, and an extra dessert would not break the bank for either one of us. She never orders her own dessert regardless of whose turn it is to pay.

                                                                                              1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                Melody,

                                                                                                Thank you for that clarification. That is what I thought I had gleaned from the thread.

                                                                                                As a few have brought $ into the mix, I think that we can discount those considerations.

                                                                                                Now, not being a dessert person, in general, I do not think that I have been helpful, but have shared a few personal thoughts.

                                                                                                Good luck,

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                        2. there are a few things that would factor in to the right way to handle it. is there a precedent of sharing apps and mains throughout your meals with her? does she really say "just a bite" and then eat half (around 50%) of the dessert, or does she ever say anything like "let's share or split one dessert"? does one person treat the other, do you split the bill equally, or do you calculate your respective amounts?

                                                                                          assuming you haven't been sharing your other dishes and you each pay for your own items, i think i would handle it this way. the next time she says "just a bite" i would say "in general i like to have my own dessert. let me treat you this time." i would then order two desserts and, on that first occasion, pay for hers.

                                                                                          now i have stated my needs for that occasion and for what the pattern should be going forward. the cost of that one dessert would be the small price i pay for changing the pattern between us that has been set, with my participation, over several meals.

                                                                                          additional points: (1) i would not say that i do not want to "share" or "split" a dessert. that makes me the greedy selfish person for not "sharing". i wouldn't use that word. (2) if asked for a reason, i would not provide one as i do not believe this need has to be justified, and i would re-state my offer. something like: "it's just my preference. i'm happy to treat you to dessert today. feel free to eat only as much as you want."

                                                                                          however, as i stated above, if you have been sharing other dishes, or if your payment arrangement is something other than dutch, or if you have asked for bites of her dessert in the past, or if your decision to share or not depends on the serving size, etc., then you will have to take another approach or do some additional explaining. your friend cannot read your mind and it can be awkward if you are likely change your position in other situations. an interesting etiquette/diplomacy question.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ta0126

                                                                                            To answer your questions, we often share apps, but when that happens it is always discussed and mutually agreed that we are sharing before we order. And we only share apps that are conducive to sharing (like calamari, or grape leaves, or spring rolls).

                                                                                            We do not share salads or entrees. We make selections on our own (without input from the other) and eat our own. It has never been suggested or assumed that we are sharing those.

                                                                                            With dessert, this friend takes a cursory glance at the menu and if she says anything about it before setting it aside, it’s that she’s too full (or sometimes, watching calories) to order anything. She never suggests sharing or splitting. Neither do I. As with my entrée, I choose what I want for dessert without asking for her input (she doesn’t volunteer any input, either) and when the server comes, I place my order as “I’ll have…”. She tells the server “nothing for me; I’ll just have a bite of hers”. Out comes the dessert, always to the middle of the table, with utensils for both. Yes, she really does eat half the dessert – anytime my spoon is in my mouth, hers is in the dessert.

                                                                                            As for payment arrangements, we take turns treating each other.

                                                                                            We have tentative plans to get together for dinner early in the week before Thanksgiving, and I definitely intend on either ordering two of the same dessert (it’s my turn to treat), or just telling her before the server comes that I want my whole dessert.

                                                                                            1. re: Melody.

                                                                                              "As for payment arrangements, we take turns treating each other."

                                                                                              Melody,

                                                                                              It does not sound like the cost of a dessert is an issue here. Am I correct? The reason that I ask, is that there have been mentions, and questions on affordability up-thread. That never seemed to be part of the issue, but with your clarification, that can be put behind us.

                                                                                              To me, it sounds like it's denying you of YOUR dessert, that is the root of the problem, and some others have come up with good phrasing to address that, IMHO.

                                                                                              Being one, who can seldom finish HIS dessert, it has never been an issue, but I am trying to find remedies for you, and also learn a bit, in the process.

                                                                                              Thanks, and enjoy (that dessert!),

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                I replied upthread without reading all the new posts, but yes, you are correct that the cost of an extra dessert is not an issue.

                                                                                          2. So a few of us in this thread have wondered why it is that servers assume a dessert is meant to be shared, automatically placing the dessert in the center of the table and bringing silverware for all. This happens at restaurants at all price points, and regardless of the size of the dessert. You don't see this happening with any other course. Anybody in the industry care to weigh in on this?

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Melody.

                                                                                              This is a separate question, because in the original situation with your friend, the server isn't assuming anything, just following your friend's very explicit cue ("I'll just have a bite of hers"). I would be surprised if he/she didn't come back with two spoons in that case. This is the kind of thing that gets restaurants/servers lambasted on Chowhound: "I very clearly declared that I would be eating some of my friend's dessert, but when it arrived, there was only one spoon! It took three minutes to get the server's attention, and another ninety seconds for him to bring my spoon, and by then, my friend had eaten almost half of the dessert! Obviously, I left zero tip. What kind of compensation should I demand in my e-mail to corporate?"

                                                                                              As for your question, I think the servers that bring silverware for everyone are just trying to save time (their own, and the customers'), because they know that desserts are more likely to be shared than other courses. And speaking of other courses, the question doesn't usually arise, because everyone already has silverware on the table. But it's true that if one person orders soup to start with and everyone else orders nothing, I would be surprised if the server put the soup in the middle of the table, with spoons for everyone… :D

                                                                                              1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                Melody,

                                                                                                I have seen similar, and usually when not everyone at the table has actually ordered a dessert.

                                                                                                As for "sharing," though it's a different situation, we attend many events, where the ladies get a different dessert, than the gentlemen. Often, there is extra silverware provided, on the assumption that most are "couples," and WILL want to share. That is different, than what you posted about.

                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                  I am in the opposite camp as you. When out with friends we order one or more desserts (depending on the number of friends) with the understanding that all will be shared. We know this is understood as: 1) it's our pattern for years and 2) we discuss the choices to arrive at a choice we all think looks good. It is also understood that the one friend who always says she doesn't care what we order, she's too full, is invariably the one who partakes the most.

                                                                                                  I have a semi-related anecdote regarding assuming the sharing of desserts. I took mom to dinner last week and there was a monumental error with my order: steak not cooked as ordered and neither side was what I had ordered. To correct the problem, they first brought me the sides, which I munched while mom ate. They then brought the steak with the sides again. Though I did not finish the second set of sides, needless to say I was full. The manager insisted I order a comped dessert. Me, being me, saw a decadent chocolate dessert and, me being me, had to acquiesce. The waiter brought it and put it down in front of me with one fork. I had to send him back for a second fork--no way I was eating that alone.

                                                                                                2. Hi there... While I believe those here who have suggested that you be as up front and unambiguous (as you are comfortable) with your 'fork buddy' :-) here is another solution from the opposite perspective: keep a tiny plastic bottle/vial with an eye dropper in it - containing a small bit of plain water - in your purse. Have it at the ready, and when the single serving of dessert comes out, adroitly take the dropper and put three or four drops of water on the dessert. Tell your friend that your new digestive medication is rather bitter and the doctor suggested that you put it on something sweet. Then proceed to eat your dessert unencumbered. If she tries to eat around the 'drops' or tries to get you to put a half portion onto another plate before you dose the dessert, tell her the meds are so bitter that you really need the entire dessert to keep from yaking from the aftertaste. Then remind her that she is very fortunate to be able to order her own dessert without the encumbrance of annoying medications...

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: silence9

                                                                                                    If you have to go to this kind of subterfuge I'd have to say there is something very wrong with that friendship.

                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                      My FIL orders something, my MIL orders something else. My MIL eats part of her meal. and digs into my FIL's food choices, Accept it, or I give you a lot of mine, I eat a lot of yours, or we order a second of my choice, or even a third round.

                                                                                                      There is nothing wrong with one diner saying, "I want to try this," and diner #2 saying, I want this," and then splitting plates.

                                                                                                      Nothing wrong with the paying diner letting the non-paying diner choose first, thenchoosing somethiing different. then saying, "You can have a Little Bite of mine," or just saying, "You like my choice vs. you don't lie yours, II didn't get enough of my choice, Let's order a second round of my choice for us to share."

                                                                                                    2. re: silence9

                                                                                                      This would be a fantastic idea… if it didn't require abandoning all sense of normal human interaction and becoming a crazy person forever.

                                                                                                      1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                        LOL, I like that reply. I guess in my circle of acquaintence, generally "becoming a crazy person forever" is a requirement of membership. :-)

                                                                                                      2. re: silence9

                                                                                                        Or maybe pretend to drop a contact lens onto the dessert, and then with a deft hand, heading toward an eye, announce, "No problem. I found it!!!" All the while, pretending to place the non-existent contact lens back into your eye.

                                                                                                        Just thinking here,

                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                                                                          If I had to stage manage eating out with someone to this extent, I would be reevaluating the relationship.

                                                                                                        2. Reading through all the roundabout, passive aggressive ways to deal w/ this (and that includes my previous answer), given that she's obviously a pretty good friend since you're eating out a couple of times a month and you have a great time, what about being honest and just telling her? "I'm happy for you to try some of my dessert. It's a perfect size for me, so if you want more, it would be great if you ordered your own." Do it on a night when you're paying.

                                                                                                          1. You sound like my brother...when it is time to order dessert at a restaurant, he knows he's going to want to the whole thing, so he always tells his wife, i'm getting dessert...if you want a dessert, i am happy to order another one for you...she always declines citing fullness. It never fails that when dessert comes, she wants just a bite that turns into 4, 5, and 6 bites. it drives him crazy. I love my sister-in-law but i'm with you and my brother on this one...it is not as if he would complain about ordering another dessert or complain if she only ate half of hers...but he knows what he wants.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                                              He could count his blessings. My mom will do that and tell my dad what to order.

                                                                                                            2. I was just re-reading the posts and I'm now thinking... if this is a good enough friend that you eat out together once or twice a month, I think the friendship could probably handle complete honesty as in "... you know I love you to death but I really hate sharing my dessert with anyone. Please don't take it personally, yada, yada, yada." I can not imagine NOT being able to say that to a close friend of mine.

                                                                                                              1. Looking forward to hearing from the OP on what she did, how it was received, and if they are ever having lunch again. I sure hope they are.

                                                                                                                my guess is that she will continue to decline dessert, for whatever reasons, even if she can't have some of the other person's.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                  Now, K'man, did we "share desserts," or did we devour our own?

                                                                                                                  I just cannot remember, but then the conversation was so good, that I was not really paying attention.

                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                    I believe I pretty much inhaled my dessert with only the smallest modicum of manners, your charming wife savored hers, and you gave in and nibbled at yours slowly while more aggressively pursuing any wine that happened to remain on the table. I was not feeling generous when it came to dessert. After all, it was part of the dinner, and a good thing we all got the same and there was no reason to share.

                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                      Grin!

                                                                                                                      Yes, that is how I recall it too. That's my story, and I am sticking to it.

                                                                                                                      So long as the desserts were enjoyed, cannot find anything to complain about.

                                                                                                                      Aloha,

                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                    We're supposed to go out again early next week. I will keep you posted, but be assured I will not be fake sneezing on the dessert or dousing it with fake digestive meds. :)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                                      Does she have a sense of humor? If so, print this thread out and bring it to her. I think I'd get a kick out of reading it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                                        Melody,

                                                                                                                        I understand, but then, those suggestions did give me fits of laughter!

                                                                                                                        Enjoy,

                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                        1. re: Melody.

                                                                                                                          This is the ONLY thread where I read EVERY post. I'm dying to know how you made out with your friend. This is like a soap opera.

                                                                                                                      2. As soon as she says "I'll just have a bite of hers" you should say, "in that case, we better make it two desserts" I think that should get the point across.

                                                                                                                        1. Since I don't often eat dessert, but adore and love when I get the chance to, I would just be really blunt and say "Get the h$ll outta here and get your own dessert. This is MINE!!!" Then I would pause and say "You know I love you" and smile:)

                                                                                                                          1. Ask for two spoons, let her have half of the desert and then thank her for cutting the calorie consumption in half which means you have to exercise 10 minutes less to burn off the extra calories.

                                                                                                                            1. Either cut off the portion of your dessert that you're willing to share and give it to her ('here, here's your taste', handing her the one-spoon end of the cheesecake...)
                                                                                                                              or tell her, 'I've really been looking forward to this, there won't be any to spare for you!'
                                                                                                                              Or tell the waiter to make it two 'I'll get yours'.

                                                                                                                              1. This is a easy one. What do you love more, your friend or your dessert? You can eat a whole dessert anytime, but how often to you get to dine out with a pal? Or are they one of those ( kinda) friends?

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: hetook

                                                                                                                                  if everything was black and white....

                                                                                                                                2. If you are going out to eat that often, and are friends, be honest. Tell your friend that it's something that bugs you. If your friend takes offense at that, well, then that is your friend's issue. All these suggestions, tap dancing around the issue, will not make it better. It will end up confusing your friend and leave your friend wondering if there is something bigger going on.
                                                                                                                                  Just tell your friend the truth.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                    I tend to agree and it doesn't have to be a big deal. When it comes time to order dessert and she says she just wants a bite, laugh and say "Oh friend, you always end up eating half my dessert! I'm not sharing today. Best order your own."

                                                                                                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                      From now on, I am starting all friendly conversations with, "Oh, friend..."

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                                        I am going to start off all *unfriendly* conversations with, "Oh, friend..."

                                                                                                                                  2. This puts me in mind of a situation I found myself in a couple of weeks ago. It was my birthday, and my wife took me and our son to one of the best restaurants in the Boston area. We all ordered the chef's tasting menu (they will only do that if everyone at the table orders it).

                                                                                                                                    Each of the savory courses was brought out in identical portions for each of us, but for the last course they brought three completely different desserts on three separate plates and placed one in front of each of us, obviously intended to be shared. We had no problem eating off each other's plates, but it seems to me that a less intimate group of diners might have found this a bit off-putting.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                      I totally agree. What if I were with business associates? Such an implied expectation would be awkward.

                                                                                                                                    2. "Hey d'ya wanna share a dessert? Let's share a dessert." "Why don't you get your own damn dessert." -- Jim Gaffigan

                                                                                                                                      1. After she finishes half of your first dessert, order another one and mention that the first dessert wasn't enough. That might get the point across.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: H Manning

                                                                                                                                          actually I like your idea...will use it next tiem my mother in law attacts my dessert.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                            It is a good idea... but I totally see the offending party insisting up down and sideways that they don't need anymore and why do you need another when they just had a wee little taste?
                                                                                                                                            I'm quite familiar with this scenario as my mother always did this when I was growing up. What it is IMHO is total denial about how much dessert they are actually eating, and it's a very female, "diet"-inspired behaviour. With my Mom I put a stop to it when she started giving input on what I ordered. I told her she should choose and order her own dessert. It's sort of a creep effect I think, first they have just one bite, that eventually leads to half your dessert, then they are practically ordering the dessert... all the while fooling themselves that they aren't actually having dessert! With my mom, her bites and snacks here and there actually result in overeating.

                                                                                                                                        2. Your plight reminds me of our estranged cousin, whose husband was always on some faddish diet. Back in the 1970s, we were having a family vacation at my grandparents' beach house. My grandparents served their usual incredible food (freshly caught fish/crabs with marvelous salads, etc., accompanied by one of my grandmother's sumptuous cakes). My cousin's husband said he wasn't eating anything, as he was training for some sort of jogging competition. He proceeded to eat more than half of our cousin's plate, while still maintaining he hadn't eaten a thing. My grandfather, who was quite a wag, observed that the husband must be on a "see-food" diet. The husband just kept cocking his head, while the rest of us roared. At last, my grandfather said, "You know, you see the food, then you eat it." Our cousin looked fit to be tied, as she took another plate of food, then sat in another part of the room to eat it. The husband still missed the joke, as he insisted he hadn't eaten anything. Your friend reminds me of him. I would definitely keep her from poaching my desert. We've always had clear discussions about who wanted to share things vs. who didn't. It usually works best when everyone is honest.

                                                                                                                                          1. Well, I can understand if this person was just an "associate" but you refer to this person as a "friend." In my book friends share. I have a "friend" who ended up getting a free dessert, thanks to me, and she refused to share but still ended up eating everyone else's dessert when they came to the table.

                                                                                                                                            1. Easiest solution is probably to suggest ordering 2 desserts right off the bat. If she declines, as you suspect she will, let her eat half of your dessert, and then when it's all gone, order a second dessert so that you can have enough to satisfy you. After this happens a few times, perhaps she'll get the idea and select one of her own to begin with...and if not, you'll still get what you want.

                                                                                                                                              1. Do what my friend did when we went to a Batali restaurant. She said, "you have to get the olive oil gelato....but order your own because I won't share it."

                                                                                                                                                So glad she said that, it was delicious. What's the big deal in saying, "Hey Sue, I'm really in the mood for Apple Crisp, why don't you get your own today?"

                                                                                                                                                1. how about saying,
                                                                                                                                                  "i'm going to order two desserts, which one do you want me to order for you? i plan to eat every speck of mine."

                                                                                                                                                  1. Listen, never be afraid to speak your mind. You don't have to be loud and rude about it but you can make a joke about it "giiirl you can't keep coming between me and my desert time lols" seriously saying things in a jokingly way will take the embarrassment from you and her and no feelings will get her. Because if you feel like you can't just say it your not too close of friends to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Took my MIL out for mother's day. At the end of the meal, i asked her, do you want dessert? She said, No...I asked here again, she said no again..my husband asked her, she said no..and that she is firm about it. Dessert comes, and she goes, can I just taste a bit of that whipped cream?? I told her, you said you didn't want dessert. can i order one for you? she said no....and puts her spoons into my ice cream sundae more than once or twice...while talking about how they have sugarfree whipped cream on the menu too.

                                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                        I guess it was mother's day and all... but I'd be tempted to push the dessert over to her and say "it's all yours" or something. Sounds like you were very patient. Maybe this one is unwinnable.
                                                                                                                                                        My mother did this growing up. As a teen I eventually took a stand and refused to tell her what I was ordering for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                          Some of this has to do with food shame issues, particularly women but also anyone who has anxiety about weight. People feel shame in ordering a dessert for themselves. Even if the eyes of others are not on him or her, he or she feels as if they were.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                            She is crazy about her weight. love to say, oh, I am too fat...which she isn't but loves to hear, you are not fat comments from others...so I completely ignore her whenever she says, I am too fat.

                                                                                                                                                            Even at home, I'd offer her more food which she says no but later, she'd literally sneak into the kitchen and pick on all the leftover food with her fingers again and again...yuk.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                              Oh my, that sounds so much like my mother. From watching her I learned to take tiny slivers of cake - over and over again until I ate half the damn thing! My husband finally called me out on this and I realized I could take a small reasonable portion of dessert, eat and enjoy and then BE DONE WITH IT. Revelatory! So I try to model this to my kids and we don't generally do seconds of dessert. My mother would come over and ask for seconds. I had to say "we don't have seconds of dessert at our house". LOL always a struggle to not be our mothers...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                lol, are you my sis in law then? especially because I can't imagine there is another person like my MIL.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                                  Gotta another one for you Monica (all in good fun, I love my mom and accept her quirks at this point - she's 70 years old after all). I invited her for dinner, knowing and accepting that means I do all the work - she won't lift a finger. Come time for dessert, she asks for a small serving. Which only means she'll ask for seconds - it's a game she plays with herself with everything from wine to mains to dessert.. By the time I had dished out 7 desserts in the kitchen and made my way to the backyard so I could sit down and relax with my own, she was making noises about seconds. I told her she would have to help herself!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                    hehe, i hope she doesn't have a son...cuz I feel sorry for his wife already.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                              Re: shame, I get that. But other people don't need to play along with the pathology. And speaking as someone who used to feel "shame" about what I ate, it never made me thinner or healthier.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                I didn't mean to imply they have to enable the pathology. But understanding when a pathology is likely to be present will inform the tone with which one chooses not to enable versus deepening it with a counterproductive response.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                            of course on Mother's Day and given that its your MIL all you can do is grin and bear it - I am sure it took some effort to remain composed.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                              but..but..I am a mother too and she does this on other times too.
                                                                                                                                                              I just learned to ignore it now...doesn't bother me as much as it used to.

                                                                                                                                                          3. May I suggest, "Can you have a bite? Sure, if you don't mind pulling back a bloody stump"?