Who should pay for dinner?
One of my close girlfriends rung me today. She hasn't been out on a date in 5 years because she was married and now newly single, was about to embark on her first dating experience.
She asked,"I am new to this stuff, but I am going on a date tonight to a dinner and a movie and I am not sure what the protocol is with paying."
I asked, "do you like him?"
She said, "yes, he is a really great guy and I really like him".
My answer: "Don't pay."
Over the years, I have always paid the bill for the first date if I knew I definately under no circumstance would go out on a date with that person again. I didn't want to feel like I owed them and I wanted them to known loud and clear to not bother following me up.
To pay, is simple. I excuse myself earlier on in the evening to go to the restroom and as I pass the waiter I give them my credit card and ask that they ensure that the bill goes on my card. It works a treat. So at the end of the evening, the bill is already cleared and there is no illusion as to what the future may hold.
Now, if I like someone, I have only just realised, that under no circumstance am I to pay the bill. On the first, second or third date.
You see, like my friend, I have financial means, and sometimes it attracts the wrong thinking from men. Sometimes men are more excited about going out with my perceived bank balance than me. Not necessarily because they don't have their own money, but due to the fact they probably haven't gone out with a woman before that either has a job, or that has any cash of any description other than a hefty credit card bill. They get so excited that they not only sprout to me, but also to their friends how great it is to go out with me because they don't have to pay for anything.
That is where the mistake lies. If a woman pays for dates, travel etc., then often a man, particularly if they are in their 40's and 50's who have been dating 20 year olds, don't necessarily feel the same about you. It's almost like they need to pay to see value. They may like you, and they don't necessarily like the 20 year olds any better, but the reality is that they take you for granted.
A great example: I went out with someone last year who bragged to everyone he could about going out with someone who he deemed was successful and then he became the biggest tight arse I have ever dated in my life. Was he like that with others? No, he had only gone out with unsuccessful women who mainly didn't have a job or who were waitresses or secretaries (not that there is anything wrong with these jobs and by way of successful, I mean a plain monetary evaluation). He paid for everything for them. Now he is on the hunt (and that is the right word for it) for a woman with money. BTW he is not doing too bad financially himself, its just for his own self-worth, he wants to be a "power couple" with someone and he needs the confirmation from everyone else that he has done well. I am sure there are other issues, but ultimately, I layed down the foundation to set myself up for this situation by being generous.
One of my favourite sayings is that if you want to grab from the top shelf, you have to stretch yourself a little, look a little higher, get your balance and be careful when you bring it down. If you want to grab from the bottom shelf or at eye level, than it's much easier. Not too much effort is required. The decision is all yours.
Another story of a girlfriend who has been seeing this guy for some months and she is overly generous and he has his own money too. She cannot help herself but pay for everything and now he expects it. In fact, the bill comes over and he thinks nothing of walking away. He is a really great guy and fun to be around BUT... seriously, has the wrong precedent been set?
A survey revealed that the good-looking women were less likely to want to contribute towards costs.
Researcher Michael Stirrat said: ‘They quite literally bring more to the table, so they expect the other person to pick up the tab or expect to pay for the bill.’
Things, however, may change, if the man wants to impress.
The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, showed that a man is more willing to pay for a good-looking woman.
Dr Stirrat said: ‘When a man offers to pay for the meal he is to some extent saying “I’m interested, I’d like a second date, I’d like to see you again”.’
It's not too indifferent to when you were a child. Remember how much you appreciated anything that you had to save your pocket money for? Compare that to going into a lolly or toy shop and buying whatever you want, whenever you want.
Business is the same. By paying for someone's services you appreciate it more. You value their time and effort. When you are not paying for it or you choose to give away your services for free, people take it for granted and don't place the same value on it.
So next time you consider giving free services to clients and friends, think again. Is there really any value in doing that and will they appreciate it?