Every relation between two people is like eating at a restaurant and then figuring out who pays. You can split, or one of you can pay but it's hard to decide who does. In a good, smart and mature relationship, both the people have the ability to pay and both the people always offer to pay the full amount. They both have a sense of duty towards the relationship and offer their best. There is a hidden expectation that if one pays today, the other one will even it out in another meal or another day - but they will and that they never restrict themselves.

The problem arises when one of the people decides to become stingy and makes the other one pay. He could directly say 'Oops I don't have enough money. Please help me out here' and this is acceptable if it happens once, or twice or thrice - but if the demand presents itself more often than expected the other person gradually start feeling abused and cheated and taken for granted. You will not want to eat with such a person and you'll want to find other people to eat with.

The problem is even more vicious if the stingy person decides to be dishonest about it, and pretends to look for money in his wallet, or lies about forgetting to bring it. Thanks to our gift of subconscious communication, our gut always tells us when we're being wronged - especially if the situation repeats itself. In that case, the victim of the injustice is even more repelled and puts his guard up and starts restricting their offer to pay eventually.

Now the currency in which you pay could be money, or it could be emotional support, or it could be effort you put to comfort the other person, or it could be blind trust you give. If you're always the pillar in which the other person is standing, and you never have that chance to be supported when you're weak, you'll feel misused. If you're always the one putting in more effort to make the other person happy, but that's not being reciprocated you won't feel it justified. If you pay a lot of trust and don't get the same amount of trust back, you're bound to want to restrict yourself sooner or later.

Ultimately, every relation is give and take. So you should be very open to paying every time when you have the cash, and somewhere you expect the other person to at least offer every time because you don't know when your wallet might be empty and you'll need their help. But continue mooching off the other person, and you'll incite a sense of resentment in the most large-hearted creature.

Sometimes we eat with a person who's not as well off as us and really can't afford that kind of a meal. In such a case, you'll probably sponsor their meal a few times because you're a nice person, but it's nothing you'll look forward too. We're programmed to look forward to a meal where the money will eventually balance itself out.

So next time you're with someone, pay. Or at the very least - offer, genuinely.

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