S – Six cards is the absolute goddamn limit if you want individual specialized bills- and even that is pushing it. If you and your friends are splitting things evenly, there’s a little wiggle room (depending on the coffee shop you are in), but this is basically the breaking point. If you go over, you better be dropping at least 20% on the gratuity line.
P – Plan ahead, and order accordingly — for everyone’s sake of mind. Make sure the conversation isn’t kept to a scramble at the end. Have a game plan. If you want individual checks, tell the server first. Before you order four Bloomin’ Onions, make sure your mates know you are going communal, and are cool with it.
L – Logic. This is important. If you know your friend Betty just had her working hours reduced to part-time and is hard up on cash, don’t be pissed if she wants her own check. And no two situations are the same: If you are in a tiny but packed mom-and-pop with one server, try to put it all on one card. These situations are subjective, and you need to treat them as such. Common sense is the best way to assuage any problems. In life, and in checks. This is the golden rule of check-splitting.