Food

Do or Don’t: Sharing Food at Restaurants

Do or Don't: Sharing Food at Restaurants

After eight years of marriage, Alex and I see eye to eye on most things — date-night rituals, low-key parenting — but there’s one thing we can’t agree on…

Alex hates sharing food in restaurants. Hates it! For years, when we’ve gone to dinner with friends, and they suggest splitting a few pastas and having fun with appetizers, Alex looks panicked. He’ll usually go with the flow, but cut to the cab ride home: I’ll hear him wax on about how he wishes he could have just gotten the steak.

So, this week, my grouchy husband wrote a New York Times article against sharing, once and for all.

“Even in the best of circumstances, when sharing you are probably going to end up with a little of what you do want and a lot of what you don’t want,” Alex writes, as part of his laundry list against small plates. “Perhaps it is because I am a slow eater and a big talker, but when I’m sharing with a group, I feel like I am left with two choices: chat or eat. You can’t do both, especially when you’re racked with anxiety at seeing the fried baby artichokes disappear out of the corner of your eye while your story — wait, what was I talking about? — starts to run on a little too long.”

When I tease him, he insists that he’s just a loyal guy, who likes what he likes: a hanger steak, a dry martini (up with olives), and his wife. Okay, fine, Alex. Put it that way, and I’ll take it.

At restaurants, do you love or hate sharing? Here’s Alex’s full story, if you’d like to read it. xoxo

P.S. A very easy dinner party, and do you like eating out alone?

(Photo via Orlando/Getty Images.)

  1. rachael says...

    I also hate sharing. If it is someone who I am really close with, I can offer a bite and in some cases, even two, but beyond that I feel protective. If you wanted the butternut ravioli (or whatever), then you should have ordered it!

  2. gill says...

    I feel like there are 2 ways to go to dinner with other people these days, either go to a “small plate” restaurant where sharing is encouraged and you get to taste all sorts of different things or a restaurant with typical “entrees” . I really don’t like sharing an entree and it bugs me when people share entrees! I like the small plates especially with girlfriends. But my husband and my boys never feel like they get enough, they want their own food!

  3. Liz says...

    I love sharing because I love trying a bunch of different foods, and I can only order one on my own! Unless its a tasting menu or a buffet then I get one tiny bit of everything… Seems like I’m definitely in the minority but it always works for my friends and I when we go out, so maybe we just gravitated towards each other as restaurant buddies because of that.

  4. Kay says...

    Alex is so cute :)

  5. Krista M Sharp says...

    Yup, team Alex all the way.

  6. SJ says...

    Haha, I not so subtly shared the article on social media – I didn’t realize it was your Alex! I do appreciate getting to try lots of things on a menu, but I want the freedom to gobble down my own tasty dish without the mental stress of leaving enough for everyone and not quite being full enough. Funnily enough, I think I’d be more open to sharing plates with a partner than a group of friends, where I’d feel less bad about being honest that I want more of one dish or another (my last boyfriend was a vegetarian, so this wasn’t as much of an issue!)

  7. Lindsay says...

    Today, Alex is my spirit animal.

  8. Stephanie Stone says...

    Ryan Seacrest brought this article up on Kelly & Ryan today. Concensus leaned toward sharing…

  9. anders says...

    I don’t think people should feel guilty about stating up front they don’t like to share. It’s a valid personal preference and no one should make anyone ever feel bad about it.

  10. Noelle says...

    I agree with Alex, and loved reading his piece on NYT. I hate sharing…eating out is one of my favorite things to do, and most of the time I just want to go and order *exactly* what I want, and enjoy it at exactly the pace I want (which incidentally can be…quite fast. One of the last things I ever want to watch is a video of me eating a meal when I’m famished, because I think it would be devastatingly gross).

  11. Helen says...

    I love how there are more comments here than on the NYT article. Domestic war of words!

  12. Amy says...

    I don’t mind sharing except for deserts. I recently went out for dinner with some coworkers and they suggested that we order all the deserts to try. I really just wanted to order the banana pudding but gave in and did group thing. The banana pudding ended up being the best plate! But I only got three bites max…grrrr

  13. Liz says...

    I have a theory that, to a certain extent, whether you’re a sharer or anti-sharer depends on the industry that you work in. I work in the food and bev industry (both restaurants and events) and have noticed that whenever I go out with my “industry” friends or even colleagues for business meals, everyone just assumes we are going to order a smorgashboard of everything and all share! When I go out with my friends that work in other industries, they are much more inclined to have everyone order their own individual meal, and maybe share an app or dessert.

    I have also noticed that my “industry” friends are MUCH more likely to order both food and drink with reckless abandon– leading to higher checks and much more fun (in my opinion :))

    This may speak more towards the different personality types that end up in which kinds of jobs, but it’s a fun observation to think about!

  14. LAUREN says...

    The photo! So perfect! Exactly how I feel when my husband wants even the tiniest bite of my food or kernel of popcorn.

  15. Charity says...

    To me, sharing makes sense at “family-style” restaurants (Chinese, Indian, Thai, Korean BBQ, sushi, etc.). I’ll share an appetizer or a dessert, but I’m not into sharing entrées, save for trading a bite or two with my spouse, and that’s only if what I have ordered is too good to keep to myself… If we do that, we either trade plates temporarily or make use of the side plates. I can’t stand it when people stab at food on others’ plates, or when someone offers bites on their own cutlery. Blarg. Gross.

  16. I’m the complete opposite of Alex! My husband and I enjoy picking out a few different entrees and/or apps that both look good to us (we are both vegetarians and enjoy similar dishes anyway). It’s fun to try a variety of options and talk about what we like, why, etc. We hardly ever invite others to join us in our sharing though – only just the two of us :) Oddly, I CANNOT share dairy products. Sharing ice cream, milkshakes, etc is a no go for me. I get so grossed out.

    So interesting to read everyone’s preferences and pet peeves :)

  17. Sammie says...

    I love trying new things and not committing to an entire dish…but I find I get really stressed out and anxious when actually sharing a meal. I tend to eat more than I normally would just so I feel like I’m getting my share! I notice more and more how crazy it makes me!

  18. Kirsten says...

    I’m with….him.

  19. Elizabeth says...

    My husband is the EXACT SAME WAY! I don’t mind sharing at all, but he does not want to share. Like, he’d rather not even share with me!

  20. Ren says...

    I loved living in the Northeast EXCEPT for when dining out with friends. There is this huge cultural thing where the restaurants refuse to split checks, which always made dining out with a large group a serious chore. They’re not going to split the check for you (which they could easily do, I managed to split checks for groups of 20+ when I worked in a bar/restaurant) so you might as well share the food. It’s so funny to think about the cultural differences amongst states like that!

  21. Stacy S says...

    My husband and I will almost always order things that we both wanted to try and share with each other. In larger groups, it depends on how many people are with or which people are with for me. Certain friends are super easy to share with, others- not so much!

  22. Stephanie says...

    Sometimes I’ll share with my wife but it has to be agreed upon before we even order (known in our parlance as “going halfsies”). But generally speaking I hate to share. I like relishing my first bites and my last (and knowing which will be my last). Also, my appetite is bigger than my wife’s and sharing frequently leads to me still being hungry after the meal.
    And as far as sharing with multiple people, or anyone I don’t kiss on a regular basis, No thanks. Watching multiple forks run through a dish is gross.

  23. Lauren E. says...

    AMEN! Tapas give me so much anxiety. “Wait, did I just pay $75 for half a plate of one bite of stuff I kinda wanted and some I didn’t?” I am also a super slow eater and then begin to resent people who take more than their allotted share simply because it’s still there.

    My husband and I went to dinner with a friend of his and his wife, and the friend literally just GRABBED a slice of pizza from my plate and said, “You don’t mind, do you?” I thought my head was going to explode.

  24. H says...

    No sharing!!!! I’m also the slowest eater and like to chat at dinner and don’t want to have to scarf or hoard food to be able to eat what I want. Also, I almost always zero in on exactly what I want to eat and rarely have to decide between two things. Maybe it’s a survival instinct that kicks in…unclear….but don’t touch my food!!!! LOL :D

  25. Nigar says...

    When we are sharing I am always too concerned about everyone having enough, as a result I barely get anything! When I am hungry I need my own plate. Sharing is fine when the portions are huge, but otherwise too stressful for me:)

  26. liz says...

    Alex for the win! I also will not drink behind anyone out of a drink, ewww.

  27. Nina says...

    haha. I don’t mind sharing. Except there are times when I’m on a budget and a friend is extravagant and that stresses me out.

    Plus, I tip well and I despise when I’m with people who don’t. Utahns are notorious for being bad tippers. I went to NYC once with a group from law school and my boyfriend was furious that the others left $1 for a tip because he or I left a bigger tip so they figured they could cheap out.

    My sister had a group of couples who always went out together frequently and there was one couple that everyone knew would order an appetizer for both, the most expensive entrée, and drinks and then contribute the bare minimum so they stopped doing that.

  28. I don’t love sharing with a big group because invariably there’s a bunch of stuff you don’t want. I do love sharing when it’s my husband and I. On our first date we agreed to split a bbq platter and it was part of what sold me on him. A previous boyfriend would not share a single bite of his dessert, instead insisting I order my own. I was so mad I didn’t take a single bite of the (very expensive) dessert.

  29. N Rogers says...

    Loved the article and I must say I kind of agree and sympathize with Alex. Sharing is good at a tapas style restaurant — otherwise I like to order what I want to eat.

  30. Mirella says...

    I’m with Alex! I always feel disappointed and panicked too.

  31. Depends on who I’m with. If I’m out with my boyfriend, we usually coordinate with what we order so we can have some of everything. But if I’m with anyone else, I don’t care for sharing. Too many hands, too much going on.

  32. Mere says...

    I love all these comments about hating sharing! It’s so interesting to me. I only read a couple from the top down, so there could be more people like me….but I LOVE sharing. In fact, that’s the conversation with the guy I’m currently seeing that started it all. :)

    I like sharing because: I’m indecisive, and I love food, and I don’t want to miss anything, and I usually eat less than the person I’m with. They’re happy, I’m not wasting anything, and as a bonus – if it’s a date, we get to get all cozy sitting on the same side of the table, laughing and reaching over each other to share all the deliciousness. Food is such a point of connection and intimacy, and I love family dinner – pass those mashed potatoes – “They’re so creamy!” (While You Were Sleeping reference for anyone who loves that movie!)

    • Karla H says...

      I LOVE that movie!

  33. Elissa says...

    Honestly, I have never felt so understood…

  34. Laura says...

    Hahahahaha… this cracked me up. Good on you for taking a stand, Alex!

  35. Ro says...

    My partner’s a big meat eater (the bloodier the better) while I’m a long-standing vegetarian. He definitely gets his steaks and livers and burgers, but will often order a vegetarian meal, just so that I can have a few bites.

    I don’t have a problem whatsoever with him eating meat, and don’t make any requests when it comes to what we’re ordering. But he’ll do it anyway so that we can share. (I also, without fail, want to try his drink and he always graciously lets me take a few sips. What a good egg :)

  36. Kara McElroy says...

    My father grew up with 10 siblings and to this day, does not like sharing his food. As a little girl I’d ask for a bite of what he was eating and while he would begrudgingly give it to me, if I asked for a second bite, he became close to apoplectic and would inform me I had my own food to eat. It makes sense – once you no longer have to fight your way to your share of a meal, you would probably take an immense amount of pleasure in truly having your own food and also have a little PTSD from family meals. What’s funny is, I can’t say I know his feelings on the “shared plates” movement. I have seen him do it but I have no idea if he loathes it the way Alex does and feels the need to concentrate on getting his share. I’m now thinking he must die inside when the waiter suggests “shared plates”!

  37. Megan says...

    Team share! I love going out with friends and getting plates to share, and my husband and I have such similar tastes that even when we order regular sized entrees on a date, we say “okay – I’ll get this, you get that”, and sample each other’s dishes. Being able to sample more than one thing at a delicious restaurant is awesome, and along with splitting a few bottles of wine, it lends itself well to family-feel of sharing a meal with loved ones.

  38. Janel says...

    I should also point out ( to Alex ) to never dine in an Ethiopian establishment. Everyone orders up their selection, it comes out in small bowls and is piled up on a huge platter and served with a bread like Naan and everyone eats off the platter with their hands and bread. No silverware is used. You use the bread to grab and pick up the food and eat, much like with a tortilla. I happen to LOVE Ethiopian food. It’s a wonderful experience if you’re willing to give it a go!

    • Emily R says...

      Ethiopian is wonderful! I feel like so much international cuisine is best ordered family style and shared!

  39. Johanna says...

    I totally agree with Alex. I have major food anxiety, so when I see the thing that I love, the thing that I specifically ordered get devoured by others, I panic and then I get hangry. It’s no good. I’m all for small bites traded between friends, but the sharing stops there.

  40. Olivia says...

    This is 100 percent my fiance and me.

    But the reason why he doesn’t like sharing is because he is too dang hungry! My fiance is 6’4″, 210 and a really big eater. Sharing stresses him out because it is a combination of not getting enough food while worrying that he is taking too much food or forcing the table to order too much food to accommodate his large appetite. Poor guy!

    We get around this by him ordering his own thing and then other people sharing or just strategically picking restaurants that don’t encourage sharing anything other than appetizer/dessert etc.

  41. Alex says...

    We only share at specific styles of restaurants, like Thai or Indian, because I always love The variety of flavors available.

    • Nicole says...

      This is what I’m wondering. What about cuisines that are traditionally served family style?? I’m a pro sharer either way and 100% would not want a whole plate of pad thai

  42. Janel says...

    Great article Alex! My pet peeve is dining out with people who use their fork to spear and steal food off others plates! Rude. Rude. Rude.

    Perhaps in the next group night out, rather than explaining your
    thoughts on sharing ( you don’t have too) just state
    ” I’m really feeling like a steak tonight, so don’t include me on the small plates. ” I would just stick to a single menu item always and don’t worry about sharing. Even if you’re just upfront and honest, there is NO SHAME in how you like to enjoy eating or dining.

    • Alexandra Marie says...

      The popcorn stress! Why have I never thought to just make two bowls???

  43. Jodi says...

    I’m with Alex, no sharing! Not unless it’s a cut-this-thing-in-half-here’s-your-half-here’s-my-half situation. Even Steven. When we watch movies I even make two bowls of popcorn. Otherwise I’m stressed out the whole time as my fella crams popcorn in his mouth by the handful!

    • Alexandra Marie says...

      The popcorn stress! Why have I never thought to just make two bowls??

      I do love doing the splitting/even steven form of sharing with my husband, though. Especially when two different things look really good on a menu :).

  44. Emily says...

    If there’s a delicious-sounding menu that’s difficult to narrow down, my husband and I will agree to order our top choice, with the intent to split the entrees between us so we can both enjoy each dish. This works well until one of us gets a dish that is SO yummy that we can’t bear to share it:

    Years ago we were vacationing in Montepulciano, Italy, eating at a quaint restaurant with Etruscan artifacts behind glass walls. I ordered the gnocchi with mushrooms and sausage in an amazing creamy sauce. After I took the first bite, I knew I couldn’t give away half of it. I proceeded to just devour the dish, and he must have stuck his fork in the dish at some point to get a taste. After the meal, he was so ticked off that I didn’t share what ended up being “the best meal of the trip”. (His words, and I don’t disagree).

    He still brings this story up when we are out and holds it over my head when we “agree” to share meals; I will never live it down. BUT, I have no regrets. It was totally worth it!

  45. Natalie says...

    I love going to Spanish tapas places but my husband always comments that he better eat before he goes out because he spends too much and still is hungry at the end of the night .

    Okay with sharing if it’s just my husband and me

  46. Amanda says...

    I’m a slow eater, so if my boyfriend and I want to try each other’s dishes, I will try a couple bites of his food and then he waits until I’m done to finish everything from my plate (since he knows I will inevitably leave at least a third of the food behind!). Probably not good for his waistline, but it works for us!

    Now my real challenge is being unable to order the same thing as him at a restaurant. We have pretty similar palettes, but it seems silly to get two of the same thing, so inevitably one person winds up with the “lesser” dish – why can’t we seem to order what we want without pressure from the other person’s choice??

  47. I’m 100% team Alex on this one. I just want what I want – leave me alone and stop making me eat tiny bites of a few different things! I’m OVER the small plates trend in restaurants. It’s all totally overpriced and annoying.

  48. My husband hates sharing. I hate ordering my own food and having to deal with it all by myself. A few years ago I met a woman who has since become my best friend. When we first went out to eat, she just assumed we’d share a meal, from the same plate no less. I swear I heard angels sing. When we go out to eat, we share bottles of wine, appetizers, entrees and dessert. It’s soothing in a way I can’t fully describe. Definitely #teamshare.

  49. Kumi says...

    Alex, I totally agree! It’s so stressful sharing. I feel like I have to eat just to get my share. Also, if I am still hungry after my first serving, I feel like I’m being rude by eating again if there are leftovers. I’m thinking, did everyone else get enough to eat? Yes, and no talking until I’m done eating when we share, for sure.

  50. Although a super long article by your hubs, I see his point and agree. Sharing is fun sometimes but not every time. I prefer my own plate of food where I can eat at my own pace. Dinner with friends shouldn’t have to be a stressful event because you have to gobble the sampler dish or two or three just to make sure you get an actual bite. And in reality, you do end up leaving the restaurant hungry.

  51. Miruska says...

    “Indeed, the etiquette of the shared meal necessitates its own form of Kabuki”. hahaha, so true. I am with Alex here. I like sharing between two, maybe three people as most plates made for sharing are very small (they don’t call them tasting menu for nothing). In a larger group, we will order a few more plates, but each is big enough for two. So, you either get too little of what you want, as you are politely trying to leave enough for others, or eating more of something nobody wants, including you. Unfortunately, the majority of new restaurants are set up for sharing, and I know i will never be full leaving such places. I am, however, a big fan of communal eating at home or in some ethnic restaurants, but there is usually plenty of food for everybody, nobody is just tasting.

  52. Carrie says...

    It appears I’ve never formed a strong opinion about sharing food, but come to think of it….appetizers, sure. That’s what they’re made for, right? But I can’t remember a time where I’ve ever wanted to share my entree.

  53. polyana says...

    When there’s a big group, I agree with Alex! Sometimes we’ll get an appetizer for the table that I LOVE, and end up with just a little bit, which can be frustrating.

    However, my boyfriend and I ALWAYS split dishes at restaurants. When we first started dating, we’d always end up getting way too much food, ordering an app and then 2 entrees. Then we went on our first big trip together to Peru, and there, we wanted to try a little bit of everything, since everything looked so amazing, but were also on a budget. So we would get just an app and a main dish or two main dishes, and try each others’ food. We were able to try everything and not overspend. After that trip, we’ve taken to use the same strategy at home. It’s saved us tons of money and we always leave the restaurant satisfied and not super stuffed.

    The only issue is, he’s a little bit pickier than me when it comes to eating, and some dishes I LOVE, he absolutely hates. So when I want to have something I know he doesn’t like, I’ll make sure to take advantage and order these dishes when I’m out with friends!

  54. Elizabeth says...

    I’ve had a few friends from other countries comment that this behavior (not sharing at dinner) was sort of quintessentially “ugly American” and I can’t get that out of my head, although I would kind of like to just eat what I ordered. I would suggest that Alex move the food he wants on to his own plate and off of the communal plate, but waits to eat it until he’s done talking. That way he can get those baby artichokes without giving up the speaking.

  55. Alexia says...

    I like sharing if you’ve planned to so in advance (eg my friend and I will go out and split a burger), but if I’ve ordered something for myself and someone keeps taking nibbles of it, I get annoyed. Hands away from my fries!

  56. Alex H. says...

    This is amazing! My husband and I are big sharers when it comes to food. It We feel like we can maximize our options (we have pretty similar tastes) and if one orders a bad dish, at least they can take solace in knowing they can enjoy one of the dishes.

    Also, it appears that I never learned how to drink a beverage along with dinner. I’m either eating or I’m drinking but rarely at the same time. This habit leads to me ending up with most of glass a wine after a long dinner and my husband already finished. Oops! Luckily, he finds it endearing and now will interrupt my stories or eating and gently remind me to take a sip.

  57. Nora says...

    My husband and I almost always find when we place our order that we’ve chosen the same thing by accident. I guess having similar taste makes eating out slightly less exciting because we don’t really have anything to share, but we rarely go out to eat anyways. It sure makes it easier to cook at home- chances are if one of us loves it, the other will too!

  58. Wendy says...

    “Joey doesn’t share food!!!”
    -Friends, circa season 10

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      hahahaha

    • Carrie says...

      hehe I was JUST thinking that and was about to leave that comment to someone above who said “hands away from my fries!”

  59. Katie says...

    This reminds me of that Friends episode. “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!!!” hahaha

  60. Alex says...

    My family has a tradition for when we celebrate things (big or little, a new job or maybe just a Tuesday) — with my parents and my three siblings, we go to our favourite Italian restaurant, order basically the entire menu with multiples of our favourites and share everything. IT’S THE BEST.

  61. Liv says...

    Loved his article! Made me laugh and I have a lil’ crushie on Alex now. I totally agree and feel that same panic when we’re with a large group and everyone wants to share. I never get my money’s worth either. I eat too slow and then the check comes and I’m extra annoyed that I’m paying for food I didn’t want or even get a chance to eat.

  62. Lee says...

    I want restaurant meals to be about sharing- and company, conversation, and trying new things. Keep the notion in the back of your head that you’re not going to wither away if you get only three oysters instead of four. It’s an experience not meant for survival-mode to kick in. If you’re still hungry after your long, funny story, order a second round.

    • ALMA Jean Sullo says...

      That’s nice. But what you want is not required to be what I want. Each person’s dining experience is unique to them; you don’t get to dictate what that is. Dining out with friends does not mean you have control over everyone’s food. Get over it.

  63. Lindsey says...

    “It has gotten to the point where my wife, Joanna, has to apologize on my behalf before virtually every meal these days, to both servers and table mates, sheepishly explaining, “He doesn’t like to share.” — I have to say this all the time!!! I am pro-sharing, but my husband is just like Alex.

  64. Anna says...

    I’m in half agreement with Alex on this. If I’m dining with 1-2 other people, I’m okay with sharing because you can usually divide the food neatly, and it’s likely that someone has a different favorite dish that they are invited to finish off. But when the number of diners gets to 4 or higher…TOTALLY agree with Alex.

  65. Alison says...

    I’m all for sharing a bite to try – but not the whole meal. Alex is totally right! You end up with mostly what you don’t want / like and I always end up going home hungry! Thankfully my husband and I agree on it :)

  66. Rachel says...

    My husband and I tend to order our own dishes but we ALWAYS let the other person have a bite or two. Not full on sharing but more like “Here, you can try this in case you want to order it next time”. Sometimes this has led to order envy and sometimes even switching plates if we end up liking what the other person ordered much more. We also do this with wine or cocktails at the restaurant. I think part of the fun of being married is getting to try double the items on the menu at a restaurant! Even if its just a bite.

  67. Life-long sharer over here. I come from a sharing family, and so does my husband. (The two of us don’t even ask if we’re splitting meals anymore; we just choose two dishes and go halvsies.) But we’ve run into issues with friends and siblings’ significant others who are hardline no-sharers. No judgement here, but in my experience, sharers are pretty go-with-the-flow in how a meal can go down. Not so much if you’re not a sharer, and if you’re not a sharer, you’ll never be one.

    Does anyone know a non-sharer that changed his or her stripes? I’m genuinely curious.

    • Sasha says...

      I’m not changing, lol.

    • ALMA Jean Sullo says...

      Personally, to share or not to share depends on who I’m dining with. My wife and I have different views on seafood; she likes prime rib, I’ll take rib eye any time. But we occasionally share food that’s new or different. I’ll also share with my sisters simply because we know what we all like. But the bottom line is this; the people I share with know the definition of common courtesy and manners.

  68. Emily M. says...

    100% with Alex. I can share an appetizer if I absolutely must but I’m going to order my own entree and eat it as slowly. as. I’d. like.

    I loved his piece and feel so justified right now.

    xo

  69. Sasha says...

    The only people I will share with are my daughters, because they are vegetarian too. Otherwise when someone brings up sharing, I firmly say I’m out UNLESS NO ONE ORDERS MEAT? no one ever wants to share with me after that.

    I’m with Alex, sharing is stupid. So few perks to being an adult, we shouldn’t have to share the restaurant meal we are paying for.

    • Sasha says...

      Also, when there’s pizza…… Like at a party. The host orders six different pizzas, and flipping meat eaters EAT ALL THE VEG pizzas. I could kill. Does it occur to no one that the omnivores can eat from any, but the vegetarians are done if all is left is pepperoni and sausage???

      If I sound angry put it down to growing up with two much older brothers who stole food off my plate, and going hungry a lot. I have issues.

    • Sue says...

      I have been veg for 25 years and this never fails. At buffets, pizza parties, shared dinners – everyone, including the meat-eaters, maybe especially the meat-eaters – plow thru the few vegetarian items first. Usually the same people who have said to me at some point ‘oh, I could never give up meat’ . lol

  70. Andrea says...

    1. Food swapping is the best. My husband will order something sweet for breakfast and I will order something savory. We swap halves. Honestly–one of the best parts of being married!
    2. People are free to taste the food I’ve ordered. May be an alternative if you want to eat what you’ve ordered, yet still throw in to the idea of communal dining.

  71. Jane Pilcher says...

    I usually love to share so I can try other dishes!

  72. Vava says...

    We definitely share at restaurants! It seems as if portions are so huge! Also, by sharing you can try more things and also it tends to cut down on price.

  73. Betsy says...

    With portion sizes the way they are, my boyfriend and I share virtually every meal when we go out. We can share, and still have food left over. Only on Taco Tuesday, do we not share!! But I completely understand the not wanting to share thing. We both have to compromise when going out. Neither of us like to waste food, and we never eat the leftovers we bring home. So sharing does work. But I do not like any seafood. Not at all. He loves any kind of seafood. I won’t cook it in the house, so this does mean we occassionally get our own meals.

    But I totally agree with the going out with a group of people, and not wanting to share. The appetizers are always 3 meatballs, but you are a group of 4. 5 shrimp, but a group of 4. Never works out, and I have to say it does make me a little crazy. Alex is absolutely correct, you end up saying ok to food you don’t like. I hate meatballs & shrimp, so I would be totally left out. Of course my waistline would probably thank me!

  74. Capucine says...

    There are so many anti-sharing comments here. May I share a story?

    When I was in kindergarten, I had an hourlong bus ride to school with my older brother. One day, he got on the bus to go home and in his hand he held a large square of hard molasses taffy his class had made, wrapped in a brown paper towel. I watched him eat it, all through that hour long bus ride. I protested and he let me have one taste, but no more. I can still see every detail of that overcast day, the mallard green seat with a poky crack under my thigh, the metal rim of the window, the way he had to angle it awkwardly above him to eat it neatly, the way I tucked my hands under my legs and stared out the window to look at something else, my sense of post-school fatigue. He wasn’t taunting me, but he wasn’t sharing. I understood sharing once and forever in that moment, and I have never eaten around someone else without offering to share since. And I WANT to, it’s not a discipline – I can’t bear to cause anyone to have that taffy on the bus feeling.

    I wonder if it’s a firstborn thing; born into a world where nothing was shared, as a matter of course. Just as everything was shared in my world, always.

    • Katie O says...

      I love this story. You should be a writer!

    • Anna says...

      I feel for kindergarten Capucine in that moment! But I think Alex (and most of the commenters) is talking about everyone sharing dishes of food vs each person having their own dish, so in either scenario (sharing or not sharing), everyone still has food to eat! I think we’d all agree that if we were eating with someone who didn’t have anything to eat we’d all be willing to open our plates and bowls and hearts.

    • cgw says...

      This is beautiful (sorry you had to suffer)… should be an animated short or something.

  75. Diana says...

    I’m with your hubby, I want my meal, if I wanted yours I’d have ordered it!

  76. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious. I actually joke with my husband that if he didn’t like to share food at restaurants it would have been a deal breaker for me! We eat out a lot and love trying new restaurants and I would hate having to pick only one dish to try! When you share you get to try so much more of the menu!
    I will say when we go back to tried and true favorites, I have certain plates that I love and will happily order without negotiating a sharing agreement, however, I always want to try a bite! But I have to be on top of my game or it will be gone!

  77. Nancey says...

    This is what my BF and I do, we are foodies and hate to give up any of our food, especially HALF of it to each other if we have the better plate. So we order what we want and we will share an appetizer, and then we will give each other a SAMPLING (size of our own choosing from our own plate) to the other. I suffer from food envy, so if his looks better I usually sulk , but I know I will get at least some.

    He does have a thing though, he will never order the same thing as me. never. no idea why

  78. Katie says...

    This is such an interesting discussion! Culture plays the most important role I think. I grew up in the states and when we went out to eat we always ordered individually, maybe sharing some appetizers or salads. There was often a preoccupation with the bill and someone always wanted to tally up their individual total rather than splitting the bill equally which didn’t always make for the best atmosphere. I now live in Greece where sharing food is the key to life. It is the norm here to go out in large groups and order numerous plates for the center of the table to be shared. I love it! It ends up being a shared and intimate experience with everyone commenting on and discussing each dish. That being said, nobody is preoccupied with the bill and very few people have dietary restrictions so there seems to be less anxiety around eating in general. Also, something worth noting is that this style of eating promotes awareness of other people and selflessness. I have not once eaten a group meal here where one person ate more than their portion of each dish. Everyone is attentive to the others and everyone gets their fair share. And if somebody feels they didn’t get enough of one particular dish, we just order another! It’s the best!

  79. Scarlett says...

    Oh, no, no no. Mmm-mmm. Nope. I am not into sharing. Maybe a few bites with my husband, but I order what I order for a reason: because I want it. All. :)

  80. Summer says...

    Totally agree with Alex – and don’t even get me started on tapas. I *loathe* tapas. My friend requested it for her bday last year, and I went into it knowing that I’d either have to attack or be hungry (and definitely going to pay too much, but that’s the least of my worries).

    I’m cool with sharing an appetizer/dessert or sharing a meal with a (ONE) person (provided we have our own plate, because I too am a slow eater, so sharing off one will not be in my favor).

    Can’t wait to read his article!

    • Summer says...

      ALSO (this is something I’m passionate about), I heard somewhere that wanting our own meal is natural, and probably how we survived as a species. Oh, the hunters in the community just harpooned something? My people would have been throwing bows to make sure we got our fair portion, and thus, you know, SURVIVING. :P

    • L says...

      But isn’t the hunter gatherer example actually sharing? Someone harpoons something and shares it with the group while someone else gathered berries that they share. It’s not like you only eat what you personally hunted or gathered. I think the modern day equivalency would be sharing, with everyone taking a portion onto their own plate at the start of the meal.

  81. I will share with my man when we try out a new restaurant, but there is no way I’d be able to share with a group of people. The stress of wanting to get what I want would probably be too much.

  82. Mel says...

    Funny, they just discussed Alex’s article on Live with Ryan and Kelly! My husband fully agrees with Alex. I am somewhere in the middle, depending on the situation and who I’m sharing with. I am incredibly picky & I don’t eat red meat and other various things so I have a hard time sharing with people who don’t know me well. I do think it’s a way to get me to try things i otherwise probably wouldn’t. However, there are some places I go for a specific thing on the menu, and at those times I’d probably be disappointed to share. So I see both sides!

  83. Andrea says...

    The only time I like sharing is brunch with my sister. One of us gets savory, the other gets sweet so we can have both. I do NOT share my dessert. If you want “just a couple bites” you should have ordered your own. I AM going to eat this entire thing, actually.

  84. Samantha Klein says...

    I’m trying to get to a place where my husband and I share more! Our tastes overlap relatively well, and he doesn’t tend to eat a lot, whereas if there’s food on the table, I will shove it into my mouth! I’m speaking for him a little but I think we both really like it, when we remember and when we both wanted the same thing anyway. :)

  85. Mary says...

    My husband is exactly the same! And I’m glad he is loyal to what he does like too, because it includes me. Ha!

  86. Margaret says...

    Totally with Alex on this one! And my husband even more so. I love maybe trying a bite of his entree when we are out-but the whole let’s all order a bunch and get a 1/2 bite of everything drives me bonkers. I never end up eating what I actually want. I have learned to head it off at the pass when a well intentioned friend suggests some place with great “small plates.” I instantly make a joke about preferring my own order and sticking with it. Love me some boundaries, haha.

  87. OMG, “robert altman at his worst” LOVE IT! haha, my husband is also a terrible sharer and has food allergies — but he likes to save money, so he always wants to share when he’s paying i.e. when our grown kids are with us. :)

  88. Janet says...

    Sharing an appetizer is one thing, but sharing the main course is so intimate! When my husband and I share, he and I have some ground rules: because he’s a fast eater, he carefully eats just half and waits patiently for me to offer him more, and I would never dream of leaving the last bite on my plate without offering it to him. As I write this, I realize how stuffy it sounds, but a dance like that would be stressful even with other family members, never mind casual friends!

  89. Erin says...

    Team Alex, forever!
    I don’t even like sharing popcorn at movies. I’d rather pay double the price and not have to worry about anyone else’s hands making their way into MY snack.

  90. Kate says...

    One of the most perplexing moments of my life was when my friend refused to share at Thai and ordered himself the Pad Thai that no one else could touch!?!?

  91. Sharon says...

    I love sharing, but normally make sure I’m not too hungry going into a group dinner. Otherwise the anxiety of not getting enough would take all the fun out of it. At home, I do have to be careful with my husband who wolfs down any food (think 17 yr old in a 40 yr old body)… When I see him eating out of the fridge I always say “let me know if you eat the last one so I can make/buy more.” Because of this I am a complete over buyer. I have an extra of almost everything, which allows me to not be a total snob about sharing… ;-)

    My food gripe is food pushers who insist on you trying an appetizer they want and ordered, or pushing you to order dessert since they want to… If you want to order the burrata, be my guest, but don’t force me to eat it and like it. I’m not anti cheese, but as an adult, I get to decide what and how much I eat. Just because you want to go hog wild and order dessert doesn’t mean I have to.

  92. Jessica says...

    I love sharing! I search for fellow sharers when we have cake at work (which I am thrilled to say is quite often). Sharing means you get to try a little bit of everything, and I often wish I could try everything on the menu. I like to believe that you end up eating as much as you need when sharing with a crowd – listening to your belly rather than trying to finish what’s on your plate. And if you end up hungry at the end then you have a great excuse to get dessert!

  93. lolol does Alex have a lot of siblings? I love sharing plates, I’ve never even thought about the possibility of missing out on a dish while chatting…but I’m an only child, I never had to worry about that :-D

  94. Emily Tan says...

    My husband loves sharing so much that he will forgo ordering something he really wants if I’m not into it. I know this is extreme, but it’s also kinda sweet.

  95. Wanda Elaine says...

    I noticed after moving to the South how picky people are about their food and especially who touches it. Roaches all in their kitchen but don’t let someone put their fork near the plate.

  96. Oh my god, I read that article yesterday and felt so elated! I didn’t even look at the by line and now I love it even more.

    I have a gluten and dairy allergy which makes it particularly hard for me to share but oftentimes friends insist on it. When this happens it’s inevitable that I will be able to eat two dishes, everyone else we be able to eat ten, I will be expected to share my two, and then go home starving (not to mention still having to spilt the bill evenly). No level of explaining to my dining companions can break this vicious cycle! Quite honestly, I am getting stressed out right now just thinking about it… ha!

    • claire says...

      kristin, this is exactly why i hate sharing as well and have started avoiding small plate restaurants when going out with friends! i end up paying for everyone else to eat a bunch of food that i can’t eat and then i go home hungry. when i’ve spoken up in the past i’ve gotten eye rolls. it’s super frustrating.

    • Wendy says...

      same!

  97. Kendall says...

    Yes! My husband is exactly like this. I know he loves me, even loves my taste in food, and isn’t picky about eating…but suggest you share food in a restaurant and he gets this instant look or terror and disappointment. We, as a rule, never share main courses. Sharing apps or a dessert is cool, he’s a generous sharer — but I can’t bear to take away the joy of that entree he was looking forward to. Ha!

  98. I don’t mind sharing with dishes like tapas, which are meant to be shared. I can also stand sharing appetizers. But sharing something like a couple of pasta’s including a steak dinner? I can manage with the Mister, but with a group of friends I would constantly be wondering if I’m not too greedy or too lenient. Admittedly, sharing food has always been my vice ;)

  99. Haha Alex needs to watch this scene from Gavin and Stacey! I think he’ll agree with Smithy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUKCAp41hcw

    I don’t really mind sharing because you get to try a little bit of everything and it’s nice and sociable. However since I’ve been celiac for four years (strictly gluten free) it’s been harder. People make sure they order me a dish or two that’s gluten free but they’ll tuck into it as much as everything else so I’m left with eating a couple of cauliflower pieces for instance, and still be hungry! I’m also vegetarian which doesn’t help haha. I’m English but lived in Australia for a few years which was very into the sharing food culture. Luckily it’s extremely good food and great for GF too.

    http://pollyrowan.com/

    • Sharon in Scotland says...

      Smithy and Nessa………………..for the win!
      x

  100. Alice says...

    While I’m really quite small, I do actually have a pretty big appetite. I love getting to try a little bit of someone else’s, so I know if I like it in future- I mean literally just a bite!- I really am not that big a fan of sharing plates, because EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW seems to have minuscule appetites- like “oh we’ll just get three tapas between us”. WHAT. ARE. YOU. TALKING. ABOUT. See also- feeling like I shouldn’t finish my pizza if other people are moaning about how full they are. It makes me feel so greedy! (What can I say, I can just eat a lot?!)
    In short- getting to experiment a bit with a dish is great, having to share your entire meal is NOT.

  101. Hannah says...

    Maybe the following is very German, but if there actually are dishes to be shared (which I usually only encounter in tapas-style restaurants) we (boyfriend and I, friends, family, colleagues) split everything evenly so everyone gets the same amount. If it’s just the two of us, my boyfriend is usually lucky, because at some point I’ll be full and he’ll be able to have whatever is left and therefore will get more. And I’ve never had pasta to share. Maybe I should go out more?

  102. Cece says...

    So my personal theory is that sharing is totally fine – as long as you order more than you think you’ll need! I’d rather order one or two extra bits and not have anybody still be hungry at the end of the meal.

    Having said that, I’m a fairly adventurous eater, and I have a couple of friends who are particularly picky eaters (they don’t have specific dietary needs, just fussy) and no way am I sharing if it involves ruling out the more interesting half of the menu!

  103. Marisa says...

    My fiance is the same way! HATES sharing food. Last year for Christmas, we were out with my family and my mom suggested we all share our desserts with each other (something we as a family are used to). When we started passing the desserts, my fiance was so eager to get his back, he just took a small bite of each in hopes of speeding up everyone else and getting his chocolate cake back sooner!

  104. Wuselbibi says...

    Wow. Is that a typical thing in the U.S.? I don’t know about anything comparable here in Europe. Except Tapas Bars, of course! But going out to a Tapas Restaurant means you know what’ll likely be happening.
    In every other restaurant, you’ll order your favourite, get a plate for yourself and eat at your own pace.
    Aren’t you afraid of germs when a larger group shares?
    Not talking about a couple, naturally.

    Love reading your blog, Joanna.
    XO

  105. I think I fall in the middle – I generally don’t like sharing because I’m a fairly picky eater and often end up settling on a lot of boring foods that are mere sides for others when I could have had my own amazing meal. However, if it’s just my better half and me and we can’t decide between two desserts then we will order both and split them.

  106. Hah! This one made me laugh :D After 13 years together and nearly 8 years of marriage, my husband and I share almost every meal we eat out. We also share with our toddler, who is a terrible eater and wouldn’t eat a whole plate anyway. The reason I laugh though, is because we were out this past weekend with my sister and her boyfriend who got into a hissed fight while queueing for ice cream on the weekend – for the millionth time. They just don’t see eye-to-eye on orders of anything, but especially ice cream! We have decreed that they won’t attempt sharing anymore *insert cry laughing face*
    I’m glad my husband and I share though – it means we have the best of all worlds and I never have to whittle down my choices to just one option. We always have two!

  107. Rashmik says...

    Same here!!! I think the important thing about sharing is who you are sharing with. When eating out/takeaway with my husband, we always like to try as many new things as possible – so small plates rock. But we do have fussy friends and family members with food restrictions that I would never want to share food with.

  108. Jennifer says...

    this reminded me of this article! https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/01/our-one-fight-the-sharer-vs-the-withholder.html

    i am 100% all about sharing and am always sad to find people who are not, ha! i was raised eating everything “family style” and sometimes when we cook, my boyfriend and I will just eat straight off the platter or roasting pan rather than separating things into extra plates! the best is when we eat ethiopian food, where you are definitely not given your own plate!

    i think growing up in a culture of food sharing can teach you how to look out for others–so you should never find yourself in a situation where the fried baby artichokes are being eaten voraciously by everyone else with no regard for their fellow diners. my boyfriend and I both grew up in (different) cultures where sharing food is common, and i find we (and other friends who were raised similarly) constantly look out for others when we are eating to make sure everyone is getting enough.

    • Maria says...

      I thought of that article, too! I’m digging the whole series – loving the thoughtfulness of the couples’ discussions and getting to be a little nosy…

  109. Veronika says...

    Actually I’ve never thought about it like that. When I’m out w my hubby we usually offer a bite from our plate just to try and when I cannot finish my meal he helps.
    Of course it’s different with tapas as it’s to share by default and we love it! (what is Alex’s approach to this? haha)
    We also love cuisine like the Arabic where they also offer several dishes to share (hummus, pitabread etc)

  110. No. Get what you want and eat it. I’ll go halves on a starter but that’s it. The reason I didn’t order what you did is because I didn’t want it and I definitely don’t want a little bit of it and a little bit of what I did order. Move away from the damned table…

  111. Yazi says...

    Interesting. Maybe it’s a cultural difference but as an Asian, we share often in restaurants. Especially if it’s a group of 4 or more people. Eating is a communal activity in Asian societies which serves a purpose beyond feeding one’s body.

    Maybe if you’re on a date or with a group of not so close friends then it would be awkward to share.

    • Jenny says...

      Fellow Asian here: I totally agree with your take. From as far back as I can remember family meals have always been communal affairs — at least 1 dish each of chicken, veg and possibly tofu or another meat, and a soup to be shared, plus individual plates of as much or little rice as one wanted at every meal (except breakfast). Nobody ever came to grief because my parents were straight up Nazis for good manners, and behaviors such as grabbing food straight off other ppl’s plates and taking more than one’s fair share out of communal dishes would NOT have been tolerated. I dare say this is true of Asian families/society at large where there is a strong emphasis on being considerate of others, placing the community above the self and less emphasis on individual wants and needs. The main point is not to have anyone leave the shared meal feeling still hungry or worse, taken advantage of. This also boils down to the cultures and attitudes surrounding food where we were raised.

      Think it also helps that Asian cuisine is generally structured in such a way as to facilitate sharing. If you’ve ever been to a Chinese wedding dinner for example, it’s an 8- or sometimes even 10-course meal of gigantic dishes that are portioned exactly for the 10 pax per table. So if it’s a chicken dish, there’ll be exactly 10 pieces for the ten ppl at the table. The fish will be large enough for 10 servings, same for veg, and so on.

      I do get why Alex feeels the way he does though — tapas or small plates generally aren’t sharing size, not if you’re really hungry, and Western food like steaks or similar are usually meant for single servings or at most to be shared between 2 ppl.

  112. Nina says...

    I have a special place in my heart for friends who want to share dishes… I’m just really bad at decisions / want to try everything! I guess it depends on who you’re sharing with though and how many you’re with.

  113. Eleanor says...

    My fiance and I ALWAYS share and the ritual of it is something I love- there are no worries about not getting enough because we are very British about it: totally scrupulous about sharing evenly, and cutting the last piece or negotiating (fake seriously) to each get more of the dish we prefer. Even when we each get seperate pizzas or something we will try a little of each other’s just for fun.

  114. Tiia says...

    I love sharing – maybe it’s because I’m easily bored :) But sometimes I do have issues as I am a vegetarian and currently also pregnant – meaning I have a limits on what I can and cannot eat. So when all that’s left are the oysters, I go hungry!

  115. Laura C. says...

    I’m with Alex this time. I could share or ask just a fork!

  116. C says...

    I love sharing because it means I get to try new things without committing to a whole dish that I might not enjoy.

    It’s easy enough to say no if you don’t want to share though – I think most people get it if you want to be comfy with your own plate. :)

  117. Elise says...

    Thank you! Being vegetarian and on a lower budget than my friends I hate it when they suggest sharing. I might come out to them as a monogamous diner.

  118. Erika Pages says...

    How many times do you see multiple items in a menu and you can only pick one. To me its all the time . Well what better solution then to share with others at the table that are ordering the other items you had your eye on.

  119. Brooke says...

    Three things: 1. what a sweet way to talk about your difference! 2. I am #teamshareplates with you Joanna :). I ADORE sharing… it gets rid of all ordering regret & envy, equals trying lots of things, and usually means eating lighter but still being satisfied! 3. Michael Schur (writer of Parks and Rec, The Office, SNL etc) has a HILARIOUS podcast where they talk about this “hate sharing” issue midway through… Alex would be vindicated! :) https://player.fm/series/the-poscast/tbt-draft-things-everyone-loves-that-we-hate

  120. I am so with Alex on this, and so happy he wrote this! I have loathed sharing in restaurants forever (tapas, though delicious, are my nightmare – $16 for a tiny plate of something that you might get one bite of?), and have watched in dismay as this “shared plates” trend has taken off. Part of the reason is that I’m vegetarian (by choice, for as long as I can remember), celiac (not by choice, diagnosed about 3 years ago), and currently pregnant. So yes, these various restrictions make me a poor candidate for sharing and probably skews my feelings on the subject. But for me, going out to eat in this expensive city is a luxury, and I want to eat exactly what I want! #curmudgeon

  121. Veronica says...

    This is hysterical! My best friend and her husband split Every.Damn.Meal. I find myself feeling jealous- who wouldn’t want 3 bites of fried chicken and waffles and 3 bites of shrimp and grits with runny eggs? Seriously. My husband will never split, plus he eats his food so quickly I might be just digging into my plate after careful cutting and positioning, and he’s pretty much done w his. I would have to steal a bite up front, sheepishly dodging laser glares, if I wanted to get a taste. Fries vs salad is the closest sharing sitch we address at a restaurant. I love that Alex’s reasoning is cause he wants to chat and eat his own damn meal. My Loves reasoning is back off from my damn meal.

  122. mrk says...

    Its funny that I read your husbands article earlier this morning and came to your website this late. It now makes sense why I would like both your articles. :-)

    Me and my husband like to share. We were never big eaters – an appetiser, an entree and a dessert shared between the two of us is a perfect meal. Sometimes we might want to try two entrees, then we would have to bid the appetiser and dessert goodbye. Sharing works for us.
    However, when we are with other people with whom we might not share the same rapport, not so much. Eating out is a time of enjoyment. And if I like a dish, I welcome the opportunity to dissect the dish with each successive bite. But in the right company. In the wrong company, A.W.K.W.A.R.D
    And you need the right table size. I find 2 people just right for sharing a dish. More than that, you’re risking not getting the best bite for your buck.

  123. Tabby says...

    Oh I couldn’t agree more! I loathe sharing! Please thank Alex for the validation.

  124. Its not that I’m Team Alex on this question, its more that I didn’t even know there were teams for a debate at all…I don’t typically see people sharing food at restaurants? Like, yeah, appetizers or desserts, I guess, or pizza; those can get shared. But sharing more than maaaaaybe a bite of an entree? Nah.

    Which I think may be a cultural thing Might be the whole living in the West, we’re-ranchers-we’ll-eat-steaks-from-cows-we-raised ourselves culture. Or the utter dearth of any sort of food that isn’t steak or Tex-Mex style Mexican food, since it seems like a lot of different cultures do share food.

  125. Emily says...

    Love his comment- my husband also doesn’t like to share (or try new dishes!) and when I call him out on it I get a similar response “I’m a simple guy, I know what I like, and that includes you.”

  126. Lauren K says...

    I love sharing dishes… my husband does not, and he doesn’t eat many sweets. Despite this, every time we go out for a meal and I decline dessert because I don’t think I “should” have it, he always says “I’m going to get one to share.” He then orders the one he knows I like (usually something dark chocolate), takes one or two bites and let’s me have the rest.
    We’ve been married for 8 years, have a 2 year old and 3 month old, so big romantic gestures like a couples massage or weekend getaways aren’t a reality these days. However, it’s the small romantic gestures, like sharing dessert, that have come to mean the most.

    • Abbe says...

      Lauren, that is so sweet (literally and figuratively)!

    • I love this! Making it seem like “hey, I’m gonna have some'” even when you know he won’t really…that’s just the sweetest thing to do :)

    • Alice says...

      This is literally the absolute cutest thing!!!!

    • Gilly says...

      Aw that’s so sweet of your hubby Lauren!

  127. Alex says...

    YES!! I am so with Alex on this one. I moved to Australia four years ago, and I was initially horrified to find that every cool new restaurant I went to had a whole spiel on the menu about how “our food is meant to be shared!” As an only child who sometimes struggles with the whole concept of sharing, small plates were my new enemy. I’ve learned to adapt, but I secretly cringe every time we’re forced by a hipster waiter to order the recommended “four to six small plates for a group of [your] size”. In the back of my mind, I’m constantly counting how many pieces there are of each, and don’t even get me started on restaurants that bring out an uneven number!! Life is tough, isn’t it?

    • Keri says...

      I’m in Australia and there is most definitely a share plate epidemic happening here. Everywhere you look – share plates, tapas, charcuterie boards… it’s getting ridiculous.

    • E says...

      The best tapas restaurant I went to was all you can eat for one flat rate per person. It took all the sharing stress out of the experience, because if we loved it and didn’t get enough of anything, we could just order another one! they also had bottomless wine and cocktails for $15, it was great!

  128. My husband always makes fun of me when I order two of something if he wants to share. That way we can essentially share the experience, but not suffer the very real cons that Alex boldly identifies.

  129. Megan Klein says...

    We are the exact opposite! It’s actually so sweet how my husband feels the need to tell perfect strangers that we like to share. We both got the same thing one time and we were both so disappointed that we couldn’t have half of something else, and now even when we really really want the same thing, we still usually get one of what we know we want and try something else. Most times, we just switch plates about halfway through. He often cites that as one of the things he loves best about our relationship, and I suppose I do too. :)

    • Capucine says...

      This is us! If we both want the same thing, one of us has to order something different so dinner is interesting, and we share. I do insist I get the first taste of the meal I ordered, though – and get peeved when he forgets. I’m one of three, he’s one of four, and the subtle spirit of tender regard in the sympathetic generosity of sharing food is alive in us from childhoods where the healthy was a given, but the tasty less so.

      That said, my husband only shares dishes with me pretty much, never others. Whereas I share with girlfriends routinely. He’s got his own caveman streak of ‘my cave, my wife, my steak’ for sure. Maybe plate sharing is a largely female-initiated habit?

  130. Matilda says...

    I’m all for sharing except I don’t like to share food at restaurants because I usually order something that I really love and want every bit of it and more. Sorry, but it’s not my fault if you order something you don’t like as much! My husband doesn’t like to share food either, so it works out really well. :)

  131. Stephanie says...

    I hate sharing I hate sharing I hate sharing!!! I can’t wait to send Alex’s article to all my friends (who love sharing and who tease me about not wanting to share) and I haven’t even read it yet! But I know he is my people.

    • Stephanie says...

      #imwithalex

  132. Amanda says...

    I do not like sharing food. When people suggest sharing plates I feel immediately anxious about whether I’m going to get enough to eat because I don’t want to eat too much and seem like I’m eating all of the food so this usually means I hold back and then all of the food is gone. I especially do not like being in a group food-sharing situation with my husband because he does not think about how much he is eating at all and he is always the one eating too much which really embarasses me.

  133. It’s my least favorite moment of any dinner out with friends: I’m looking at the menu, planning what I’m going to get and someone inevitably says ‘let’s just share a few things.’ Even if I’m able to order the dish I had my eye on, I will now only get a portion of it. And I have to eat some other thing I’m not super excited about. Not a fan!

  134. Faza says...

    Reading this made me flashback to that episode in Friends, where “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!”

    Hilarious. :)

  135. JoAnne Anderson says...

    I totally agree with your husband…small plates are a rip off…never enough for everyone…no one dares to takes the last bite or last chicken wing…$12 for 6 Brussels sprouts…restaurants are loving the small plate craze…not me!

  136. Aw man, do I ever appreciate this. Too an engaged social eater, also slow to consume; I dread a shared-plate consensus. Freaking dread it. For one, I’m usually the only vegetarian in the bunch; which means I’m screwed right from the start…less non-meat options mean I have my (peripheral) eyes on the prize while it’s quickly dwindling down. Second, by nature an over accommodater, I hesitate to be too grabby and instead make sure to ask if everyone has had some before I go in for seconds. I can count on one hand the seconds I’ve gotten in on. Third, and frankly most telling, I am the youngest of six children in an Italian family. To this day, my siblings will just take my food without asking. So it begs the question…Is it really so wrong to just enjoy a plate of food in peace, free from the PTSD of my rabid family members? I’m with Alex. (Also, I clearly need to start learning the virtue of assertiveness!)

  137. Sara says...

    Love sharing! My husband and I joke that that’s how he won me over ;) On our first date, he ordered a variety of dishes for us to share (while keeping in accordance with my then-pescatarian diet). We both love food and trying new things so sharing is a great way to try a bunch of different dishes and flavors. We order takeout way more than we go out these days, and my husband is the master orderer – always a variety of dishes to share and we love leftovers! That said, we definitely have friends/family that we prefer not to share with – if they are less adventurous or have dietary restrictions, it’s easier for everyone to get their own meals and we’re totally cool with that too.

    • Rashmik says...

      Same here!!! I think the important thing about sharing is who you are sharing with. When eating out/takeaway with my husband, we always like to try as many new things as possible – so small plates rock. But we do have fussy friends and family members with food restrictions that I would never want to share food with.

  138. Loved Alex’s piece! It reminded me of Nora Ephron’s piece on salt. Remember that?

    And I agree with him. I also am the world’s slowest eater and tend to get caught up in talking and socializing, which means no food for me. Eventually, my lovely husband has taken to serving me part of each thing on a plate so that I can pick at at my own pace. I think that’s the solution when “forced” to share.

    Particularly loved these lines:

    “Perhaps it is because I am a slow eater and a big talker, but when I’m sharing with a group, I feel like I am left with two choices: chat or eat. You can’t do both, especially when you’re racked with anxiety at seeing the fried baby artichokes disappear out of the corner of your eye while your story — wait, what was I talking about? — starts to run on a little too long.”

    ” A shared meal is a committee meeting, and committees are about compromise. That may be great for Capitol Hill, but I would rather not run my dessert order through Ways and Means.”

    • Rebecca says...

      Yes, to all of this! Also – as a fellow dining sloth, the ‘smash n grab’ sounds like a peak anxiety experience. I always tell my husband that I’m a marathon eater, not a sprinter. And that I always lose the marathon.

  139. Kate says...

    The person I split dishes with the most is my mom, who is a very light eater. We’ll go out and split a sandwich with sides, which I always think won’t be enough but always is in the end. I suspect this is because she gives me way more than my fair half, even though I’m 27 years old! She also will be the one to say “Let’s split the cheese fries!” just because she knows I secretly want them.

  140. Eva says...

    I can relate to the panic of food disappearing quickly, but the issue lies more with how FAST my husband eats. I’m sort of a fast eater too, but when I try to take my time and converse and breathe between bites, he’s taking bite after bite. (When I put my utensils down for a moment, he always says, “Full?”) Feel like I have to stake my claim right away. That said, I do love sharing because I’m indecisive—but maybe more with a small group or individual than a larger group (and in inverse proportion to the number of dietary restrictions).

    I think that’s the key: go ahead and share, but get individual plates and stake your claim from the get-go :)

  141. Kaitlin says...

    There is a time and a place for sharing. I will go family style in most Asian restaurants (exception: Japanese. I want the ramen and the sushi and I want it to myself) and Indian restaurants, where there is a mix of things to put with carbs.

    But where a melange of food isn’t called for – like with Italian or a steakhouse – I agree with Alex. Why should I give up half of my veal gorgonzola when I’m not really interested in your choice of pizza toppings?

  142. Ers says...

    I love sharing but, Who shares pasta?

  143. Liz says...

    I HATE SHARING
    I tend to order at restaurants like Sally in When Harry Met Sally… I just like it how I like it!

    • Stephanie says...

      Me too! I just want it the way I want it!!

  144. A hungry person says...

    I hate sharing! Because: I want what I want – sharing is too many options and things! But the worst is when you share and eat off the same plate and have to eat at the same pace as the other person, so I just end up eyeing them awkwardly the whole time….

  145. KSM says...

    That pic is so awesome :D. As an oldest of the three my heart goes out for the big brother. haha

  146. Margaret says...

    My husband and I always share and have a rule to never order the same thing. On our first date he stopped me mid ice-cream order because I was picking the same kind as him. Then, halfway through our cones he says “switch” and we had to switch to try each others. I think he felt a little bad after because he later said “you know, you can say switch back whenever you want.”

    • Candiru says...

      That would have creeped me out, on a first date.

  147. Erin says...

    I have had a different problem: when someone offers me a bite of their dish too soon, when I’m still getting into the flavor of my own dish, I’m just not interested! Sometimes I’ll take the bite but the flavors clash. Or I’ll find out their dish is better than mine, and it leaves me disappointed with what I ordered.

    • Veronica says...

      Totally

  148. jac says...

    MMM I can share with one person, maybe two. Not more than that. I like what I like and I want to eat as much of it as I want. I shared a burger with a friend yesterday! We split it down the middle and I got to eat 90% of the fries. THAT is my kind of sharing. : )