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I am coming from an oriental culture. It's a sign of appreciation to invite friends for beers, coffees etc.

Currently, I am living in France. I have lots of friends from here. I still enjoy inviting my friends, but recently I realized that nobody puts their hands in their pocket when we are paying, 90% of the time I pay the bills. I suspect that they are waiting for me to pay which offends me. Appreciation is not a business. I understand cultures are different, however, I don't understand why nobody bothers.

What should I do? Am I being taken advantage of (which will disappoint me)? Am I overreacting?

I am 22 btw.

closed as too broad by Tinkeringbell, curiousdannii, r m, Arwen Undómiel, Jess K. Dec 11 '17 at 14:24

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Are you the "inviter" or the "invitee". If the situation is happening when you are the inviter, what happens when you are invitee? Not knowing French culture, it could be that the inviter is expected to pay. – Common K Dec 8 '17 at 18:51
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    Did you state that you would pay when you invited them? If you did not, why did you pay? – dvc.junior Dec 8 '17 at 19:45
  • They have their culture and customs, but they know you are new there. - " I suspect that they are waiting for me to pay which offends me. Appreciation is not a business.". - Wait for them to pay, see if they are offended, ask them how it works at that time (come back here and answer your own question for us). If it were a business it would neither be profitable nor breaking even, it would be a charity. Suggest that they ask the restaurant to pay for the appreciation of your company, makes no sense now. Still, it might be rude to refuse and if you're paying there's less excuse not to go. – Rob Dec 9 '17 at 2:20
  • Asking what you should do, if you are being taken advantage and if you are overreacting is a bit broad and not really something we can answer. Try narrowing down your questions to focus on one specific IPS question – Jesse Dec 9 '17 at 6:05
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    @NotThatGuy Nice edit, but is this "How can I get them to pay their share?" really what the OP wants? No indication of that in the original post, although they asked three separate questions "What should I do? Am I being taken advantage of (which will disappoint me)? Am I overreacting?". – Anne Daunted Dec 9 '17 at 18:58
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I understand cultures are different, however, I don't understand why nobody bothers.

In French culture, it's considered vulgar/rude/distasteful to talk about money in public, so the idea of itemizing the bill and everyone paying their share only isn't really practiced. Instead, depending on the number of people attending, the group will talk about who's going to take care of the bill for everyone else. In this way, the mentioning of money, and/or the act of being "frugal", is avoided. If the group is large, then people usually split the bill evenly, regardless of who ordered what.

If you're hanging out with the same [smaller than larger] group of people, then friends will take typically take turns paying the bill.

Be careful in how you ask your friends to dinner though.. if you're always directly inviting the group by using a phrase like

Je voudrais vous inviter au restaurant. [I would like to invite you to the restaurant.]

then it's assumed that you're going to take care of the bill. Instead, you should perhaps use a more casual phrase like

On se fait un resto ce soir? [Are we going to a restaurant tonight?]

In this case, it's unclear who's paying, and so, there's good chance that a conversation will be had in order to determine who should pay. And, since you most likely paid the time before, if they're actual friends of yours, none of them should look to you.


Without knowing the verbiage of how you've been asking them to dinner, I can't say with confidence if you should let this get to you or not. I do recommend though that you keep an open mind about it, and regardless of the outcome, take this as a learning experience for a culture that you're still adapting to.

If, in the future, you start hanging out with other people, and those people don't act like the current group [and are more generous when it comes to the bill], then I think that will be most revealing.


Pro tip: If you want to avoid this situation altogether, then, from time to time, tell your friends that you have to leave early (just make up some excuse), but, before doing so, go to the waiter/waitress and tell them you only had "this" or "that", and make sure to leave that amount of money on the table just before you head out.

Or, if you don't want to lie to your friends, simply say that you're going to the restroom, and while you're away from the table, pay the host your portion of the bill. When it comes time for the bill, simply tell your friends that you already took care of your share. Depending on how you say this, and, if your friends expect you to pay, they will either be 100% okay with this, or, they'll be a little passive aggressive about it, and/or change their behavior in the future.


But, again, it largely depends on how you've been asking them..

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    I completely disagree that people don't split the bill evenly in France, or don't go Dutch. Especially at 22, there is a good chance that the OP and his friends are still students. – Taladris Dec 9 '17 at 15:22
  • @Taladris I think you may have misread a portion of my response.. "If the group is large, then people will split the bill evenly, regardless of who ordered what." -- you disagree with this, or agree? – Charles Dec 9 '17 at 15:25
  • When I mentioned, "..so the idea of itemizing the bill and everyone paying their share only isn't really practiced", I mean that, if you and I were to go out for dinner, and I ordered a meal that was $20, And yours was $15, then, you wouldn't just pay $15, but instead, we would split $35, or, either of us will pick up the entire bill. – Charles Dec 9 '17 at 15:28
  • I would say that the size of the group is not relevant and groups of 2 or 3 people may still pay only what they ordered, or split the bill evenly. And paying what you ordered in a large group is also common. So yes, I think that it would be fair if I pay only 15€ and you 20€. Or the other way around. There is this famous (old) sketch by French humorist Muriel Robin about bills: youtube.com/watch?v=R1jF2Z72LK8. But you raised a good point in your answer: people should agree beforehand on how to pay. – Taladris Dec 9 '17 at 16:15
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    @Taladris Hmm, I see.. I was in France only for 9 months, and most of my time was spent with the same [somewhat large] group of people, so my experience could have been somewhat limited on this regard. We were always casual about it though, and just split the bill evenly most times. On a few occasions I took out some friends (and went on a few dates), but of course, in those cases I paid, and with no question. And yes, you're right.. we don't know why the OP is currently living there or their financial situation; I suppose I will delete that comment.. – Charles Dec 9 '17 at 16:26

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