#110 Woman wants to pay for dinner / Results reveal intention different than wants
DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 20s and have a friend, “Logan,” who is in his early 30s. We go out to dinner every so often to catch up. When the server asks how the check should be split, Logan quickly says to put it all on one check - and before I know it, he has already paid for both of our meals.
I have told him before that I’d like to pay for some of our meals or, at least, be allowed to pay for my own—but his response is always that I’m young and in college and he is working.
I appreciate the gesture and his concern, but I feel a little insulted that someone would think I’m unable to take care of myself. It also makes me feel a little guilty when he always grabs the check. Is there something I can do to assuage my conscience without insulting my friend? - YOUNG, BUT NOT PENNILESS, CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO
DEAR NOT PENNILESS: Before you go out with Logan again, explain that while you appreciate his generosity, you would prefer that he allow you to pick up the check for two reasons: one, because you are financially able to do so, and two, because the situation is making you uncomfortable.
Alternatively when you and Logan are seated, rather than waiting for the server to ask how the check should be divided, instruct the server that the
check is to be given to you. —Abby
Hi Young But: Many readers are wincing at your feigned ignorance and for being stuck in victim. You have some understanding of the problems inherent in sexism but not enough to know better.
You letter reveals that you have yet to have one of thousands of conversations* with your parents, during which all this is communicated (when something is communicated it is gotten (it is known) as opposed to understood). What’s interesting is that once you’ve engaged in these fundamental conversations you won’t be accidentally unconsciously attracting/socially relating with men addicted to helping/enabling women. Notice that he intuitively knows that you can’t be trusted to say what’s on your mind. Respect is missing. You wear your fear on your face, to men it’s an aura thing. An actualized woman would tell him, verbally (not nonverbally as you do) “I feel a little insulted.” Unless you identify the interaction, the childhood conversation, that set in the fear, you’ll be withholding relationship-destroying thoughts from your life-partner. Actually it would be easier for him to get if you shared, “I’m uncomfortable,” as an experience as opposed to an arguable/deniable concept, that probably would evoke denial, “I didn’t mean to insult you.” or, "If I insulted you I'm sorry." The word if is a covert denial, a sneaky make-wrong.
Re: “…someone would think I’m unable to take care of myself.” In this case that someone (regarding this issue) would be correct. Most would agree that a woman who could take care of herself wouldn’t let him manipulate her.
You’ve also revealed a misunderstanding about responsibility, such that you’ve told your story from victim instead of from cause. An actualized women knows what’s right and fair and as such automatically causes a balance of expenditures. She knows from childhood experiences of having run all the cons and now operates from choice.
You’re lucky to be catching this behavior now, many ex wives now regret their teenage con of setting it up for the boy to pay. The anger (compounded with each instance) it creates in men is awesome; during a divorce a man doesn’t know why he is driven to unfairly punish, to exact payment. An actualized boy, one who has a complete relationship with his parents, intuitively knows who to ask out—girls who get good grades, are involved in several school activities, and who perhaps have a part-time job. Boys who are not self assured are attracted to girls from a different (seemingly lower) economic/social group because they simply don’t know how to get into communication with an actualized girl, a social peer. In truth they know that none would go out with him because he’s too controlling and invariably dragging around too much anger. It‘s a matter of control—paying for the first, and subsequent dates creates possible debt (favors owed).
You’re running some unconscious lies that are not becoming; “and before I know it,….” Can you now feel some readers grimacing? And, “I appreciate the gesture.” I don’t get this. I don’t see it as a gesture, unless you experience it to represent something else (a debt being repaid, or a down payment, for something of greater value). It’s a gift. A gift calls for a sincere appreciative acknowledgment, a "Thank you!" I don’t get that you’ve paid an equal amount of money on boys and men throughout your life for there to be comprehension of it’s worth. Many reading this are drawn to suspect that there’s more to his generosity. Your task it remove all doubt from everyone’s mind; a balance of moneys spent by you both helps. BTW: It is possible to receive "gifts" from someone well off financially, but an exchange of equal value must be arranged by the recipient and verbally agreed upon. If the giver won't let you take them on a picnic then you're hanging around an enabler; in this case, it would be the giver who can't get a date with a social peer and so they opt for someone they can impress and control.
Re: “I have told him.” What you’ve been taught by parents and teachers is how to talk. Now’s the time to start studying communication. When something is communicated it’s gotten. There’s no misunderstanding. There’s no doubt that no means no. Telling him and not intending it is a con. Wanting something is different than intending it. Partners who are in communication with each other acknowledge through-to-mutual-satisfaction any communication they experience as unconscious condescension or invalidation. His you're "young..." retort is both condescending and an invalidation of your experience. Not meaning what you say is a lie. Even unconscious lies have consequences.
Your question, “Is there something I can do to assuage my conscience,...?” is quite revealing. No matter what your mind might now think you meant, it communicates that you’d like to find a way to continue to have him pay your way, and, to feel good about it. My communication is in support of you committing yourself to communication mastery, of identifying the childhood incidents (referred to as incompletes), that set in the fear. There is a way of communicating, a communication model, that supports transformation, so that you are healthfully and appropriately assertive and attract mature men. To feel good, to restore your experience of integrity, it would work for you to share this reply with him and acknowledge your unconscious con.
Great letter. Many will see themselves. Aloha, Gabby
* It’s possible to have these conversations with a communication coach. The coach will support you in completing your relationship with your parents (this means either verbally cleaning up the incompletes with each or recessing them from your life until they get therapy).