Money is awkward. Whether you accidentally bought a round of shots for the entire bar or you “accidentally” used your mom’s credit card at Whole Foods, paying people back can be complicated. In college, I remember keeping a note on my phone with a running list of all the things I owed people money for, whether it was a piece of furniture or a cab ride. Thankfully, the days of asking your friends for change are over, because Venmo was invented. It finally gave us an easy way to pay people back, but it also created a whole new set of questions about etiquette and what’s okay.
If you’re in the beginning stages of a relationship, the last thing you want to do is make things awkward about money. Luckily, Venmo knows that things can get tricky, and they brought in some outside help to get a better look at how people really feel about using the app. Venmo surveyed their community about proper money manners, and using some of their findings, we’ve come up with some handy rules for requesting money when you’re in a new relationship. We can’t stop men from being idiots, but at least you won’t be the one causing the problems.
1. If You Asked, You Pay
When it comes to dating in 2019, it’s not true that the man always needs to pay. That’s old-fashioned, and the same rules don’t work for everyone. But when it comes to a first date, nearly two thirds of Venmo users surveyed think that whoever initiated the date should cover the bill. If you’re an independent woman who likes to ask guys out, that’s cool, but that also might mean you’re the one paying. That being said, 30% of users prefer to split the bill on a first date, so you can feel out the payment situation once you get there.
2. Split Now, Not Later
Whether you’d rather split the bill or have one person cover the whole thing, you need to decide before you leave the bar/restaurant/wherever your date is happening. 66% of Venmo users surveyed think it’s uncool to send a Venmo request for half the bill after the fact without discussing it, and I’m honestly surprised that number isn’t higher. Men (and everyone, but mostly men)—if you want to split the bill, you need to say something while the date is still happening. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, you forfeit your right to recoup any money from your date. Plus, it’s petty.
3. Everyone Needs A Reminder Sometimes
So you’ve finished your date, and decided that you’ll split the bill. Great! Restaurants are annoying about splitting checks, so you just sent a Venmo request for half. (Or you could just apply for a Venmo card, but whatever.) But now comes the awkward phase of waiting for someone to complete your charge. We’ve all felt uncomfortable deciding whether or not to “remind” someone that they still haven’t given you your money, but we shouldn’t. 65% of Venmo users surveyed feel comfortable using the remind feature, and you should too. The whole point of Venmo is that it’s easy to pay people back, so that’s kind of why we’re all here. Everyone forgets stuff all the time, so skip the overthinking and secure your bag.
4. Unfriend Your Exes
We’ve all experienced a little bit of Venmo FOMO—you’re sitting at home paying your roommate back for the Wifi bill, and you notice that two of your friends are paying each other with the wine glass emoji. It only makes it worse when you see that an ex is sending payments to someone new, so just avoid the jealousy and/or curiosity altogether by unfriending your exes! No one is immune to FOMO, and 20% of users surveyed said that seeing their ex’s activity on Venmo is more upsetting than seeing what they post on social media. Most people don’t really make use of the “unfriend” tool on Venmo, but we’d all save ourselves a lot of heartache if we did. You and your new partner will both thank me for this advice, because now you won’t end up stalking some girl you’ve never met at 3am, wondering whether her payment for “office supplies” is code for something else.
5. Keep It Private
If you finally unfriended your ex on Venmo, congratulations, it’s a big step. But now that you’re seeing someone new, you should probably try to keep things low-key, at least at the beginning. By keeping your transactions with your new partner set to “private” for a little while, you automatically remove yourself from the drama of prying eyes and annoying questions. It can’t hurt to lock it down, at least until you’re Instagram official.
6. Just Talk About It
One of the best things about Venmo is that it has made it so much easier to be open about money and the etiquette surrounding it. Sure, there are awkward moments sometimes, but at least now you never have to go to the ATM to pay your friends or partner back. 95% of Venmo users surveyed agree that Venmo has made it easier to discuss money and IOUs with their friends and family, so don’t let any kind of tension simmer. Especially in a new relationship, communicating openly is the best thing you can do.
Images: Helena Lopes / Unsplash
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