People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them. I witnessed this first hand tonight at my 20-something Asian friend’s birthday dinner at a local Japanese restaurant. Two of the four guests were C & C, friends of D’s whom I met for the first time; the other two were V and me (neither of us knew C & C). It took everything I had not to bitch-slap C & C by the time that the bill arrived. The one C he has a crush on (because that is always the case) informed all of us she was leaving before the waitress brought the final bill. She stood up from her chair and begrudgingly handed him a 20 dollar bill before leaving. Her portion of the bill was at least 40 dollars. Once the bill arrived, V and I squared away our portions while the remaining C complained that she was “not putting in more than 35 dollars.” Never mind that she drank at least 30 dollars worth of vodka by herself. I bit my tongue … hard. I am pretty sure V was thinking the same thing as I was because she kicked me under the table, as if to warn me not to ruin D’s birthday dinner. I had already added about 10 dollars more than I needed to put in as I am often reminded of what it was like to be a waitress. There was some mumbling and grumbling before D just sighed and took out more money from his own pocket to cover the remainder of the bill that C & C obviously were not going to do in the first place. I was mortified and ready to throw down more cash myself if needed. It took everything I had to not yell out across the table to D, ”You can’t always be nice. People are always taking advantage of you. Grow a pair, bro, and set some fucking boundaries.” Instead, I came home and wrote this passive-aggressive post. I texted V later and joked that we needed to give D a crash course in assertiveness. Her response was something of the “I know this much is true” variety. Unfortunately, this is a lesson D is going to have to learn all on his own.