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Apr 1, 2010 03:25 PM

Friend always pays for me when I can afford it

I just went out with a friend for her birthday. I had invited her to go for her birthday. But she insisted on paying for both our meals. It was her birthday! Thank goodness I had given her two gifts. I feel bad because I saved up for this particular event, then she goes and pays. I had filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Things are better. Still tight on money, but I do it the correct way now and "budget." She has given me a lot of advice on that subject. I do the envelope system now. I plan ahead. I told her no, I want to pay. She wouldn't let me. Even to pay for my own meal and she pay for her own meal.

Should I feel bad that she paid?

Do I let it go and hopefully in the future let her know, hey, next time it is my treat?

I had the same situation when a group of us 4 girls always go for our birthdays. We had coupons. One lady had her bill and b/day girl (she told us our portion later), The girl I was with on the other coupon, she said I'll pay for you. I said no you won't. She was insisting, I told her, hey you know what, I need to feel good about myself knowing that I have finally gotten control of my finances and I can do these events without breaking the bank. I am paying for my meal and the portion to cover for the b/day girl.

But I know I also need to stop talking about my budget. I don't say that it's bad, just that I am finally following it, etc... Maybe that is why they do that.

chow friend

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  1. fwiw,
    when you are planning on paying the entire check, an easy way to make sure this happens is to tell your server or the maitre d at the beginning of the meal that the check should ONLY be presented to you, not to your dining partner.
    if you are paying with a credit card, you can slip them your card at the beginning of the meal and when the check arrives it will already have been charged to the card. (in an abundance of caution, though, i would never do this with a debit card).

    when i used to take clients out for meals, this is how i handled everything.

    1. You have some really nice friends! I think it's exactly as you say, that they hear you are struggling and just want to help. I was a graduate student for many, many years, and my sister still struggles to allow me to pay, even though I've been out of school for a number of years now. I just make it clear ahead of time that it would really mean a lot to me if she'd let me pay.

      1. Thank you both for your replies. YES, GOSH DARN IT, I should have thought of handing the debit card in advance. Next time! I will know this now. I am so glad I signed on to this site and they have this portion to ask questions on being polite, politically correct in the "eating out with friends" world. Yes, my friends are so super nice. I love them all for being there for me when I was struggling and trying to find myself again. You all have a great night!!! Happy Eating!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Christine88

          Do not ever let your debit card out of your procession for that length of time. In fact, it is far safer to use a credit card over a debit card.

          1. re: chipman

            Seconded. I think in any real friendships, everything should even out in the longterm even if it doesn't even out in the short term. It may be that one party is having financial struggles now, but 2-3 years down the road, the tables may turn and the other party may be struggling. I think it's also easy to say "it's my treat" when you go out another time and as Cachetes said, let her know how important it is to you that you can pay.

        2. On my birthday I like to pay for my friends. I celebrate all the good things that day, including those friendships, and it's really not an issue on that day of who is able to afford what.
          It's usually easier if the birthday person announces ahead of time, "it's my birthday and I'd like to celebrate with you and it will be my treat."