Should I offer to pay on the first date?
One of the biggest questions singles ask me is, “Should a woman offer to pay on a date?” If you are an independent woman, you may have developed a philosophy that you don’t want to owe anyone anything. I get that believe me. I was single till 40 when I started dating in earnest. I had my own business and took care of myself completely. I certainly didn’t need a man to take care of me.
On my dating journey to find the man I married, I encountered many misconceptions single women share about paying and dating. See if any of these ideas sound familiar to you:
- I earn my own money, so it seemed like I “should” pay.
- Why should the man foot the bill for my beverage?
- I have cash – who needs his?
- That seems so old fashioned to just let the man pay doesn’t it?
This question of who pays, particularly on the first date, is actually much bigger than you think. You see, the way you interact with a man, from the time you say hello, sets a precedent. Here’s the biggest lesson I learned about offering to pay:
You are potentially sending a signal that you’re not interested in him.
Oh yes, it’s true.
Think about it. What do you do when you don’t like a guy and don’t want to see him again? You just want to pay and get out of there right? Well that was true for me and for so many of my dating coaching clients. So, if you DO like the guy you just had a drink with, should you risk sending mixed signals about seeing him again? Well, that’s reason #1 why a woman should not offer to pay on a first date!
Here are some other crucial implications to consider about this question, “Should a woman offer to pay on a date?”
1. Just because a man pays for your glass of wine or dinner, doesn’t mean you owe him a thing
2. The pleasure of my delightful company is worth the price of a glass of wine or cup of coffee
3. Don’t have dinner on the first date so you don’t have to feel guilty about a big bill
4. Letting a man pay didn’t mean you give up your independence to him
5. Being treated feels good – it made me feel special and desirable
This last point is so important! As a dating coach I have seen time and time again that women who rush to pay are the women who are also the fastest to complain a man is cheap and never pays for anything. But you see, you gave him that impression when you insisted on paying your share. Don’t do it.
One thing I tell all my clients is that the purpose of dating is to observe and gather data about a man and how you interact with him, to see if he is worthy of your time and emotional investment. But when you take action, you interfere with your ability to observe. You get in the way and give him something to react to. That’s not what you want. You want to know what a man would do on his own, without your meddling. That’s how you know if a man is truly generous.
Being independent is an awesome quality and men do like women who demonstrate this characteristic. However, if your independence sends the signal that you don’t really want a man because you can do everything yourself, including pay for the first date, that’s actually not so attractive.
Men want to feel wanted the same as women do. And good men, the quality men you long for who want the same committed, loving relationship that you do, they want to do nice things for their women. So please stop getting in the way or pushing men away.
Yes, you can pay your way and take care of yourself. But, in a relationship, the object is to add to your life not hold yourself apart. So, soften up a little. Let him into your world. Allow a man to do something nice for you and pay for that drink.
That softer side is your feminine charm and that’s what turns on a masculine, quality guy. Stop wondering if a woman should pay on a date. Definitely not the first date at least. Open up and let your femininity shine. The men you date, especially the right man for you, will love you for it.