Ask the Readers: Who Do You Think Should Pay on a First Date?

By Ashley Jacobs on 17 February 2015 67 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to An G, Christina, and Ernest for winning this week's contest!

First dates are tricky. You're worried about what to wear, what to say — and what to do when the check comes. A man paying for a first date is no longer the hard-and-fast rule. The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker reports that 49% of surveyed Americans believe that the man should pay (down from 51% in 2014), 31% think that whoever asked for the date should cover it, and 14% said the bill should be split. Only 1% believe that the woman should pay for the date.

Who do you think should pay on a first date? Would it be a dealbreaker for you if your date insisted otherwise?

Tell us who you think should pay on a first date and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

For Extra Entries:

  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, February 23rd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 23rd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
     
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
     
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
     
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck! 

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


Guest's picture
majlufkin

The person who invited is the one who pays. You ask, you make the plans, you pay. As a gay man, it seems pretty simple to me.

This also avoids the problem of forcing someone to pay more than they can afford.

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I think the fairest thing would be to split the check. This would work for straight or gay couples.

Guest's picture
Julie Wood

I believe the guy should pay on the first date! I did not pay on the first date.

Guest's picture
Jacklynn

I think that on a first date that the expectation should be that you pay for what you ordered or if you ordered roughly the same amount (price wise) than you split the bill. I never have the expectation that a guy is going to pay for me unless he insists and the only situation in which I would be annoyed if he didn't pay would be if he insisted we go to a restaurant that was out of my price-range.

Guest's picture
Elena

I think the one who invites on a date should pay.

Guest's picture
Lindsay

Split the check!

Guest's picture
Gina

The person who asks the other out should pay.

Guest's picture
KelR1

The one who does the asking for the date should pay or the check should be split. Both parties should offer to pay, out of politeness.

Guest's picture
Liisa R

I'm old-fashioned and my first thought is that the guy should both ask and pay. That said, I can think of a number of reasons a girl should ask or pay too, but in general I like the old school way of doing things. :)

Guest's picture
Kamikaze Sasquatch

A book I just finished on manners says that the man should pay for the first date, but that the first date should be short and relatively cheap. For example, you should meet at a coffee shop for an hour or so. I could go along with that.

Guest's picture
Denise L

I think whoever does the inviting should do the paying.

Guest's picture
nicole dz

I think the guy should be the one to pay on the firs date.

Guest's picture
Amanda Sakovitz

I think whoever asked who out should pay but the other party should still offer when the bill comes.

Guest's picture
Allison

Whoever invites, pays...though I'm sure it doesn't hurt if you offer to pay your share if you were the one invited.

Guest's picture
Susan D.

I'd say that whoever does the inviting pays.

Guest's picture
Mary W

It is a different world today than decades ago when the man was always expected to pay all the time. Splitting the check , if both parties are working, would be fair. The treat of paying the whole check is nice so save it for the second date.

Guest's picture
Susan P.

Depends on where the date takes you. I prefer to go Dutch but if someone invites me to a very expensive place and says they will pay, I let them pay.

Guest's picture

It should be half and half, or whoever asks the person out can pay. It really doesn't matter!

Guest's picture

If you ask me out, you can pay. I'm fine with splitting the check though!

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I think the guy should still pay for the first date. I know it may be outdated, but I think it just feels right.

Guest's picture
Happy Love

I also think the guy should pay on the first date, as long as he's the one who asked her out.

My first date with my husband was a little different since I had invited him to dinner as a thank you for helping me with a computer issue. When I paid, then I turned to him and said, "Now you owe me lunch". I guess it worked since we ended up getting married seven months later.

Guest's picture
Dee Dee

The one who invites you on a date should pay.

Guest's picture
Andiena

in my experienced, it is not always work on first date - I used to ask when the bill comes do we have to split? at least I show him that i also ready to pay and it wont be one side expense if we both are enjoyed the moment and the food that we had
but mostly the man who i'm dating with if he invited me to go the place that he likes the most or be one of his favorite, He will cover all expenses for both - but sometime it is kind of cute if we do a little fight to insist who pay first - at least as a women we look like ability to take care of our finance well enough.

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

I think that whoever asked the other person out, should pay, whether it was the man or the woman.

Guest's picture
Beth S

I think the man should pay-- if he's interested enough to ask you out, he should be willing to show that by a willingness to pay for you. To me it's a sign of things to come-- a good man will take care of his wife.

Guest's picture
Nicolle

Split bill.

Guest's picture
Bethany M

The one who asked

Guest's picture
Jennifer Marie

I think each person should pair their own way.

Guest's picture
Matt

I think guys should pick up the tab.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think it's customary for the guy to pay on the first few dates unless the girl insists on going dutch treat. Both should be willing to compromise on occasion. But, in general, I believe that it's good for the guy to pay.

Guest's picture
Candace

You ask, you pay.

Guest's picture
Jessica H

I'm definitely old school. I think the man should pay on the first date. There is something about being courted that really makes me feel great as a woman. It's a dying trend. I might even take out my card to split it just so he can tell me to put it away.

Guest's picture
Ronda

I think whoever invited the other out should pay.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

Whoever did the asking should pay for the date. That person can plan where to go/eat and then will know what his or her budget should be for the date.

Guest's picture
Nancy

I've been married for 35 years and don't plan to be dating, but I think, in general, the one who does the inviting should expect to pay. However, I think that the first date (and several thereafter) should be inexpensive: an afternoon walk and ice cream, coffee at the art museum, an outing to a street fair and a beer, a free concert in the park and a bottle of wine, that sort of thing. These are conducive to individual paying without embarrassment. If the invitation goes like this: "I have two tickets to the basketball game, would you like to come," then the asker bears the cost of the tickets, and the askee should spring for drinks or snacks. The manner of the invitation can help clarify expectations: "Would you be my guest for X. Would you like to go to X, my treat."

Guest's picture
Suz_Glo

Ultimately, I think the person who does the asking should pay on the first date and choose your activity based on how much you can spend. A first date does not have to be in a 5 star restaurant. Get coffee and take a walk!

Guest's picture
Emily

The guy. Call me old fashioned, but it takes women more time, money and energy to get ready for a date, so he should pay. Once you're really dating there's plenty of time to go Dutch but on the first date he should pay.

Guest's picture
Judy

I'm old-school. If a man asks a woman, he should pay. If it is just a mutual "let's get coffee" kind of thing, they should each pay for their own.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think the person who initiate the date should pay. However, I am not against splitting on the first date, as long as it is discussed openly.

Guest's picture
Louly

I think whoever asked for the date should pay for it!

Guest's picture
Kim

I think the person who asked should pay.

Guest's picture
Sue

Split the check.

Guest's picture
Smartin

I personally think that the person who asks another on a date should pay. And then after that (should there be another date), I think the two parties should take turns asking each other to do things/pay the bill. There are always exceptions of course; this is just a rule of thumb.

Guest's picture
Eva

My mother has always told me (and now I tell my daughter the same thing) that if you initiate the invite then be prepared to pay for the date!

Guest's picture
Alexis

Whoever did the asking should pay! :)

Guest's picture
Elle

I think the guy should pay.

Donna Freedman's picture

I agree that the person who invites should be the person who pays. After that, treats should be done equally.

Guest's picture
MG

The man who would become my husband was so visibly nervous on our first date (we still laugh about it) that when the bill arrived, I grabbed it put my card down and handed it to him to do the same. If he had insisted on paying, that probably would have ended the relationship. As it was, the stress relief of my actions made us laugh so hard that it was clear we would get along fine. 4 years into marriage now, we aren't perfect, but we have a good relationship, laugh a lot, and communicate well.

Guest's picture
Guest

The person who asked the other out should pay. Otherwise it should be split 50/50!

Guest's picture
An G

I don't think the woman should pay on the first date but i am not opposed to the woman paying shortly after.

Guest's picture
Rooster

Split the check. I think its reflective of my financial independence and outlook that I'm comfortable with the non-traditional.

Guest's picture
Betty

I think the man should pay for the first date. It would be very awkward for a woman to pull out he wallet the first time! I think my now-husband paid for the first few dates, then I invited him somewhere and I paid.

Guest's picture
Christina

I think that the person who asked should expect to pay, but to be honest it gave a good impression when the guy paid, or at least then paid for part of it (ex - bought movie tickets or drinks after dinner even if I asked him out).

Guest's picture
Toni B

I think the man should pay, but the woman should have $ in her purse, just in case.

Guest's picture
Christie

I think it depends on who did the asking. I haven't dated anyone but my husband (we are celebrating our Halfaversary today! 19 1/2 years!) in quite some time, but I think paying your own way is acceptable, as is the guy paying. Not sure how I would feel about paying for a guy on a first date, but if I asked him out, I would offer. If he was a gentleman, would he allow it?

Guest's picture
AMY M

The person who issued the invitation should be the one who pays on a date, regardless of gender.

Guest's picture
Margie Cameron

I believe the person who suggested the date should pay. My reasoning is that the person is wishing to spend time with someone to get to know them better. Making that first step by asking another person to spend some time with you is like asking a friend to join you for a special meal - on you. A true friend will reciprocate at some point. And a person you date should also.

Guest's picture
BRB

Either whoever asked or you can split it, whatever seems less awkward.

Guest's picture
Susan Smith

I think the man should pay for the date.

Guest's picture
Diane

When I was dating, guys always did the asking & the paying. Now I would agree that the person who asks pays.

Guest's picture
Renee

I will always suggest splitting it and think this is the fairest way. Once we are dating more steadily, this usually turns into taking turns paying the whole bill.

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

It's been so long since I've had to worry about this that I don't even have an opinion anymore!

Guest's picture
majlufkin

I am pleasantly surprised by the number of people who responded with "who asks, pays."

I think this is the correct response, and not just in dating situations. If you ask a co-worker out for a drink at the Monkey Bar, then you pay for the first round (The Monkey Bar is expensive!) and you let the other person know you are paying for the first round because you invited. This gives them the opportunity to decline another round if they can't afford it or are disinclined for whatever reason. Or pay for a round or split the bill going forward.

Same with dating. You ask, you choose venue and activity, you pay.

Guest's picture
Kim D

I think the one who did the asking out should be the one who pays - however, if a woman asks a man out and he offers to pay, then he gets extra points in my book :)

Guest's picture
Thomas Murphy

I think the man should pay.

Guest's picture
J. Pario

What's a "date"--?

Just kidding! :)

Guest's picture
Susann Boudreaux

Whoever asks the other person on the date should pay.