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How would you handle someone who doesn't make an effort to pay?

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The Oracle May 21, 2012 11:09 AM

I went to dinner with my cousin's adult daughter. She is in her late 20's. My husband and I are about ten years older. The get together was her idea (a: "hey, I'd like to see you, let's get together for dinner"). Great, plans were made. She came out our way, she told us about her eating restrictions (she's doing a low-carb diet), we decided on a place, and the three of us headed out.

When it came time to order, things began to get a bit bizarre. She said: 'what should we do"? and was acting like she couldn't make up her mind on what to order. We (all) finally decided to share a bunch of items and that was that.

When the bill came, she didn't make any effort to pay. The bill sat on the table and my husband finally put his credit card on the check and it was whisked away.

In retrospect (now that I have had time to think/stew about it), I should have looked it over, figured out what she owed, and told her "why don't you put in 'x' for your portion". At the time, I was more blown away by her apparent expectation that we would pick up the tab and her lack of offering to cover her portion.

We are, by no means, well off - so, I know there wasn't an expectation from that side of things. The only thing I can think of is there was an expectation since we are the 'older' relatives - but, even that seems like nonsense to me! I have no doubt her parents cover her tab when they go out (she still lives at home), but I don't consider us to be the same as her parents. I consider her to be a peer vs. a responsibility! Now I just feel like a free meal ticket!

I feel my lesson is learned and, unfortunately, would not do this again (unless I was prepared to pick up the tab). Thankfully, the bill wasn't outrageous, but I'm still finding myself miffed at the entitled expectation and my lack of saying something at the time.

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    Janet from Richmond May 21, 2012 11:22 AM

    This is one of those things that happens to us very often by all sorts of dinner companions...siblings, adult children, friends, etc.

    My guess is she thought of you the same as she would her parents.

    Typically we end up paying and often don't mind, but like you said the effort should be made.

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      JudiAU May 21, 2012 12:02 PM

      If she was younger I would assume she thought you were "older family" and thus would pay. But seriously, in late 20s, I find that pretty bad.

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      1. Karl S May 21, 2012 12:09 PM

        The next time she asks, you can say: "I assume this will be your treat, in reciprocation for our treating you the last time."

        Has she written to thank you, btw? She should have thanked you, and now she has the obligation of reciprocity within a year according to her means (thank yous and hostess gifts do not relieve one of the obligation of reciprocity). But, in this case of family where there's obviously a missed beat in terms of etiquette lessons, I think you can be a bit more direct communication the reasonable expectation of reciprocity.

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          small h May 21, 2012 12:21 PM

          She did a bad thing. Next time you visit these cousins, steal something of hers that's worth approximately what her meal cost. If you're caught, offer to sell it back to her.

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          1. re: small h
            ttoommyy May 21, 2012 12:38 PM

            Best answer yet! hahahahahahaha!!!

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            1. re: small h
              iL Divo May 21, 2012 03:02 PM

              hahahahahahaha

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                tinnywatty May 23, 2012 11:48 AM

                I love this.

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              2. ttoommyy May 21, 2012 12:41 PM

                Why did your husband assume to pay for everyone? Next time, if there is a next time, when the check comes take it after it has sat there for a minute or two and say, "OK, let's divide this thing up." Then proceed to divvy it up and let each person know what they owe. Simple as that.

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                1. re: ttoommyy
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                  Ottojr May 21, 2012 01:14 PM

                  Over the years my friends and I have laid down rules which apply to any dining experience we have. Of course it does not always go smooth.

                  After the confirmation of any restaurant reservations, we discuss if we are going dutch or is this someone's treat (if they suggested it). Some folks are just cheap and never want to pay so we have to put the cards on the table. Of course some are bathing in 'Entitlement" so why should they pay??

                  If one wants to dine out but do not have the money we try and come up with a game plan so that they can be accommodated. NO surprises at the table.

                  If we are dining with non-drinkers we get a separate check. I don't think it's fair for non-drinkers to contribute to the liquor bill.

                  Some of my friends and I go 50/50 no matter what. Even if I have a Peanut Butter Sandwich and they have Tenderloin. We know that it will eventually even out.

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                  1. re: Ottojr
                    melpy May 22, 2012 02:45 PM

                    We are the non drinkers and that is very sweet Of you. At most we will have one d rink or split a bottle of wine. Generally no more than 40 in alcohol at most. Our friends can easily drink triple what we drink and I hate to do anythIng but split evenly or treat/be treated. It is nice when te drinkers realize this and make the effort so we aren't in an awkward situation. Sometimes we don't drink at all!

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                    1. re: melpy
                      Bill Hunt May 23, 2012 08:43 PM

                      When I am with non-drinkers, I will usually ask for ALL drinks to be on a separate tab, and pay that.

                      When I am choosing the wines, the same is often the case, as I would never want others to pick up part of my wine tab, unless they really enjoy the wines, but I usually know that, going into the evening.

                      Even when the bill is being split, or perhaps being charged to some "corporate card," the wines are usually 100% on one of mine.

                      Hunt

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                  2. re: ttoommyy
                    iL Divo May 21, 2012 02:59 PM

                    yea ttoommyy, but then you walk out >not speaking< lost friends or family and all are annoyed.

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                    1. re: iL Divo
                      ttoommyy May 22, 2012 12:32 PM

                      "but then you walk out >not speaking< lost friends or family and all are annoyed."

                      Because one suggests to divide the check? Really? I just don't see it. Maybe I grew up in a different era or have different friends and family. But we speak our minds and respect one another. Sure we argue at times, but I have never had a falling out over money with any of them.

                      On a side note...I am 51 years old and grew up reading Ann Landers in the newspaper. People would always write in asking these types of questions. Her response was always along the lines of "don't be a wet noodle and next time speak up and lay the ground rules." I guess I really took this to heart because I am not afraid to do so.

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                      1. re: ttoommyy
                        iL Divo May 22, 2012 10:10 PM

                        oh I'm not knocking you, but been in the situation many a time.
                        even mentioned on CH a few times.
                        gone into detail about 5 of us co workers out to dinner after Mr. Braggadocious talked all day about how he always picks up the dinner tabs whenever wherever whoever. I mean we heard it all day. we go out he orders off the cuff, bill comes and he says lets just split it 5 ways. I did speak up as no one else did cause we were all stunned. he had a temper tantrum, I held my ground.

                        all I'm saying is it usually doesn't bode well for anyone there.

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                        1. re: iL Divo
                          Bill Hunt May 23, 2012 08:45 PM

                          Maybe that is just a personality fault in that one person?

                          Hunt

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                        2. re: ttoommyy
                          maria lorraine May 23, 2012 02:46 PM

                          <<"but then you walk out >not speaking< lost friends or family and all are annoyed.">>

                          Thank you. This is the second disturbing issue of this thread: holding onto resentment.

                          The lingering resentment felt by both Oracle and Querencia leads me to believe each situation ultimately isn't about money at all: it's about not letting go.

                          Oracle is re-playing in her mind her young cousin not paying. Querencia still resents paying for lunch while her husband was DYING.

                          This is petty. These are relatives -- extended family members. The amount of money was small. Neither Oracle or Querencia spoke up about payment, yet it appeared they were in charge of the meal, so it could easily be said that both were the primary architects of their own dissatisfaction. If any transgression occurred, it was minor. Even so, blame is assigned and self-justification is found, with little or no looking into the mirror.

                          What a waste. It's so sad these relationships have been tainted over such a minor thing.

                          And none of this would have happened had a short conversation preceded the meal.

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                          1. re: maria lorraine
                            Mutch2Do May 23, 2012 03:34 PM

                            This is going to be a bit off topic: Personally, regardless of whether I share DNA with you or not, that doesn't automatically give you a free pass to what I perceive to be bad form. Obviously the debate upon this particular subject is going to range far and wide, but if somebody expects me to overlook their boorish, inconsiderate or selfish behavior "because they're family", they're barking up the wrong tree. I actually expect family members to put more effort toward harmony than any random stranger off the street.

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                            1. re: Mutch2Do
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                              fourunder May 23, 2012 03:49 PM

                              While I have no reasons to doubt anything the OP has detailed.....let's not forget it's only one side of the story. The young cuz may have indeed thanked the OP, but she may not have heard her because she was upset.....or getting there.

                              I would find it very hard to believe someone who makes an effort to meet family, would not say thank you at some point before ending the evening...

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                              1. re: fourunder
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                                HillJ May 23, 2012 03:59 PM

                                Um, just happened to me at a wedding in CA a weekend ago. Sure it happens. Some blokes are just clueless, 4. I'm more than willing to state that much.

                                Thankfully it's not the majority of the time!

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                                  fourunder May 23, 2012 04:04 PM

                                  Maybe the offender just didn't like you...

                                  : 0)

                                  btw....Nieces and nephews from one brother never say hello to me when they walk into my home. So I agree some are clueless, lack manners and show no respect.....

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                                  1. re: fourunder
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                                    HillJ May 23, 2012 04:06 PM

                                    Duh! How clueless of me to assume it was the other bloke! Ha!

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                                      fourunder May 23, 2012 04:14 PM

                                      You were correct to assume if you are his/her elder......the world would be a better place if many would just learn some courtesy and respect....

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                                    2. re: fourunder
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                                      hawkeyeui93 May 23, 2012 04:08 PM

                                      four: I think I would have an earnest chat with my brother about it ....

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                                        HillJ May 23, 2012 04:11 PM

                                        hawkeye..disrespect is taught.

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                                          hawkeyeui93 May 23, 2012 04:15 PM

                                          Hill: I fully agree. That is why I would be having a frank discussion.

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                                          fourunder May 23, 2012 04:40 PM

                                          I have disowned my brother and his wife.......not the kids.....btw..they are all adults....22-38.

                                          I also agree with HillJ....disrespect was taught. in this case.

                                          When my youngest niece was about 12 years old......In my brother's home, at the dinner table......We were telling stories and teasing all the kids with their prior antics when younger . My niece got upset, and although I was not actively participating in anything pertaining specifically to her, she got up from her chair, walked over to me on the other opposite side and spit in my face, picked up my glass of Diet Coke and spat in that.......her older siblings all broke out laughing. My wonderful Sister-In-Law immediately yelled....NOW GET THIS......*No One Laugh At Your Sister*. No reprimand to the she devil and no apologies to me from either my brother or his wife..

                                          I got up from the table....pointed at my brother and told him to meet me outside. I explained to him that if my son had done that to him, he would have been sent to the room without any lights turned on and no electronics, i.e., television, computer or games. I would have told him not to even think of coming out of his room anytime soon and expect to be grounded for a very long time without privileges. .....and i would have made him write an apology letter.

                                          I called him a not so nice female/feline associated word and left.

                                          No respect from the parents...no respect from the kids.

                                          I am glad to say though that the kids overall character have improved as adults, but the rest of the family considers them the Black Sheep

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                                          1. re: fourunder
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                                            hawkeyeui93 May 23, 2012 04:43 PM

                                            four: Sorry if I brought up bad memories ....

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                                            1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                                              fourunder May 23, 2012 04:52 PM

                                              No worries....

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                                            2. re: fourunder
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                                              HillJ May 23, 2012 04:46 PM

                                              Ugh, 4. Sadly, I've heard and experienced sim-but-diff stories from the time I could figure out the humans (myself included--imagine!) are FLAWED. Some choices sting harder and last longer than others.

                                              Nuff said...I'd rather open a bottle of red and enjoy dinner. Cheers all!

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                                              1. re: fourunder
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                                                latindancer May 23, 2012 04:52 PM

                                                What did you say, if anything, to your 12 year old niece?

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                                                  latindancer May 23, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                  Talk about a perfect opportunity for an aunt to teach a niece an object lesson....especially when the parents have no clue.

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                                                  1. re: latindancer
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                                                    fourunder May 23, 2012 05:09 PM

                                                    Not a word. My SIL does not believe in disciplining her kids and my brother was not allowed to do so either. Something about not wanting to treat her kids the way her mother raised her (single child)...instead, she tried to be their friend, not a parent.

                                                    My last meal out with them was about 12 years ago at the Homestead in NYC...unfortunately, .my oldest niece in their family is Bi-Polar and has been hospitalized in the past. At the table, she starts ranting and swearing like she had Tourettes......casting dispersions and name calling about everyone seated in the room in words you cannot repeat without being looked upon as a leper. Totally shocking and no effort from the brother or SIL to intervene......I take it upon myself to stop my niece from continuing and tell her she is out of line and being disrespectful to everyone in the dining room. She thanks me for stopping her and apologizes.....I do not blame her, and my heart bleeds for her condition.....I know at the time she did not realize her actions and behavior.

                                                    Now Get This.....

                                                    My wonderful SIL gets up from the other side of the round table of six, walks over to me and whispers in my ear.....

                                                    *Please do not reprimand my daughter ever again, She could have a relapse*

                                                    I got up from the table and took Mass Transit home to NJ.

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                                                    1. re: fourunder
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                                                      latindancer May 23, 2012 05:23 PM

                                                      Shame shame on your SIL and brother....from every single angle.
                                                      Horrible.

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                                                      1. re: latindancer
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                                                        fourunder May 23, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                        They live in a world of denial.....it's never their fault, always others

                                                        I really blame my SIL for not preparing her children for how to deal with real life issues. I blame my brother for being a spineless idiot.....

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                                                        1. re: fourunder
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                                                          latindancer May 23, 2012 06:14 PM

                                                          What's so sad about your story is that it was really a defining moment for your niece...
                                                          She could have benefited from consequences, without her mother interfering, and she could have learned some very valuable lessons on what boundaries mean. Instead she learned about enabling.
                                                          What a shame. Like you say, your SIL is really very self - centered and irresponsible.

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                                                  2. re: fourunder
                                                    Mutch2Do May 23, 2012 05:09 PM

                                                    ....speechless.... I give you credit for handling it in such a civil manner. I've disowned a sister and (so far) 3 of her 5 offspring for some truly vile actions but getting spit on?? Uffda.....

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                                                    1. re: fourunder
                                                      Bill Hunt May 23, 2012 08:53 PM

                                                      Oh, that is harsh, and one, who does something like that, would be considered "ill-bred" back in Mississippi.

                                                      Sorry that anyone had to endure such behavior. I think that I would have taken away all Internet access, the iPod, iPad and the TV for maybe 9 mos., but that is just me.

                                                      Hunt

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                                                      1. re: fourunder
                                                        linguafood May 24, 2012 03:34 AM

                                                        that is one fucked up family. spitting in my drink? that would get her a slap in the face.

                                                        spit in my face? whoa. not sure if a slap in the face would suffice. fucked. up. to the max.

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                                                        1. re: linguafood
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                                                          fourunder May 24, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                          While I may not agree with you always.....on this one, I can in its entirety.

                                                          : 0 )

                                                          btw....spanking can lead to abuse charges......slapping a child in the face in frontt of her deranged mother, I'm sure would have landed me in the clink

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                                              2. re: Mutch2Do
                                                maria lorraine May 23, 2012 08:36 PM

                                                <<Personally, regardless of whether I share DNA with you or not, that doesn't automatically give you a free pass to what I perceive to be bad form. Obviously the debate upon this particular subject is going to range far and wide, but if somebody expects me to overlook their boorish, inconsiderate or selfish behavior "because they're family", they're barking up the wrong tree. >>

                                                I don't see boorish. Or selfish. I see clueless. I think Young Cuz simply did not know what to do.

                                                Certainly it would have been proactive of Young Cuz to explain her budgetary limits at the outset, and for Oracle to be clear about splitting the bill at the outset, but that didn't happen.

                                                When the bill arrived, perhaps Oracle was thrown, but it would have been an easy thing to cheerfully ask Young Cuz "Would you mind getting the tip?" Or, "How much would you like to chip in? A third would be $XX."

                                                Those questions will unearth if the person was "assuming" another would pay, or whether or not they're a freeloader.

                                                When someone doesn't offer, cheerfully ask. *Handle* the situation. Nicely.

                                                There were so many opportunities to guide and teach someone clueless.
                                                I see bad communication all around.

                                                Oracle is trying to understand her contribution to things not going well. Posting here took guts. I hope she's able to put aside this situation and enjoy her cousin again.

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                                              3. re: maria lorraine
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                                                bcarter3 May 23, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                Who the hell is Querencia?

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                                                  HillJ May 23, 2012 05:54 PM

                                                  Another CH weighing in on this thread, bcarter3 :)
                                                  scroll down.

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                                          2. re: ttoommyy
                                            inaplasticcup May 22, 2012 12:37 PM

                                            I can understand why they ended up paying. Sometimes you're just flabbergasted in the moment that someone would presume to do that. If it happens to you all the time, you probably have a prepared response for it.

                                            But I would have been caught off guard if it was the first time someone did that to me, likely would have paid as well, and just decided that I no longer want to deal with that person in this kind of situation again.

                                            And I wouldn't have addressed the behavior, either. An almost 30 year old woman should know better, and it's not my job to fix her social ineptitude.

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                                            fourunder May 21, 2012 01:06 PM

                                            Given the nature of the small group and details you have provided.....I would just paid the check for all and considered it a a lesson for the future. You can either accept or decline any future invitations to meet....and or set terms for responsibilities.

                                            Regardless of what etiquette really is.....she's family, so move on. it's not worth another single thought.

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                                            1. re: fourunder
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                                              escondido123 May 21, 2012 01:53 PM

                                              I agree. This could turn into a big deal when there is no reason for that. You got to visit, it was one meal.

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                                              1. re: fourunder
                                                scubadoo97 May 21, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                I agree. You paid for one extra meal and it didn't sound like an expensive one at that. Not worth a second thought. Move on, life's too short. You paid for your second cousins meal who still is in her 20s. Should she have offered to pay for her portion? Sure but she may have felt insecure with the situation. Still in her 20s and a lot to learn.

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                                                1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                  fourunder May 21, 2012 03:01 PM

                                                  e and s,

                                                  Clearly, perceptions and attitudes of others are difficult to understand when it comes to figuring out motives.....and it would be pure speculation as to what motivated the young cousin to make contact for a chance to meat over a meal, other than to get together to see her cousin.....but I would surmise, hoping for a free meal was not the reason for motive...

                                                  From the OP's hand....she (the younger cousin ) really made no demands to appear selfish, other than to mention her diet restrictions.

                                                  * She came out our way, she told us about her eating restrictions (she's doing a low-carb diet), we decided on a place, and the three of us headed out.

                                                  * When it came time to order, things began to get a bit bizarre. She said: 'what should we do"? and was acting like she couldn't make up her mind on what to order. We (all) finally decided to share a bunch of items and that was that.

                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                  I really see no bizarre behavior made....in fact, I see her actions as being very thoughtful and reserved instead.

                                                  * She made the attempt to call and get together

                                                  * She let the OP and husband decide the course of action on the menu selections, or at the very least, included them before deciding.

                                                  * She did not order anything on her own....e.g. steak, lobster or the most expensive item on the menu.

                                                  ***** I would also like to point out that once the bill arrived, the OP and young cousin both exhausted the same amount of time.....in not making any attempt to pay the bill. An argument could be made the OP and husband were waiting for the young cousin to pick up the check in it's entirety.....If she had....would the OP have intervened and insisted on paying 2/3 of the bill....We will never know.

                                                  It sounds to me like the little cousin is a very nice young woman.....I'd gladly trade her for some of my family and friends as a dining companion if I could..

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                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                    The Oracle May 22, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                    Thank you for your take on the situation - it was actually very helpful. I do see her as being thoughtful in her actions - from the standpoint of her assuming we were covering the bill from the out-set.

                                                    However, as much as I am at fault for not saying anything at the end (ie: let's split it 3 ways), I find her at fault for making the assumption we would cover her tab!

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                                              2. dave_c May 21, 2012 01:29 PM

                                                After may learning experiences with different relatives, we just take the bill add tip and divide by the number of people there. Depending on wine or cocktails, the appropriate person pays their bit. However, most of the time we just divide the bar tab equally, even though my wife and I don't drink. It is our way of cashing out quickly and let the other relatives fight over who drank and ate what.

                                                Also, my wife gathers the total to make sure the tip isn't shorted.

                                                It's rather sad and comical to watch these grown adults fuss and nitpick over the bill.

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                                                1. iL Divo May 21, 2012 02:42 PM

                                                  well Oracle, that was well thought out and stated by you...dot dot dot...
                                                  as well as well pre planned out by her. I think I just heard her say touché gotcha

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                                                    smartie May 21, 2012 03:41 PM

                                                    I'm assuming she wasn't really thinking beyond 'they are the older relatives' and assumed you would pay. You mentioned your economic circumstances but do you know hers? She was one and you were 2 people, yeh I'd probably have thought the same in my late 20s when older relatives went to dinner with me. It changes when you take a much older relative out like an 80 year old great aunt or granny then the onus to pay falls onto the younger relatives I'd think.

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                                                    1. re: smartie
                                                      The Oracle May 22, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                      I know her financial situation in as much as knowing her father pays for most everything (school, car insurance, medical insurance), she lives at home, is employed, and is about to embark on a overseas vacation....

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                                                    2. Robb S May 21, 2012 06:06 PM

                                                      >When the bill came, she didn't make any effort to pay

                                                      It sounds like you didn't make any effort to pay either, until your husband finally did. It's likely she was waiting for you to take the lead, and either decide how to split the bill or offer to pay the whole thing for whatever reason. Which it turns out you did.

                                                      It sounds like she considered you the grownups in the group, so perhaps she thought you'd be in charge of collecting payments, and felt awkward offering to pay the check, or perhaps the rapidity with which the credit card was whisked away lent an air of finality to the transaction. I wouldn't assume the worst - she made an effort to see you and actually went out of her way to come to your neighborhood.

                                                      If she agrees to see you again, you should a) arrange to go someplace more convenient to her neighborhood, and b) very casually say something like "let's go dutch, this time, if you don't mind" when making plans. It's certainly not her responsibility to treat two of you to dinner the next time around.

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                                                      1. re: Robb S
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                                                        Stelmaria May 22, 2012 12:49 AM

                                                        I agree with this. OP, are you the one who's actually related to her? It seems possible that she may have been watching you, not your husband, for a cue.

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                                                        1. re: Robb S
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                                                          DGresh May 22, 2012 03:57 AM

                                                          I'm guessing she's just a bit "young" in dealing with these kinds of issues. My daughter is a good 7 or 8 years younger, but I can definitely imagine her panicking and not knowing what to do. She may well have been waiting for someone (you) to make it clear how the bill should be divided up (especially since it was ordered "group-wise" rather than individually).

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                                                          1. re: DGresh
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                                                            Kosherbyforce May 22, 2012 04:13 AM

                                                            I definitely agree with this. Particularly based on this:

                                                            "She said: 'what should we do"? and was acting like she couldn't make up her mind on what to order. We (all) finally decided to share a bunch of items and that was that."

                                                            I think by saying "what should we do?" she was actually trying to ask how you thought the bill should be split, prior to her ordering. It wasn't well done, probably, but I also always feel awkward about having that discussion prior to ordering, if it isn't already clear.

                                                            If somebody else is paying, or we're splitting the bill evenly, I try to watch for signals about what they are ordering. I don't want them to have pick up the tab for something really expensive, or part of something really expensive, or a dessert if they are not going to want one, etc. I just think you order in-line with the other person if they're hosting/splitting the bill with you.

                                                            If I'm paying, I'm going to probably be a little more liberal in my ordering. Or not, and hope (but not expect) that the other person feels like I do about watching the other person's signals (and I could say this too, in the case of splitting the bill). So I could see why what happened happened, particularly if you all decided on what to order, but maybe more of the contributions came from you and your husband, and one of you actually placed the order. I still would have expected to contribute to the cost of the meal, but the cues maybe aren't as clear as if everybody orders by themselves and eats their own meals. Still, I think even a token offer is supposed to be made, unless things are really spelled out.

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                                                          2. re: Robb S
                                                            The Oracle May 22, 2012 02:36 PM

                                                            The bill arrived and was placed on the table. I picked it up, after some time, and looked at it and placed it, open faced on the table. We continued to chat and I excused myself to the restroom. When I came back, the bill was still sitting on the table and I that's when I should have discussed how to divvy it up.

                                                            DH ended up pulling out his wallet, putting his credit card on the bill, and left it open faced until it was picked up.

                                                            Clearly, we did not handle it well - but, had I been in her shoes, I would have, at the very least, said: how much do I owe? or something to that nature.

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                                                            1. re: The Oracle
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                                                              hawkeyeui93 May 22, 2012 03:03 PM

                                                              I'm curious about what your husband thought .... Is he aligned with you on it or does he have a different take?

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                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                The Oracle May 22, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                                He found it rude that there was no offer made to contribute.

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                                                                1. re: The Oracle
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                                                                  latindancer May 22, 2012 04:50 PM

                                                                  It's so interesting to see how people react to different situations.
                                                                  My husband would have smiled, thanked her if she offered, and asked her gently to put her money away.

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                                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                                    melpy May 22, 2012 05:32 PM

                                                                    My father and boyfriend wouldnuabe done the same. Especially if he was the only man dining with two women and he was paying for me anyway. Did you chip in, OP?

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                                                                    1. re: melpy
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                                                                      latindancer May 22, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                                      I'm certainly not used to men who would be offended by a young woman, who happens to be a family member, not paying her share of a meal.
                                                                      In fact, I've never experienced it.

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                                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                                        coll May 23, 2012 07:20 AM

                                                                        I've often been told by men that they are paying, but if my husband was dining with us the bill would be split. It's some kind of unwritten rule, at least around here.

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                                                                        1. re: coll
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                                                                          latindancer May 23, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                          Certainly a whole thread on money/dating/demographics/social norms/generational differences/financial status etc. could be discussed and justified.
                                                                          It's just interesting, to me, to read how men differ in certain circumstances.
                                                                          Personally, I've loved the era of chivalry and lovely male mannerisms....it's a concept that's definitely dying out based on what I see and experience every day, compared to what it was even 20 years ago. So, when I read about a man being upset that a female relative hasn't offered to help out with a check it's so unfamiliar to me that I cannot even begin to comprehend the anger.

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                                                                        2. re: latindancer
                                                                          The Oracle May 23, 2012 11:51 AM

                                                                          Would your opinion change if it was a male cousin?

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                                                                          1. re: The Oracle
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                                                                            latindancer May 23, 2012 03:20 PM

                                                                            No, my opinion would not change....regardless of gender. It's just, in this case, we're talking about a young woman.
                                                                            I'm fortunate, very much so, to have married someone who honors family and friends and is very very generous with both.
                                                                            If one of them happens to reciprocate then, obviously, it's received as a lovely gesture but he has never given anything with the intention of getting back.

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                                                                    2. re: The Oracle
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                                                                      hawkeyeui93 May 23, 2012 11:01 AM

                                                                      Oracle: Had she offered, would he have politely declined?

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                                                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                        The Oracle May 23, 2012 11:53 AM

                                                                        I'd assume so, as he or I typically pick up the check when we are out with our family. I think the blatant expectation of the cousin, and us assuming they would contribute (similar to if we shared a meal with friends) was what took us by surprise.

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                                                                        1. re: The Oracle
                                                                          BubblyOne May 23, 2012 10:09 PM

                                                                          If you typically pick up the check with family (but not friends), I'm now completely confused as to your postings. You just wanted her to offer to pay for her share and were upset that she did not?

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                                                                            latindancer May 23, 2012 10:15 PM

                                                                            <I'm now completely confused as to your postings>

                                                                            I thought the same thing.

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                                                                  2. re: The Oracle
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                                                                    fourunder May 22, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                                    The bill arrived and was placed on the table. I picked it up,....

                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                    My take on this is you made the first move and picked up the check. To me, that's an indication you are taking care of it. Whether she is guilty of not offering at that point is moot, although there could be arguments made, she simply may have felt she did not want to insult you by asking....all very innocent. I would also say, since you were the first to handle the check without saying anything about splitting or share of responsibility... it also signals you took control.

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                                                                    1. re: fourunder
                                                                      The Oracle May 22, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                      Point taken, but I do not believe it was all innocent. Lesson learned. Relationship not damaged in the least, but now I'm aware of the perception and expectation.

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                                                                2. Bill Hunt May 21, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                  I feel your pain.

                                                                  Though I can pay, and always do, a gesture would have gone a very long way.

                                                                  Not sure if there IS an answer, but will be interested to see what others think.

                                                                  Hunt

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                                                                  1. KaimukiMan May 22, 2012 12:22 AM

                                                                    Of course it was awkward until someone picked up the check. At which point she should have reached for her wallet/purse and asked if she could contribute...either aloud or by the gesture of reaching for her purse, especially since she initiated the meal.

                                                                    You did what you should have done, and made sure the bill got paid. And if there is a next time, which hopefully there will be, when you or she calls then make it clear that you are going 'dutch treat', at which point she could say..oh no, its my turn to pay... or she could be honest and say... "sure but that means mcdonald's - is that ok?"

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                                                                    1. Delucacheesemonger May 22, 2012 01:46 AM

                                                                      My story on topic regards one of my son-in-laws. When he was dating my daughter we flew them down to our home. We gave them room/board and a car, l cooked three meals for them/him and took them out to two very nice dinners. As his fingers had been too short to reach his pockets l tested his mettle. The four of us went to a quite inexpensive place for lunch their last day. The check was @ $ 25, l decided to wait him out, all bathroom trips were noted, the women left and the check just kept sitting. After 20-25 minutes l gave up and paid, if he only could guess what his selfishness has cost him over the years, oh my. Treat my daughter and granddaughter very well, but somehow he is rarely included. Call me small, but still find it upsetting.

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                                                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger
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                                                                        fourunder May 22, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                                        I have a running joke I tell my friends when they bring up the subject.....When it comes to how I would like to be remembered and my choices are between a criminal or a cheapskate.......I'll choose to be the criminal..... I could not handle my reputation being remembered as being cheap.

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                                                                        1. re: fourunder
                                                                          mariacarmen May 22, 2012 01:14 PM

                                                                          IMO cheap is one of the WORST qualities in a person - because cheap means you're stingy with most everything - your good will, your emotions, your spirit, as well as your cash.

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                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                            Delucacheesemonger May 22, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                            tru dat

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                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                              Isolda May 23, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                                              Totally agree! There's a reason why "mean" is a synonym for "cheap."

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                                                                              1. re: Isolda
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                                                                                Janet from Richmond May 24, 2012 05:09 AM

                                                                                We have friends who are notoriously cheap and can get out of a bill unlike anyone else we know.

                                                                                One night we were in a restaurant with another couple having drinks and eats at the bar. This couple comes in and orders a meal to go and in the meantime has cocktails while waiting for their food.

                                                                                The meal is ready and they pay and leave. They paid for their meal but none of their drinks (which included Grey Goose martinis).

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                                                                                1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                                                                  HillJ May 24, 2012 05:10 AM

                                                                                  Janet, you always have the best restaurant/couple stories!

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                                                                                    Janet from Richmond May 24, 2012 05:13 AM

                                                                                    I think because my husband is beyond generous, we attract cheap people. My husband has the "it's only money" concept in his head. Thankfully we have separate finances or I'd go nuts.

                                                                                    Instead I vent to you all :-)

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                                                                          2. re: Delucacheesemonger
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                                                                            hawkeyeui93 May 23, 2012 11:04 AM

                                                                            Deluca: Your son-in-law sounds like a keeper! It is too bad that his parents didn't teach him good sense.

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                                                                            Linda VH May 22, 2012 03:23 AM

                                                                            Think OP is not asking for advice - just needed to vent. Made her angry at herself (that is sooooo annoying) for not doing something right then and there. I have an unbelievably cheap brother. Many years ago he was visiting with his wife. My Mother was living down here and he suggested we all get together for lunch. It was Mother, his daughter, his g-son, his wife, himself and me. Check came and I passed it down the table. He passed it back without any money or credit card. I'm still ticked at myself for just paying and NOT raising a fuss.

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                                                                              flubber2012 May 22, 2012 03:33 AM

                                                                              This is interesting. I don't want to hijack this but I have a related question for the board. For whatever reason, the way the OP is written, it sounds like the relative is from out of town.

                                                                              The way I was raised, when someone comes into town, they are the guest. Thus, the Oracle and Oracle's hubby would have been on the hook for the bill. HOWEVER, the guest is not supposed to show up empty handed. The guest should have brought a small gift.

                                                                              Furthermore, the guest is definitely required to reciprocate when Oracle and spouse visit her town. Again, Oracle and hubby are obligated to bring a gift.

                                                                              What say ye?

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                                                                              1. re: flubber2012
                                                                                Karl S May 22, 2012 04:18 AM

                                                                                If the occasion is not held in the host's own own, no gift, just thanks and reciprocity.

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                                                                                1. re: flubber2012
                                                                                  The Oracle May 22, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                                  I was raised the same way - you go to visit someone and bring something with you.

                                                                                  In this case, the person was not from out of town. They live about 30 minutes away. We all see each other for major holidays, birthdays, and the occasional 'come over for dinner'.

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                                                                                  1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                    BubblyOne May 22, 2012 03:52 PM

                                                                                    I seems like you found the solution to your problem in the last paragraph of your original post.

                                                                                    Someone driving an hour round-trip to visit with a relative wouldn't strike me as looking for a "free meal ticket", but then I learned years ago always to be prepared to pay the entire tab, whether I was invited or doing the inviting. I'm convinced it's going to add years to my life- or at least keep my blood pressure in check.

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                                                                                  cleobeach May 22, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                  How would you handle someone who doesn't make an effort to pay?
                                                                                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  The simple answer is that I would not dine out with them again without asking for seperate checks but life is rarely that simple, especially when it comes to family. I think there are people that will take whatever they can get for free in life, which I hope is not the case with the cousin's daughter.

                                                                                  There are people on my husband's side of the family that are total free loaders. When we fly half way across the country to visit them, they expect us to pay for all their meals. (It isn't ecomonics, they have plenty of money for life's extra, it isn't like dining out or spending cash on entertainment is odd for them.) We stay in a hotel and therefore we aren't creating expense at their home. They always suggest eating out at restaurants of their choosing (never once invited us to their house for a meal) and never offered to even leave the tip.

                                                                                  I have looked at it from all angles and tried a variety of solutions, nothing has changed after 20 years except we no longer go to visit them, which is my husband's choice.

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                                                                                    gardencook May 22, 2012 10:12 AM

                                                                                    That's a tough situation, but based on what you've said, it doesn't scream "entitlement" or "taking advantage of" to me. It sounds to me like her parents didn't teach her manners. I personally feel that unless there is a discussion about who is paying, everyone should go to a meal expecting to pay their share. That is just common courtesy, I think.

                                                                                    If you really didn't want to pay for her portion, even though she is family, you could have done something like say, "Dear, I'm not great at mental math... could you please figure up our portion of the bill? Thanks!" and not even touch the check that lay on the table. That would send a loud and clear message... but then don't be surprised if you're labeled a tight-wad for such a thing.

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                                                                                      latindancer May 22, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                      "I have no doubt her parents cover her tab when they go out...."

                                                                                      Yeah, parents do that. Unless, once in a while, their adult child insists on paying to feel adult and responsible and wants to treat his/her parents who've raised them, lovingly.
                                                                                      I don't think this is a big deal. She wanted to come and visit you and, from what it appears, she appeared somewhat uncomfortable trying to figure out how to order.
                                                                                      Do you like her? Do you want to continue your relationship with her? Does she come without any agenda? Life's short...if the answer is 'yes' then consider yourself lucky someone thinks enough of you to want to share time with you. Pay for her meal.

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                                                                                      1. re: latindancer
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                                                                                        Bkeats May 22, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                                        I'm with latindancer. You had a younger family member reach out to see you. So it cost you a dinner. Do you like her and enjoy being with her? Then its a small price to pay to have a family member you enjoy being around. My wife has a cousin who has a daughter in her 20s that lives in our city. When we go out for an evening we often invite her along and never consider asking her to pay. Its always a pleasant evening out and she enjoys being able to eat out at places should could never afford on her own. Our kids like to chat with her and it helps the oldster in me stay a bit more up to date on what the hip young types are doing. My wife loves the fact that there is someone in the next generation of her family that enjoys being out with us.

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                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats
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                                                                                          latindancer May 22, 2012 05:02 PM

                                                                                          "it's a small price to pay to have a family member you enjoy being around."

                                                                                          This is also my way of thinking. It always turns out that it's been my pleasure to treat those people in my life who bring a certain element of joy and interest to it. I also do it with no expectation.

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                                                                                        acgold7 May 22, 2012 11:15 AM

                                                                                        As usual, a little communication goes a long way. When no one moved to pick up the check, it was uncomfortable. Of course it was uncomfortable. Honesty always is. But when we have a situation like this, we just lightly say, "Whaddya think? One-third, two-thirds?" (or whatever the appropriate math would have been).

                                                                                        Of course, we would have paid for her. What's 20 bucks over the course of a lifetime for a relative? But if it's really an issue, nothing beats just being honest.

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                                                                                          hawkeyeui93 May 22, 2012 02:42 PM

                                                                                          On its face, I can see why you would be perplexed. At the very least, it shows poor form to invite you to dinner and not pay the entire tab (let alone alternatively offer to pay her pro rata share). However, with the information provided [including her being at least a decade younger, sharing items with you, and still living at home], I would have paid for the meal and not felt slighted in the least bit. Life is too short to get bent out of shape over $20-30 and in the future I recommend eating-in.

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                                                                                            caviar_and_chitlins May 22, 2012 02:53 PM

                                                                                            I see another post from an alternate universe, from the young cousin:

                                                                                            "I wanted to visit with my older cousins, so I called and set up a dinner, drove a distance to see them, tried to gently (but probably awkwardly) broach the subject of how payment would work during ordering, but then we all shared multiple items, and when the check came, it sat and sat. I didn't want to be the first to grab it, as I felt they were asking me to pay the whole thing since I initiated the invitation! Then they paid the whole bill in a huff without asking me to chip in, and I feel terrible, because they were clearly upset with me."

                                                                                            She may have well been expecting the older cousins to take the lead in divvying up the bill, rather than grab for it herself, and potentially be seen as bossy or disrespectful.

                                                                                            So, as others have said, this boils down to poor communication on all sides. If you don't like the way something is going down, speak up then, and save yourself all this anger.

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                                                                                            1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
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                                                                                              hawkeyeui93 May 22, 2012 03:02 PM

                                                                                              You make several good points, but as a counter, her generation fully understands how to divvy up a bill. I live in a college town and I see the jockeying around all the time amongst college-aged kids and splitting up a tab when they are out with their peers [as well as the sitting on their hands when mom and dad take them out to eat].

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                                                                                              1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                                                                                                caviar_and_chitlins May 22, 2012 03:11 PM

                                                                                                I agree, I'm just playing Devil's advocate here- maybe she thought that taking that lead on that among older relatives was presumptious.

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                                                                                                1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
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                                                                                                  fourunder May 22, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                                                  The older cousin has actually clarified she touched the check first without uttering a word.
                                                                                                  The younger cousin did not have an opportunity to do so first.....to me an indication she was waiting for her older cousin to dictate the outcome. To hold the younger cousin seems unfair to me.....simply due to the fact the OP said nothing at the time she touched the check and thereafter.

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                                                                                            2. maria lorraine May 22, 2012 03:34 PM

                                                                                              Like others who've posted, I also get the sense the younger cousin ("Young Cuz") is a sweet, young woman who reached out to you to connect. She probably possesses good manners but *lacks* the specific language skills to navigate dining out.

                                                                                              For that manner, Oracle, so do you.

                                                                                              I see a well-intentioned effort on Young Cuz's part to understand the gist of the meal and her responsibility when she asked you [the grownup], "What do we do?"

                                                                                              That's a meta-question. Young Cuz wasn't asking what to order. Instead, she was asking for information on "how to be" and "how will the meal proceed" and "what are the protocols/ground rules/who's buying?"

                                                                                              Your answer missed the mark. You were asked for the ground rules, but didn't get you'd been asked that.

                                                                                              Your answer was that you would all "order a bunch of things and share," but the critical last part of the sentence -- "and we'll just split the check three ways" -- was left out.

                                                                                              I sincerely believe Young Cuz's discomfort before ordering and her subsequent question to you in part was worry about money.

                                                                                              Your response infers a bit that the grownups administratively took charge of the flow of the meal by ordering "collective" dishes for sharing, but in so doing eliminated the possibility of Young Cuz ordering only what she could afford -- a bowl of soup or a dinner salad -- items which are not easily shared.

                                                                                              Usually when someone administratively takes charge of the flow of the meal, they foot the bill.

                                                                                              Had you indicated early on that you would share a few dishes and split the check three ways, your next move would be to ask Young Cuz if that sounds all right, does that work for you, etc. Young Cuz could have said I only have $20, and you would have gone from there.

                                                                                              I can see why Young Cuz didn't offer to pay at all if her parents usually pay, and if you and DH decided the flow of the meal without checking in with her and what she could afford.

                                                                                              Certainly when the bill comes, someone can always graciously do the math and say "Since we shared, let's split this three ways. I'll put two-thirds on my and DH's card and, Young Cuz, you can get the rest. Sound OK?"

                                                                                              I'm not faulting Young Cuz; I think she made an attempt to seek out your company, and then ferret out the ground rules of the meal but came up short. She still lives at home, and perhaps doesn't eat out much so she quite hasn't learned the social language of navigating restaurant situations.

                                                                                              Actually, I don't think this situation is at all about deadbeats who don't pay for dinner, or about a declining social structure. Young Cuz was clearly well-intentioned.

                                                                                              Deadbeat diners are not. But they can easily be handled by handing your card to the waiter and saying, "Put this amount on this card for the two of us." [You've done the math and know precisely what you owe.] Sign immediately and say goodnight.The balance of the unpaid bill is left to the deadbeat to arrange payment to the restaurant. No enabling.

                                                                                              Contrary to Linda VH, I don't think Oracle posted this thread to vent. Like her younger cousin at dinner, I sense Oracle is genuinely trying to understand, and to see if she was missing anything in her analysis. I applaud that.

                                                                                              Finally, I think this Young Cuz deserves a break. Sounds like a girl who tried to communicate and didn't necessarily have the words. Give her another welcoming..

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                                                                                              1. re: maria lorraine
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                                                                                                DGresh May 22, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                                completely agree with you! I would like to think that we "older" folks can give the benefit of the doubt to the younger generation, and try to remember that awkwardness we all felt in new, more adult, situations. The old "that younger generation has no manners" thing kind of drives me nuts.

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                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine
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                                                                                                  fourunder May 22, 2012 05:17 PM

                                                                                                  This is a very well reasoned and thoughtful response....but I have to ask, why did you edit your last paragraph, i.e. removal about *sensitive and caring*.....or did I imagine that?

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                                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine
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                                                                                                    sueatmo May 22, 2012 05:25 PM

                                                                                                    You make interesting points, but I still think the young woman should have at least offered to pay her share. She's old enough to know this.

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                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo
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                                                                                                      fourunder May 22, 2012 05:30 PM

                                                                                                      When it comes to family....common sense goes out the window....

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                                                                                                      1. re: fourunder
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                                                                                                        sueatmo May 23, 2012 08:32 AM

                                                                                                        Too bad. Once we are adults forbearance is often the only way to keep a family on speaking terms.

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                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo
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                                                                                                          HillJ May 23, 2012 08:41 AM

                                                                                                          Good communication, not self-control, is how to achieve healthy relationships with anyone. The 'someone' who didn't make an effort to pay was not a stranger...why treat the situation as if some unknown character joined you for a meal..

                                                                                                          gosh why is communication so darn difficult!

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                                                                                                    2. re: maria lorraine
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                                                                                                      Kosherbyforce May 22, 2012 06:56 PM

                                                                                                      I basically agree with you, since I think you conveyed what I was trying to say in my post (though in a much better way!). But I think that even when you actually [i]know[/i] somebody is treating, then if you offer to get the drinks, or dessert, or the tip...something. And you make it a favor to you, when you do it. "Thank you so much, please let me get x." Or something along those lines. I think that's really nice too when people trade off.

                                                                                                      However clueless the cousin is, unless she is completely without friends, I can't imagine this hasn't come up yet. Of course, maybe why this happened is that nobody feels comfortable saying something to her: she's a friend, but not that close a friend, etc. And probably won't be if she keeps this up. In that light, her cousin might be doing her a real favor to (nicely) clue her in.

                                                                                                      All that said, maybe I just run in the wrong circles, but I know so many people who are so cheap about this stuff. And call me petty, but I don't feel like I can be that good friends with people who behave in such an oblivious fashion. Of course, usually if they are so oblivious that way, they will likely be the same in other (perhaps more important?) matters.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Kosherbyforce
                                                                                                        maria lorraine May 22, 2012 09:14 PM

                                                                                                        If you haven't dined out on your own dime a lot, if you haven't been exposed to how you handle yourself in restaurant social situations that involve money, sometimes you simply do not know the words to use to ask about ground rules. Young Cuz didn't have the words. Neither did older cuz, Oracle.

                                                                                                        I'm sure Young Cuz has floundered before when eating out with friends (and probably in many social situations), but why do I get the sense that she's been a bit cloistered and may not have been exposed to how glibly and easily these conversations can be had?

                                                                                                        So much of successful and friendly dining (and avoiding trouble later) involves picking up on nuances and subtle signals and the needs of others, and being exposed to the language that constitutes considerate behavior.

                                                                                                        Just as when engaging a whore, the money conversation comes before the deed (meal). These restaurant tariff discussions can be friendly, without the onerous oppression of a money negotiation, more in the "I've wanted to come here for so long, how is everybody tonight, what works well for the table?" That's style as much as words. More: "So, is splitting the tab good for everyone? Jake, since you're not drinking wine, do you want a separate check? Anne, since you're losing weight and eating almost nothing, do you want a separate check too? OK, good. Anybody already know what they want to order??" Somebody has to be the grownup.

                                                                                                        Get it all out in the open before ordering. Problems come up later if it's not clear at the outset.

                                                                                                        Someone being railroaded or who has a different idea of what works for them needs to speak up: "I know you guys want an expensive bottle of red wine, but I really just want a glass of white for my fish." That's a clue for a separate check. A friend can tune into another's discomfort and say, "Is that going to work for you?"

                                                                                                        Unvoiced assumptions are widespread. Trouble follows. There's no discussion of splitting the check evenly before the meal, but when the tab comes and Couple A has ordered foie gras and lobster, and Couples B - D have split entrees and forego dessert, there's resentment when it's suggested the bill is split evenly then. Or, what may have Young Cuz's unvoiced assumption: My parents have always paid, so I'm assuming "Aunt" Oracle and her DH will pay. Or the girlfriend's unvoiced assumption: He buys.

                                                                                                        In Young Cuz, I see her as not having the words and being too timid to stick up for herself when she may have been railroaded into a meal beyond her budget. It takes a young woman with a great deal of moxie to say to her older cousin and her husband when it's been "decided" that they will share collective dishes, "I really want to enjoy my meal with you, Oracle, but that's more than I can spend. I'll have a bowl of soup and a glass of wine instead."

                                                                                                        Lots of needs and agendas gather around a table. Some folks are very sensitive to nuance and others' needs; others are completely unaware they need to tune in to these things during a group dynamic. But you come there to create a community of experience for those few hours. Always best to take care of business first.

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                                                                                                    3. q
                                                                                                      Querencia May 22, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                      I had a similar experience when visited by a niece and nephew when my husband was dying. She asked what she could do for me and I said I needed to get out for a while and would really like to go out to lunch so nephew stayed with husband and off we went. She then stuck me with the check for a fifty-dollar lunch. The only resolution I can suggest is to avoid restaurants with certain people in the future.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia
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                                                                                                        Kosherbyforce May 22, 2012 07:12 PM

                                                                                                        This is going to sound insensitive, but did you expect to be treated to lunch? The way your post reads, it basically sounds like you wanted a break, which you got, but did you expect your niece to treat you too?

                                                                                                        Not that it wouldn't have been nice if she had, but if you were just asking for a break maybe it would have made more sense if you had gone alone, or if you went with your niece that each of you would have covered your own meals. I definitely think you shouldn't have had to cover your niece's meal. But while I think it might have been nicer for her to cover the cost of both of the meals, since she didn't actually invite you to lunch, I think there shouldn't be an expectation that she would. On the same wavelength, perhaps she intrepreted what you said as an invitation? Again, I think this would be pretty dense, but if you asked her to come along on your break, I could see it.

                                                                                                        Did you say "I need to get out for a while and would really like to go out to lunch," "I need to get out for a while and would really like to go out to lunch with you," or "I need to get out for a while and would really like to go out to lunch. If you like, you can come along." To me, the first implies that you just want to go out to eat, presumably by yourself, the second is an invitation where you could be, but are not definitively, hosting, and third, definitely separate checks. Obviously, under the circumstances, unless you wanted to go and did go alone, a really gracious person would have picked up the tab in any case, but I think it could be seen different ways, depending on phrasing. The only other scenario I can think of is if you said "I need to go out for a while and would really like to be taken out to lunch." Which would put this discussion in a whole different realm, but I'm going to assume that isn't the case here.

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                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                          maria lorraine May 22, 2012 09:32 PM

                                                                                                          I think this is an easy thing to let go of. Your nephew did you a favor watching over your husband. The lunch was your idea, you needed a break, and your paying for it is a thank you for your nephew's service. The classy thing would have been to realize right away you were being given a gift and then offering to pay for lunch as a gift in return.

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                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            julesrules May 23, 2012 06:21 AM

                                                                                                            I don't know how this went down but she may not have budgeted for a $50 lunch that day (regardless of whether you feel she can afford it). Did you choose the restaurant?

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                                                                                                            1. re: julesrules
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                                                                                                              HillJ May 23, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                                                                              Right on. Perhaps your niece believed you were looking for company and someone to enjoy a meal with. Who pays is a separate assumption. Why is it so darn hard to talk clearly to the people in our lives? No one is a mind reader. How this made you feel Querencia is all you wind up remembering....

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                                                                                                            sueatmo May 22, 2012 05:23 PM

                                                                                                            I understand why you feel used. If something like that ever happens again, you will know to initiate the conversation about paying. I do think that your friend must have sensed that you were expecting some sort of action on her part. Perhaps she has learned this behavior from her parents?

                                                                                                            I think the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. . . ." applies here. Your friend was rude, and you don't have to put up with that. I wouldn't do anything to upset her or her parents though. Not worth it for a restaurant tab. But, now you know something about this person you did not know.

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                                                                                                              HillJ May 23, 2012 04:53 AM

                                                                                                              Lives at home, you observed parents paid for most things, you're ten years older, a relative, you sorta picked the place to accommodate her, you shared the meal...yeah, I think unless otherwise discussed a young person could easily assume you're treating. Be mad at her parents!

                                                                                                              But, I'm sorry to hear as the older person, friend/relative that you would base this one experience on it being a failure and not consider getting together for a meal again. Any number of remarks during the meal or certainly when the bill arrived could have been made, ie: are you prepared to contribute to the bill? How would you like to pay the bill together? If you felt strongly about the bill landing on your CC, you missed a teachable moment. Now you're miffed and the young person has learned nothing and has no idea you're miffed.

                                                                                                              Isn't it easier to approach something that bothers you in the moment than stew about it or do nothing to voice it. Later is always harder.

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                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                HillJ May 23, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                ps-the assumption of entitlement might have been entirely yours. Most times people, even close relatives/friends are clueless about what's in another persons head.

                                                                                                                Just perhaps, you were a bit clueless about how the check might wind up...and the young person was clueless it would matter...

                                                                                                                I wouldn't jump to entitlement conclusions so quickly. It's mean spirited.

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                                                                                                              2. e
                                                                                                                escondido123 May 23, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                It seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to say "Oh poor cuz, the poor little thing was just confused." Well we're not talking about a teenager here but someone in her late 20s so I don't think it makes sense to just say she didn't know what she was doing. But as I posted earlier, I would certainly not be dwelling on it or being "miffed" and if I liked the cousin just be glad that for only $20 you got to have a nice visit. (You posted "We all see each other for major holidays, birthdays, and the occasional 'come over for dinner'." Are those events at their house, your house or a mix? That could also have played a part in her expectations.)

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                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123
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                                                                                                                  HillJ May 23, 2012 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                  Sadly, age doesn't always play a role in sensibility. I think that's demonstrated in the course of all our daily lives. It's not poor cuz at all. It's the OP's take we're responding to. Was the cousin acting entitled, clueless, awkward, etc. Who knows...we weren't there. But the idea that you would write off a relative because of one uncomfortable food tab...what about that?

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                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                    inaplasticcup May 23, 2012 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                    I don't think there's any reason to infer from the OP that Oracle has written off this relative. She just seems prepared to handle a similar situation with the same relative in a different way next time.

                                                                                                                    Say Oracle is 40 and the relative is 30. Seems many of us are cutting a 30 year old woman a LOT of slack and extending her all kinds of empathy and compassion while the OP is taking an awful lot of heat for her perspective on things...

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                                                                                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                                      HillJ May 23, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                      Oracle's comment in the OP: I feel my lesson is learned and, unfortunately, would not do this again (unless I was prepared to pick up the tab).

                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                      That's where I thought their was inference, inap.

                                                                                                                      Doesn't really matter (imho) what age the people are, they were all old enough to communicate to each other better. But I do notice that younger people tend to defer to older people, relatives included, over matters like this. I am not intending to scorn Oracle at all actually, I'm (in nearly every NAF thread) surprised by how little communication is used to deal with very common life experiences. Like I said, we weren't there to hear and say how this meal went personally...so, thanks for your pov, inap-always a pleasure!

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                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                        The Oracle May 23, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                        fwiw, there is no intention of cutting off the relative. What I meant by that statement was I would not go into a dinner situation again (under similar circumstances) without either discussing how the check would be handled (from the outset) or unless I was prepared to foot the bill (which I typically have no issue doing).

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                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                          inaplasticcup May 23, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                          "unless I was prepared to pick up the tab..."

                                                                                                                          We inferred differently, or perhaps I read "write off" differently than you meant it.

                                                                                                                          I understand the value of putting yourself in the other person's shoes, but to offer yet another perspective about communicating in these situations - for every person who has clearly communicated their expectations and succeeded, you'll have one who tried to communicate their expectations and found themselves on the receiving end of resistance and/or resentment.

                                                                                                                          So while it may seem intuitive to many of us, clear communication is not always as welcome or effective as we might like to think it is - *especially* when it comes to family.

                                                                                                                          And I'm not making assumptions as to whether that is OP's experience. I'm just saying that I think we can extend empathy and imagination to her favor as well as her relative's.

                                                                                                                          And I know you weren't being mean spirited. My first comment was in direct response to yours, but the remainder probably should have been placed under the general thread. :)

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                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup
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                                                                                                                            HillJ May 23, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                            Point taken, inap. That's what makes the world go round ie: diff. perspectives.

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                                                                                                                        2. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                          The Oracle May 23, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                          My main issue with the situation does boil down to expectations and age does play into it. To put specific ages out there - cousin is 29, I am 37, DH is 36. I, obviously, don't feel that is an older/younger situation - and, because I view the cousin as a peer and not someone younger (even though logistically they are). I see it as going out to dinner with younger friends and the younger friend expecting the older friend to pick up the tab - which I think is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                          The lesson learned is the expectation of this particular relative - which is fine, since I can now manage my own expectations and communicate accordingly in the future. I was appalled that at 29 and employed there was no lack of consideration, no mention of thanks, and an air of expectation.

                                                                                                                          In posting, I was brainstorming on ways the situation could have been handled and also curious if others had found themselves in a similar plight at one time or another. I, personally, would have never treated an older relative like this - and, since the time I started working (as a teenager), would always pay my way or pick up the tab.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                                            h
                                                                                                                            HillJ May 23, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                            Your addition thoughts now posted gives alot more perspective to what you were thinking at the time. I appreciate that you took the time to offer more to the story.

                                                                                                                            I am sad for all of you IF the bill overshadowed the meal and the opportunity to be together. I can think of numerous times that I've been in similar but diff. situations over money and I guess I decided long ago to pick my battles (& thankfully money is one of them) with people I care about.

                                                                                                                            I hope you have many more pleasant meals with your cousin.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: The Oracle
                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                              HillJ May 23, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                              I would also observe that I hadn't noted that your cousin left without thanking you both until you wrote that here. You didn't mention a lack of appreciation in your OP. So, while I didn't believe your story was anything more than a poorly communicated dinner experience, I don't condone a lack of appreciation. That's just bad manners.

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                                                                                                                            2. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                                              mariacarmen May 23, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                              Totally agree Ina - this thread has gotten more and more judgmental, as they usually do when they go on this long. I was just about to say that people are acting like Oracle was ready to excommunicate the "young" cousin. If Oracle was going to take such a harsh step, it's unlikely she'd be worried about how she handled things. It's especially exasperating to see people say that THEY value family above all else, as if Oracle does not because she dared to be annoyed by the niece's faux pas.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                                                                                HillJ May 23, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                Oh for goodness sake mariac, this entire discussion has been to understand the question Oracle posed. Oracle decided to bring something personal up on a community board for input. We offered it, and asked questions and appears to me anyway Oracle is doing just fine. Not agreeing with aspects of an experience, experienced OFFLINE in real life, doesn't mean judgement. Sheesh.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                  mariacarmen May 23, 2012 11:36 PM

                                                                                                                                  Sheesh yourself. judgment is DEFINITELY being passed here. Oracle brought something up about how to handle a situation and for people to assume she doesn't value family as much as others do is presumptuous and exhibits holier-than-thou attitudes. you have your right to espouse it and i have my right to be annoyed by it. i'm not speaking FOR Oracle, i'm voicing MY opinion of other posters on this public forum.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                                                                                    HillJ May 24, 2012 04:52 AM

                                                                                                                                    What I am reading are adults discussing a common topic, "how you handle xyz" which is a pretty common topic here on NAF Board.

                                                                                                                                    I understand you are voicing your opinion. I was doing the same. My only point is that I don't see judgement and I don't agree that anyone is judging Oracle's family values.

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                                                                                                                                2. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                                                                                  latindancer May 24, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                  "as if Oracle does not because she dared...."

                                                                                                                                  What an interesting perceived deduction....nobody, that I see on this thread, is assuming she doesn't have family values. Everyone I note is giving their view and their experience. Including me. Who's being judgmental?

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer
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                                                                                                                                    HillJ May 24, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                    Oracle if you are reading along, I can see from your profile page that you enjoy the NAF Board a good deal and have contributed to a good deal of NAF topics.

                                                                                                                                    So, is it safe to assume that you haven't viewed this thread as being judged harshly? If not, it was never the intent.

                                                                                                                                    The common "how would you handle xyz" comes up often on NAF and we all see that these threads are often interesting discussions with widely varying viewpoints. That's all I see going on now. More importantly, I hope that's how you've experienced it.

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                      latindancer May 24, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                                                                      "That's all I see going on now."

                                                                                                                                      Then we all agree right? It's never been the intent, by anyone, to judge the OP 'harshly'. So why the judgment?

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer
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                                                                                                                                        HillJ May 24, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                                        latindance to put it directly to you, I often find myself understanding your pov even if I don't take a moment to say so.

                                                                                                                                        mariac, shared another pov.

                                                                                                                                        that's what makes the world go round.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                          latindancer May 24, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                          'That's what makes the world go round."

                                                                                                                                          So true, HillJ...my sentiments exactly. Just so you know...I
                                                                                                                                          I seem to nod in agreement with alot of your comments also.
                                                                                                                                          Mariac shared another POV, another way of looking at it, and it's all good.

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                                                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                        latindancer May 24, 2012 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                        Throughout this entire thread, and many like it on CH, I find the discussion interesting.
                                                                                                                                        There are so many different opinions, experiences and feelings and to think, along with all this discussion, that one person views most of it as 'judgmental'' is disturbing. I actually have felt the opposite. I find people empathizing and truly interested in the OP's dilemma with offerings of different life experiences.
                                                                                                                                        I can't imagine the OP feeling any differently.

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                                                                                                                                      3. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                        mariacarmen May 24, 2012 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                        some people just can't see themselves.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                                                                                          latindancer May 24, 2012 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                          'some people just can't see themselves'

                                                                                                                                          Au contraire. My intent was never to judge the OP. Only my experiences were noted in relation to what the OP was questioning.
                                                                                                                                          How do you see yourself?

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
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                                                                                                                                            fourunder May 24, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                            Just curious.....aren't you passing judgement as well in your responses.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder
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                                                                                                                                              HillJ May 24, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                              More to the point since it is Oracle that posted the question. I haven't heard Oracle state he/she/they were offended by any of the comments posted here. Sure, you can as an individual read it and decide if you're offended by any part of the entire thread personally, but suggesti ng how they might feel, is going to lead nowhere...

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                mariacarmen May 24, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                I've already said i wasn't speaking on behalf of Oracle. I'm stepping out of this discussion as it's pointless, and the mods will delete it anyway.

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                                  fourunder May 24, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Using my comments only to Oracle.....I have leaned toward defending the young cousin in almost every post. Clearly, she has responded back to me only positively....even though she has not been in agreement with me totally on my points of view. I have found her to take all the comments in rationally.

                                                                                                                                                  I think she has thick skin and has not been offended by anyone. She asked the question and has respected the comments from others without discontent

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                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                                                    HillJ May 24, 2012 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                    4 that's how I understood comments as well.

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                                                                                                                                  2. b
                                                                                                                                    bulavinaka May 23, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                    I'd be tempted to print out this thread and slip it under your cousin's daughter's door - let her suss it out... :)

                                                                                                                                    Most of my relatives are very generous - the problem usually is the opposite - fighting over the check. But a couple aren't that way - no effort to even chip in. And they are the ones who always say blood is thicker than water. Disowning relatives is not an option. I rationalize that there are those who are givers, and there will always be those who are takers. When the takers come along, we eat on the cheap.

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                                                                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                                                                      jujuthomas May 24, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                      It depends on if there's a recurring pattern of behavior. I had a friend who would take advantage of every opportunity for a free meal. She would come to our home to eat, would let my DH pay for a meal, but would never offer to to bring a dish or to reciprocate in any way. For a while I didn't mind. When I started to feel used, I stopped eating with her.
                                                                                                                                      If you enjoyed this cousin's company I'd say have dinner again, but be more clear about how the bill will be split. Don't write her off as a dining companion until you see if this is her standard operating procedure or just a misunderstanding. :)

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas
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                                                                                                                                        fourunder May 24, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                        In general, I believe people come from three camps.....First, one that believes they should never pay and always look and expect for a free ride for their company. Second, one that believes sharing cost is proper and makes every effort to bear equal responsibility....and Third. those who are able to be generous and share their goof fortune, practice chivalry and enjoy doing so without any thoughts reciprocity.....If they ever mention they paid to impress for whatever reasons to known circles....then they are pompous and have no class....for the latter, I give exception here and on other anonymous sites.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder
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                                                                                                                                          HillJ May 24, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                          That's interesting, 4. My belief is a bit simpler and I hope that I have high dividends across my life, in all my years raising children, marriage, professional practices and generally trying to be civil, thoughtful and fair--in my camp there are good communicators and lazy communicators. Good communicators find a way and lazy communicators go through stages of grief, stress, blame and bitterness rather than improve their communication skills. Good communication doesn't exhaust us, laziness does. It's all about choice.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                            fourunder May 24, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                                                                                            My positions are based on the wallet....

                                                                                                                                            : 0 )

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                                              HillJ May 24, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                              I noticed that, immediately. Mine are based on learning that, that which makes me aggrevated isn't worth the time or money.

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                                                                                                                                            2. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                              bulavinaka May 24, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                              I see your point about communication, but I'm guessing it's the spoken/oral communication - even written communication. I know this is obvious to you, but in many cultures, any given social situation has its expected routine, pattern, practice, protocol, etc. Certain circumstances also will create a situation where intent will be the communicator. Action (as well as inaction) is a form of communication. When it comes to money relative to many cultures, especially in situations like a meal at a restaurant, discussing money is not on the table, particularly up front. In many Asian cultures, see my comment in my post above. It can sometimes get ridiculously out of hand - really. The inevitability of paying the check is no mystery - a matter of who is more cunning, loud, quick, demanding in paying for it first.

                                                                                                                                              I think the situation of this OP is one that is pretty much trans-cultural. Some how, some way, $$ has (or had in advance) to be ponied up for the check - this is no mystery to anyone old enough or responsible enough to carry a wallet or purse. just my opinion, but it's strange to me how someone can just write off, avoid, ignore, etc., the inevitable in these kinds of situations. Minimum, a thank you, an acknowledgement to the one(s) who covered the check is in order - often times, that's all that's expected. And those who, through inactions, sudden disappearances or feigning, have communicated to me what they're made of. Are they bad people otherwise, I don't know. Everyone is different, obviously. But imho, this is really telling of what is at the core of one's soul.

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                                                                                                                                        2. The Chowhound Team May 24, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                                                                                                          Hey, folks, as most etiquette thread do, this one is getting off-track and judgmental, we're going to lock it now.

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