When should you share your dessert?

Picture the scene: you are just getting to the end of a lovely, romantic dinner. You are looking through the dessert menu. Mmmm, chocolate cake, or maybe strawberry cheesecake?

Then your partner says ‘I don’t want anything, but if you have one then I’ll share’

What to do now? You want a whole dessert but it doesn’t look like that’s an option.

Let’s think through the options:

Order nothing: no-one has anything – you’re hungry and your partner is a bit disappointed.

Order dessert: at least you got something but not as much as you would have liked. Your partner is happy.

Convince them to order: You’re happy, but they’re not because once they start eating they won’t be able to stop and will feel bad about having a whole dessert. Although you are happy to have had a dessert, you’re not happy that your partner isn’t happy.

Overall you are happiest ordering one dessert to share and so is your partner, so that is what you should do.

Really what you want is for the restaurant to offer half portions of dessert, then you could both be happy.

Today’s takeaway: Sometimes you need to change the rules of the game to get the best outcome.

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One Response to When should you share your dessert?

  1. Asrar Chowdhury says:

    If it is a single shot game- AND you do love your partner- you would be better off sharing. If it’s a sequential single shot game- still the same. However, if it is a repeated sequential game- then YES- you could create a reputation through threats/promises. That’s what rational players would probably do- but then in love and war all is fair. Thanks for the problem- it is a special case of the ultimatum game

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