The rules and roles of who pays for what in our everyday relationships seem to be ever-changing. We often feel obligated to reach for our wallets when we know that we have enough money to help split the bill, or even take care of it completely.
But like most things in life, there are always exceptions. Here are 4 times it's okay to accept that you aren't expected to pay.
SEE ALSO: 15 costs you shouldn't accept without putting up a fight
1. When you're out with your parents.
This one is usually your safest bet, for obvious reasons.
Job roles and salaries are way different than they were in your parents' day in age, which may mean that you're making more money that your parents did at your age, or even more than they're making (or have saved) now. Naturally, you'll feel as if it's your responsibility to pick up the bill.
But a situation like this is one in which it's okay to let yourself feel a little spoiled and to have your parents tend to you like they did when you were younger. They'll still respect you as an independent and an adult, but that doesn't mean they don't still want to take care of you, especially as you grow older. Let them!
2. When you're out with someone else's family.
This is one of those situations that often results in an awkward pull and tug at the end of your meal. It usually ends up with you insisting that you'll help split the bill, then the other person's parents insisting that they should pay, and then it ends up resulting in you giving in and not paying the bill anyway.
Yes, it's always gracious and respectful to offer to pick up the tab, especially when someone else's family is kindly taking you out. However, there's something to be said about the graciousness of kindly saying, "Thank you so much," and accepting the meal as being paid for. It's quite respectable and avoids the awkwardness and the wasted time. Plus, you're still able to show your sincere gratitude.
3. Your birthday
This one can get tricky and can be somewhat situational. If your friends or family (or both!) have planned a birthday dinner for you or are taking you out for your birthday (even if you picked the place and time that worked best for you), they really mean that they're treating you.
Naturally, things get more complicated depending on how involved you are in the planning—making the reservation, inviting the people that you want, planning what everyone will do after, etc. And it can get even more complicated if you're choosing somewhere that might not be affordable for the rest of your guests' budgets.
However, the general rule of thumb for this one is that unless you've planned every last detail of your dinner, it's safe to assume that when your friends or family or whomever are taking you out for your birthday, you won't be picking up the tab. And often times, even if you did plan it yourself, your people will pick it up for you anyway.
4. You're being taken out as a client
Whether you're going for a meal or a drink with someone you've worked with before extensively, or it's a new business relationship that you've either begun or are deciding whether or not to begin, the purpose of these dinners is usually to impress one party: you.
The desired end result of a client/potential client dinner is a mutually beneficial relationship. That being said, if someone is trying to win you over, a great way to do it is by wining and dining you.
Let yourself take it all in--and if nothing else works out, you get to enjoy a nice meal.
Of course there are exceptions, but in a general sense, if you're being taken out by someone to a meal which they invited you to or it's a special occasion in which you're the main focus, it's okay to not reach for your wallet when the bill is set down on the table.
You deserve it—it's okay to let yourself be taken care of every once in a while!
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