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Who pays

(597 Posts)
Courtney555 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:33:50

If you were significantly better off than a really good friend, and it made no difference to you, whilst they were on a tight budget, would you always pay for coffees, (non extravagant) lunches etc.

I was going to put circumstances, then realised they were irrelevant as we are both nice, decent people, just one of us is really financially comfortable, and the other, for very genuine reasons, has very little money.

I love going out with her and our DC, we deliberately don't pick places with high entry fees (we both have children), but for example, if we go to the park, I'll buy everyone an ice-cream. If we meet for a Starbucks, I'll get the bill.

It's just kind of every time. And it's bugging me a little. She's not being entitled or a CF who could afford to pick up the whole bill herself. £20 I don't notice on a round of coffee and cake, is a tangible part of her weekly disposable income. I think there's an element that she knows it's negligible to me, so feels quite comfortable about it. And I don't begrudge it, I love her to bits, but when it's every time, I just think, once a month, she could say, "let's split it."

It's never anything over say £30, and I'd hate the thought of saying "shall we go halves" and her to feel obliged, then that was the money for her and DC dinner.

She's not a freeloader, truly, she's not. If it sounds like she is, it's my error in how I've worded this. I'm arguing internally, that, "£20/30 doesn't affect me, so what's the problem"...."but then 5 times a month, that's up to £150, which is a lot for her to be ok with accepting as treats"...."but the spend over a month doesn't affect me, so what's the problem"

So, AIBU. If we have a great time, as do our DC, and it's of immaterial consequence for me to pick up the tab for sundries, and very material for her, do I just keep doing it?

Or, just because it's immaterial, doesn't mean it's ok to keep doing it? Or more to the point, because it's a very material amount to her, should she be ok with accepting it on every occasion.

Myself and a family member have very different views here, would like to see general consensus.

(Quick clause, before this runs off on a stealth boast tangent, I hope people have the clarity to see this is not about being "significantly richer than yow" grin )

OP’s posts: |
contrmary Mon 29-Jun-20 11:37:17

If you think £150 a month is worth the cost of spending time with her, continue. Otherwise mention it and expect a reduction in cost to you (both her paying half, and the fact she'll probably want less contact anyway).

sleepyhead Mon 29-Jun-20 11:38:09

Well, I couldn't do it - I'd need to say it's my turn to pay and I'd feel really uncomfortable if you said no, but the flip side is that I'd stop going out with you so much because I'd not really be able to afford it.

It's a tricky one. I'd never be able to just let you pay, even if you insisted, because at the back of my mind I'd be assuming that you resented it - as you obviously do. The friendship would suffer.

Just stop offering if it bothers you, and maybe try to have trips out where you bring a picnic rather than spending money all the time?

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 29-Jun-20 11:38:21

I’d probably pick the bill up 2/3 times- it’s not your job to continually facilitate her days out.
Also I’m always wary of friends with no money, then suddenly they have booked 3 holidays and financed a new car, - just my experience.

ErickBroch Mon 29-Jun-20 11:41:17

If you need to cut back for any reason (including you just wanting to!) then just order and pay separately? If you go to a coffee shop you normally order at the till then sit down, just order your own - don't offer. I get it's harder if you're at a sit-down meal and she now is used to it.

DDIJ Mon 29-Jun-20 11:44:13

Do you have to always meet for coffees and lunches? Could you go for a walk or something?

TheFoz Mon 29-Jun-20 11:44:17

I’ve been the friend on the very tight budget and it meant I just didn’t go places so lost friendships.

If she’s a friend worth keeping then carry on paying if you can. And maybe do something that costs very little some of the times you go out.

Flynn999 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:45:16

Personally it would annoy me if she’s never offering to cover her half. I wouldn’t mind as a one off, or if I had invited her for coffee and she’s said oh I’m skint, but then said I’ll pay etc. But it would annoy me if she expected I’m paying.

I had similar with a friend. Both on similar incomes, no kids at the time, we would meet for food/shopping etc, she would turn up with £10 for food and drink, we would normally go for food somewhere with a cheaper lunchtime menu, so pizza express, tgi’s etc, she would order her meal and add an upgrade option so she then didn’t have enough for a drink, she would then say ‘oh Flynn can you get me a drink (granted it’s £3-4 so not expensive’) but this would happen pretty much every time we went out. Really started to piss me off, that it was almost the norm for me to pay for her extras. Needless to say I barely have much to do with her.

Courtney555 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:45:24

She never suddenly books a holiday or finances a new car. She drives a banger and I can't remember her ever having a holiday now you mention it.

I do think I resent it though. And I can't work out why. It doesn't cause me a problem, I love her and her DC. Why is it bugging me?

I think in a way, if I saw £20 as material enough that I couldn't spend it on sundries, I wouldn't be comfortable to allow someone else to spend it on me repeatedly. I honestly don't mind the, say, £150. I would feel infinitely happier if I picked up £140, and once every now and again she'd chip in a tenner. Does that make sense? It's the gesture/acknowledgement, not the amount.

OP’s posts: |
Immigrantsong Mon 29-Jun-20 11:46:12

OP you have inadvertently set a precedent and this needs to be broken.

I don't find it healthy at all to accept this as the norm and would have a chat.

A friendship like most relationships can be damaged when money is involved as you are finding out now. It's the inequality.

Please talk and say you each need to pay for your own bills. Your friend is taking advantage albeit unconsciously.

Andwoooshtheyweregone Mon 29-Jun-20 11:47:22

Just go to free places like the park and bring your own coffee in a take away mug or only offer to pay once every two weeks £20 here and there is fine but £150 a month is a bit steep!

MiddleClassProblem Mon 29-Jun-20 11:48:09

Is it £150 to cover half or £150 to cover all of you and £75 to cover half?

If I were her I would feel guilty. I went through a broke period and SIL would insist on paying for lunch and I would just feel bad.

Maybe it started out by feeling like you just offering to treat everyone and now it just feels like a thing you do?

It’s such an awkward thing to bring up but I’m surprised she hasn’t offered anything. I think a round of ice creams is different to lunch etc too. Are any of the lunches where they bring over the bill or are they in cafes where you pay at the counter?

JudgeRindersMinder Mon 29-Jun-20 11:48:14

Would you test her? Cancel one plan saying you’ve had an unexpected bill and are hard up this month, and see how she reacts, this might give you more of an idea how you really feel.

Bluebird3456 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:48:22

It depends if you're happy with it or not - you've written this so it sounds like you're not. Maybe just tell her that you need to cut back on this kind of spending and so you can't be picking up full bills for everything any more. Say it in a nice way but be matter of fact. Then start suggesting cheap/free things to do rather than ones that cost a lot - picnic in the park, coffee in the back garden, National Trust visits, playing games with the kids etc.

user1493413286 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:50:40

I find it odd that she’s not offering; my sister earns double what I do and she will often pick up the bill but I always always offer and go along to things expecting to pay. I think that there’s a danger that it’ll damage your friendship as the resentment is already starting to build and I would agree that just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should.
I would suggest to her next time you go for coffee that she go up and get hers while you grab a table and then you’ll go and get yours or something like that. I’m not sure how you’d talk to her about it directly without embarrassing her and if she’s not an actual CF then you don’t want to do that.

Hillarious Mon 29-Jun-20 11:50:48

Stop going to places or doing activities that involve these kind of treats? I certainly, when my children were younger, did not buy ice creams every time we were out, I seldom went out to cafes with them, so whilst you might think it would be good if she agreed to split the bill, it's possible she wouldn't have been in that cafe or buying those ice creams were she not with you.

We have a friend who earns a lot and who flew in from overseas to take my husband and two sons to a Premiership game along with his daughter. Were he to do that again, we wouldn't be in a position financially even to split the bill. It's not the kind of thing we would normally do, but it brings enjoyment to our friend to be this generous with the copious amounts of cash he earns. Think about the enjoyment you get get from your friend's company. Perhaps next time suggest a bring and share picnic?

Marylou2 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:50:57

I think I'd feel uncomfortable with this if I were in either position. Currently I'd be in your position as I have a highish disposable income but I think after 2 or 3 times of someone not acknowledging that I always paid or volunteering to do a free activity I'd be seeing them as a freeloader. Also if I was in your friends position I'd have to say something I couldn't just let someone else pay. It's embarrassing.

Courtney555 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:51:40

@TheFoz this is my issue, if I don't, it will restrict our relationship.

We do pick "free" places. Parks. Walks in the woods. Playgrounds. But you know how it is, there's a car park that's a fiver. Then it's really hot so everyone has a lolly...

OP’s posts: |
acquiescence Mon 29-Jun-20 11:52:35

With my mum friends we tend to do things that are free. Picnics in the park, coffee at each other’s houses (or gardens currently).

That’s kind to pay for your friend but it shifts the balance in the friendship and I would think it’s best avoided, apart from on a rare occasion. She may feel quite awkward about it too. It does sound like a well established routine that’s tricky to break. Were there times in the past when she offered and you said you would pay?

I offer to pay for friends occasionally, as a one off. For example, when someone is at the end of maternity leave or has just had a big car bill etc.

RedskyAtnight Mon 29-Jun-20 11:52:35

If I go out with friends we always pay separately. So if she wanted to buy her children an ice cream, that would be up to her (and I might not buy mine one).
I wouldn't suggest going anywhere that involved money (lunches, coffee shops) to a friend that I knew was hard up. But equally if it was her, I'd refuse your offer.

Ponoka7 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:53:14

If she can't afford it and you resent it, then the outings will have to stop, she can't magic money out of nowhere.

If it is a true friendship then I'd carry on. I've done it on a smaller scale. I've seen it as providing my children with the experience of having friends along.

burnoutbabe Mon 29-Jun-20 11:53:25

Who suggests meeting fir a Starbucks? If her then let her pay? If it's you then just suggest you bring coffees in mugs and go fir a walk. Bring snacks rather than have an ice cream.
It would bug me if you paying is never acknowledged and thanked.

Livpool Mon 29-Jun-20 11:54:53

I couldn't let someone ALWAYS pay. Even if all I could pay was an ice cream for everyone in the park today ha

Livpool Mon 29-Jun-20 11:55:39

No idea about "ha" at the end of my post!

Marlena1 Mon 29-Jun-20 11:57:42

I remember even when being brought to lunch with my boss, always bringing my purse and always offering. He was loaded, and never took it but it's wrong to take it for granted. Unfortunately, it's probably gone too far now, and pulling it back may cause irrepairable damage. I think aa a PP said you may need to decide if the friendship is worth it.

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