Should Guys Treat On The First Date

Imagine going on a first date with a guy you’re interested in. You have fun talking to him while enjoying a delicious meal, and just when the two of you are about to leave the restaurant, the awkward dilemma follows ‒ should he be paying for the whole meal?

While society created the norm that guys should be the ones paying the bill on the first date, not everyone believes that it is the case. Here, 7 Singaporean girls share their opinions on whether a guy should treat on the first date or not. 

1. “Getting treated feels like I owe them something”

Should Guys Treat On The First DateImage courtesy of Nicole

“I don’t expect guys to treat me on the first date because it feels like I owe them something. For example, to go on another date with them especially if I don’t want to. As I have the financial capacity to pay for my own meal, I don’t want people to think I can’t afford it and I’m using them to get free food. 

If a guy insists on paying, sure, I wouldn’t mind that, and I see it as a sweet gesture depending on the situation. But if he uses it against me, then I’ll have no problem transferring him back the money I owe him. 

I respect guys who suggest going Dutch as they tend to have a certain pressure on them to pay for everything because of societal expectations. It could be very tough on them financially, and I think there is no shame in wanting to go Dutch. I would rather find it shameless if you expect someone to pay for you instead. 

Also, whether the guy treats me or not, it won’t affect my decision on going on a second date with him.”

– Nicole, 24

2. “Guys should treat only if it is a date-date”

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“To me, meeting a guy through a dating app for the first time doesn’t count as a date ‒ technically, it is still two strangers meeting for the first time. That’s why I feel that guys should only treat if it is a “date-date”, when two people have mutual feelings towards each other, or when they are officially a couple.  

Adding on, I think that it is better for females to think about going Dutch to avoid any disappointment. After all, no guy is obligated to treat you especially when the two of you are not an item.  

Back when I was still dating my husband, he treated me to almost every meal, only when we became attached officially. Before that, we saw each other as two friends hanging out, so we always paid for our own meals. 

It’s quite shiok to get treated, but if the meal is really expensive, I think it is common courtesy to offer to pay for desserts or drinks later.”

– Helen, 28 

3. “Guys don’t have to treat entirely on the first date”

Image courtesy of Cindy

“I wouldn’t expect a guy to treat everything on the first date, but if he offers to pay for the meal, I would take it that he is interested in me. I’m the kind of person who would pay for desserts or drinks if we continue the date after a meal. In a way, he wouldn’t be treating me entirely since we would be sharing the cost for the entire day of activities. 

From my experience, a guy offering to treat is a sign that he is interested in you, so I think it is a good gauge of how the relationship will develop in the future. If he decides to go Dutch, I would probably consider it as a sign that the date didn’t go well or he’s just not that into me. 

I don’t think I would ever offer to pay on the first date, probably because I find the act of wanting to treat gentlemanly and charming.”

– Cindy, 29

4. “Treating on the first date is an indicator of his interest in you”

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“If a guy offers to pay on the first date, it is a good indicator that he is interested in you. No one would want to pay for someone they are not planning to meet for a second time as it is a waste of money. To me, offering to pay also suggests the guy’s generosity to the people around him. 

That said, I am also fine with paying since I have a comfortable income, so whether he offers to pay or not is more of a way to observe his personality.   

I’ve heard horror stories from my friends whose dates calculated and split the bill right down to a single cent. That is a dating red flag of mine, and I wouldn’t want to date a calculative and stingy guy. 

Plus, I dislike guys who assume that we are going Dutch without even asking me. It is really important that the guy at least has the courtesy of asking how the bill should be settled. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go Dutch, but a better impression would’ve been made on me if he offers to pay. Since first impressions matter a lot, offering to pay on dates is one of the aspects that I consider when I want to meet him for a second date or more, alongside his personality and the way we interact.”

– Gesella, 24 

5. “Splitting the bill makes me more comfortable”

Image courtesy of Elizabeth

“I feel more comfortable when I split the bill on the first date, so I’m not a strong supporter of guys having to treat on the first date. I never really know how to respond when someone treats me to something, even to those I’m close to. I think it’s pretty similar to not knowing how to react when someone gives a gift. 

My impression of my date won’t be based on trivial things like whether he offers to pay. Judging someone’s character and personality goes way beyond whether someone is open to giving you a treat. 

But then again, there is a difference between being stingy and not offering a treat. If the guy is stingy, my impression of him would probably change.

As much as I am comfortable with splitting the bill on the first date, it has never occurred to me to offer to treat the guy instead. It is quite sad as I feel that society has deemed the gesture as a norm for guys because it just comes off as being a gentleman.”

– Elizabeth, 19 

6. “It depends on how much I enjoyed the date”

Should Guys Treat On The First DateFor illustrative purposes only

“I went on dates when I initiated to go Dutch, just because I felt that I won’t be meeting the guy for a second time. Since I was not interested in him, I believed it was only right for me to pay my share of the meal. Sometimes, I also use this method to subtly hint to the guy that I am not into him. 

However, if the guy is really interesting and someone I want to get to know better, I tend to wait for him to offer to pay for the meal. When that happens, I would assume that he is also interested in me. Normally for the next meal or meet up, I would offer to pay because it is only fair that he gets treated too.  

It is sad to see how society has made it such a way that guys have to pay on the first date to be considered a “gentleman”. There are many other ways to do so like holding the door, or walking on the side of the pathway closer to the road.  

Then again, because of this norm, I have to admit that I’ve also never thought about treating a guy on a first date. Perhaps in the future, this dynamic might change, and I think it would be rather interesting.”

– Lai Yun, 22 

7. “The gesture is nice, but he doesn’t have to treat”

Should Guys Treat On The First DateImage courtesy of Jou

“The gesture of treating on a first date leaves a good impression on many girls, but for me, I don’t think it is necessary for the guy to pay for everything. Normally, I’d ask to share the bill, but if he insists on treating me, I would later offer to pay for drinks. I feel that it makes sense for me to pay my share for something since I have a job and the financial ability to do so. 

I have friends who would expect guys to pay because they know that they have a higher paying job than them. Since the guy earns more, the girls believe that it is acceptable to expect the guys to treat them. While that logic is not entirely wrong, I still feel that it does not align well with my personal values. 

Whether a guy treats me on the first date or not, my decision to go on a second date with him will not be affected. I place more importance on the vibe that we have, and if the both of us click well and connect a certain way, then sure, I’ll look forward to our next date.”

– Jou, 28

These Reasons Show That Expectations For Guys To Treat On The First Date Still Exists

Although it is true that society has progressed a lot from before, the expectations for guys to treat on the first date still exists. While the best way to avoid disappointment is to never take things for granted, some girls still feel that it is always a nice gesture to be treated by guys. 

Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Cover: Images courtesy of Jou, Nicole, Elizabeth

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