By Dan Teano
“Can I buy you a drink?” sounds a lot better than “I’m going to buy you a drink.” Sorry, T-Pain.
Today, whether or not a guy should buy a girl a drink at the bar is hardly disputed. I’ve asked several guys this question, and the majority of them have said “No. You absolutely should not buy a girl a drink.” You might be wondering what the commotion is all about—after all, it’s just an extra five dollars—but for those against buying a girl a drink, the issue runs deeper than their shallow pockets.
People who say “no” argue that buying a girl a drink, or even offering her one, is a form of supplication. In other words, guys in this cohort believe that intimate, sexual relationships involve two parties: a high-value person and a chaser. Thus, if a guy buys a girl a drink, the chase is over; he’s given himself up too early. When the girl’s desire to chase is prematurely satisfied, the guy’s value and attractiveness diminishes. Apparently, people only like what they can’t have.
But is this how relationships work? Do people stop “chasing” once they’ve been given their “treat?” Should intimate, human interactions even be measured in terms of power—where people only get laid when someone “wins” and the other one “loses?”
A problem we have with talking to someone we’re attracted to is that we believe there’s a secret guidebook on how to do it properly. Sorry, Barney. But what if conversations, especially flirtatious ones, are not something you “do,” but something you share? From personal experience, when you approach someone with the mindset of “how do I get them to like me,” or “how do I make myself like them,” your ego creates emotional distance and you sabotage your chances of winning your own game.
In buying someone a drink, you’re not “winning” or “losing.” Instead, you’re extending, sharing, and enjoying a verbal and emotional experience with someone who’s equally intrigued by you. However, if you only intend to get the other person drunk so you can escalate physically without their full discretion, then you can buy yourself a second drink, go home, and pleasure yourself.
So, should you buy her a drink?
The right answer depends on the degree of comfort and interest you have in the person you’re talking to. If you’re enjoying light-hearted, humorous conversation, why not get to know them a bit better over a mixed drink? If you don’t feel like extending the interaction, then politely end it and leave whenever you wish.
Most men are willing to spend money for a good time. Yet, when it comes to investing five dollars on conversation, the majority of guys refuse to do so. By saying “no,” we believe that our “unattainability” makes us a magnet to those we wish to attract, never realizing that our unwillingness to “buy more time” with someone we are interested in stems from deep-seated insecurity. We’re scared. We fear giving and not getting. We hate the thought of overtly showing interest and then publicly getting rejected. And this fear of not being accepted isn’t something we should overcome by working out more, trying out a new hairstyle, or buying a cool jacket; rather, this fear should be re-framed.
Whether you’re at the bar, in class, or at the dining hall, your focus shouldn’t be on impressing other people, but getting to know them. It doesn’t take a lot to be interesting, just be interested. Ironically, when you show someone you want nothing from them, and you simply want to learn about who they are, how they think, and where they’re from, they’ll probably end up buying you a drink.