The moment you realize you are friends with a “Well I had…”

We all love to go hang out for a night on the town. Who really doesn’t? Sure you can be hardcore and go out alone and see what the city has to offer you. I have seen plenty of people stand on lines for the club solo and party alone.

While that may be cool for a lot of people, the rest of us are admittedly co-dependent. So of course we hang out with a group of friends. A night out with good friends makes for great times, (usually).

But all the fun changes when you come to the realization that you are friends with what I like to call a “Well I Had…”

By now it’s pretty common practice. Friends plan a night out at a bar or club, they decide to meet beforehand and go grab something to eat. Everyone arrives. Everyone eats and drinks the same amount. And since you are all friends, you got each others back. So it should be easy enough to split the bill equally. Right?

Not when you are chilling with a friend who is a “Well I Had…”.

We all know someone like this, that friend who after hearing the bill amount, inspects it as if they were a symbologist straight out of “The Da Vinci Code”, then announces those fateful words… “Well I had.. the (Insert whatever it is they ate here.)”

Then this person starts adding in their head and you see them looking as stressed as a HS Student taking their SAT’s.

It’s even worse if you are friends with a “Well I Had…” who likes to calculate what they ate right down to the very last cent and give you their share (while neglecting to account for tipping). When you remind them that they should include money for tipping, they either say something negative about the food or service to justify the $2 bucks they toss on the table. Then they top this off with the annoying “I’m good with that right?”. No, you are not good with that. And since I am the sympathetic guy, you know, the one who creates a whole elaborate backstory for the waiter’s life that is full of tragedy and hardship, I end up putting in the money the “Well I Had…” doesn’t put in for a tip.

So how do I deal with people I know who suffer from this way of being cheap? Two ways. Way Number 1. I’m invited to dinner before drinks by a “Well I Had…” and my response: “I’ll meet you guys afterward at the bar/club/movie.” Pretty simple and straight forward right? I basically don’t deal with people like that once it has happened to me a few times. Another way, I only go to places in a group where I buy my own stuff. Like at City Island in the Bronx for example. If someone invites me to “Seafood City”, sure I’ll go because I can get my own stuff and not deal with it.

Now, I know sometimes we have to cut the “Well I had…” folks some slack. Because I pulled that once before in my life. BUT it was completely justified. I went to eat with friends. Hated everything on the menu. Had a diet coke and some fried calamari that tasted like fried, breaded rubber bands, and the bill was $200 bucks between 3 people. Why?

One of the people I was with, (who I have never gone to dinner with again) drank about 5 drinks, ate a bunch of expensive seafood, and had 2 appetizers. Then when the bill came, this person looked to the sky as if they were going to start singing their rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “If You Really Love Me”. So I feel I was completely justified in pulling the “Well I Had…” card. And even in doing that I still ended up spending extra money. Why? Because Greedy McGreedburger left no tip. Again, I have never gone out to eat with this person since.

So folks, am I wrong for thinking that good friends who all ate things within the same range should just split the bill and make life easy? Or is being a “Well I Had…” the way to go?

PS: The “Well I Had…” folks are distant cousins to the “I Got You A Drink…” folks. You know, the ones who enjoy mixed drinks when others are buying rounds. They’ll ask for Grey Goose or Henny or something Top Shelf. But when it’s their turn to buy a round, you end up wondering why you have a lukewarm Corona instead of the Rum and Coke you have been drinking all night.