Did you know that in some of the more swanky dining establishments, waiters are directed to place the check in front of the party who made the reservation?
When you invite someone for lunch, the tab is on you, especially if the other party is taking time out of a busy schedule and could easily be elsewhere, dining with someone else, or doing something else. It's vital that you pick up the tab when you are pumping the other person for information or making a request during the lunch encounter.
What if you're dining with one of your organization's top brass, a coworker, or a friend who appears poised to pay for the meal that you originated? Etiquette aficionados suggest that you quickly chime in 'Lunch is on me' and ensure that you pay the tab.
When you and a coworker spontaneously head out to lunch and neither of you is the apparent host or invitee, pick up the tab even with the protest of the other person. You can always pleasantly say that he or she pays next time.
It's one thing to go to lunch with your boss, or to have a business dinner with your boss. Inviting your boss over for dinner at your home is an entirely different story.
The appropriate time is when you're on an upward trajectory at work, are ready to take your relationship to another level, and feel confident about your home and its furnishings as an appropriate venue for the venture. Allison Greene, a workplace consultant and former chief of staff for a nonprofit organization, observes that having your boss over for dinner can be a nerve-racking phenomenon, particularly in the case where you're not otherwise socializing outside the office.
To make the invitation pay off, consider the particulars that need to be addressed. Is your home nice enough? Is it well furnished? Sufficiently clean? If you have pets, should they be curtailed? If you both have spouses or significant others, should they be involved. Generally the answer to that is yes. Should alcohol be served? Should you steer clear of heavy-duty work related topics? What will you discuss?
You know in your own mind whether or not you are the entertaining type. When throwing parties and having guests comes natural to you, then proceed. When you feel the chances of your making some regrettable faux pas are high, it's wise to delay the notion of inviting your boss over for dinner. When there's any chance, Greene says, that you'll blur the line between your work and your social lives, you might wish to hold off.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com