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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Is my boyfriend being rude, or is it just me?


My boyfriend and I have been together 5 years. We're not officially engaged yet, but it's to the point where we're talking about marriage and having a family, and we pretty much know it's going to happen. I love him to death and he's usually very polite and chivalrous, so I have no major complaints. However, there are two things that bother me and I would like to know your opinion.

The first is that a lot of times when I get something for us to share, he assumes it's only for him. Sometimes when I go to his house, I bring something that I baked, or I pick up some dessert or a bottle of wine on the way over. The intent is that we will share it later. But he always just says "Oh, thanks!" and puts it away for later when I'm not there. Or one time, I took him to a bakery and told him to pick out something. He pointed to a pastry, so I bought two, thinking then we would each have one for after dinner. But then later that night I mentioned I could go for a snack and he said "Okay, I'll let you have half of one." I was sort of offended, because it was something I got that I was sharing with him, not the other way around. I guess it bothers me that in these situations, his first thought is never to share, it's always it belongs to him. Whereas for me, my first thought is always about the two of us.

The second thing is about dinner. Usually when we go out to dinner, he pays. Then every third or fourth time, I pay. And I always leave the tip, no matter who pays. We always share food. Either we order one big dish and share it, or we pick out two dishes and have some of each. I always assumed if he paid, he got to take home the leftovers. But the first time I paid, he claimed the leftovers, without even asking if I wanted them (which I did). I thought it was extremely rude. It made him seem really cheap, even though he's really not. And he continues to do it, unless he doesn't like the food.

First of all, are my expectations correct, or am I in the wrong? How can I tell him how I feel without making him feel bad? I know he doesn't mean to be rude. I honestly think he just doesn't give it any thought. It goes right over his head. But I don't want people who don't know him to assume he's a jerk. He's a great guy. Before we met, he had been single for a very long time. So he never had to worry about stuff like this. The weird thing is, these are the only two situations I can think of where he is like this. The rest of the time, he's happy to share and seems to always be thinking of me. He's older than me and more experienced,so I figured he if anything, he would be the one teaching me about certain social rules. But not in this case. Do you have any advice?


Thank you for your question.  My best advice is change the dynamic as it is not working for you.  Next time you pay, have the restaurant split the leftovers so you can both take home.
When you bring a bottle of wine, just state, Where is the opener, so I can open the bottle for us to share?"  or uncork at home.  Communication is the only way to go.  I don't see a reason to point out the past situations just move forward with a different approach.

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Constance Hoffman


As a professional etiquette coach and trainer, I am able to assist with any and all of your questions pertaining to social and business skills, party manner, appearance, communication both verbal and written, tipping, email manners and social media, and of course entertaining and dining etiquette.


As owner of Social and Business Graces, I have been teaching children and adults for over 15 years.

Owner of Social and Business Graces

Owner, teacher, coach and author of "Tips on Tipping".

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