Have you ever been told, “let’s hangout sometime” but you were not sure what that meant? Words have different meanings nowadays so it’s confusing to decipher what people actually mean. Is hanging out equivalent to a date? Does a nice dinner count as a simple “hang out”? Does Netflix and Chill count as a “date”? Ready to avoid situations where your definition of “hanging out” doesn’t match with the other person’s and steer clear of awkwardness?
Here are 10 tips to help you tell if you are on a date or not.
1. The Amount of Time you’ve Known the Person
If you’ve recently met this person, there’s a good chance they’ll want to get to know you on a personal level. They’ll most likely do this over dinner. But if you’ve known this person for a while, it could be trickier seeing anything deeper than the friendship. Deep feelings and overall compatibility can develop over time so it’s up to you to sort them out and decide if you see yourself with them in the long run.
2. Are other people there too?
Take into consideration if they brought someone along, but also pay attention to who it is. If they decide to bring a friend along at the last second, it may not be time to spend one-on-one time together. Having other people there makes things more casual but also takes away the intimacy.
If they brought along another couple then they probably think you are on a double date. Couples often end up isolating themselves from a group, leaving you private time with your partner. Their romantic vibes might just reverberate on to you.
3. Do you have feelings?
What do you think about the person? If you feel butterflies bouncing off the walls of your stomach when they’re mentioned, that’s a good indication that you see some potential in them. It could be too early to determine your feelings but use your first impression to think about why you are giving the person a chance in the first place.
4. If they Buy you Drinks
For some, a little alcohol takes away the nervous jitters. This makes opening up easier. If they’re buying you drinks, they’re inviting you to open up a little more and have some fun, more than just friends. Unless they’re a crummy person, they’re just looking to get closer.
5. If they’re from a Dating App, it’s Probably a Date
People use the social media platform Tinder to match with people in your area who are looking for love. Usually if you swipe right, the other person will ask to see you. Tinder matches are basically a guarantee real date scenario, unless you explicitly agree to stick to a one night stand. This is a fool-proof way to know if someone is interested in you.
6. Flow of the Conversation
Naturally, you want to ask personal questions when getting to know someone. I’ve been hit with big-picture questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” after meeting someone for the first time. But if your conversations feel comfortable and continuous, that’s a good sign you’re opening up. A question like, “How many kids do you want?” can reveal your partner’s romantic intentions but depending on the vibes, it could be a normal question to talk about.
7. The Location
A board game night differs from a sit-down dinner. The activity can determine the nature and intention of the hangout. If you’re going to a Soul Cycle class, they’re not looking to see how you can dress to impress. Meet up location matters. If you’re going to a movie, then you won’t be spending too much time talking to them. On the other hand, dining at a place with a waiter leaves you an ample amount of time to converse.
8. Body language is Important
Notice their movements. If you’re both good friends and comfortable with each other, the physical boundaries could blur. Depending on your comfort level with them, hand-holding could be normal. But lingering stares, eye contact, or finding ways to touch (ie. touching your shoulder) communicate nothing other than a sign to get intimate. It means you are definitely on a date.
9. Simply Ask if it’s Date
At the end of the day, clear communication with your partner will reassure you where you stand. If they explicitly say they want to take you out, then you’re going on a date. If any confusion lingers, there’s nothing wrong with asking what’s up. They may feel as unsure as you. Clearing the air for everyone will ease the burden and nerves on both parts. No one needs mixed signals.
Wracking your brain over whether or not something counts as a date can take away from the moment. If you’re still nervous to ask them, continue to do your thing and figure it out later. Let the conversation carry on and if you have fun then it doesn’t matter what you call “it”. Being honest with your feelings and intentions will clear the air over time.
You’re not alone—find out how these students navigated whether or not they were going on a date.
“I’m a straightforward person, so I will ask if they’re taking me out or not. That also determines the outfit.” –Sandy F., Temple University sophomore
“Honestly though, I never considered it a date until the day when everyone canceled and it was just me and her and I thought about it.” –A Queen’s College senior
“I feel like when it’s just a guy-girl alone hanging out, and they talk about personal stuff, getting to know each other, then that’d make me question if you’re on a date.” –Tiffany W., Temple University, senior
“Bringing people along makes it not a date; if it’s another couple it’s a double date. But if its other people it’s just a gathering.” –Rimaaz W., Temple University, senior
“It seemed very date-ish the whole time but I didn’t want to read into things, so at the end of the night when she offered to walk me home I got all nervous and just left by myself.” –Robyn W., Temple University, senior
“We did everything a couple did on a date except kiss if I remember correctly? Like cuddling and etc. in public.” –Tommy T., Temple University, senior
“Going into it, I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not. We were acting friendly and joking around the whole time, which is how a lot of dates I’d gone on before went…He was from a dating app. Towards the endI wanted it to be a date since I felt like it went so well”. –R.H., Temple University, senior
“In high school I asked a girl that I would treat her to cake for her birthday, and tried to not give out the part where it was just the two of us. I had a whole date plan set up…But on the day of the “date” she brought her friend with her and it became a casual hangout.” –Eric, Queens Colleg,e senior