DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited on a first date with a guy. A few days ago he called me to say he doesn’t have much money and he wanted to know if we could split the cost. I’m not the kind of person who is trying to get a guy to spend a huge amount of money on me, but I think it’s not right for him to invite me out and then ask me to pay straightaway. I wish he had invited me to do something that is free, like go to the park or something. Can I suggest a free or affordable date instead of the dinner he proposed? -- Bad Date, Philadelphia
DEAR BAD DATE: You have every right to suggest a different kind of date. Since he is low on funds, by all means recommend a free or low-cost alternative. A walk in the park, a visit to the zoo or a trip to an art gallery could be fun. See how he responds to your creative response. This will help you to know how flexible he is. Money does not need to stand in the way of getting to know someone on a date, but you both have to agree on the terms.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)