Q & A Wednesday: Is it a date or are we just platonic friends?

Posted by in understanding men over 40 | 0 comments

Dear Sandy,

I’ve known this guy casually for a long time. Recently, he started to flirt a little. He suggested we get together for dinner. He picked the date, time, and place. At dinner, I wanted a glass of wine, and he ordered a bottle, saying, “Don’t worry about it.” We shared appetizers and each of us ordered an entree.

When the bill came, he said, “Let’s split it.” The bill came to $90! I was annoyed. Of course, in retrospect, I should have asked up front. He claims it wasn’t a date and it wasn’t extravagant. I thought it was rude.

I don’t spend that kind of money lightly– not knowing in advance meant I was blind-sided.

Men don’t pay for ANYTHING anymore. Especially men over 40. Worse than that, they don’t communicate their intentions.

What are your thoughts? Do I have the right to be annoyed? Was this a date? I am confused and angry!!


Dear Zina,

Thanks for sharing your story. There are definitely murky waters when swimming in the ocean of platonic friendships. Especially when there are signs that things may be evolving into a dating relationship.

Here are my thoughts. You say this is a casual friend. I’m not sure what kind of flirting he did that gave you the message that this might be a date, but even so, it wasn’t set up as a date, right?

He ordered a bottle of wine when you wanted only a glass. At that point, you could have spoken up, saying that you only wanted a glass and didn’t want to splurge for a bottle. That would have been a good segue into a discussion about who is paying, right?

Like you said, you could have asked up front. The ideal time to bring all of this up would have been before the ‘date’. As awkward as it might feel, I believe in self-advocating for all things in life. So, yes, if you were to take responsibility for your share in what went down, you would have avoided these confusing messages.

As for men not paying for anything, while that might your perspective, it is not mine. In my experience, men over 40 usually assume it’s their responsibility to pay if they’ve asked you out. Especially at the beginning of a relationship. Who are you dating??

My suggestion is that you communicate more clearly with men and adapt better standards as to whom you date. A good guy will usually make his intentions clear with you as well.

And please stop making assumptions about ‘all men’. Absolutes are dangerous. ‘All men are cheap, all women are too sensitive’, and on and on and on… You wouldn’t want men to judge you based on their assumptions of ‘all women’ would you? I like to think of men as kind, good-hearted and loving. Prove me wrong!

And to answer the age old question, can men and women be platonic friends? It’s a complex issue and depends on many factors. In your case, after a casual friend asks to get together, I would assume it’s still friendship unless he expresses otherwise.

Best of luck,



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