My friend wants to pay expenses
I am married, age 70, retired. My friend is a widow, but has more disposable income than we do. She has few friends, was accustomed to her husband taking care of her, and timid about doing things or traveling on her own. She is grateful for my friendship and having a companion to shop with, etc. Sometimes my husband and I have included her when we go to dinner, etc. The problem is that, because she wants to do with me or us and knows we have budget limitations, she offers to pay for tickets or grabs the check. Fine with me, occasionally, but it's gotten to the point I have to insist....and then I feel like why am I the bad guy, the petty one her? I try to say things like, you paid last time or two, I 'll get it this time. Even when she accepts that, it's the same issue next time. My husband says I should be gracious and let her pay. And I have backed off and left it alone, but how many times do you let her get the check without saying let me this time? It is really bothering me. And my husband and I have had words over it because he makes out like I am the one wrong.
Let her pay the bills if she insists. Pay her back with a special gift or two as your budget can afford..in this way your thoughts of her and your actions come to the fore. You have already proved that you are a fair and thoughtful person by insisting that you pay in turn, but if she needs to demonstrate her respect and gratefulness to you and your husband for your kindness and companionship, then be gracious as your husband suggested.
Thanks for your thoughts. Since you agree with my husband, that carries weight. Would appreciate hearing additional comments.
This reminds me of the interactions my grandmother and my parents would have frequently during my childhood over money. My grandmother would say to my parents, "You take that money, I don't need it!", and my parents would be like, "No, you keep that money it's no good here, you need it more than us!" And then the opposite would also happen, with my mother saying, "Mom, now you just take that money, you can get yourself something at the store with that!", and my grandmother would respond, "No! No I don't want it! You guys work hard for your money, you keep it!"
I always got a chuckle out of these interactions, because they were entirely good-natured, but it was so funny how both my grandmother and my parents got frustrated because the other party would never want to accept their offerings of some financial aid. It got even funnier when I would offer to take the money and hide it in the other's purse whenever they weren't looking, so then they would have to take the money. But you know, as angry as they got about not wanting to feel like they were taking advantage of the other's kindness, most of the time they did end up just accepting each others' offerings because they were worn out from arguing about it.
I'm convinced this is a thing that never completely goes away in life. It is hard to tell when to be gracious, when to show your appreciation, and when to each pay for your own purchases. As much as you'd like to not feel like a burden to your friend just for spending time having meals with her, it seems as though she is insistent on showing her appreciation by paying for you guys whenever she is able to. I wouldn't come to expect her to pay, but as long as she is willing to pay for you and your husband, and has the funds to do so, I would just accept her gift. There is no point in arguing over it, why let such a friendly gesture make you angry? Sometimes, you just have to accept a friendly defeat. Enjoy the meal, and if she wants to pay, forget about the check.
Good friends, good food and good company... That's priceless.