- Avoiding difficult conversations about money can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.
- Talking about the bill at brunch or the expense of attending a friend’s wedding can be awkward.
- Asking for separate checks at the beginning of a meal and being upfront with your budget might help.
- Read more Personal Finance Insider stories.
We’ve all been there: the nervous shuffling of credit cards and Venmo QR codes that happens right after the waiter brings the check at the end of a meal with friends.
If you’re the friend who consciously skips the appetizers and drinks, but still gets upset because the group wants split the bill equallyyour silence could cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.
We spoke with a financial therapist to find solutions to some of the most common and uncomfortable money conversations millennials and Gen Z avoid.
“Communication is key,” says Aja Evans, a financial therapist who works with laurel road. “If something could potentially lead to a fight, you probably need to have a conversation about it when tempers aren’t high, when everyone is in a calm, neutral place to have those conversations.”
Here are three common and awkward money conversations between friends, and how to navigate them.
1. Split the account
Try: ask the server to split the bill beforehand
A 2019 survey by the Mint shows that 43% of 1,000 participants ask for separate checks when dining out with friends, while two-thirds said they don’t split the check equally. If you’re still biting your tongue bitterly when the check comes while paying more than your fair share, let this be your signal that you should finally speak up.
Evans says, “The stress that can come when you’re looking at how to navigate a group verification, it can be hard to navigate.”
A good rule of thumb when dining out with friends is to ask the server to split your bill before ordering. If this option is available at the restaurant, it takes the headache out of calculating how much each person should pay or tip.
2. Attend a friend’s wedding
Try: Share your budget with your friend before committing
Evans says that weddings come up a lot in her sessions, especially with young people asking for help navigating difficult conversations about money. “There’s travel, outfits, or if you said you’re going to be a part of the wedding, there may be pre-wedding events and even more travel involved.”
Before committing to be a Bridesmaidgroomsman or any member of the wedding party, Evans suggests first communicating your budget to your friend so you can both better understand the depth of this financial commitment.
3. Comparison of salaries
Try: Telling your friends why you’re asking about their salaries in the first place
Evans says, “Sharing salaries has been notoriously difficult. I recently had a conversation with a friend who shared that they went away for the weekend with his friends. They started talking about their salaries because they’re in the same field.”
The conversation was “really awkward” but they continued because they knew the ultimate goal was Help your co-workers ask for a raise. Adds Evans: “If you don’t know what the industry standard is, or what other people are doing, it gets really complicated for people and it can make you feel lonely.”
Evans suggests starting with why you ask your friends about their salaries in the first place. This might ease some of the initial tension and awkwardness by making it clear that you’re here to ask for help, not just to snoop and gossip.