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Author Topic: Offering to Pay  (Read 7028 times)

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  • MadMadge43
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Offering to Pay
« on: April 02, 2007, 02:22:45 AM »
I'm kind of interested in people's thoughts here. I'm not sure if there is a wrong or right way, but just would like to hear some opinions.

My BF and I flew home this weekend because my Aunt & Uncle were visting my mother in my hometown. We had a great time and it was wonderful to finally introduce BF to these very special people in my life.

My A&U have been visting with my mother for a week at this point, in which my mother has done all the cooking and hostessing. This morning we joined them for lunch at a really great Mexican restaurant that had an incredible mariachi show. During the show, it was quite loud, I whispered to my BF to remember to offer to pay for lunch. He whispered back, but what happens if they take me up on it? I said, well then we'll deal with it, (which really wouldn't have been a huge problem) knowing full well that my Aunt and Uncle would of course pay. They have perfect manners and are paying for all the hostessing my mother has done.

But in my family, you have to at least offer, sometimes even "fight" over the check before relenting. I think we do this, so the people paying know that we are grateful.

In his family, his parent's just simply pay for meals and no one ever offers to foot the bill.

So is it wrong to do the little social dance of who pays or should we just assume the ones that should pay do? (not saying his parent's should always foot the bill, but they do the inviting to expensive restaurants, so it's just assumed.)


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 02:40:53 AM »
If it was pretty clear that it was their treat, I dont know if the whole "dance" is really necessary. Also, I don't think its very wise to offer to pay unless you are completely willing to have the others take you up on your offer. 

I know what you mean though, I have a friend who often likes to pay for things. For example the other day at the movies he randomally said "I'll pay for the tickets" and I just said "are you sure?" and left it at that, although I made sure to pay for the popcorn and pop. But if he made it clear he wanted to pay for dinner, I don't think I'd bother with the offering to pay - especially if the offer wasn't sincere. I'd hate to have someone suddenly take me up on the offer when I didn't really mean it!


  • MadMadge43
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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2007, 03:02:05 AM »
If it was pretty clear that it was their treat, I dont know if the whole "dance" is really necessary.

I think this is where the problem lies. It was never stated nor even mentioned that it was their treat. But since they have been hosted in a comfortable manner since they arrived, and we flew especially to see them, that, at least in our family, of course they would pay.

Also, in our family as well as his, the senior members usually pay, because they're in the position to do so. We could, and probably wouldn't have even been bothered by it, but an extra $100 would have been a blip, instead of not even showing up on the radar. (I do think there are exceptions for senior members that this would be an imposition and if this was the case, we would never let them do so).

My mother also offered to pay, so my BF not doing so would have seemed like a major breech in our family's etiquette.


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2007, 10:18:17 AM »
My family is like yours.  My dad will always end up paying, and would never say anything about someone not offering, but certainly I would notice. 

In fact one of the biggest little things I adore & appreciate about my current boyfriend is that he does engage in the dance (and actually would of course sincerely pay if his offer was ever accepted). 
I've had previous boyfriends who would just sit there & accept the free meal with nothing more than a vague "thank you" at the end.  I don't know if the dance is necessary or even correct, but I know I enjoy it whether out with friends or family, because it does to me pervey a certain level of grateful.


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2007, 11:48:32 AM »
I also always have the fight with my parents over who is going to pay. They always end up paying, but I would feel weird just assuming they would every time. I do notice if we're out with my step-sisters and their families they NEVER offer to pay or put in any money for dinner. They just figure my parents will pick up the tab, which really bothers me. Since it's also our tradition, I kind of like the dance, it at least gives the appearance you're trying not to take advantage of someone and are being polite.

My BF and I are travelling this week, and will be stopping on the way to have breakfast with my mother. They're already "fighting" with each other over who is going to pay!! :)


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2007, 12:01:57 PM »
I kind of like the dance, at least with our families.  My parents always try to pay (and usually win), but that doesn't stop DH, my brother, or me from a putting up a little "fight", and ending with "you're impossible" (mom's response is always a laughing "It's my right, I'm older than you" and "thank you". 

DH's parents are similar, but although all of their kids are married, DH and one brother are the  only ones who offer to treat.  Even though the other siblings are present.  Honestly, it does make me think a little less of them for not even offering (especially in light of all of the money/gifts their parents have given them).


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2007, 12:13:48 PM »
I know what you mean, though it's differs by family. 

In my family it's considered quite rude (uppity, presumptious, etc etc) for the younger sets to offer for the older ones.  This goes for my parents when they're out with my grandparents, too.

It doesn't apply with most of my extended relatives, and it's a different ballgame with my in-laws, of course.  But that's just how it is in my family. 


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2007, 12:18:27 PM »
I replied earlier that I like hte 'dance' but I just remembered something... Any Sopranos fans?  Tony Soprano took his college age daughter and her fience (possibly boyfriend, whatever) out to eat and the finance slipped off to the mens room and paid.  he was trying to repay the generousity Tony had bestowed upon him, was trying to be respectful, etc.  Tony flipped out.  For him it was a sign of him providing for his family, etc and was highly offended a 'kid' would pay.  Obviously this was a fictional TV show, but I can imagine certain people I know in real life having that reaction...


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2007, 12:24:17 PM »
My family does this dance as well, but everybody has full-on intentions of WANTING to take a turn to pay for a meal.  I am very proud of my stability (financial) and I love to treat my family.  My mother's BF feels he has to pay for everything, and the last thing I would do is assume he will be paying when we go out. 


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2007, 12:27:33 PM »
I had to do this dance when a cousin of mine and I wanted to treat our aunt (his aunt, my great-aunt) to dinner.

She insisted on paying at the end, even though we both declared it was our treat, and acted really offended that we didn't want to "let" her pay for everything.

I think that the person who offers to treat should be the one paying, and that the guest should respect that.  Otherwise, if the guest is expected to pay (in which case the person extending the invitation is not really a "host"), that needs to be made clear in advance.
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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2007, 12:35:46 PM »
let me offer this from the perspective of an aunt and a mother of adult children

both me and my husband and my brother and his wife are wealthy (certainly for many years compared to our children, although my son now makes as much as I do)

it was a very important moment in family history for each of us when each child stepped up and hosted something -- it doesn't matter how much you make, there comes a time when you are a grown up and need to step up and pay --

BUT this need not be taking on a bill at an expensive meal someone else has planned -- the hosting moments should be when you initiate a meal (and select something you can afford e.g. my daughter as a student took me to the Eastern Market in DC for lunch -- good food and modest price) -- and sometimes it means just buying stuff and cooking in--- for a young student, even just taking the rents out for coffee and paying makes a big impression

for unhosted meals, e.g. on a visit home where people go out for brunch or whatever -- initiate at least one of those -- or insist on paying the bill occasionally

it is not enough to offer -- ultimately you have to be a grownup -- so if you have a parent who never lets you play the adult role in this, then do the inviting and arrange with the restaurant staff to pay up front (i.e. give them the credit card so they just bring you the bill slip to check and add tip or whatever)  that way 'oh I took care of it' is all you need to say


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2007, 01:29:36 PM »
The one time the who-is-going-to-pay dance bothers me is when my father and his girlfriend do it, they live together and it is sort of academic which one of them pays. Also, they go on and on about it, my understanding was that you offer to pay and even protest a little but then you drop it.

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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2007, 01:37:27 PM »

I hate any social dances.  I guess because I can never figure out when someone actually means what they say.  I found it interesting that someone appreciated that her boyfriend did the dance with her father.  That exact thing would annoy me.  If Fh wanted to pay, I would drop a word in mom's ear, who would mention something to dad, who would then give up the bill. 


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2007, 04:23:34 PM »
I just had to throw in my funny story about "the dance".

Many years ago, when DH and I were still dating, I took him to Meet My Parents, who lived about four hours away, for the weekend.  The first day I had an event to attend with my mom, so my dad and DH-then-boyfriend went and did some guy stuff together.  On the way back they stopped for lunch. 

When the check came, boyfriend grabbed it.

Dad protested: "Let me get it, please".

Boyfriend says: "Please let me pay.  You've covered everything else this morning".

Dad: "But you're young and poor!"

Boyfriend: "Well, you're old and slow".

Boyfriend got the check.  Fourteen years later, he and my dad are as close as ever.


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Re: Offering to Pay
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2007, 06:15:45 PM »
i think it's always polite to offer.  my folks always pay when we go out to eat with them - but my hubby (or me if i'm without him) would feel very awkward always just assuming that they're going to pay. 

i think each family dynamic is different though - but may be something your BF needs to do when with your family