How does paying on the first date work these days? If my date wants to pitch in does that mean she doesn’t like me? Help!” – Luke

Luke came to me with this question two weeks ago and I thought it was an interesting one. I hear this a lot with my male clients, and today, it’s hard to figure out how to read these situations. All guys (and ladies) have their own view of how this scenario should go down, but for the sake of this post, I’ll refer to Luke’s question specifically.

Here’s the deal: the social expectations around paying on the first date have changed rapidly in recent years. Nowadays, it depends on the situation rather than the social norm. That can be confusing, especially in terms of guys trying to understand their dates.

When it comes to paying on the first date a woman’s social and financial views, and even her family upbringing, have the most bearing. She may insist on paying her half because she might make more than you do, or it’s 2016 so why the hell shouldn’t she? On the other hand, she might think it’s gentlemanly and even expected for the guy to pay on the first date. Either way, this often has little to do with whether she’s into you and more to do with her worldview and values.

If you’d like to make sure you come across as confident and aware in every situation, gauge her reaction when the check comes. If she doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about pitching in then go ahead and cover it – she might put up a “polite fight” but she’s okay with you paying. If she’s going for it confidently, and would like to pitch in don’t view this as a bad thing! Her views on paying just aren’t traditional.

Note: how you feel about your date pitching in, or not pitching in is a topic I’ll cover in a future post. Stay tuned.