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My co-worker frequently buys me coffee. Should I insist on repaying her?


By Irene S. Levine

Q: My co-worker frequently buys me coffee but won’t let me treat her. Should I insist on repaying her?

A: This sort of kindness is rare, so it’s natural you’d want to reciprocate. But if you have offered to repay (or treat) her and she resists, there’s no need to insist on giving her money.

Also try not to feel bad that she always pays. Coffee isn’t a big expense, and it sounds like she enjoys treating you. She may do it because she appreciates your friendship or support at work. Or perhaps she likes having an excuse to get out of the office and doesn’t mind shelling out a few extra dollars for you.

Regardless, just thank her each time she pays. Then, every once in a while, surprise her with a tin of cookies or muffins. Or once a month or so, tell her you are taking her out for lunch. 

This sort of kindness is rare, so it’s natural you’d want to reciprocate. But if you have offered to repay (or treat) her and she resists, there’s no need to insist on giving her money.

Also try not to feel bad that she always pays. Coffee isn’t a big expense, and it sounds like she enjoys treating you. She may do it because she appreciates your friendship or support at work. Or perhaps she likes having an excuse to get out of the office and doesn’t mind shelling out a few extra dollars for you.

Regardless, just thank her each time she pays. Then, every once in a while, surprise her with a tin of cookies or muffins. Or once a month or so, tell her you are taking her out for lunch. 

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