Should the Guy Always Pay?

Should the Guy Always Pay?

A question that’s becoming more and more common among men nowadays is: “Who pays on a date?”   To help clear up the confusion, here are some tips that will help you figure out who pays for a date in certain situations.

If you ask her out…
If you ask a girl out then the answer to the “who pays on a date?” question is a simple one.  It’s you.  When you invite a girl on a date it’s your responsibility to take care of her.  So as a man you should always expect to pay for the date.  After all you want her to be able to relax and enjoy her time with you.  And that will be difficult if she’s worried about the money she’s spending.

Another reason it’s important for men to pay for a date is that it sends a clear message of your intentions.  If you have a woman split the tab with you she may no longer see this as a “date”.  She may instead get the message that the two of you are nothing more than friends.  If you want to avoid her seeing you in that light then paying for the date will go a long way.

What if she offers to chip in?
The woman you date may offer to pay for herself.  She may reach for her purse and suggest once or twice that she can pay half the bill.  This may just be a courtesy, and her way of showing that you don’t have to pay for her.  But in these situations you want to tell her to put the purse away.  Let her see that you want to pay for her.  That spending time with her and seeing that she is taken care of is more important than the handful of dollars you’re spending.

What if she’s really insistent?
It’s not often but every once in a while you may go on a date with a woman who absolutely refuses to let you pay for her.  If that’s the case there’s no point fighting it.  Offer to pay for her but if she is really persistent about it then just split the bill.

There are some good reasons why a woman may insist on paying for herself.  Maybe she sees it as a point of pride that she can take care of herself.  Maybe she doesn’t want to feel like she “owes” you anything.   Or maybe she feels guilty when guys buy her things and she doesn’t want to feel that way.  If her reasoning is anything like the points mentioned above, you can actually be doing her a favor and showing you respect her values by allowing her to pay for herself.

What if she asks you on a date?
Now the question of “who pays on a date” can be a little trickier if the girl invites you out.  If that’s the case you don’t necessarily have the same obligation as you would if you invited her out.  So in these instances you’re fine splitting the tab.

Of course you can always be the super-gentleman and still pay for her anyway.  Not only would that be appreciated, but it would send a clear message of your interest and desire to be more than friends.

What if it’s a more “casual” date?
Let’s say you meet for something more casual.  Like drinks at happy hour.  If it’s just a laid-back get-together as opposed to a more formal date, who pays for the date then?

It’s still you.  But in these situations you’re likely to find the girl will chip in, too.  After you buy the first round of drinks many women will offer to pay for the second.  Since this is more of a causal meet-up you’re fine letting her pay for the next round.  It’s not going to send the kind of mixed message that might get sent having her pay for herself when out on a more formal date.

What if she picks the place (and it’s expensive)?
Let’s say you ask her on a date but she picks the place.  And she just so happens to pick the most expensive restaurant in town.  What then?  Who pays for the date if she is the one who made it so expensive?

Rather than working out who pays on a date in this scenario you’re better off avoiding this situation entirely.  When you ask a girl on a date it should be your adventure that you are bringing her on.  You want to plan where to go, what to do, how long it will be – all that stuff.  (Of course, don’t forget to take her enjoyment into consideration when picking the place/activity).

At the end of the day you want to be in the driver’s seat so all she has to do is say “yes” to whatever plan you’ve come up with.  This is a great way to approach a date because if she doesn’t have to do any planning or decision making, it’s going to be much easier for her to relax and enjoy herself.

Finally, when you plan the date make sure you have a backup plan (or two) in case your first idea doesn’t pan out.  If you have a second option already in mind when the first plan falls through you won’t get roped into the expensive restaurant that you don’t really want to go to.

How do you keep from going broke?
If you are going on a lot of dates (or just tight on cash) then paying for dates might seem overwhelming.  But don’t worry, because there are a lot of great dates you can take a woman on that will cost you next-to-nothing.  For ideas on what to do on a date without breaking the bank, check out the last section of this article.

Brian M – author of 191 posts on The Art of Charm

Once he realized attraction was something he could learn, Brian spent way too much of his free time studying and practicing everything he could find on the subject. He stumbled across The Art of Charm podcast and eventually signed up for an AoC bootcamp. Excited by the progress he’s made in his own life since the program, he decided to start writing for AoC to help other guys do the same. By writing about interpersonal dynamics, he’s finally able to put that psychology degree to good use. View all posts by Brian M →


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