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Paying on the First Date


It's your first date with a lady. Should you pay for everything? Should she pitch in for part - maybe her food, or drinks? Should she pay if she invited you out? What if you don't like her, or she doesn't like you, and it's obvious you two are never going to see one another again? What other factors should be taken into consideration? I recently queried the readers of The Don Juan Newsletter for their opinions on Paying on the First Date. This is what they had to say.


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The answer to this question should take into account the individual as well as the nature of the situation, some aspects of which have been addressed in the question.

I believe that if you asked the lady out, you should pay for everything--or, at least intend to do so--solely to act as a gentleman, if nothing else. If she was the one who invited you out, she should still admire your etiquette and gracious gesture. Don't force the issue and try to overrule her paying if she insists, but at least make a sincere offer along with a humorous comment like, "If I don't pay, they kick me out of the Chivalry Society." Even if you won't be seeing her again, you'll have made a positive impression that she may pass along to others.

On the flip side, it is not unreasonable to let her pay something or the whole thing if you determine it will be appropriate or make her happy. This may be the case in strong-willed women or merely in a situation where she did ask you out or you both know you won't be dating again. You'll have to judge if she really wants to pay by looking for clues in her eyes and voice. If she looks and sounds firm and comfortable with paying, believe her. It's all right to question her if she says she'll get the bill, but if she and you are sure that she wants to pay, accept graciously.

Again, always offer to pay, but don't force your will on her (or anyone, for the matter). If there's a debate over paying, a good compromise that works well for me with friends and dates is to let whoever isn't paying the main tab to at least pay the tip.

By the way, gratitude is directly related to the price of the meal. I have found that the more expensive the date, the more you should be inclined to pay the entire cost. After all, it's easier for your date to chip in a little than to cover the cost of a lobster meal.


I am a 36 years old woman, and I totally agree that a man should pay for the first date and not expect to share with a woman, even though they may not like each other nor see each other again, because this is a courtesy.

If they developed a long-term relationship, then I will expect a woman will sometimes buy her lover a drink or dinner .... because a relationship has to take the effort of both sides. I am a lucky woman, I don't meet too many "mean" guys in my life. This really helps to give a good impression on a woman.


Well, since I was raised sort of old fashioned, I feel the man should always pay for the meal. No matter what. Even if neither of you like each other, and you would normally tell the other person to piss off! You should be the bigger person and pick it up. It's just morally correct in my mind.


He who invites, pays.

It's that simple. If the girl invites you, be sure to bring money, but expect her to pay for you. She invited you, and the pleasure of your company is your payment to her.

It's the same way with guys. Guys, if you ask the lady out, just pay for her. No big deal, not a big fuss. Perhaps if she makes a fuss about anything that you do, moneywise, just nonchalantly tell her your "who asks, pays" philosophy. Perhaps ask a little about her own "who pays?" philosophy. Find out what she likes.

In initial conversation, if you're good, you can find out what kind of woman she is; Traditional, Independent, ... whatever. Revise your expectations and approach accordingly.


No matter the circumstance a women will be insulted if you do not insist on paying for everything on the first date. You do not have to take her anywhere expensive. Even if she insists on paying for something do not let her, this is a test to see how much you like her.

If you decide during dinner or before that you do not like her then make up a polite excuse for ending the evening quickly and do not promise to call. Say something like, "I've had a nice time, but I have an early start tomorrow, do you mind if I drop you home?"

If you are rude to her she will tell all her friends what a pig you are and they may be potential dates. If you are polite but she gets the impression you are not interested or she is not interested she will be happy to introduce you to her friends if you should happen to meet at later stage.

Around about the third date a woman will usually insist on paying for something, still don't let her pay for everything.

Don't ever presume a women will pay, it may put her in an embarrassing situation and even if she did like you I guarantee if you offend her she will not go out with you again.


Hi, I am a divorced female who enjoys your newsletters, and have been surprised sometimes by much of the exact same issues for both sexes in dating.

Regarding this first date question: I date from the net now & then, and I really think it depends on who does the actual asking. If I invite a man out, I expect to cover the costs. If he still insists on paying, I'm sure not going to argue a bunch over it!

If he asks me to have dinner with him, I assume he is paying, REGARDLESS if he decides he doesn't like me or I don't like him at the actual meeting. I think of an invitation as a "handshake" in a way.. Not legally binding, but in good taste to honor!

In any case I still always bring enough money to cover my own expenses just in case!


The guy should always pay the first date and later dates the man should pay unless she offers to help or pay for the whole bill and then it should depend on weather or not things are going well or the general mood of things and the chemistry between the 2 of you if you even let her pay.


Who should pay on the first date? The rule of thumb for me is that I always pay. Unless of course we had an arrangement in advance. If the woman invites me out I'll let her pay since she offered to do so. But I will always ask her if I can pay half just to be a gentleman. And of course I buy the drinks, food and such.

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