We've all been there. That familiar wave of dread at seeing the E-vite, the Facebook event, the mass text. It's your best friend's birthday, and you know you have to show up. Equally, you know it's going to be a painful social experience because she's gone with a group dinner.
This is the main way girls in their twenties celebrate life events, be it birthdays or graduations. Sushi, cake and boredom are generally involved. Group dinners go on forever, and involve you seeing people you haven't seen since high school -- by choice, and for good reason.
When you can get out of it, you do, but when you have to suck it up, just know you're not alone. Absolutely everyone is sharing your resentment right alongside you, for the following reasons:
1. The organizing is hell.
You start a group thread – and then you are stuck on this group thread, which has accomplished nothing, for months after.
Have you ever tried to get nine girls to commit to a night, a time and a place? You agree to Tuesday, and then three people flake. It gets switched to Thursday, but then you realize you have spin class at 7 pm.
Quite simply, it is no easy feat.
2. Picking a place is literally impossible.
You try and pick a restaurant, but when your friend’s a gluten-free vegan and your best friend isn’t eating carbs or sugar and your other best friend really wants a steak, there is simply no restaurant in the Western hemisphere that could accommodate these demands.
3. You get hangry.
So, so hangry. Because when you say 8 pm and you’re still waiting for three people at 9, the only thing to do is act as passive-aggressive as possible, by going quiet and checking your phone instead of actually participating in conversation.
Your food doesn’t arrive until 10 pm, at which point you want to stab whomever you’re next to with your knife.
4. It’s expensive...
Blame etiquette or social protocol, but group dinners often end in splitting the bill because it's "easiest." This means that while you had a salad and tap water, you end up paying $45 to compensate for your friend’s sea bass and wine.
This is so far from fair, it’s ridiculous, but you just smile through the pain. Grin or grimace, doesn’t matter.
5. ...But not as expensive as group birthday dinners.
It’s your friend's birthday, so you buy her a present – let's say it costs $40. Then she wants to go for dinner, so you pay for your dinner, plus you all split her share of dinner, which comes to a total of $60.
If you have several friends, you’re looking at a significant part of your hard-earned money going towards celebrating their non-milestone birthdays.
6. You hate most of the people there.
Chances are, you dislike about 70 percent of your intimate friendship circle, so the probability of you actually wanting to spend hours in these people’s company is slim to none. You realize there’s a reason you prefer coffee dates: They’re quicker and easier to zone out on.
If you end up stuck next to a girl you despise (statistically, this is likely), all you can do is think happy thoughts and slowly demolish the bread basket.
7. You overeat.
Scientific research has actually shown that girls eat more when out with friends than they would do if they were alone. Maybe you’re all binging together, maybe you haven't eaten all day in dreaded anticipation or maybe you’re still hungry after your meal, so you finish your friend’s. (It happens.)
Group dinners are simply code for eating double calories.
8. Dividing the bill is harder than your GMAT.
You and your friends are fairly smart, but splitting the bill is always, without fail, a disaster. It ends up involving six people using their iPhone calculators, and coming up with six different numbers.
Then you realize you forgot to factor in tip and have to start all over again. Meanwhile, you know what's easy to calculate? Seamless, solo.