LOVE AND SEX
How to know if you're dating or just hanging out
If you’ve ever spent time with someone and wondered, “Is this a date?” you’re not alone. According to a recent study co-commissioned by dating sites christianmingle.com and jdate.com, the majority of singles are confused about what’s a date and what’s not a date.
Of the 2,647 singles surveyed, 69% reported that they were “at least somewhat confused as to whether an outing with someone they’re potentially interested in is a date or not.” 80% agreed that a one-on-one hangout “might” be a date, however it might not be. There’s always the potential that someone might just want to be your friend.
Years ago, I remember an attractive male friend of mine asked me whether I’d like to hang out at his favourite bar with him. He introduced me to a few of his buddies who were there that night, but we spent most of the night drinking and talking, just the two of us. When he walked me home there was an awkward moment when I went to kiss him on the cheek, however he moved suddenly and I ended up kissing him on the ear. He responded by slapping me on the back and telling me, “Later, bro!” before disappearing down my block towards the subway. What I thought might be a date, clearly was me tagging along on “guys night out.”
That experience took place during my university years when the line between friends and lovers often blurred. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I just assume that if a guy is single and wants to go out for dinner, he’s interested in more than just friendship. With that said, sometimes I still get it wrong. Judging by the above mentioned study, I’m not the only one. Is going over to someone’s house to eat takeout, lounge around in your sweatpants and watch a marathon of Pretty Little Liars, considered a date? I hope not, but it very well might be.
Technology definitely plays a role in this confusion. As part of a study conducted by USA Today, when singles were asked whether texting has made it more difficult to determine whether an outing was an actual date, close to half answered yes. There’s no doubt that texting has made dating more casual. Formal invitations have been replaced with late night “I’m at a bar. Wanna join?” texts that cater towards instant gratification. Add to that the growing prevalence of a culture of hook ups, the specifics of dating can be particularly confounding.
Here’s my solution: Next time you’re not sure whether you’re on a date, just ask the other person. Yes, it may be awkward initially, but it might save you from kissing someone’s ear.