You’re career is going really well, you’re independent, happy, and you know how to take care of yourself. But what does that mean when it comes to dating? Everyone seems to follow different rules. It can be confusing when you’re unsure about dating protocol (and whether there’s even a protocol to begin with).
So this month on the Friday Takeaway, we’re going to have some fun and resolve some confusion! Each week, I’m going to discuss those nagging little FAQs that often come up as a relationship progresses.
Our first issue usually arises as soon as the first date gets underway: Should you offer to pay?
Men react differently to this; some are flattered and the gesture is appreciated, others are completely turned off. So how can you know? Will he appreciate it? Find it offensive? Do you pitch in on the first date? Second date? Third…?
Here’s the truth (and I’m sure it will come as no surprise): There are no rules. There’s only the empowering combination of the way you’d like to be treated and what feels right to you.
I get it. You want to prove to the man you’re with that you’re not there for a free dinner. You want to show you can stand on your own two feet. You’re a partner. A woman to be taken seriously for the future. Of course. So when the check comes, what happens? Your palms start to sweat and you find yourself reaching for your purse. But, before you break out the wallet, stop and ask yourself one important question:
Why am I offering to pay?
If you’re offering because of the above mentioned fears, an insecurity, or because you’re trying to prove your worth — save your money. That’s all in your head, and is going to be lost on the guy. It’s actually the way you personally live your life, the manner in which you conduct yourself, your self-esteem, and the easy confidence you exude that will earn a man’s respect. Not the fifty dollars you ever so politely place on the table, and definitely not the way you wrestle him for the check!
Think about it this way: would you want someone treating you to dinner as a way of impressing you? What about as a way of showing you he’s worthy of your time? Or, would you rather someone treat you to a nice evening out simply because it’s his pleasure to do so. See? Same goes for you: it’s not if and when you pay. It’s why you pay.
A lot of women I meet muscle for the check, or worse yet, they actually go so far as to make a run for the kitchen hoping to grab the waiter before he presents the check to the table. Thinking this will really impress the new man they’re out with! Trust me, this backfires every time. You may think it spells independence, but all it spells to a man is that you’re someone who needs to be in control.
When should you offer to pay?
When you feel like it. Yes, feel like it. Not when you think you should. Do it because you want to, and not because you need to. Do you see the difference? (And never make a dinner check a platform for keeping score.)
Remember, men love to court you. Let them.
A gracious thank you the next day is more than enough, and it surprisingly goes a lot further than offering up any money.
Don’t forget to check back right here on Sparks! each Friday of the month of October. I’ll be doing the entire series called “How Soon is Too Soon…” Next week, I’ll cover “how soon is to soon” to introduce him to your friends and family. You won’t want to miss that one!
Until next time…