Grabbing the Tab At Dinner (all-the-time) Can Sometimes Create Tension

Yesterday I noticed in slightest of forms of how I can sometimes generate tension between other people trying to be as nice as possible.   I have a bad challenge of sometime wanting to grab the tab every time I go out and eat with other people, and although it may seem good in nature, and does have some benefits, there are sometimes drawbacks as well.  I’m not taking about the money aspect, I’m talking about building relationship tensions.

I’ve noticed if done repeatable it can create a slight bit of tension between I and the other person with whom I’m eating with.  Now let me forewarn you, this isn’t like a hating tension, we are all still good friends in nature, but by covering sometime and not allowing the other party to it can create the slightest bit of tension between you and the other person. Because now they feel like they owe you, and weren’t able to ‘clear the deck.’

The main reason that I try to grab is that we are in the relationship building business, we are in the entertainment business, like most of the companies in this industry we like to take very good care of our customers, and it isn’t that they are just our customers, in what we do relationships are huge in this business, it is a small industry of very powerful individuals.  So anytime we can do someone for someone else we work with, we will always go all out in trying to do what we can to serve. 

So naturally we want to cover the costs for whatever it is, especially of course when it is at one of our own-hosted events.  But what I noticed yesterday is that doing so repeatbly, over time can create tensions.   For instance if someone wants t pay, we should let them because it allows them to clear their deck, and feel like they contributed, and allow them to not feel like they are indebted.  (which they aren’t really, but I can see how the other party may feel that way.)

See I think, (I think) it’s fine, if you want to grab the tab at the first get-together with new people, but if later that day, so you eat again and do it again (for instance going to dinner) and you want to grab the tab again, you may be (and may not be), in the slightest of way building tension with the other party because they might want to chip-in too, and your not allowing them to do so.

Only after reading the book by Guy Kawakasi, which I reflected on a short chapter here, I was able to see it.   Last night we were at the Seattle Meetup, we had grabbed lunch and paid for everyone to go to the gaming place, which really isn’t that expensive and we were planning on hosting it because it was our event naturally.  But at the last dinner James paid for the dinner, which was cool, that allowed him to help as well.  But what I noticed (seeing it from the other side, of not paying) that another member was interested in chipping in, but James went ahead and grabbed the whole tab.  Which is what I’d normally done, but now sitting in the other persons’ shoes, even though I didn’t want to grab the tab, I could feel the other person really wanted to chip-in, because they felt like they owed us for the previous stuff we did.  But only after a day I realized it, and noticed that it does cause some tension and that the way to do it is to simply allow them if they want to, to chip-in.   Now James is a great guy! And I’m not saying anything bad about the situation, everything at the dinner was good, everyone is good, but I noticed that it can cause tension with others (but not everyone), depends who it is, but now seeing that it can cause tension with certain people.  It was my fault for creating that atmosphere, of ‘I got it, don’t worry about it’ and paying for dinner in the first place.

But again, everything is fine in our relationship, James is awesome and did nothing wrong, and of course I’m not calling out, but this post is more about ‘reflecting’ and noticing ‘the smallest’ of improvements that can be made, and challenged to see if we can’t improve upon them.

This post is about having more finesse in your relationships, even though everyone is in good standing, as an entrepreneur for someone who wants to be really successful we need to look at the smallest of improvements we can make.  It is about trying to become a master communicator, and not that I’m one, but I will try my best and study it, and notice even the smallest of areas which were we can improve upon.  Even though grabbing the tab is good and its doing favors, it’s more the best way to build relationships, a higher-level of more sophiscated relationship mastery is needed, and that’s what I hope we are all trying to achieve. 

The athletes receiving medals this year at the Beijing Olympics didn’t earn their medal when they crossed the finish line.  They earned their medal in the gyms and working out everyday, in the gym where they practiced their sport everyday is where they became a gold medalist.  Only in public everyone saw they were a gold medalist, but they became a gold medalist in the daily workout routines they had. 

Remember.  It isn’t the big things in life that matter, it is the smallest things in life, the things that don’t seem to matter at all, the things we did every day that   make the big differences in our life.

  • Great post Wes.
    Esp this one : > It isn’t the big things in life that matter, it is the smallest things in life, the things that don’t seem to matter at all, the things we did every day that make the big differences in our life. A lot of times, we always missed those small things in life that means big difference to us. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Nice post Wes, Robert Cialdini goes into this type of stuff in some of his material. Might want to check it out if you haven’t already.