Is it rude to offer to pay for something? Most people don’t think so, in fact, you should never assume someone else is going to pay for it for you!
According to our survey, a clear majority of respondents do not find it rude if someone offers to pay. Give a short explanation that you will pay such as: “It has been so much fun spending time with you. I will take care of our bill.”
To find out whether people consider it rude when someone offers to pay, we surveyed 105 people in the USA.
Our survey came to the clear conclusion that 96% of respondents do not find it rude to offer to pay. So, feel free to offer to pay if you can do so without financial hardship.
Hanging out with friends is a great way to pass the time. It helps you connect with others, to have fun, and to relax. Offering to pay when you go to the movies with a friend or out to dinner can be a great way to show them the relationship matters.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, even a cup of coffee while you catch up now and then is something you can purchase for them.
When you extend an invite, offer to pay at that time.
It could make a difference if they accept the invite or not. It also prevents any miscommunication about who will pay when you do get together.
You can also offer to pay spontaneously though such as when you go out for ice cream.
What to Say:
“Want to meet for coffee and dessert on Friday? It is my treat, and I can’t wait to catch up with you!”
“Let’s go have lunch together, I am paying. Where would you like to go?”
“The new comedy movie has my favorite actor in it! I already bought two tickets; would you like to see it with me?”
“Thank you for buying tickets to the play. I really enjoyed it; can I buy us dinner before we go to the play?”
Going out with family is a great way to stay connected and to bond with them. It gives you a chance to celebrate birthdays, holidays, milestones, and various accomplishments.
Don’t be shy to offer to pay when such celebrations take place!
What to Say:
“I am so proud of you for earning your nursing degree. I know you have worked hard and studied around the clock to do so! Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate and I would like to pay for it in your honor.”
“Congratulations on your promotion! Let’s go out to celebrate and I am going to pay for it. Order anything you like including dessert!”
“Waitress, when you get a moment can you bring us our bill? I will be paying and tipping for it this evening.”
“Retirement is exciting! Think about all of the free time you will have for your hobbies and to travel! Drinks on me tonight to celebrate after work!“
“Thank you all for coming to help me celebrate my birthday! The years add up fast, but I am thankful to be in good health. I plan to pay for food and drinks tonight for all who came out to help me celebrate.”
Dating can be expensive if you pay all the time, but it can be nice when the other person offers to do so! It isn’t rude to offer to pay when you go on a date!
As a general rule of thumb, the person who asked the other out should pay but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer to do so either!
The man isn’t always supposed to pay either. It is refreshing when both people are willing to pay for a night out, especially if the dates continue to take place.
What to Say:
“I really enjoy spending time with you, and love eating here! Thank you for inviting me, but I would like to pay this time for us.”
“I had a great time tonight; would you be interested in going to a baseball game this weekend? My treat since you paid for everything tonight.”
“I am excited about our date tomorrow night, but do you mind if I pay for it? The restaurant is expensive, and I don’t feel comfortable with you paying for me yet again at a place like that.”
“It is thoughtful of you to pay for our dates, but I want to do so this time. I know the cost adds up and I want us to be able to continue going out and having fun!”
“Can I pick up the bill tonight? I would like to do so.”
Eating and entertainment are often part of business deals. Generally, the host is the one that pays for the food and the activities. However, this doesn’t mean those in attendance should expect it or take advantage of it.
Offering to pay shows them you aren’t just coming along for the freebies.
It shows you are really interested in a possible business deal with them.
What to Say:
“I am up for dinner tonight to discuss our options, but please allow me to pick up the tab. You have been very generous during my stay here. Let me return the hospitality tonight.”
“Let’s go over the proposal tonight and have drinks. I will take care of paying for it, and they offer food too. I know the hotel you are staying at has limited options.”
“Would you like to go to a football game tomorrow night with part of the team? I have tickets covered through our business. I would love for you and your spouse to join us!”
When they Refuse your Offer
There will be times when you offer to pay, and they refuse to let you. They don’t see you as being rude, but they don’t want you to cover the expense. If that is the case, be gracious and thank them for what they paid for.
Do your best to return the hospitality too at a later date.
You can do this by extending an invite to them and making it clear in advance you will be the one paying for it then!
What to Say:
“Thank you for paying, it is very nice of you and I appreciate it!”
“Thank you again, and next time I am paying, no discussion about it!”
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.