Splitting restaurant bills is an awkward business. In the US and many other countries, most restaurants are unwilling to create a separate check for each guest. As a result, many a lovely night of dining out ends with an awkward fairness problem.
One appealing solution is to just “split the bill,” because the math is easy and everyone contributes. Here the awkwardness is for people living on a tight budget. No one wants to start a fight about a spare change, but a dinner out often crosses the line into real money. If you’re being spendthrift and go out with less thrifty friends, splitting a check can torpedo your spending cash for the week. It’s hardly fair for someone who is broke and orders an appetizer to split with someone who had a few drinks and a main course.