if you are a single guy, the whole “are we just hanging out or is it a date?” question can get pretty freaking muddy. i know it was for me and i wasn’t even a guy. i guess it’s pretty freaking muddy for everyone.
here’s a little story.
there was a brother and sister that i was friends with. sort of. we hung in the same circles. knew each other. their names were steve and eve (not really, but they did rhyme). my car was in the shop and steve offered to drive me home from Red Robin where a bunch of us were hanging. great. thanks. on the way he asked if i wanted to come over later that week and watch movies at his house. i knew his sister too, so cool, sure. did that.
the following weekend, i went on a date with a guy i’d been into who finally asked me out. he had a boat. pretty much my only requirement when i was 18.
then i got an angry phone call from steve’s sister. apparently i was a two-timing slut.
she got extra super duper upset when i asked her who i was cheating on exactly. turns out, a ride home from Red Robin and watching Weekend at Bernie’s on VHS (it’s been a long time since i was 18) equals a dating relationship in steve and eve’s world. so a day out on a boat with another guy made me a cheater cheater pumpkin eater.
boat guy? we had an amazing day that ended with some hand holding on his couch. i called that a date. boat guy called it a friday.
we were all wrong.
here’s another. craig was my best friend for 2 years before we ever started dating. we hung out everyday, all day. one night craig called me and said, “i’m coming to get you. we’re going on a date.” this was nothing new. we always went on each other’s dates. i recognize now how annoying that must’ve been for those we were dating. however, on this night, craig made it clear that he and i were going on a date. together. alone. i said, “you can come get me, but it’s not a date.”
he hung up on me and showed up at my door 10 minutes later.
he drove us out to the middle of nowhere and told me he was tired of just being my friend and wanted more. my boy is brave.
i didn’t speak to him for 3 months.
*just realized i already told this story here*
i couldn’t date craig at that time for reasons that would require an entire series of blogs to explain. but in short, i was an emotional whack job.
there’s never going to be a way to 100% avoid awkward dating/not dating moments, but hopefully these clarifications will help:
1. if you ask her out, it’s a date. if you take her somewhere intending to entertain her and pay, that, my friend, is a date. it doesn’t mean that you are now bound to her and only her. it is only A date. but she will be wondering what the next move is and may potentially get bent out of shape if you take some other girl out the following night. not your fault, that’s just how it is.
2. hanging out with friends and focusing on her, not a date. that is a getting-to-know-you moment. i recommend a few of these before actually going on a date.
3. if you kiss her, she’ll think you’re dating. sorry, but she will. girls are weird like that. she may not go so far as calling you her boyfriend, but she will think she has some sort of claim on you. fair warning.
4. if it comes to it, define the relationship. there is no crime in dating a few different girls if your not in place where a relationship is on the table for you. but make sure you are taking their feelings into account. don’t be a player or take advantage of the fact that they think you’re super neat. that’s not fair.
5. don’t take it farther that you’re willing to commit to. to say most girls will follow your lead is as true as it is not true. you’re three dates and one excellent good night kiss in; you think things are cool, you could be into this, but she’s ready to stake a claim. it’s a matter of interpretation. yours and hers. see number 4.
dating is sticky. there’s no way that you’re going to be able to avoid the awkwards or hurt feelers all the time. just be decent and try to keep your eyes open. if things start to feel like they might be going in a direction you’re not ready for, ease off. girls are far more likely to read more into it than guys do. sorry. wish i had more to offer. but i don’t. hang out, be chill, don’t escalate things to a place you’re not ready to deliver on.
good luck with that.