It’s that moment in the first date that so many couples tend to dread. If you are on the first date and then the bill comes, it can send a sense of panic upon things. It doesn’t matter who you are, how the date has gone, or what you think of this person, for the way that the bill is handled and who pays for things can set up an immediate expectation. It may cause you to feel a certain way or you may worry that they are thinking something that they may not be—so how do you handle this common occurrence and ensure that it sends the right message once and for all?
The first date is a great opportunity for you to get to know each other. You can talk to each other and enjoy a meal or some other sort of time together. You may really be enjoying their company and finding that you could be a match, and therefore you don’t want to let paying the bill disturb that. You want to be sure that you handle it the right way and watch for their cues too. The way that somebody handles paying the bill is an extension of who they are, along the same lines with how they treat the help. Look for their reaction and be in control of yours. There are some considerations that can help you to be prepared and also know what exactly to look for.
Though you may not necessarily want to pay for the bill, there are times when you really should. Consider how the date was set up and who approached who. Think of what you can see ahead for next steps and ensure that you set the right tone with your actions. Yes, this is an important part of the first date, and here are some things to think through to ensure that it goes well and lends itself to a second date.
Who planned the date in the first place?
Think of who approached who and who set up the date for this matters greatly. Even if you are a more traditional person, if you set up the date, then you should pay for it. The person who picks the place and makes the initial plans should try to pick up the bill. At least making the attempt to pay it says that you are not in this just for a free meal. The person who plans it takes this burden, so then let them plan the next date and then pick up the tab without question.
Do you feel like there are expectations associated with them paying?
If they pay for the bill, are you going to feel like you need to get physical with them? Do you feel this weird sense of having to repay them? Does it seem as though you feel they are entitled to something if they pay the bill? These are all a bit ridiculous in their thought process, so start by dismissing them. Know that if they pick up the bill there should be no expectations associated with that—and if there are then you are not with the right person to begin with anyhow!
Is it a natural reaction or forced upon you as to who pays?
What is not normal is to argue over paying the bill. If you really want to pick up the bill, then it shouldn’t evolve into a heated disagreement. If it is natural for one of you to pick up the bill and it’s not a forced situation then go with it. This may evolve naturally, but it most certainly should never turn into an argument. Be calm and go in ready to approach this the right way, for that matters here greatly.
Read also: 4 Reasons to Be Yourself on the First Date
Does it set the right tone or do you feel it may send the wrong message?
If you pick an expensive venue and then don’t offer to pay the bill, then you may be sending the wrong message. If you try to pick up the bill at an inexpensive restaurant that they picked, then you may insult them. Consider the venue, who picked it, how the date is going, and how this whole interaction occurs. If they really want to pay then let them, but offer to get it next time.
Who pays on the all important first date evolves into a really involved situation at times. Just go in ready to expect anything and be ready to discuss this. Know that there are no expectations and that if they pay this time, then you offer next time to establish a true partnership.