I have certain rules when it comes to eating with friends. Almost all my friendships revolve around food. Whether I’m meeting someone for lunch or grabbing smoothies after a work out with someone I’m trying to eat, you know what I’m sayin?
Having restaurant compatibility is essential in maintaining a friendship. Have you ever tried being best friends with a vegan when you’re not? It’s insane! It’s particularly challenging because I love sharing food. Some people are kind of weird about sharing, but the act of breaking bread together is the basis of human development. How are you going to get to know someone when you’re so focused on not getting anyone else’s germs in your individual bowl?
I try to be cautious about it when I’m first starting to eat with people I don’t know that well. The first time, I just start off small — maybe a french fry or break off a piece of a giant cookie. Eventually, I move up to asking for share plates from the server. Only an elite group ever gets to move on to sips and bites of my paninis.
I think my love of sharing food originated from my family where every meal is eaten family-style. So it only seems natural that we would share everything, because who wants to eat one thing for the whole meal like you’re a one-trick-pony? I like sharing food because it’s an immediate way to show and reconfirm closeness with others around you. It’s a simple way to have a shared experience with someone that in that point in time, only the two of you are experiencing.
Sure, I understand the cons against always having to share food. When you’re with someone that is stingy with their money, but loves to order a lot, it gets awkward. Or when your friend is a picky eat, what should you do? How picky do they need to be for it to be acceptable to ditch them and order your own food?
This happens to me all the time whenever I’m trying to go to dinner with a friend who happens to hate all seafood. What am I supposed to do, never eat prawns around this person? When it’s a group situation and people want to order something I have no interest in, I never want to make a big deal out of it. Since luckily I have no serious food allergies, I can just eat whatever people put in front of me. I feel that’s what a real friend would do. Just eat what everyone else wants to eat with no complaints.
But like with anything in life there’s a certain etiquette that you need to follow in order to successfully navigate the murky waters of sharing food.
- If you’re sharing a meal, two people aren’t allowed to order the same thing. You might as well order a round of PB&Js all around if you’re going to waste an opportunity to try something different.
- When friends offers you a bite, don’t be eating literally half their meal. Unless the original intention was to share a meal, they didn’t plan on only eating half of what they ordered. Even if they might be too polite to say otherwise, don’t go and eat all of someone else’s food.
- Don’t snatch up the last bite. If it’s a group situation, don’t be that person and be licking the sauce off the plate. Keep it together.
- Try not to eat too quickly. When you’re eating something family-style, especially with people you don’t know very well, if you eat very quickly, it’ll dictate the speed of eating for the entire table.
- No double dipping unless you’re very close with every person accounted for at the table.
- If there’s a large group of people and you’re eating family-style, the general formula is one entree per person plus one more. It’s my nightmare for things to be skimpy.
- Start a separate tab if you’re going to order more than one drink. Or at least pay cash, no one was planning on footing the bill for your liquid dinner.
- Dessert is 3-person split MAX. Who wants two bites of a liquid lava cake? I didn’t sign on to fight for a few crumbs.