Friend "shares" my food in restaurants

by Annie
(Toledo)

I have a friend who has a little more money than I do and she takes me out to eat once a week. Since it's such a kind gesture, I feel I can't complain about something she's doing but it's driving me crazy! I absolutely HATE when people eat off my plate - even the idea of putting some of MY food on someone else's plate irks me because it's MY food. Of course, I would never eat in front of someone who doesn't have any, but this isn't the case. She insists I order first and if I order a full meal, she orders something small such as soup and helps herself to some of my bread sticks or bits of my salad. If I order something small such as cheese sticks, she asks if "that's all I'm ordering" and proceeds to take some - even if she has a full meal herself! If I order what she does (changing my order to match) she STILL takes some of my food such as bits of shrimp or fries. If I order an entree and skip the bread sticks and salad, she reaches over and takes some for herself. I have tried to preempt this by saying, "Laura, you HAVE fries, why do you need mine?" or "I was planning to eat ALL of the cheese sticks since that's all I ordered." or "Why didn't you order "this" entree instead?" Her response is a laugh and something like, "You're so funny," "I told you you should order more" "Oh, you always bring some home with you, I'm just helping you out so you don't have to" I have mentioned to other people in front of her that I hate it when people eat off my plate and she ignores the comments or just laughs. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

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by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Annie,

Hmmmm.. interesting problem. Can I assume that your friend is paying for your meal since you say she takes you out to eat? If so, you have the option, when asked to dinner with her, to say you would be happy to join her if you can have your meal to yourself without sharing it with her. Say this seriously and ask her how she feels about that. If she continues to think this is a joke, you have the option to decline the invitation.

Ms Practical Etiquette

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