Paying for a friend

When in Bulgaria, we were at a cafe. I realized I had forgotten my wallet at home, so I said I wouldn´t order anything. A Bulgarian boy offered to pay for me, but I told him it was not neccessary. He looked at me like I was weird and said that it was okay, he could pay for me, no problem. I laughed and said “no, it’s okay” and that I didn´t know if I would be able to pay him back. He kept looking at me like I was a little odd, and asked if that was a Swedish thing. I was a little confused but kept on talking with the others.

Why did the boy think it was weird I didn’t let him pay?

A) Everything was free at that café, he just said that he could pay to impress me.

B) It´s a tradition in Bulgaria to pay for foreigners, and it´s very impolite to say no.

C) It´s a little odd not to let people pay for you.


A) Probably not possible. It´s not that common that restaurants and cafes serve food and drinks for free.

B) Not entirely impossible. But if it was that strong of a tradition, the teachers probably would have told the students before so they would know.

C)In Bulgaria, young people are more likely to buy small food and drinks to each other, because it´s not that expensive with food, and it´s a nice thing to do. In Sweden, things are more expensive, and your friends expect you to pay them back if they buy you anything.


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