What Does ‘Going Dutch’ Mean and When Is It Acceptable?

man and woman going dutch on a date

Without a doubt, dating can be incredibly pricey. From dinner and drinks to flowers and presents, courtship costs a lot of money. Additionally, it can be disheartening to fork out cash for two when you’re unsure whether you’ll ever see that person again. What if they’re using you for free entertainment?

This is why many people ask who should pay when going on a date or should we be “going dutch”. Should one person foot the bill, or are both parties paying their way? Social conventions from the 1950s required “the guy” to pay the bill. Times have since evolved, with dating equality becoming the norm in many Western countries like the US.

Unfortunately, even though times have changed, there is still much stigma surrounding who is responsible for paying for a date. Nowadays, deciding who will pay for what is always somewhat awkward, regardless of how well your date is progressing.

This is especially true when it comes to first dates when individuals are still becoming familiar with one another and are concerned about leaving a negative impression. So, who then should pay for a date – first or otherwise?

Additionally, is there ever a time when the Dutch Method is acceptable on a date? Read on to uncover everything you need to know about the Dutch method and if there is ever a time when sharing the cost is sufficient.

What Is the Dutch Method?

The Dutch Method, also called “Going Dutch,” is a term for situations in which each person pays for themselves rather than one person footing the entire bill. The phrase is derived from Western eating etiquette in restaurants, where each participant is responsible for paying for their meal.

Although “Going Dutch” isn’t a standard dating procedure, dividing the cost equally is becoming more popular to save time and be fair if expenses are comparable. However, splitting the bill equally when one person gets three beverages and a steak meal but another only has one drink and an entrée can be unjust.

So ensure that fairness is practiced when splitting the bill on a date by ordering something comparable to what your date will eat or do.

Is There Ever a Time When Going Dutch Is Acceptable on a Date?

The obvious response is “yes.” As we mentioned early, the Dutch method is becoming popular in the modern dating scene as it is seen as more fair. It is unfair to expect one person to pay the entire bill – even on a date – unless they have offered.

Yet, it can be challenging to determine when sharing the cost is acceptable on a date. So here are two reasons why new prospective partners everywhere should embrace this contemporary dating method as a habit.

If It’s An Informal Date – Go Dutch

The Dutch Method is generally the best course of action if a date is informal or you’re unsure whether it qualifies as a “date.” No expectations or feelings are hurt if both individuals pay for their meals and activities.

So if you’re unsure if the person you’re meeting up with considers your get-togethers dates, it might be best to “go dutch.” Pay your way until you know it’s definitely a date.

When There Is No Connection

Regardless of whether the other party offers to cover the entire meal, it is polite to split the cost when you are with someone you don’t have feelings for and have no intention of seeing again. It would be rude to make your date pay for your mistake.

This would be similar to asking for a free meal or drink. So don’t be that guy or gal; split the bill so you can move on to better dating pastures.

Reasons Why Going Dutch Is Becoming Acceptable on a Date

Below, we have detailed why splitting the bill is becoming acceptable in the dating world. After reading them, consider using this method for your future first dates.

It Equalizes The Playing Field For You

It might be difficult to believe, but utilizing the dutch method equalizes the dating playing field for both people on a date. This is because you are on an equal footing when you contribute to your meals and entertainment. Besides equalizing the playing field, it also demonstrates that you value equality and that both parties should have the opportunity to feel equal.

Trust me; there’s nothing worse than feeling like a burden on a first date when your date pays for you. Even if they have no problem with paying and tell you so, it doesn’t help you feel any less crummy. That’s why many are starting to believe that the Dutch Method is best, since it doesn’t elevate anyone’s status or make anyone feel less than anyone else.

Additionally, when both people on a date pay their way, one person doesn’t feel obligated to pay for everything in the relationship going forward. This sets a good tone and foundation for equal and separate finances should the first date progress into a relationship.

It Eliminates Discomfort

When you are on a date, you may dread getting the bill because you’re unsure how much their food and drinks cost – especially if you’re at a fancy establishment. When you’re getting to know someone who could become your life partner, it’s awkward and unpleasant to consider issues like this.

Should you decide to go dutch, you’ll be free to unwind and genuinely appreciate your time together as you will have resolved the pesky payment issue upfront, with both parties paying their way and staying within their budgets.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to eliminate any discomfort as you pay for your expenses. You won’t need to stress about what you eat or feel guilty about buying anything extravagant you cannot afford to impress your date.

There Are No Set Requirements

If you use the Dutch Method, you must remember that there are no set requirements or dating payment rules. Unlike when an individual—primarily jerks—believes you owe them in return because they paid for the meal, you will be free to have no obligations to them.

Unfortunately, some try to take advantage of that by forcing you to go on another date or, even worse, making unwanted sexual advances because they paid for your outing. Going Dutch prevents this from happening, keeping you safe from would-be predators.

Ultimately, nothing is expected of you when you use the Dutch Method on a date. Have fun with one another, cover your expenses, and, if you both think it would be a good match, go on another date. Everybody is satisfied and significantly less stressed, making it a simple rule method worth following.

When You Aren’t Concerned About Who Pays, It Is More Enjoyable

If you’re planning on going dutch on a date, it’s better to choose somewhere cost-effective for both parties. For example, go on a simple coffee date or a picnic in the park. These date ideas won’t cost a fortune, and you can comfortably cover the cost of some coffee or picnic sandwiches and cold drinks.

If There Isn’t A Second Date, You Won’t Feel Bad

You’ll likely have much more fun when you only pay for yourself. This is because you’ll allow all your ‘dating financial’ concerns to fade into the background while you focus on the moment and getting to know your date.

It’s not only much more enjoyable, but once you can unwind a little more, you’ll be able to express your true self to them. Additionally, this should make for an even better date because it will encourage them to open up more and reveal their true self to you.

Tips to Make Use of the Dutch Method on a Date

If you want to use the Dutch Method, you must go about it correctly. This means you can’t suddenly decide to do it during a first date. Luckily, we have some tips you can use when you want to use the Dutch Method on a date.

Discuss It Immediately

If you wait until the last minute to discuss your desire to ‘go dutch,’ you’ll feel anxious the entire time you’re on a date. It would be best if you discussed it immediately to ensure they’re prepared to pay for themselves and lessen your anxiety.

If you’ve mutually decided to split the bill beforehand, you should let the waitstaff know upfront so there isn’t any awkwardness when the date ends and it’s time to pay.

Let Them Know That’s How You Prefer It

Letting your date know that you want to use the Dutch method before you take them out on a date is a common courtesy. You need to tell them that it’s how you prefer to conduct first dates and explain your reasoning behind it.

For example, tell them that splitting the bill is preferable because you don’t want to be taken advantage of on a first date. If they doth protest too much, you know they were planning to use you if they can’t accept your wishes.

Fortunately, most people find going dutch acceptable if you are clear that splitting the cost will make you happier. They’re on a date searching for a potential life partner, so if they can make you more comfortable by doing that, they’ll do it.

Be Careful Not To Overreact

Your date will become anxious if you treat it like a big deal, so don’t make the fact that you’re going dutch into a dramatic affair. If you make it a dramatic event, there will be room for interpretation which can end badly for you.

For example, you could feel incredibly awkward if they ask if you don’t want them to contribute because you dislike them or don’t see a future date on the cards. Just state in passing that you want to use the Dutch Method before you agree to a date and time to see one another. It’s straightforward enough for them to know that it’s not a huge deal and decisive enough to allow them to accept it.

Go On A Cheap Date To Start Things Off

If you’re planning on going dutch on a date, it’s better to choose somewhere cost-effective for both parties. For example, go on a simple coffee date or a picnic in the park. These date ideas won’t cost a fortune, and you can comfortably cover the cost of some coffee or picnic sandwiches and cold drinks.

Offer To Use The Dutch Method In Between The Date’s Activities

A date could find this simpler to comprehend. Have your companion cover the meal, and you cover the movie when going to dinner and a film. You’re not dividing it exactly, but it is close enough to be considered using the Dutch Method.

This strategy is more likely to gain support from those who would be outraged if they had to pay for their meals, beverages, and entertainment when on a date.

Don’t Argue When They Say They Want To Pay

Sometimes, even if you want to split the bill, your partner might not, and that’s okay. If they push to pay for the entire date, don’t make a scene but instead, let them – especially if they are adamant about footing the bill.

Additionally, if the person you’re planning to see refuses to accept your desire to go dutch, it might be best to give this person a miss.

Wrap-up on the Dutch Method for Dating

Many individuals find it confusing to use the Dutch Method when dating. Still, it is quickly becoming commonplace, and a respected practice. In the past, it was expected that the male would cover the cost of his date’s meal. This is no longer the case. Nowadays, both parties should be willing to pay their way on a date.

Even though it’s still up for dispute whether the ‘date asker’ should foot the bill, you should still consider going dutch and splitting it to be on the safe side. Whether sharing the cost or not, both have advantages and disadvantages. So you and your date should decide which is best for your situation.

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