I Offered to Pay and He Let Me: Here's What You Should Consider Now

NOV 28, 2022 AT 07:48 AM


It is your first date with a guy who you think is great! You have chatted for hours, over a delicious meal and a few drinks. You don’t want to overstay, and it is getting late, and you are hoping to pick up the conversation on a second date, maybe? He signals for the bill. You take out your purse and offer to pay.

It is 2022 after all, women are earning decent salaries in a wide variety of professions, and everyone is equal and independent, right? You don’t want him to think that you are a damsel in distress that needs to be looked after. At the same time, however, you have watched enough old movies, heard your parents and their contemporaries chatting, and know what the word chivalry means.


A little part of you hopes that he will refuse and pay the full bill. He looks at you, nods in agreement, thanks you, and pushes the bill over to your side of the table. You feel a little disappointed, but unsure if you have missed something in the updated book of societal etiquette.

Your enjoyable evening has been tainted somehow, and although just a few minutes ago you were entertaining the thought that this may be the man of your dreams, you must wonder if you have just wasted the last few hours on a player.  

Let’s see what others have commented on this conundrum. John Gillis, M.S. from Brandeis University had this to say when someone asked this question on Quora. “In this day and age, etiquette still applies. You extend the invitation, you treat.” In that case, assuming, this new man had invited you on this date, it would then definitely be up to him to pay for the meal, whether you have offered to pay or not.

Verily Magazine had an article in their July 26, 2017 edition entitled ‘Gentlemen Speak: You’re Not Wrong for Wanting Him to Pay on a Date. Your instincts are spot on.’ The article mentions a few interesting facts from a man’s point of view.

Firstly, men would like to take the first step, to entice a woman, and then follow through with the whole plan, which involves inviting her out on a date, planning it, where they will go, and paying the bill. He then has the dubious satisfaction of assuming that she owes him something.

You are probably not completely wrong in assuming that that may be some action at the end of the evening, but we will not entertain that train of thought now. Suffice to say that a man likes to feel that he has concluded the date in his own way. 

Earlier in 2017, Time Magazine conducted a survey that had a rather conclusive result. 85% of the men they surveyed, still think that they should foot the bill on an initial date, and more than 72% of women felt the same way.

It seems that if both parties had a fun time, and the date was a success, a man doesn’t really care how much he spent, as it is more about getting to know his date than the cost of the meal and drinks. 

In this day and age of internet introductions, chatting apps, speed dating, and other forms of modern relationship dynamics, it seems when it comes to good, old traditional face-to-face dates, the old norms still apply. 

Let’s look at a few legitimate reasons why a man may accept his date paying the bill, especially if it is the first date before you assume that this great guy is a total flake or just not into you. Nowadays, men don’t always make their intentions clear when asking someone out on a date.

Back in the days when women seldom went out on their own or with female friends, especially in the evening, a man had to actually ask her out, when he was expected to pick her up, take her out, and definitely pay for it all, and drop her back at home again.

With just about everyone owning a car, these days, or at least comfortable traveling on their own, many people meet up at the venue. Both parties freely invite another person to go out for a bite to eat or a movie or festival without the expectation that one or the other should pay. In this instance, it would be prudent to check with a guy before going out, whether he is asking you on a real date or if you are just going to hang out together.

Normally in the case of a ’hang out,’ however, both men and women prefer to each pay their own way. This way there are no expectations, follow-throughs, or disappointments if the one you go out with is just not your type.

If they are, however, there is still enough time to progress to a more formal date situation where social etiquette is more appropriate. Many couples, these days, may even skip the dating step and the relationship progresses from casual spending time together until it becomes mutually evident to both parties that the relationship has gone to the next level. 

Another acceptable reason, for a man to let a woman pay the bill, maybe how a woman portrays herself. Some men are intimidated by strong, independent women, especially those who are in positions of power in their jobs.

Some men would rather allow a woman to pay than risk insulting her, by assuming that if he pays, he is trying to undermine her. On a similar track, if a woman is much older and wealthier than her date, and especially if she has made it clear that she is in control, he may not feel the need to argue with her about paying the bill. 

The debate rages on as norms change to keep pace with our hectic lifestyles, gender fluidity, and changing societies. So, is there a correct answer, so that we can put this question to bed? Apparently not.

Elite singles reported in 2019, that most men still advocate that they should pay on a first date, conceding to let their dates pay on subsequent outings. A number of women seemed a little unsure of giving a definite answer, although a sizeable group agreed with the men; and a fair number of people preferred to stay safe by suggesting that each person pays for themselves.

It seems that unless there is a good reason a man may agree to his date paying the bill, he can still feel obliged to bring out his wallet and politely decline an offer to pay. 

For lady readers, try not to write him off just yet. Normally, he will show his true colors soon. It is possible that in his anxiety to take you on the date of your life, he may have left his bank card, which he gave to his daughter (or sister), to buy that beautiful outfit she had her heart set on, on the coffee table at home, and he is too embarrassed to tell you.

If, though, he makes a habit of going to the restroom or taking a phone call when it is time to pay the bill, you have every right to kick him to the curb. He is not worth your time or money!