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Who Pays on a First Date

Did you know that the rules for who should pay on a first date have changed?

Old dating etiquette required men to pick up the check on a first date because they were traditionally doing the inviting. Etiquette changes as society evolves, and economics, equality, and shifting gender norms have ushered in new dating guidelines.

Who should pick up the check on a first date in today’s culture? Generally, the person who does the inviting—a man or a woman—should pay for the date. Even so, it doesn’t appear that everyone has completely abandoned “traditional” dating norms.

A recent survey of 17,607 unmarried individuals asked about who should and who does pick up the check on dates. The results are fascinating!

What women said:

  • 39% of women wished men would reject their offers to pay, and 44% of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay.
  • At the same time, 40% of women were bothered when men won’t accept their money.

What men said:

  • 64% of men believed that women should contribute, and nearly half of men (44%) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays.
  • Nevertheless, 76% of men said they feel guilty when accepting women’s money.

Etiquette guidelines are just that: guidelines. Etiquette’s goal is to facilitate connection by making people feel comfortable. However, following the “rules” will not always foster connection. You need social acumen to know when to follow the rules, when to break them, and what to do in uncharted territory. So, what should you do on a date? Have a conversation! Dating today requires finesse and honesty to navigate these ever-changing waters. After all, the goal of dating is (hopefully) connecting with your partner!

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