What if you go out with friends and you didn’t drink expensive beverages but others do. Depends, really, doesn’t it? If everyone else had cocktails but all you had was a small bottle of sparkling water and some fresh mint tea, you have a right to feel aggrieved.

On the other hand, what if your Seedlip Kombucha Pomegranate Virgintini is basically the same price as one of their fancy drinks?

Conclusion: Let’s declare a basic rule: if the drinkers’ total would be within say Dh20 of yours, you all split it evenly. If more, kick up such a fuss that they not only give in, but never invite you out with them again. Everyone’s a winner.

If your dining partners are a lot richer than you...

Interesting. Imagine you and your partner are out for a simple post-spaceflight meal with Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren. You’re all having such a tremendous time – yacking about gilets, how popular you are with your employees, how Richard Branson didn’t even go that high up when you think about it, how much you wish you could do a lot more to alleviate hunger in the world – that you forget it’s quite a pricy menu. "Split it down the middle?" he says when the bill comes, because that’s how he came to be worth £139 billion. What can you do?

Conclusion: In general, you probably should have exerted more influence over the restaurant and food choices. But in this specific situation, do a runner.

If they’ve got teenage/lots of kids, and you have small ones/none

Adorable Trixabelle had two chicken fingers from the kids’ menu, your friend’s rugby-playing 17-year-old burly twins had four mixed grills and some fancy mocktails without contributing anything to the conversation.

Conclusion: Without causing a scene, or provoking a twin, gently ask whether your friend has mistaken you for British footballer and activist Marcus Rashford, because clearly this lunch has been a fundraising exercise in feeding children. What next? Splitting school fees?

You’re a vegan, but they are meat eaters

On a mixed menu, the vegan and vegetarian dishes tend to be a lot cheaper than, say, the steaks. Everyone knows this. It has been the way since veggies had to eat stuffed peppers at every third restaurant.

So what’s the etiquette when your courgetti is Dh40 and Kevin’s Chateaubriand is Dh300?

Conclusion: Insist you pay separately. If the carnivores say no, tell them you cannot be perpetuating the global slaughter of animals. If they still say no, tell them that all of a sudden you do feel like meat, and tear off their ear with your teeth.

The Daily Telegraph

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