Who Pays on a First Date? (LIVE Clip from My Seminar)

You’re on a first date with a guy.

You just finished your drinks and the waiter hands you the check.

He’s about to pay. Should you offer to cover your half of the bill? Or just smile and say thank you when the guy puts his credit card on the table?

I’m not going to lie, in this week’s blog video, I get PRETTY controversial. But I think this REALLY matters, so I hope you’ll keep an open mind when you watch this.


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95 Replies to “Who Pays on a First Date? (LIVE Clip from My Seminar)”

  1. So I guess nothing interesting happened this past retreat. ;) Dear Matthew (or Stephen), what are your thoughts on going dutch on a first date, particularly if you don’t know your date well enough? For example, let’s say I meet a guy named Bob standing near the avocado section of a supermarket, and we exchange details and schedule a coffee date. If I decide to call Bob at least two days before the date to say, “Listen Bob – I think I’m going to pay for my own coffee and you just pay for your drink”, am I giving Bob the impression that I could be a potentially selfish partner, even though that’s not my intention?

    1. Men these days do so little.
      Last few dates; I commuted to meet them.
      Never expected them to stand up to greet me, and they didn’t.
      I spend time & money on hair, makeup, lotions,
      scents, uncomfortable clothes & shoes; they are in comfy polos or jeans and sneakers.
      Never hear how nice I look (even though hostesses & waitstaff commented on my pretty dress or feminine shoes.)
      Men never did say anything like that.

      A man leaned in and boasted, “I make a lot of money”… yet I ordered a cup of soup. I always bring cash denominations to pay my share without fuss, and still he says, “aw! They didn’t separate the bills!”

      Men have to do so little, and they do even less than any other time in history.

      It’s about respect and an open heart and soul, not money. I earn good money and treat people and tip well.

      Women HAVE to look good, and a man who takes money from a woman (for a cup of soup) is NOT a ‘man.’

      Get over your entitlement. Make an effort; be a gentleman, say something nice. You never have itchy bras, constricting outfits, sore feet, diets, waxes, facial masques etc as it is. They’ve never had it so easy, yet still do less than ever.

      In the Don Draper era, men wore suits and tipped hats every time a lady entered the elevator. I’ve opened doors for all people and men have pushed by without a humane thank you and I’m sick of it.

      And I’m supposed to ‘want you physically’ after that lack of respect and effort? Why? Leave my heart alone and call a hooker if that’s all you want.

      Men…be Men again!!!
      And the “oooh, I don’t want a relationship?” Statistics have shown men gain better nutrition, emotional
      stability and support, because they do less well than women when they are solitary.

      Case in point: ever seen one who has a mere cold?

      Why are headlines: how to make him like you: how to
      get him to commit, how to compliment men, how to get his number… How about remedial notes on male chivalry? Haven’t seen a plethora of women finding loving life mates after all these videos & ‘tips’, by the way.

  2. I pretty much do not agree. I am also in a different age group than you. Most men make more money than women. Plain and simple. Still a man’s world when it comes to that. I do offer. I have to tell you if the man I’m with pays for the bill without question, that is the man I will go out with again. I am old fashioned in this way. Women contribute in other ways. It’s all a balancing act. Maybe this advice is more for the younger generations.

  3. I’m with you Matthew. I have always offered to pay half or I’ll pay next time we go out. I do the same thing with my girl friends. I actually watch /read your videos/blogs as I am very curious and interested in the psychology of “romantic’ relationships and in particular your very successful marketing strategy. All power to you.

  4. Hi Mathew, maybe you can help me understand something. I have my ex stuck in my head. Everything reminds me of him and I don’t want him back. But the thoughts are so random. I think about things that I should have done differently and what could have happen if I did those things differently. The thing is it’s been almost 5 years since we broke up and I know he has moved on, so why can’t I?

  5. This is exactly opposite to what research shows, that men learn to love through sacrifice, the process of winning a challenge, and taking care of his love interest and investing in her and their together time. If a man views a woman as his buddy, he is not treasuring her in the way that the women can be at her best and the man can be at his best. They should not be “equal” because their strengths and love languages are different.

  6. I find nothing controversial with this at all!!! I ALWAYS offer to pay halves on a first date. I would consider it extremely rude not to! Of course, if a guy absolutely insists on paying, I cheekily say “Well, the next time is on me,” and smile graciously, This shows two things. 1: Certainty…I’m not asking “Well…if I see you again, the next time is on me”: (attractive trait, yes, Matthew?) 2: Respect. I appreciate you and your time and I will reciprocate the gesture.
    Enough said!!!

  7. Well, I think the first few dates – at least – the male should pay. But maybe this attitude comes from the era I was brought up in. In that period, men received a higher pay rate, and it was expected that they would treat the woman. My mother’s words of wisdom were that the man should pay for a lady’s company – and she wasn’t someone who slept around at all.
    I hear what your saying, though, Matthew, and I agree with it. But it’s hard to overcome the conditioning I was brought up with. In the past, though, I’ve always been generous with boyfriends and often brought them gifts. However, I still feel that the man who will take me out for a wonderful night is the one who is showing a higher calibre of classiness and being the Prince Charming most girls long for IF he can afford it. If he can’t, then that’s totally no problem and whether I continue with the friendship only depends on his sensitivity, inert goodness, maturity, sense of humour and things we have in common.

    1. Wendy, You say “My mother’s words of wisdom were that the man should pay for a lady’s company” Seriously? I thought it was two friends going out, not a prostitute and John. Your attitude is disturbing if not unethical. Who wants to be “friends” with someone like you who EXPECTS the man to pay. Who wants to be “friends” when one friend EXPECTS the other friend to do something she refuses to do. What is worse is that you almost seem to hold such a RIDICULOUS “value” as a psoitive. That RIDICULOUS attitude came from an era when women were at HOME baking bread and doing housework,did you forget THAT? You seem to cherish and linger in some weird “value” but I bet you reject the other so called “values” of that same era and same genre.

  8. Hey Matt,

    I think you are spot on with women need to offer. Thanks for saying it out loud!
    However as you assumed that the lady was earning less than the guy she is dating, something got me wondering…. What if it’s the other way around? What shall she do then?

    It makes me wonder, because I’m in this particular situation right now, where the guy I like earns less then I do. And I’d still like to do stuff that’s out of his budget… What’s then? I don’t want to hurt him by suggesting doing something together, he most probably can’t afford, but I’d still like to do it with him. How would a guy take such a thing?

    Thanks for answering.

  9. Upset with this advice. I can’t afford to go out period!!! I started seeing someone, he asked me out to dinner, I said sorry to be rude but who is paying coz I can’t afford it, his reply was that he was paying as he doesn’t ask someone to come out then expect them to pay. A few days later he asked me to join him for a drink, same again I said I had no money, he said he’d pay. So what do I do 3 – 4 months down the line? Finish with him because I can’t afford to pay???

    1. You could make sandwiches for a picnic, bring hot chocolate to a sporting event, make cookies. There are many small ways you could show you care and contribute.

    2. Hey Angie,

      have you considered the fact that maybe it isn’t Matts’ advice that’s upsetting you but rather your current financial situation?

      I understand your frustration, we’ve all been there at some point(s) in our life.

      However, I’m not sure you’re asking the right questions.

      Below are just a few ideas I can think of ad hoc which have worked for me, as I go about answering your concern.
      – Question: When can I afford to spare 5 bucks for coffees for the both of us? Next time he invites you on a date, let him know how much you’ve enjoyed your time together. Being specific is a real bonus. Then tell him in a *playful* way that next time you owe him a coffee, “the best one in town,” for example. You just happen to know about this really cool place or have a favorite one you would like to take him to. What he’ll remember is that there is a next time, and you’re trying in proportion to your means but not solely, because it’s your favorite or the best coffee, which makes it special. We all know a bottle of wine is not coffee but yet it is in a situation like this, because it’s not the price tag or the type of the beverage that which we should focus on. It’s what we are prepared to give during our time together having that drink or even a meal.
      – Can I come up with ideas that don’t cost anything? Look up free events/shows you think both of you would enjoy. He’ll see the effort you’ve put into organising this and maybe it is also a good way to show him how creative you can be! As Matt explains in his video, it’s about him seeing that you’re *trying*. This doesn’t always have to mean that it *has* to be a financial contribution. Besides, this might help you both feel good about him inviting you for a drink – in return- sur place or later on.
      – Could I maybe contribute in another way? Couple of weeks or months into your dates, you could, for instance, offer to cook for him. He provides or you both go buy the ingredients and you cook for him or even together. Best is if you cook something he’s previously told you he loves eating, this will show him that you pay attention to his likings. Or just simply surprise him with one of your signature dishes. Worst case scenario, even a homemade pizza would do. ;) It doesn’t really matter, as long as you’ve made the effort to prepare it. Also, it’s a bit of a one for the price of two, since you’d have to eat anyway… However, here, he gets the joy of having someone special cooking for him and you both spending time together, with good music and a nice bottle of something.

      Think of it as Christmas. When we were children, our parents would buy us gifts but we would make theirs, a drawing for instance or maybe even perform something. Our gifts weren’t paid for, yet, this didn’t make them any less valuable to our parents, on the contrary. Even today, we give gifts within the scope of what is possible, for each one of us. But let it be said that buying someone a drink is the easiest part, therefore, it’s the effort and the thought behind everything that counts. Thus, do not feel bad for not being able to repay him the equal sum of how much you drink when he invites.

      “So what do I do 3 – 4 months down the line? Finish with him because I can’t afford to pay???”

      If you keep acting like it is a loss for you, he will most probably end up seeing it the same way and finish it with you before you could ever even afford to pay.

      Sorry to be so crude but if you remain this honest yet rude, like you say, there is a chance that he might see your behaviour as “dependant.” If you keep asking who’s paying and if it isn’t the guy, then we can’t see each other, this man is going to see you being defined by your OWN current financial situation, aka, that’s also being dependant if not on him. What is worse, he’d have no control over this side of the spectrum. IOW, in a way, you’d be punishing him for even trying to get to know you more, because you’d be depriving him of seeing you while you are relying on false modesty.

      Instead, what you would want to convey to him is that no matter your financial situation, you can handle it the best way possible. Knowing how to handle your finances is not based in accordance to how much cash flow you have available but rather how you handle your life quality based on the extent of what you cannot afford but wished you could.

      Don’t you want to give him the impression that in the future you are the type of woman who knows how to handle both situations well?

      If he sees you dealing with this with playfulness and conviction that you know what you are doing and this is just temporary, as you will find a way to get out of this situation – this could only be a good indication for him that in the future should he ever struggle, you out of all other women would know how to handle such a situation. Men strive for financial stability but success is never a guarantee. Therefore, meeting someone who knows not only how to get us out of a critical situation but also knows how to manage the transition in a positive way, is I believe an important skill to cultivate as a team mate.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best with your dates.

      M x

    3. Ugh, I feel your pain. If you like him, go out with him. Money/jobs come and go, and a lot of people are getting screwed right now. I hope your situation improves because it’s a hard way to live, all around.

      If I were you, I’d ask him to take you on a hike, or to a park. If he likes you and wants to court you, he’ll appreciate knowing ways to do this that won’t make you feel bad. That gives him something to work with. If you can afford to pack a picnic (even just a little snack like bread, cheese, and grapes), you could surprise him. When you’re comfortable spending time at his place, do that.

      If he knows that he has low/no-cost options for spending time with you, and prefers to do things with you that cost money, then at that point it’s up to him to pay for it. Don’t ever feel bad about that.

      1. I think it doesn’t matter how much money you have but your sense of generosity. which can be shown by everything from a smile to how you treat someone.

        Also not being able to afford stuff is not a big deal, unless you make it out to be. It’s not a big deal

        If you need more dispensable money, find a way to earn it. No use moping or resisting any situational reality

        To be honest, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable going out all the time to where he wants to go – I’d probably do the hiking, picnics, Netflix etc. and occasionally go out and let him pay if he wishes to. I think it’s important to hold your own.

  10. I don’t mind paying. I just don’t want to get into a power struggle over it. Men always want to do big, expensive things neither of us can afford. It’s not like being with your best friend because your best friend isn’t trying to impress you this way. And your best friend doesn’t want to get you into bed. I’m not saying men pay for dates to later get sex. But this man is interested in you as more than a friend and he is hoping that you like him, hoping that you’re impressed with him and that will lead to romance later on.

    He wants to sweep a woman off her feet. Honestly, I’d rather split and always, always offer to do so. I have never insisted because men have gotten so stubborn about it that I back down. So my experience is different.

    Once past the first few dates, we split or take turns. And I’m fine with that. It works best when me and the man are on the same economic scale. Men with more money want to do stuff they can afford and then it’s not quite an equal partnership. But even then, there are other non-monetary ways you can contribute. But I must admit I don’t really date men that much higher on the economic scale than I. I like men who are humble and understand where I am.

  11. This is how I would be on a date however what if the guy is traditional and gets offended that you offer to pay your share. Then you lose out by being nice! But I guess if it was that offensive then you’re probably better off without him lol.

  12. This is really interesting. My mom told me, not every man treat you can take, because that is nothing free in this world. If you expect the man to pay all your bills, then be ready to do smtg in return when he asks

  13. I have a different possible take on who pays on a first date. I offer to pay my share after the meal but before he accepts my offer, he should consider a few things. You see, when a guy asks me out, lets say, to a nice dinner. I stay real to myself but i take care in getting ‘ready’ for the date . I dress nicely…perhaps i buy a new accessory or top. I put on gorgeous shoes, might have my nails done, spray on my nicest perfume, then do my own hair and makeup, using my best cosmetics and using special hair oil to keep my hair soft and glossy. I have spent up to 2 hours in prep, not to impress with ‘faking’ who I am but by being nice and showing I care about myself and take care of myself. ..and think enough of him, to do this!!. I think my date is worth the time and money it takes. By the time, I meet him for dinner, i might have already paid 100.00 just getting ready. Most guys? They might dress a bit nicer, but the manicures, make up etc arent needed. So sure, I can pay for my dinner on top of all that–a couple of times, but I think I am worth taking out to dinner. Most men don’t consider differences in salaries when dividing a bill. Each pays their own. I couldn’t consider continuing dating a man who likes to go out fancy and pay for expensive nights for himself but expect an ongoing dating situation to be 50/50. So, yes, I offer, but a real gentleman takes time to get to know me and considers that when asking me out and if he continues to want to see me,

  14. Although, I will offer to pay… But, I will definitely move on from the man who ask me first – money to pay – …. It’s not that I don’t want to pay, but I dislike calculative man.

    Can you imagine, this is only a food or drink during dating time… What will happen next after having baby… Maybe without shame he will say, give me money for the diaper or milk lol

  15. That was awesome! Yes, I’ve always handled it this way…. Once you become a “steady” relationship, it’s always nice to offer to pay too… My goodness.. You are both working individuals…both should take turns paying.. It’s only fair..

  16. Share the bill…keep things even…if he offers or insist to pay then you pick up the next bill…

  17. Two things in that segment had huge impact. Treat your partner as how you would treat your best friend and the jesture of trying. Which you are correct. We always seem to stumble all over ourselves in a fight to treat to a drink or dinner because they are important & we want to show our appreciation of them. In regards to trying, it doesn’t matter how much or how little, an effort that shows one is trying to lighter a burden of any sort, shows respect, affection & integrity. I enjoy your advice. You can be very brilliant at times

  18. Excellent points by the ladies who’ve commented. A, Angie, & Wendy. Hope Matt responds back on this.

    I feel a woman could offer to pay for a small things after a bit (if the man likes to be in-charge) and it goes a long way, as it’s good gesture. For example: Parking when on dinner. Tipping the valet guy/valet itself. A Food street dessert/icecream if they’re talking a stroll, etc.

    It shouldn’t become a power/ego/victim play. And most men do understand women do not make more than them, even when they’re counterparts in the same company.

    I had been with someone with whom I paid initially on some dates then, lost job and was in bit of a crunch so couldn’t afford to pay/ co-pay and he knew about no-earning situation. Yet he asked me to pay indirectly by telling me a story of how his friend’s GF pays for his phone and dates. Being a person of integrity, it made me feel guilty that i couldn’t share the ‘load’.

    It speaks volumes about the man, I suffered a lot after being married to him, I had to use the pocket money I got from my Dad to buy personal-use things.
    Please don’t take above words out of context – “suffering” was inclusive of having to rely on Dad while being married to a man with a good Bank job, and many other things that happened as result of his irresponsibility.

  19. This is the most ridiculous advice to women. No wonder men are getting lazy to pursue women because of this type of advice women is getting. If a man invite a woman for dates is because he is trying to impress. His goal is to get the pussy why she will offer to pay half. That advice should be good once you are in a relationship with the man.

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