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Redditor Called Out For Asking Friends To Buy Dinner In Exchange For Being Their Designated Driver

Andra C Taylor Jr/Unsplash

Having a designated driver is a smart and important part of a night out if other transportation options aren’t available.

And for one person on Reddit, their willingness to always be the designated driver for their group of friends results in them getting free dinner out of the deal.

But when another friend told them that they were being greedy by expecting free dinner, they wondered if they were approaching things in the wrong way.

So they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the username twizabeth on the site, asked:

“AITA for having a designated driver ‘tax?'”

They explained:

“I am not a big fan of alcohol. I don’t enjoy being around drunk people, I can only occasionally enjoy the taste.”

“I’m not about alcohol culture really. I also have social anxiety and don’t like bar crowds (though I make exceptions for live music.)”

“That said, I will happily DD for my friends if they want to go out and have a good time.”

“I prefer it when they tell me when they want to be picked up and I can go get them later as opposed to spending the whole time with them as they get sloshed, but I can be convinced to bar hop with them on one condition: if we go out to dinner, they cover my bill.”

“No dinner, they are stuck covering my Cokes all night (though, I admit that I was told by a bartender friend to tell the bartender I’m a DD and I may get my drinks for free. It works sometimes!)”

“It doesn’t have to be a steak or something expensive. I’m not demanding anyone buy me a $50 plate nor would I do that to my friends.”

“I just expect the ones drinking to split the cost of my usually $15-20 dinner in exchange for me spending gas (I don’t charge them for it) and time in an environment I don’t enjoy.”

“I was laughing and explaining it to a new friend and he called me an a**hole and that my payment should be my friends getting home safe.”

“I replied that they could get home safe without me going with because I’d go get them, this is the cost for making me hang out where I’m uncomfortable.”

“He said it’s even worse because I’m charging them to hang out with me.”

“Am I the A**hole for making my friends cover my dinner if I DD for them while bar hopping?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And for the most part they agreed that they couldn’t really see what the problem was with this arrangement.

“NTA. Hey, sounds like this ‘new friend’ isn’t a good fit for you. If your friends have a problem with it they can say something, have one of them be sober or get a hired ride.” –Ilovegifsofjif

“Legit NTA.”

“Every time I have ever been a DD for friends, they practically fight to see who can buy my my shirley temples, cokes, and nachos.”

“They appreciate me still hanging out, and giving them a safe, convenient, and inexpensive ride with no waiting.” –CornMuscles529

“Hell if I was a drinker I’d pay my dd to hang, eat and drive in a heartbeat especially since they are my friend and I get into enjoy their company.”

“It’s cheaper to all pitch in than pay for ride share anyway.” –Chance-Ad-9952

“NTA. DD’s are heroes and should be rewarded for their good work. Dinner and cokes are the bare minimum you deserve.” –Herbighazeleyes

“OP is a friend as long as he is useful. If he asks for something in return to prevent ending as a constant uber driver for free, he is the worst according to a ‘friend’.”

“Don’t we all love those ‘friends’? Especially if it’s their turn to bring something to the friendship-table.”

“I have a similar friend who picks me up as an emergency option if plan A fails (uber is not a thing here). Very rare.”

“But if she does, I invite her to the cinema as a thanks or cocktails. I took her time, I woke her up, I made her uncomfortable.”

“Friendship is give and take, you shouldn’t keep track of it but that’s not a small favour.” –MasterpieceOK4688

“I also DD’ed a lot during my 4 years of university, (because I had a car and also had social anxiety) but my friends (and then boyfriend now-husband) would always get me snacks and diet cokes all night.”

“Once, someone called a friend whipped without the pussy as he was letting me snag fries (as discussed before he ordered – he asked if I wanted my own and I was like, no but if you get some I will probably steal a few, which he was fine with) and this 6’5″ Viking bro was basically like, LISTEN HERE – SHE DRIVES MY DRUNK A** AROUND SHE GETS ALL THE FRIES SHE WANTS.”

“This particular friend also would get rides to the grocery store and buy me fancy bread. I usually just ate boring sandwich bread all the time, but he would buy me sourdough rounds. YUMMMMM.”

“Gas was so cheap then sigh.” –YarnSp1nner

“NTA at all. When I got diabetes I dropped alcohol totally for a long while. I ended up being DD for my friends and officemates.”

“I was always sponsored, food, drinks, whatever. I was never explicit about it and the girls appreciated someone they could trust.”

“Sometimes, they even got takeout for my wife for keeping me so late.” –tango421

“Well if the new friend is out with the group watch his face when they all get driven home immediately, quickly and cheaply (not really paying) and he has to take public transport or ride service. NTA” –Erebu593

“Actually, OP shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of crap when she’s doing them all a huge favour. OP needs to tell them to get their party line together or no lifts.” –Reasonable_Racoon

“I used to drive my friends home in school and they’d cover my small meals at the local spot by the school as payment.”

“It was a small program that drew kids from across the county so most people didn’t live close to each other.”

“I went out of my way to get my friends home and they paid me back with tacos. It’s how it goes” –basilobs

“NTA, and 100% agree with this comment.”

“If I were going out and a friend was the DD, the least I could do is to buy the friend a meal (and/or cover the gas).”

“Uber/Lyft would be more expensive, and as a woman, there’s always the worry about getting into a stranger’s car, even if it’s a rideshare service.”

“Getting home with the help of a friend is 1000% more preferable.”

“OP, I think you are a wonderful friend, and you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing. If the new friend isn’t comfortable with the (imho very reasonable) “DD tax”, they absolutely don’t ever need to ask you to be their DD (nor should you be obligated to be their DD…they can pay for an Uber).” –psyrendipity

“My partner doesn’t drink, and whenever he’s DD (or designated sober person if there’s no driving involved) our whole friend group always makes sure he eats well and has tasty non-alcoholic drinks available to him.”

“If we’re going to a BYOB situation I always make sure to get his special fancy sodas along with my booze, so he’s got a special occasion beverage, too.”

“It just seems like a pretty basic concept? I’ll make sure my gin-loving friend has nice gin, why wouldn’t I make sure my non-drinking partner has nice non-alcoholic stuff?”

“These are all people I like and want to enjoy themselves?” –_higglety

“You clearly do care for your friends as you are willing to compromise on what you enjoy doing to ensure their safety and well-being.”

“Communications within your circle sound like they are very transparent as well which is commendable.”

“This newcomer might not deserve such a healthy group of friends. You deserve the comped meals and drinks.”

“I’ve added an award to your post as well, I know it doesn’t mean much in reality but there needs to be more circles like yours.” –peacheyflamingo


“I think this is a part of party culture that people should think about more often. How the sober people around them are dealing with it.”

“But, perhaps, if your friends don’t respect that you’re someone who doesn’t want to be in that environment, and they expect it from you frequently– They aren’t the best friends for you.” –yendysailartsua

“NTA, and it sounds like you and your buddies have a good system! Like, a plate of nachos or a burger or whatever in exchange for everyone having a good time and staying safe?”

“I dig it. If this new guy doesn’t like it, sucks for him. I also assume that y’all don’t only hang out in bars as well, so a trade for certain outings and no expectations on sober excursions is a perfectly good way to do things” –ColoredGayngels

Hopefully OP won’t let their complaining friend keep them from continuing to do a good thing.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.