'The View' co-hosts know how to handle your deadbeat friends

The co-hosts of ABC's dishy daytime chat show The View recent turned their attentions to the annoying issue of friends who don't pay their fair share when you're out at a restaurant together. And wouldn't you know it? They had some good ideas.

In between patter about the niche topics of the female G-spot and slimmer undergarments for men, the ladies (I'm not being patronizing -- that's what ABC calls them) served up some tactics (click here for video) that could actually apply to all of us.

What was so fascinating about their tips for tactfully forcing freeloaders to pay up -- beside their ingenuity -- was the fact that each one of them seemed to reflect the specific personality traits of each TV hostess.

Sherri Shepherd, the semi-obsessive people person, suggested gracefully dividing and conquering your group while still appearing to be helpful. "If it's more than six or seven people, I ask the waitress to split it up into three people," she explained. "Three people on each check. And then that way, it doesn't get as mixed up."

Joy Behar, she who so often tossed the conversational hand grenades that resulted in Rosie O'Donnell's unfortunate explosions, revealed a wily manipulative streak by suggesting you snatch the check up the minute the waiter puts it down. "You pick up the check and look at it and say, 'Okay, here's mine. I owe 50 bucks.' Put it in, and that's the end of the conversation," she suggests. (Maybe I'm passive-aggressive. This is the method I like to use.)

Behar also delivered the most impractical, but the most fun, suggestion when she said she liked going out with a fabulously wealthy friend. Because she knows that friend usually insists on ordering $300 bottles of wine for himself, he also insists on picking up the tab so no one else bears the brunt of his fine tastes. Ergo, a free dinner.

Whoopi Goldberg -- the panel moderator who so often bites her tongue or errs on the side of diplomacy when discussions get hot -- was, as ever, rigorous with personal boundaries. For her, the answer was having everyone at the table put $20 in a pot at the start of the meal so that everyone sticks to the budget. "If we still can't afford the check, there's a problem."

Of all the ladies, only the pregnant Elisabeth Hasselbeck kept quiet about suggestions. There's always one person at every table who tries to lay low when the subject of the check comes up.

She's not fooling anyone. Everyone knows she's eating for two.
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