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buying gift on first date

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Her A First Date Gift

A female friend once told me a story about a first date with a guy she met online.

He stood waiting outside a bar as she approached him. From a distance she immediately knew he wasn’t her type.

He was dressed in the most unfashionable, mish-mashed outfit possible. It appeared as though he had rampaged through a charity shop for middle aged men and grabbed the brightest coloured garments he could find.

(Take note, fashion can be an instant attraction killer and sink your chances before the date has even begun)

She walked up to him and he introduced himself. His voice was high and raspy, the kind everyone puts on when impersonating an uber-geek.

(Make sure you work on developing a deeper voice, speak slowly and clearly)

Knowing the chances of ever finding him attractive were zero, and not wanting to waste either of their time, she made an excuse about needing to meet a friend. Anything to get away from him as quickly as possible.

But before she could leave, he did something to seal the nail in his dating coffin.

He reached inside his jacket pocket with one hand, and withdrew a canary yellow envelope, addressed to her.

‘I want you to have this’, he said, handing it over.

‘Thanks’, she said, accepting it awkwardly, before leaving at a brisk pace.

girls laughing at first date guy

Later that night she returned home and told her flatmate about the whole episode. Together they sat on the sofa, and with some trepidation tore open the envelope.

Inside was a card.

They held their breath, and slowly opened it. They stared at the words.

It simply read:

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for going on a date with me.


Rather than the intended effect of making her more attracted and increasing his chances of a second date, it reeked of neediness and left her feeling weirded out and as though he was rather creepy.

Why you shouldn’t buy her gifts

You buy gifts for friends, wives and girlfriends. You buy gifts for people who are important parts of your life and you have known a while. You buy gifts for people who have done something to EARN them.

When have you ever bought a stranger a gift (charitable donations excluded)? The only time someone does this is when trying to influence or persuade. Like a bribe.

Showing up on a date with a gift sub-communicates one or several of the following:

  • You want something. You want something from her (normally sex or a relationship) but don’t regard yourself highly enough for her to offer it to you naturally. Therefore you are offering her a bribe as a convincer. Ever had someone give you something randomly? You immediately get on the defensive because you sense they are going to ask for something in return. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
  • You lack self-confidence. In your head you are thinking ‘She’s better than me and my natural self is not enough. The only way she will ever date me is if I make up that difference by giving her something over and above myself’. These negative thoughts will hold you back in life as well as with women, and need to be eliminated.
  • You are rich. If the gift is expensive, you are trying to boast about how much money you earn.

A woman once told me the most attractive she ever found her husband was when he was in his suit heading out for a day’s work. He wasn’t even thinking about her at that moment. He was focused on his ambitions, his goals, and earning money to provide for the family.

That’s the type of guy you want to be.

Bringing a gift to a date communicates the opposite.

It makes her question your motives. It tells her you are a man who is needy, self-doubting and has confidence issues. Extrapolating into the future, you’re in danger of altering your life to be with her, deviating from your mission, screwing up at work, and not being able to provide for the family. That isn’t a risk she can take when one of her primary desires is to raise a family, and her primary needs are safety and security.

What should you take to a first date?

Nothing but yourself!

You must learn to believe that you alone are enough. No gimmicks, no bribes. Just you and your charming personality.

Would Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling turn up to a first date with a gift?

No! In fact, I bet women turn up with gifts for them!

When CAN you buy her gifts?

As a rule of thumb, save the gifts for when you are boyfriend and girlfriend. However, like any rules, there are exceptions.

  • First date drink. On a first date you may buy her a drink. It’s polite, demonstrates you are socially savvy, and only costs a small amount of money (no champagne!). Buying someone a drink is something you would do for a friend of a friend, and doesn’t have romantic connotations associated with it. For example, you could buy a male work colleague a drink. Normally, modern women will offer to split the bill, or buy you the next round. This situation is different to buying a random woman in a bar a drink (which you shouldn’t do). But when you are expecting to spend an hour or two with the girl on a prearranged date, a drink is fine.
  • Date activities. I recommend limiting first dates to a drink in a bar. When you get to the 4th date, and you’ve got to know her, and consider her girlfriend material (not just someone you want to sleep with casually), then you will probably want to do an activity together. As a man, you should be the one picking the activity and making arrangements, and are likely to pay for the tickets in advance. This is fine, as long as the activity is fairly cheap (under £20). Again, she is likely to return the favour in the future and buy you drinks at the venue or get you food. If the activity costs more than this you should tell her how much it is going to be and ask if she is OK with that. She will understand this means you want her to contribute.

So remember, don’t take gifts to dates. It might make her outwardly happy for a brief amount of time, but deep down she’ll know you aren’t the one for her.

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