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When eating with a Korean, how do you decide who pays?

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If you have ever been out to eat with a Korean, you know that Koreans are not accustomed to splitting the bill after a meal. Today, Emagasia will teach you another Korean culture. If you want to know how Koreans celebrate their birthday, you may go to Korean birthday party.

When eating with a Korean, how do you decide who pays?

Korean culture

Who pays?

Koreans look upon the practice of each paying separately for one’s share as burdensome. Koreans know if they pay the bill this time, the other person will get it next time. It’s not that the next time has been planned in advance, but that if the opportunity present itself, the other person will return the favor.

However there are times when this unwritten rule does not hold true. When two people of unequal status ( an older student and a younger student, a senior and junior co-worker, friends of different ages, for example ) dine together, the older one usually pays for the younger one. Because people think that older people should treat younger people, the older one will not expect the favor to be returned the next time the pair dines together.

The elder will have received the same good treatment from his own elders, and is now returning the favor to the younger generation. So the younger or less senior person gets a free meal for the time being, but knows he will treat someone younger or less senior than himself somewhere down the line.

In this culture, when good things happen you are also expected to treat. On your birthday, upon getting a job or promotion, after getting married or having a baby, one is expected to share one’s happiness and good fortune with those around them.

This is Korea’s give-and-take culture, how do you feel about taking part?

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