JAN 11, 2023 AT 08:24 AM
When you are out for a date, or when you are simply out for a meal with friends, sometimes, your date, or your guy friend, might pay for you. This could be a friendly gesture. But this could also mean something else.
How can you tell if your “friend” is being friendly or something more? Here is what we think it means when a guy pays for your food, and why you should hold for him.
Why may people pay for someone’s food?
Paying for someone’s food is a gesture that could indicate a few things.
1) They are younger than you
It could be that person whose meal you are paying for is your junior. Maybe a colleague or someone younger than you when you are in school, or simply, they are a relative who is younger than you, say a niece or nephew you are spending time with. When this is the case, paying for your junior’s meal can be a sign of care, nurturance, or simply because you know they won't be able to afford it the way children do.
2) They are your friend
When you are paying for someone’s food when they are your peers, however, the meaning of this gesture gets complicated. You could be taking your friend out for a birthday dinner, and so you want to treat them to a special meal where they won’t have to spend a dime.
Or maybe you owe a friend a favor and choose to repay them in the form of food instead of cash. Whatever the reason, if you and your friend are close enough to be comfortable with paying for each other’s food, it probably means you have a good relationship with each other.
3) They can’t afford to pay for the meal
Another, less appealing reason as to why someone might pay for your meal is that they know or think you can’t afford to close the bill. This might be considered an offensive gesture, and can be used to rub someone’s lack of money in their face.
Or it could be that a friend is trying to show their kindness to you, knowing the meal you went out for is way above the range you are comfortable with paying. In this case, it entirely depends on you whether paying for your meal is a show of kindness or not.
4) They like you or you are already dating
Finally, the other main reason why someone will want to pay for your meal is when you go out on a date. Many people these days expect their date to close the bill at the end of a date, no matter if it is the first date or the hundredth date. As paying for your date’s meal is nearly a social rule now, it might even be considered rude if your date asks for you two to split the bill.
Although splitting the bill will become more suitable the longer you have been dating, it might be considered a sign of the wrong person to date if you do so on the first few dates. Of course, some people don’t really care about such things. It entirely depends on you and your date if paying for the meal will be worth any of your attention.
What does it mean when a guy pays for your meal?
So, now that we have established the many meanings someone paying for your meal has, it’s time to delve into the question: what does it mean when a guy pays for your meal?
- He wants to make a good impression on you
As we have already established, paying for someone’s meal can be considered a social rule. And not conforming to this rule will make you seem less appealing than others who do because this single gesture has come to define what you should do when you are dating someone.
So, if your date offers to pay for your meal after you have had a lovely time together, they probably want to get on your good side and gain some extra points before the date ends.
- He is interested in you
So, if your date wants to score some extra points before your time together ends, they are probably interested in you. As they will probably know that offering to pay for your meal will be considered a sign that they are interested in you, it is very unlikely that they will offer to do so if they really don’t like you.
How well your relationship will go after this date though will depend on how well the rest of your date went. If the rest of the meal was rather awkward and silent, then it probably doesn’t mean anything if your date pays for your meal at the end of your time together.
- He is not interested in you, but doesn’t want to be rude
Your date might still pay for your meal even if they are not interested in you. As we have mentioned, paying for your date’s meal is considered a socially normal thing to do, if it is not what you should do.
So, your date might not be interested in you and does t want to take things further, but they might still want to pay for your meal out of respect. They probably don’t want to be rude and leave your not-too-enjoyable date even less enjoyable. Again, whether this is what your date meant when they paid for your meal will depend on how the rest of the date went.
- He wants to take things further
If your date went relatively well, and you had a good time and also you can tell your date have had a good time, when they offer to pay for your meal, they probably want to take things further. Not only can paying for a meal be a sign of your date being interested in you, but it can also be an invitation from them for you to both take things to the next level.
If you were only “going out” or “seeing each other” before, paying for your meal might indicate you will now have a proper relationship from then on. Again, each relationship is different, and the only way you can tell is by either talking with your date about it or guessing from their actions and expressions.
- He is being nice and wants to continue as friends
Sometimes the people you like don’t like you back. And that is okay. Sometimes even if you have had a nice evening together, had a nice meal sitting across from each other, laughed plenty throughout the night, and your date offers to pay for your meal, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested in being in a relationship with you.
As we have mentioned, friends can pay for each others’ meals without it meaning more than platonic sentiments. So, if the person you like is your friend, they can be offering to settle the bill from a friendly starting point instead of a romantic one.
If you are close enough with this friend, you will probably be able to tell if they reciprocate your feelings towards them or not. If you are not too close, chances are you don’t know enough about each other to start dating. This could mean you should work more so you two can begin a romantic relationship, or that the other person is only interested in having you as a friend.
However, if they are not interested in you romantically but still offer to pay for your meal, it probably means they want to keep being friends with you and you shouldn’t let your feelings get in the way of your blooming friendship.