Kieran De-Francis had known the woman for three months and was painting part of her Wolverhampton home, a judge heard.
The close friendship collapsed after he did not have enough money to buy her the paddling pool she wanted, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
She declared the 30-year-old’s failure to produce the present had ended their relationship, it was said.
Ms Suzanne Francis, defending, continued: “He asked if she wanted him to continue with the painting and she replied he could finish the job before taking her and her cousin on a night out with him footing the bill. Then they could discuss where their relationship was going.”
The trio spent some time in a local pub before a row flared up between De-Francis and the woman, who threw her drink over him.
“When he refused to pay for that she stormed off to get money to cover the cost,” the court heard.
He told a barman: “I have a knife and know how to use it,” revealed Mr Christopher O’Gorman, prosecuting.
The defendant left before the woman and her cousin returned with cash for the spilled drink and, while walking away for the second time saw drunk De-Francis stumbling about in the road close to the White Hart in Salop Street, Bradley, on July 23, 2018.
He pulled out the knife and pointed it at her amid a stream of threats and abuse aimed at the terrified victim, continued the prosecutor.
He told police who had been called to the scene where they found the discarded weapon: “I ran at her.”
She said she was left feeling uneasy and worried about bumping into him.
She concluded: “I hope I never see him again.”
De-Francis moved out of Wolverhampton after the confrontation and set up home in Nottingham.
He pleaded guilty to behaving threateningly with a knife on the day of his trial and was sent to prison by Judge Barry Berlin, who told him: “You created an immediate risk of really serious harm – anything can happen when a drunk starts waving a knife about.
“You caused that woman serious alarm and distress.”