The Least Our Freeloading Son Could Do Is Practice Social Distancing

I have a friend with whom I eat at restaurants. She never agrees to share dishes we order, even when portions are huge and much goes to waste. (She also refuses to take uneaten food home with her.) Many times, I’ve suggested splitting a pasta or salad and asking the server to bring it on separate plates. She refuses! Finally, she told me that asking restaurants to split orders is bad manners. I feel insulted. I come from a culture where sharing food is part of the emotional connection of a meal. Your thoughts?


Remember the good old days of in-restaurant dining?

My favorite objection in courtroom dramas is “asked and answered.” It cuts down on repetition. With due respect to your culture, once your friend let you know she was uncomfortable sharing food, why keep pressing her? You asked; she answered.

In your defense: Requesting that servers split orders doesn’t seem like bad manners to me. Many restaurants are happy to oblige; some charge an order-splitting fee. But badgering people is wrong. And doing so until they inadvertently hurt us is one of the prime reasons.

I take yoga classes at a small studio. They have moved classes online for the time being. The online classes are free, but the studio suggests a donation of $5 per class. The problem: I’ve been laid off because of the pandemic, and even though $5 sounds like nothing, I have no idea how long my small savings will last or when I’ll return to work. Is it wrong to skip the suggested donation?


Take the studio at its word: For now, classes are free. If you feel uncomfortable not making the suggested donation, email the studio manager to discuss your predicament.

Let him or her know you’ll do your best to make it up to the studio when you’re back on your feet. For those who can afford to make more than suggested donations to small businesses you value: Now is the time! We really are all in this together.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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