Paying the Bill on a First Date

Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on June 9, 2019 and last updated on May 12, 2023

Discussing the topic of paying the bill on a first date can be an engaging and relevant conversation for English learners, as it allows them to explore cultural norms, personal beliefs and societal expectations.

This topic not only helps learners expand their vocabulary related to dating and relationships but also encourages them to express their opinions, debate different viewpoints and develop their critical thinking skills. By engaging in discussions about who should pay, how to handle the bill, and the impact of gender roles, English learners can enhance their conversational fluency, improve their ability to express their thoughts clearly and gain a deeper understanding of cultural nuances surrounding dating customs.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Who Should Pay?

Years ago it was almost compulsory for the man to pay the bill on the first date, or any date. We are now living in a world of equality, and the old traditions when it comes to dating may no longer apply.

At the end of the date when it comes time to pay it can be an awkward situation as there are no certain rules about who should pay, and people can worry about offending the other person by doing the “wrong” thing.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • bill (noun)
  • check (noun)
  • invite (verb)
  • ask out (phrasal verb)
  • tradition (noun)
  • split (verb)

Conversation Questions

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  • Who should pay the bill on a first date?
  • What used to happen 50 years ago? Has it changed?
  • Is it fair to expect the man to pay the bill on a first date?
  • Who should pay in same-sex relationships?
  • What other variables could be used to determine who pays?
  • In your culture, what are the expectations regarding paying the bill on a first date?
  • How would you react if your date insisted on paying the bill even if you offered to split it?
  • Do you think paying the bill on a first date reflects gender roles in society?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.