It seems that time after time whenever one dining partner decides to pick up the check for someone at the end of a meal, anxiety ensues. ("I missed your birthday last week, I'd like to treat tonight." or "I had no idea you got a promotion, please the meal is on me in celebration.")
Then it inevitably turns into a bargaining situation: "Oh no, no, no, that's not necessary." " OK, then let me get the tip." "Drinks at the next place we go to are on me."
No, No and No.
Why can't people just be gracious and say thank you? There is no power thing going on on the part of the friend picking up the check. I notice that the discomfort gets amplified when there are 3 or more people.