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How to Play the “Take This Money – No Thanks – I Insist” Game

Hidden Nuggets Series #46 – “But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” – II Samuel 24:24

I insistNo doubt at one point or another, you’ve been caught up in the verbal posturing known as the “Take this money” game.

The conflict in this game centers around one person’s refusal to take a sum of money being offered. The format can be played in two directions. In one scenario, you are the person offering the money. In scenario two, you are the person receiving the money.

In either configuration, the person being offered the money refuses it, thus leading to some tricky verbal exchanges:

“Here, take this.”

“No thanks.”

“I insist.”

“No really, that’s not necessary.”

“No, I have too…you went through so much trouble” (said while thrusting the money at the other party).

“I don’t want it…really, it was no trouble” (said with hands held head high and palms outward in the “stick-em-up” position).

“Here, you must…” (said with a hyper voice while trying to physically put money in the person’s hand or jacket pocket).

“No, please…I’m not taking it…” (tone starting to get defensive).

And on the exchange can endlessly go.

As a child, I watched several of these exchanges devolve into heated arguments. I never understood why either side would be so stubborn. More than anything, it boggled my mind that someone would refuse money of any amount being offered them. Why? “It’s money for crying out loud. Take it already!” I remember thinking.

You should know this isn’t a modern phenomenon or one defining a certain class of people. The jockeying over whether to give or receive money has been practiced by people of all ages and socioeconomic status. As we see in the Bible in the case of one King David, the exchange ended rather abruptly. I’ll suggest in a moment that’s the wise and proper tactic for either scenario.

An Ancient Example

On one occasion, God commands David to build an altar and make sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin. God informs David this is to take place at the threshing floor of a man named Araunah. When David arrives, Araunah bows to the ground and asks the king, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

David replies, “To buy your threshing floor…”

To which Araunah says, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Whoa…what a generous offer!

David would have none of it. “No,” he replied. “I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

And then the conversation ends. No further “No, please take its” or “Stop, I don’t want its.” After only one time of offering David the threshing floor, oxen, sledges and yokes for free, Araunah accepts David’s offer of payment.

I like how the conversation between David and Araunah ended. It’s similar to my method for dealing with this circumstance.

How I Handle the “Take This Money” Game

I’ve decided that if someone offers me money, I’m going to refuse once and ask one clarifying question before I take it. Hopefully the dialogue will progress something like this:

Person: “Here let me pay for that.”

Me: “No, you don’t have to do that.”

Person: “Oh, I insist.”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Person: “Yes.”

Me: “Well, OK…thanks!”

If I offer someone else money, the pattern will be similar:

Me: “Here, let me pay for that.”

Person: “No, you don’t have to do that.”

Me: “I insist. I’d really like to.”

Person: “No that’s fine.”

Me: “Are you sure? (Pause for head nod or verbal confirmation.) Well, OK.”

I get it if you feel these conversations are curt and insensitive. I’m sure the other party may become upset with me for not pressing the exchange further. Like I should have given the dance a few more rounds to really show the depth of my sincerity.

How many times do I really need to offer? If they don’t want to accept my generosity after two tries, what will four or five do? At some point it’s going to feel like I’m twisting their arm simply to get my way. “Getting my way” then overshadows the generous overture in the first place don’t you think?

Additionally, by continuing to refuse an offer, I could be negating someone’s heart felt desire to give. They are feeling led to bless me. Why should I stand in the way of that? My stubbornness may cause them to leave feeling discouraged that they couldn’t follow through with their action.

So I suggest politely offering only twice. It’s time to end these conversations before they get out of hand.

What is your protocol in this situation? Do I need to insist more than twice before retracting the offer? Anyone ever pull an outrageous stunt to get someone money they wouldn’t accept – like Jerry Seinfeld who stuffed the money in his father’s wallet when he wasn’t looking?

Image courtesy of Cheezburger.com

Next Post: Guess Which Age Groups Is Starting to Save

Prior Post: The 3 Money Topics Teenagers Most Like to Discuss

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  1. Brad @ How To Save Money says

    I only give one chance. I figure I’m dealing with an adult. If they want to give me money, or refuse to take my money, it is their adult decision. They made it, they are stuck with it as far as I’m concerned. Yeah, that may seem harsh and insensitive, but I still am not the keeper of my brother’s wallet. Sorry.

  2. Cashville Skyline says

    I agree with you Bryan! I’ve watched my family get into these kinds of arguments many times and it’s definitely not worth it. I’ll let someone pay for lunch if they insist, no big deal.

  3. I sounds almost exactly like you. To the T! If either one of us gets to the point of eye rolling, we’ve gone too far. 🙂

  4. Oh, I hate when this happens. It’s usually between my grandma and my mom. I find there’s a lot of stubborn pride involved. My grandma sees it as simply taking care of her daughter, and my mom wants none of it. My mom sees it as repaying her mom, who isn’t a fan of taking money from her kids.

    I’ve been involved with this at times, and I pretty much follow what you do. I make sure the other person is fine with things, and accept it. No use in arguing about it for minutes! I’ve personally accepted that my relatives simply like being able to give. As long as it’s within reason I don’t mind. I’ve finally realized my grandma really loves to spoil her family, and who am I to deny her that?

    • It may seem silly, but I’m really into not denying people the blessing of giving. If it’s really in their heart I should allow them the freedom to follow through with that desire.

      • I think that’s a nice way to look at it, allowing others the blessing of giving. I don’t argue either. I find arguing more uncomfortable than just letting them have their way. But I think in the future I’ll see it as allowing them to have the blessing. There are occasions when it’s not a big deal for me to pay, but I know it is for the other person. In these situations, I just walk away when they try to give me money. It stops the discussion.

  5. Kassandra says

    I often follow the outline you present when it comes to that situation with money; I don’t force the point. But with people like my mom or close friends who always refuse to take my money, I just hid it somewhere that they will find it lol. They call me and give me grief about it but I feel good about doing it nonetheless!

    • Yes, I can see how with family you might want to push it a little bit more. In that instance I might give it one more round to see what happens. I don’t think I could hide it though, I would hate dealing with the grief.

  6. FI Pilgrim says

    Most of the time I’m with you, I’m not going to argue a point to death. There will be another time. However, my parents frequently drive 40 minutes to my house to babysit my kids for an evening, and my policy for them (they refuse to take money from me ever) is that you will NEVER BABYSIT YOUR GRANDCHILDREN AGAIN unless you let me give you $10 for gas. 🙂 It’s intense, but it works.

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