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Who Should Pay on the First Date?

first date

Who Should Pay on the First Date?

You’ve been asked on a date. He’s charming, handsome, he has his own place, nice car and a job he loves. You’re feeling optimistic with this one. Furthermore, you’re part of the same social network and he has the thumbs up from your inner circle. You decide to go on a proper date. It goes without a hitch. You go to a great restaurant and he’s really good company. During dinner he was polite to the waiting on staff, admittedly he checked his phone a few times but you can forgive him for that.

A second date could be an option and you’re feeling pretty good. He orders after dinner coffee and then asks for the bill. The waiter places the check in front of your date, he glances at it briefly and then pushes it towards the middle of the table.

What to do?

Since there was no prior discussion as to who should foot the bill on this occasion, and he’s evidently in no rush to get his wallet out… does this mean he expects you to pay?

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On the subject of covering the check, consider who initiated the date. Did you met up at the restaurant or did he call you at home? Does the check in the middle of the table mean that he sees you as an equal, respecting you as a woman in your own right? With the right to pay your own way. It may also answer the question of ‘a nightcap,’ not that you should feel an obligation to go any further than a kiss on the cheek if he does pay.

A first date is just that, it’s about getting to know one another better. Kind of like a first job interview, you have to focus on why you’re a great fit and the best person for the job, but you really also want to ask about perks and progression. As far as your date goes, you are enjoying each others company and so money shouldn’t come into it. But you are out in a restaurant and the dinner has to be paid for.

You may question his traditional values if he’s expecting you to pay? But if it has been a romantic evening and he’s acted chivalrous up to this point, why should the money side of things feel awkward?

Diana-Julie’s Verdict

We don’t really want to be discussing money on a first date and we want to make a good impression without coming across as a cheapskate or freeloader. To avoid any awkwardness, a simple, ‘How shall we do this?’ will suffice and so be prepared to split the bill. As far as first date etiquette goes, the general consensus is that whoever initiates the date should be the one to foot the bill. It’s also good manners for the other party to offer to pay half or make a contribution. Subsequent dates give an idea of any financial constraints by which time the subject of paying should no longer be an issue. That is, assuming it was an issue in the first place!


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Diana-Julie is an international life coach and spiritual counselor.  She has worked with numerous people globally in their quest for personal empowerment and manifestation of dreams. A Reiki Master and natural healer, her personal passions of writing and spirituality serve to assist in removing obstacles for those seeking her guidance.

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