Picking up the tab when you pick someone’s brain

For most of us, occasionally the time comes when we need to ask the advice of a colleague or pick a friend or peer’s brain about their child’s school or their favorite charity. So, we invite them to lunch, coffee, dinner or drinks and ask away. But, what happens when the check comes to the table?

Simply put, if you did the inviting, you should pick up the tab. Think of it as payment for their time and trouble.

It’s possible that your friend or colleague will insist on paying his or her own way, but you shouldn’t count on it. If you are unemployed in career transition, a college student or journalist on a tight budget for any reason, avoid dinner invitations and instead, propose  meeting for coffee.

Most people are happy to pass along their wisdom, but be sure not to ask for too much free advice, which can result in resentment or a bill in your mailbox. Also, even though you paid for the cocktails or lunch, as always, it’s good to follow up with a thank you note and, or e-mail.



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