The FINANCIAL– Four in ten (40 per cent) Brits know a ‘shirker’ – the friend who has to take the ‘very important phone call’ when the bill arrives. And a third (33 per cent) have fallen out with a pal because of their stingy ways, with one in eight (14 per cent) holding a grudge for a year or more.
51 per cent think ‘shirking’ is one of the most unappealing traits a friend can have, and mates who are tardy with paying back money are considered more annoying (33 per cent) than those who are always on their mobile on nights out (27 per cent) or constantly taking selfies (8 per cent).
The research from Pingit – the app that allows for fast, easy payments and bill-splitting with just a mobile number – comes just in time for the party season. The findings reveal that so-called shirking, or the avoidance of paying your fair share of the bill, is taking a toll on our wallets, too: Over half (54 per cent) of Brits claim they have lent money to pals, never to see it again, and on average, they’re down £74 over the past 12 months due to their frugal friends.
Whilst Brits are happy to let go an average debt of £24, it only takes an extra £3 for friendships to sour – friends get moody when ‘forgotten’ funds hit £27. As a consequence, nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) have avoided nights out with friends who never pay their share, whilst 13 per cent have ended a friendship altogether – all of this despite 50 per cent having been called out for shirking themselves.
The research has revealed the most-used bill-dodging tactics and our most common tactics to fight back. When it comes to avoiding the bill, Brits are most likely to:
Turn into the ‘mañana’ mate who promises to pay it back tomorrow, but never does (33 per cent)
Claim to be low on funds (23 per cent)
Sip slowly so that someone else gets in the next round (23 per cent)
Spend a penny when it’s time to pay (17 per cent)
Pretend to have had one too many to split the bill (11 per cent)
But Brits aren’t a ‘grin and bear it’ lot. When asked the best way to sidestep a shirker, responses included:
Leaving them out of future drinks rounds (22 per cent)
Not inviting them out again (20 per cent)
Putting them on the spot in front of friends (18 per cent)
Pingit released the findings to highlight the ways the app, with bill-splitting capabilities for up to 20 people and the ability to request and track payments, can help nudge shirkers into contributing to the bill this festive season.