The other day a casual friend of ours took Pam and I out for lunch. She was returning the favor since we took her out last time to help her feel better after being laid off. During the lunch it came out that she is having some money troubles, we already knew she was in the middle of a divorce. She also said she has been taking cash advances on credit cards to make ends meet and she and her ex-husband also have a giant house that won’t sell in this market. Yikes! Actually what I said to myself was “Oh crap, this isn’t going to end well.”
So after giving her some loving advice and enjoying a delicious lunch, the bill came. I grabbed the bill. After all that was said during lunch I didn’t want her to use her cash advance money to pay for the lunch. I had just advised her to stop taking cash advances.
But she insisted on paying and said she had invited us to lunch and this was her treat. I eventually let her pay even though I felt bad about it. I made a split second decision to hand her the bill so she didn’t feel worse about her situation than it already was. I didn’t want her self-esteem to take another hit right then. I thought she’d reveled a lot during lunch and I’d given her a lot to think about and deal with.
What would you have done? Would you have handed over the bill or insisted in paying it yourself and told her she could not afford it?