Viral Tweet On First Dates Sparks Debate: How Much Money And Travel Time Is Reasonable?

Modern dating is simply full of wonderful surprises — and by wonderful, we mean super annoying. Here's a scenario to consider. After chatting with someone on a dating app, you decide you are curious enough to meet them in person. Fantastic! But when your date suggests a place to go, you realize it's down the street from them and an hour's worth of travel for you. This is just what happened to one woman whose screenshot of her exchange with a potential date has gone viral on Twitter. "F for effort in asking me to travel an hour to have a drink with you at a place 2 blocks from your home," she wrote. She immediately saw through his plan. He suggested drinks over dinner to save cash and planned to ask her over afterward. Boring! 

The tweet, however, sparked a debate. When it comes to spending money or travel time, or spending money to save travel time, how much is too much to ask for on a first date? Several thoughts have emerged. Some think that traveling to meet someone is not a problem. One can assume that if you're the one traveling, the other expenses from the date will be covered. Plus, if you felt committed to meeting them, you could simply ask to meet somewhere closer. Others think that if a person is asking someone to make a long haul, it's indicative of the effort they will put in later, i.e., asking for more while giving less. The nuances are compelling.

Put in more, to get more?

The idea that when you put in more work you will get more out of it is an old one, but one that might have its merits. What if you decide to go the extra mile for a date, and they turn out to be the love of your life? And traveling somewhere new could be part of the fun. But even still, there are no guarantees, especially when it comes to dating — and this concept works both ways. 

In response to the original tweet, another Twitter user commented, "I'm sure he was going to pay for your food and drinks (since he asked you out) paying for your own travel isn't unreasonable at all." But what if the cost of travel is not the same as the cost of food and drinks? And what if you wanted to pay for your own tab? Besides, depending on how far the location is, traveling can be a significant added expense. Paying for a cab both ways can be costly. And where public transportation is available, asking a woman to travel alone at night is not always the safest or most considerate option. 

Should you be presented with such a case, consider communicating your needs. Ask your date to meet somewhere closer to you, or even ask your date if they would be willing to split the cost of your transportation. How they respond can also tell you a lot about them. 

Make a good first impression

We have to acknowledge that asking someone we don't know to travel a lengthy distance is still annoying for a first date. It's the equivalent of doing an entire group project alone while your partner still gets credit for showing up. One Twitter user comments that the person's lack of willingness to travel is worth reflecting on: "Sounds really [closed-minded] and like a red flag!" But the original tweet's author responds swiftly. "I would maybe even travel the hour if he was traveling even 30 min," she said. The point is less about the travel itself, but more about the message it sends. "If he's selfish and inconsiderate now he'll remain that way later," another Twitter user commented

When it comes to dating, first impressions are important. One study published in 2020 in the Journal of Research in Personality showed that our first impressions of people when dating tend to be accurate, even within minutes of meeting them. Such impressions are just as important on dating apps. No matter what others might think, remember that you get to decide the boundaries of your interactions with potential partners. Just because traveling to meet dates might work well for some does not mean it has to work for you. Continue to trust your instincts, and if you're not feeling someone, you do not have to force it. You deserve to have everything you want out of your dating experiences.