Imagine that you and your partner have gone out for the evening with another couple, or perhaps with a small group of close friends. Maybe you’re at an intimate bar, a dance place, or just out somewhere to dine.
The atmosphere and conversation are light; people are smiling, perhaps warmed by a glass of wine or two. A few hours pass, the time grows late, and the waiter – maybe hoping to start clearing the table – comes over with the check. He’s not sure who to hand it to, and so he stands there, feeling somewhat awkward.
For a moment, no one really wants to acknowledge that he’s there. Most of the party looks in every direction but his, knowing that accidental eye contact might be interpreted by him as accepting responsibility for the bill. We’ve all been “there” in these moments...and unless our bank account is so flush that we don’t care about the extra cost, and want to pay for the party, it’s a slightly uncomfortable experience.