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I recently met a Russian woman of around the same age as me (an American man). I told her we should connect on Facebook and grab coffee sometime to practice languages as I'm learning Russian and she English.

Later that day, we exchanged the below messages where she invited me to breakfast or lunch. I'm not sure what her intentions are.

  • Is this common in Russia as a first meeting?
  • Is this potentially a date?
  • Is it common that the man pay for a language exchange meeting he proposed or is it common for each to pay separately?

Here is the conversation in English and below in original Russian for tone:

Hi [her name]. Nice meeting you today.

Hi [my name]! Nice to meet you too) When can we meet for breakfast or lunch?

Russian:

Привет [her name]. Очень приятно сегодня.

Привет [my name]! Рада знакомству) Когда можем встретиться для завтрака или обеда?

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I'm Russian and speaking from experience here.

Meeting for breakfast or lunch is used not only for dating but also for business people. So your language practice meeting may fall into the "business" area.

I think there is no way to be really sure about her intentions, but at least you can make your intentions clear. (if you ask such a question, then have you sensed or noticed something in her behavior about it?)

If you explicitly invited her, then you should pay the bill, of course. But if it was just "we should grab a coffee sometime" and "oh yes let's go [tomorrow]" then each pays separately. Yet still it's hard to guess her expectations.

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Is this common in Russia as a first meeting

Yes, it's quite common. And not only as of the first meeting. Coffee shops are often seen as a "neutral territory" to meet at. Some people use them for small business meetings (like passing a document or drafting something), students may come over to copy each other's homework. Personally I have a few old friends who feel that meeting in a cafe is the most convenient way for us both. Cafes seem a good choice for quiet language practice, given their relatively quiet environment.

Is this potentially a date

From what you described, I see no evidence of a date. I see no evidence to the contrary, either.

Is it common that the man pay for a language exchange meeting he proposed or is it common for each to pay separately

Hard to be sure about this. If that meeting isn't a date, I would expect her to insist on paying separately, no matter who made the invitation. That's just a way of keeping the distance.

Still, it's OK for you to offer to pay for her if you feel that it would be proper. But even if she accepts you paying, you shouldn't take it as a hint of a date. It may merely mean that she follows the traditional view that a man pays.

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