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Who Should Pick Up the Check on a First Date?

BY: Halley Lawrence | Oct 22, 2014
Who Should Pick Up the Check on a First Date?

Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to the age-old question of who should pay on a first date. Some believe in going Dutch, while others prefer to make the waiter play “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” Regardless of what you believe, it can definitely cause some awkwardness if you and your date differ on the matter.

We asked three etiquette experts for a clear answer as to who should grab the check after dinner or drinks. Here are their answers, which are surprisingly unanimous.


Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and owner-founder of The Protocol School of Texas:

“The rule of thumb is: if you invite, you pay [and] you tip. The person that invited is also going to be the one to pick up the check and leave the tip. If you notice that the other person isn’t going for their wallet, however, use your best judgment. Don’t show up with zero money.”

Mister Manners (real name: Thomas P. Farley), the nationally renowned etiquette expert behind What Manners Most:

“My input on that is that it depends who the date asker was. … They should pay. Regardless, the person being treated should definitely offer and not just sit there and smile—make at least a fake grab for the wallet. And say something like ‘The next one is my treat/let me get coffee/let me get dessert.’”

Patricia Rossi, author of Everyday Etiquette and NBC Daytime’s national manners correspondent:

“The person that does the inviting is supposed to do the paying. That being said … rules are bent sometimes. I think it’s nice to offer to pay half. Or you could say ‘I want to do this again, let me pay next time.’”

The Verdict: The person who asked for the date picks up the check.

Photo by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon

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