Who pays for a first date when you met online?

Dear Gwyn,

I have a first date with a guy I met on an online dating site.  He invited me to dinner this Friday; am I expected to pay?

Woohoo! First dates are so much fun.  Even the dates with duds make for an entertaining story with your girlfriends later.  But the stress, trepidation and what-ifs leading up to the date can be such a headache.  Let’s try to alleviate at least one of those off the bat… who pays for the first date of on online date?

Even though for many of us our lives have moved to the digital lifestyle, most of what applies traditionally translates to online fairly seamlessly.  And online dating is no exception.  So here are the etiquette basics of who pays for a date:

The one to extend the invitation pays for the date.

If he asked you to go on the date, you can expect that he will pay. But just because you expect him to pay, don’t forget your manners and at least offer to pay for half when the bill comes around.  It’s also important to be able to pay for the entire date in the off chance that your prince turns out to be just a frog.

If the date is casual, expect to pay for your half.

Many times online dating starts with a casual meet and great at a coffee shop or after work drink.  The invitation is usually mutually pursued and set and therefore should be paid for by both parties. Perhaps your date will sincerely offer to pick up the tab (and what girl doesn’t love the gesture), but by no means expect this and certainly plan to pay for your portion of the date.

Put on your heels and go have a fabulous Friday night!