TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY? by @DatingAdviceGrl

to pay or not to pay

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY? by @DatingAdviceGrl

Guys! Do you feel obligated and should you be expected to pay on early dates with a new love-interest? I’ve had many recent conversations about this subject and it always turns into a lively and sometimes heated debate. To be clear….we aren’t talking friendly hang sessions or even hookups…we’re talking about official ask outs to dinner or any other one-on-one social meeting where romance is part of the deal. Here are one guy’s feelings about paying on early dates…


Dear Dating Advice Girl,

Sometimes I don’t feel like paying for everything on a date. Is it really that bad if I expect my date to pay for her fair share on a date? Dates can get expensive and I don’t want to end up spending a whole lot of money on someone I’m not that into…


While I do understand the economics of always paying for your dates and how that can add up mathematically…chivalry, courtship and good manners trump the numbers on this one. Here are some reasons why you should always pay on early dates, unless you’ve discussed sharing the costs beforehand…


1. For Selfish Reasons, Don’t Ruin It For Yourself

Why wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward when dating someone new? Why would you want to set a bad tone? Whether your goal is a relationship or sexual intimacy, it only helps you meet that goal if you are treating your date to an evening of fun. If you’re taking care of the cost, you avoid any chance of not paying the dinner bill being the reason for the date going badly. If you decide that you aren’t into your date the first go-round, you can always avoid a second, but especially if you seek a second date with your love-interest, you want to do everything in your power to make sure that you are presenting your best self to get to that second, third, and fourth date.


2. Make It Clear What Your Intentions Are

You’re guaranteed to confuse your love-interest if you suggest splitting the bill on the first date. It sends mixed messages. Unless you’ve agreed to share the cost beforehand, prepare to pay for the date. Because our society has become so casual, people assume that if they are paying for their half of the bill, it’s more of a casual, friendly hangout session than a date. If you are really interested in someone, avoid confusion and take care of the bill. That sends a clear message that you are interested. If it turns out that you aren’t as interested as you thought you’d be, go ahead with the date, pay the bill, then avoid a follow up date.


3. Respect Your Love-Interest’s Financial Situation

Especially during tough economic times, I totally understand being more frugal on a date, however, I feel strongly that the person inviting someone out should be prepared to take care of all of the details especially if they are choosing the venue, restaurant, or event. When inviting someone to be your guest, you are agreeing to take someone out and treat them to an evening out. If you are not intending to cover the cost of the date and you are doing the asking out, be clear up front. Your date may not be financially prepared or able to cover the cost of the date you’ve arranged. Any additional contribution your date may make is an added bonus. It’s okay to accept any financial contributions if your love-interest insists on contributing, but otherwise only plan a date that you are comfortable paying for in its entirety.


A gentle reminder to all of you on the receiving end of a date…

One reason this Who Pays? debate has gotten so heated is because oftentimes the gesture of paying, taking care of the bill, etc is taken for granted. When appreciation is shown, it encourages the person taking you out to want to take you out again. If a gesture is taken for granted, your suitor is less likely to treat you again, and that’s when it becomes “every (wo)man for himself.” Something as simple as a thank you means a lot to someone who took the time to plan and pay for your fabulous night out on the town.


Regardless of which side you are on, it’s all about manners! In dating, as in life…you present your best self first, then adjust accordingly if your efforts are unappreciated or you aren’t getting the result you want. It’s harder to make up for a mistake after the fact than to simply prevent it from happening from the start.


Hugs and love,
The Dating Advice Girl

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  • Seven Dates a Week
    June 26, 2012

    Good post that addresses a continuing controversy. I agree that whoever does the asking should do the paying, or at the very least, offer such.

  • singledatingdiva
    June 30, 2012

    Great post and I totally agree … putting your best foot forward is never a bad thing AND the receiver should have an attitude of gratitude and not a sense of entitlement.

  • Andy Bodle
    June 30, 2012

    This definitely needed to be talked about.

    I think the important thing is that people are “on the same page” when they meet up. If one person’s expectations or beliefs are vastly different from the other’s, things are going to go pear-shaped (wrong, in case that’s a British-only expression).

    Of course, one way to resolve a clash of opinions is not to have any. So if you’re a guy, keep an open mind – your date may be used to not paying (or splitting) the bill. Equally, if you’re a woman, remember that your date may have been told (by a previous girlfriend, say) that splitting the bill is the modern, unpatronising, feminist thing to do!

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