Dear Dan,I just bought a pair of NBA basketball tickets, and I plan to treat my friend to an afternoon of slack-jawed wonder as Kevin Durant dismantles our hometown Raptors.
Here’s the thing: My friend is very generous and semiwealthy. If I tell him the tickets are on me, he’ll insist on paying, but if I tell him the tickets were free (the only way he’ll let me off the hook about the price), I’ll lose the cachet that comes from giving an expensive gift. What to do?
Here is what I would do:
Take your income per month (say $10,000) and divide it by the number of hours you work per month (say 160). Take this number ($62.50 per hour) and divide it into the cost of the two tickets (say $200) and you get how long you need to work to pay for the tickets (3.2 hours).
Now tell your friend “it took me more than three hours of hard labour to get these tickets.” (After all, you might not want to tell your friend exactly how much you make.) With this kind of framing, not only will your friend not be able to pay for the tickets, but he will also appreciate your investment in him and your friendship to a higher degree.