I have a good friend and every time we go out for a drink or dinner, he always insists on paying. That sounds good to have someone pay for you but it's actually not. For a start, it's kind of condescending.
He is very successful and has a lot of money and I have a feeling that he does it because he feels like it would be an insignificant expense for him and a costly one for me.
I know he does it with other friends as well so I'm sure it's not personal. However, it isn't something I feel comfortable with. It comes across a bit like he's showing off and trying to shift the power dynamic.
There's also the annoying ritual at the end of the meal where we fight for the check. This is probably the worst part. It's probably quite comical to others seeing two grown men almost come to blows over trying to pay.
I've spoken to him about this. One time, I told him I would definitely pay for the meal. Halfway through the meal, he said he had a phone call and secretly paid for the meal.
At this point, I have to say he is a good friend in every regard except for this. I would like to keep the friendship. Basically, he is very insistent on paying and treats it almost like a game whereas I really just want to pay for my share.
My preferable option would be to just split the bill each time or have an informal arrangement where I pay sometimes, he pays the other times.
I mean, if he really does insist on paying, I guess I can probably live with that. I just don't know how to do it without it being awkward.
I REALLY don't want to get into an argument at the end of each meal. However, the objecting to paying is almost a ritual at this point to show that I'm grateful. I think it would be weird and disrespectful if I just assumed he was paying each time without kicking up a fuss.
How should I approach this situation next time I'm with my friend?
My friend and I are both Canadian.