Check Split = Friendship Split?
Ok. So a couple weeks ago I went to Boston for a meeting re: some freelance work. I have an old friend that lives outside of Boston. We don't see each other that often (maybe once a year) but we talk on the phone every week. Usually a few times a week. I told him days before I went to Boston that I had a meeting that ended around 2pm and that I'd be free after that. He told me he'd be free until around 5pm. He has wife and kids and stuff or whatever. Ok fine. We didn't set an exact time to meet or anything.
Anyway, I lose my cellphone at some point during the day which sucked totally but I had his number memorized. I called him from a payphone after my meeting around 2pm and left a message on his voicemail that I was at this bar called The Village Smokehouse. Then a half-hour later I called and left another message on his voicemail. I called once more before he finally picked up. He said he was just finishing his work and would leave soon. He works from home. Around 3:00 I started to get pissed. I was in the bar for an hour and I felt like he should have been more apologetic about taking his time. 3:20 he still wasn't there. Around 3:30 I closed out my check. I was sort of like F him. If he's gonna be this late I'm gonna leave.
He shows up around 3:40. I thought about the idea of giving him crap for being all late but we don't see each other that often and I decided to let it go. I didn't mind waiting because I read my book. He ordered a burger and beer. I had some chicken fingers. We talked and had a good time catching up. We decided to go to another bar to get one more beer. I asked for the check. The bartender puts it down and it sort of sat there-- so I offered to pay for the bill. I'm a 'pick up the check' kind of guy which is maybe a fault of mine I think. Checks make me uncomfortable if I'm not trying to at least chip in. And if anyone snatches a check from me I always put up a fight ...even if it's half hearted bs.
I looked at it and said, 'I got this...' and he said, 'Oh are you sure? Thanks.' I told him he could get beers at the next bar. He agreed. The check was like $27. It was his burger and his beer and my chicken fingers on the check. It was mainly his dollar-wise. As I paid the check I was sort of like, 'Why am I paying this? Why did I even offer? And why is he not offering to split it? Or chip in?' But I let it go. It was only $27. At the next bar he bought me a beer and then he had to leave to go home.
Anyway, I get home to Brooklyn and was going thru my receipts and I found the one I paid for. I started thinking about it and got mad. I felt like he should have insisted on chipping in on that check. I called him up and yelled at him after the fact for not offering. I told him how when you go out with friends you always counter offer a check or at least offer to split... or get the tip. He argued that if I offered to pick up a check and he accepted-- it wasn't rude. I tried to explain my attitude toward checks. I told him it wasn't about the money at all. (it's really not) I emphasized his responsibility to fake fight for a check offer (any check) and not just accept-- but this check in particular...considering I was in his town, and the check was mainly his, and he was way late.
It turned into a big fight as he was insulted that I questioned his 'check' handling etiquette and that I would even bring something like that up. That I should be better than that. But for me it was really about the principle involved. He was late. I was in his town. We see each other once a year. I felt there should have at least been a check back and forth out of respect. I dunno. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I guess that's lame. So now we're in a huge fight and not talking to each other.
I realize this is very Dear Abby.
Was I out of line? Or not?