going out to coffee is not a date.?.!.>.<.

i’m confused.

stop making your shocked face.  booger head.

last week over at Caitlin Muir‘s blog, she hosted a guest post by Lauren Jean called, Dear Sir, You Are A Creep.  a brilliant bit of weirdness about things guys do and how women interpret them.

this is one thing she said:

I could just tell you that when you ask me out to coffee instead of asking me out makes me automatically put you in the friendzone, because you didn’t just man up and say what you wanted, but I’m too busy being polite and thinking of 1 shot, decaf iced breves with a half shot of hazelnut.

i would have been surprised by this if i hadn’t just had the same conversation with another friend.  she was adamant about it and spoke as though her friends agree.  apparently this is a thing.

single ladies don’t consider going out for coffee a date.  at least some of them don’t.  that’s what friends do.  right?

i don’t know.

hold your collective gasp.  sometimes i don’t know things.

so i’m throwing this one out there for you in poll form.

for the comments:

do you consider going out to coffee a date?

if so, why?

if not, why?

girls, will you immediately put someone in the friend zone if he asks you to coffee?


81 comments on “going out to coffee is not a date.?.!.>.<.

  1. Rachel says:

    It depends on the circumstances, I think. If it’s someone I have never hung out with before or who I recently met and seems to be interested, it’s a date in my mind, but it’s a “safe” date. There is less commitment implied. If the conversation is dragging, it’s easy to drink fast and call it a night. Or you can get a refill and linger if you want to prolong it. It’s also a cheaper way to test the waters. On the other hand, I have had dinner with guy friends before and known it wasn’t a date, simply because of the length of our friendship and how casually it came about.

    • atkins5614 says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head. I had coffee with a girl who my friend was trying to set me up with. It was a date, just one of those “We’re just meeting each other and wanted it to be relaxed instead of super date-y”.

      I do, however, think that if you’ve known someone for a while and want to go on a date, coffee is not a date. It just depends on the circumstances.

    • Becki says:

      this is pretty much what I was going to say too. If it’s someone I really don’t know well, I’d consider it a “safe date.” But if it’s someone I have an established friendship with or a work relationship and we’re meeting to discuss a certain topic – then no, it’s just 2 friends getting together.

  2. Jen says:

    This is interesting because after reading Caitlin’s blog and thinking back to a conversation I just had the other night (about guys in this town, Nashville, lacking a decent set of balls), I’m going to go with no. While it may just be a “get to know each other” type thing, it’s not a date. Perhaps after getting to know you, he wants to ask you out on a real date. I’d say don’t read anything into a coffee “date” until he gives you something to read into – like taking you out for dinner and/or something fun. (You know, something that requires effort.)

  3. my observation is that the kind of date tells you the level of interest. Coffee gets cold pretty quick and it’s CHEAP. Also, you can meet for coffee during the day. Says, I can be out in 20 minutes, low level of interest. Drinks indicate the evening, which is more date like. Can cost a bit more, drinks lower inhibitions so maybe there is expectation of something more. Dinner is more of an investment in time and money, so shows more interest. It’s not 100% fool proof but something to consider when accepting or not.

  4. Tamara says:

    I hope not. Or else a few of my guy friends and I have some ‘splainin to do.

  5. Jennifer C. says:

    What’s this date thing of which you speak?

  6. brianw79 says:

    Is going out for a milkshake and sharing it a date?

  7. Sophia says:

    Rachel said, “if it’s someone I have never hung out with before or who I recently met and seems to be interested, it’s a date in my mind, but it’s a “safe” date.”
    Agreed. My (now) boyfriend asked me if I wanted to grab some coffee, and I was unsure whether to call it a date or not–but I knew it was not a “just friends” thing, because we hadn’t really hung out before AND our mutual friend told each other us separately that we’d be good together. But I wasn’t sure if it was a “date,” per se. But he picked me up, opened the car door for me, and paid. Date.

    • hopefulleigh says:

      I agree. It’s those extra clues- picking up, opening the car door, paying- that often determine whether it’s a date or not.

    • janakaye says:

      Yes, I agree…coffee doesn’t always equal a date….but it can be a lead-in.

      There’s low commitment, minimum time investment, but that goes both ways! Coffee isn’t intimidating, it doesn’t expect a lot of time and an evening of small-talk out of me. It’s just a way to get to know each other a little better. It’s the church-foyer of dates–you can still make a quick and relatively painless exit.

      However…guys, if “coffee” does indeed mean DATE, you need to make that clear pretty quickly. After all, I go out for coffee with co-workers, ladies from my church, my teenage cousin to make her feel special, my mom, my boss….etc.

      A “coffee date” + multiple times = something different.

      In one case, after about 3 coffee dates over a couple of weeks, I suggested that perhaps we should discontinue coffee dates, because I felt that he was more interested in furthering a relationship than I was.

      He insisted that coffee was just hanging out. I asked how many other friends he did coffee or lunch with these days, and he said none. I was gently insistent that coffee dates with me counted as special treatment, a different kind of relationship, and he insisted right back that I was overreacting. (Any other girls out there hate being told that you’re overreacting? does that put you on the defensive, perhaps?).

      He later wrote me a (very long, very complicated) letter admitting that I was right….he WAS interested, and was trying to give me as many chances to fall in love with him as possible without actually admitting that he was interested in a relationship.

  8. The poll needs a “maybe possibly somewhat but not necessarily” option. I don’t think it’s possible or productive to make a blanket ruling either way. It depends on the people, and the circumstances, and the coffee, and the…

  9. visitingmissouri says:

    If you think it could be a date, it’s a date. If you wouldn’t normally hang out and he suddenly asks you for coffe, it’s a date. If you’re actually having coffee and he enquires about next time you’re available for coffee, it’s supposed to be a date. If you’re single, he’s single and the first thing you ever do together, it’s a date. If he buys you roses, it’s a date and he is very romantic, not too subtle and probably a bit clingy.

    If you run into each other while shopping, notice you have some catching up to do and go and sit for coffee, it’s not a date. If Starbucks is his favorite place to hang out and you decide to come over one day, it’s not a date (even though you might for some girl reason believe it could be, I’ve seen it happen). If either one of you is in a relationship, it’s not a date.

    Lastly, women who put men in the friendshipzone for ‘not manning up’ lose their whining rights about men forever. Also, after confessing this, they will have nothing to be afraid of.

    • Jen says:

      Disagree. A real date is something that requires thought and effort. Getting coffee requires neither. I get asked to coffee by both my male & female friends alike. If that’s the case, then I’ve been on more dates than I thought I had. Could it lead to something more? Absolutely.

      Maybe there should be a different term for it. Like, “datelet.”

      And as far as “not manning up,” seriously, how hard is it? Please explain this to me. As an adult, if you like someone, then do something about it. Confidence is attractive. Timidness and fear of rejection is not. Persistence can pay off.

      • visitingmissouri says:

        I would totally agree with you. Confidence IS attractive and the best way to ask someone on a date would be ‘I think I like you and would love to rock your world in an evening that has thoughtfulness and effort all over it.

        However, it takes confidence to do that. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have this blog to read. My point is: we can all be afraid of rejection. Being afraid of that doesn’t build confidence. Women stating a man is instantly put into the friendzone if he doesn’t ‘men up’, are rejecting on forehand, undermining confidence and thus leaving a smaller percentage of men to ask them out. If you know a guy is asking you out, but suggests coffee instead, why not ask him if he is going for a date instead of firmly rejecting him?

        Read back on your last paragraph, where you ask me how hard it is. You’re posing a lot of requirements for a guy, which will make no man more confident. Men have to deal with a LOT of those requirements made up by women, making fear of rejection a real thing. I do believe men should go beyond that fear, build confidence and thus creating an upward going cycle (if you’re not afraid of rejection, you appear confident, are found more attractive and thus get more confidence).

        My point, summarized, is that women should realize they’re ongoing wish list is being counter productive.

        • Jen says:

          Point taken. However, I never said anything about rejecting a coffee invitation. I just said that it’s not a date. By all means, please, ask me out to coffee. I’ll probably go. But if you actually like me and want to date me, then don’t keep only asking me out to coffee.

          “If you know a guy is asking you out, but suggests coffee instead, why not ask him if he is going for a date instead of firmly rejecting him?”

          This is the point that bugs me. This is the “man up” part of the equation. Why should I ask him that? Why can’t he just ask for the “real” date if that’s what he’s going for? Coffee suggests hesitance. Like, “well, I don’t know if I really like her enough to date her, but I’ll see if she wants to go to coffee and if I’m wrong about my possible interest, then I haven’t wasted too much time or money.” And that’s perfectly fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

          So if he REALLY is asking me out, then he needs to put forth thought and effort. If he needs the datelet (I’m coining the term) ahead of time, so be it. But don’t call it a date.

          • visitingmissouri says:

            In commented on the rejection quote in the original post. First: I hope you’ll find a guy that asks you out in a way that gets you swiped off your feet. But in my hypothetical case here, you’re dealing with a guy that wouldn’t have the guts to do so, but has battled his nerves to ask you in the first place. I suggest in that case (when you’re open to it), you could meet him halfway and ask whether it is a date. If so, he should realize he has to make it a proper one (coffee can be spectacular) and if not, you should put him in the friend zone immediately. But at least by asking you keep his confidence intact and give him a fair chance to live up to your expactations. Judging a guy by his confidence will never get him there.

            • caitlinmuir says:

              So question for the men –

              If a guy is not super confident, how can we as women encourage them?

              • visitingmissouri says:

                This asks for a new post. No, a book. Three movies, a cartoon and a spin-off. Perfect way to get ‘datelet’ rolling as well. I hereby claim the name: The Datelet Diaries.

                I think, paradoxically, that building confidence is up to men themselves. Encourage them when they do that. Compliments will help a great deal, but that may be a weird way to initiate a date. It depends what stage of a relationship you’re in what would help.

                I’ve thought for quite a while, and the only thing I can think of is a lie. I used to be real good at dating, so I had some friends who wanted me to be their wingman. One of them was just trying to go out again, and did not know where to start. One evening I just started pointing at girls who were ‘looking at him’. I was lying, but as confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy, they would admire the courage he showed when walking up to them. Real confidence, I believe, is rooted in self worth, showing vulnerability (the two things women are looking for when they want someone to ‘men up’), knowing your talents and relying on God’s grace. Besides the last one, they’re all self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s up to women to figure out how to work that.

          • Kz says:

            Let’s say he doesn’t even know you; how does he know if he likes you yet? So he asks you for coffee as an effort to test the waters-nothing wrong with that, right? Especially if YOU figure out halfway through the coffee that he just isn’t the guy for you. Won’t you feel a bit better about dismissing the connection after coffee rather than after an expensive, elaborate, thought-out dinner-date?

            Before you lose hope in ever finding “a decent set of balls” (the weird, but humorous phrase you used…), plenty of guys will man-up. Hopefully, you will get one that is smart enough to hold back the chase until he really knows how worth it you are-like after a few nonchalant coffee dates. The purpose of a coffee date is to make the environment as COMFORTABLE as possible for both people. It’s awkward sometimes. People are nervous, and can get worked up over evening plans that entail five-course meals and tableside serenades.

            Not to get off on a huge rant, but you wonder why some men aren’t manning up, take a look at the feminist bombardment that has slapped half these guys across the face when they try to open a door for a woman or do the heavy lifting. The latest wave of feminism has done a lot to emasculate men. Try to be more empathetic to their situation. They have no idea how to read your thoughts to know whether you will say yes to a date or turn your nose up and tear their self-esteem down. If it was the other way around and we had to do all the asking, we would be a big pile of insecurity after about three rejections.

            Not trying to be a wet-blanket, but we could be more constructive in the dating scenario instead of whine about the absence of knights on white horses. We have a lot of power in encouragement. So we should be straight and honest with guys, but always respectfully, yeah? Guys get hurt too. Many by the girls that are leading them on and just stringing them along as back-up plans. Others by the girls that cling and demand, making the guys’ lives as miserable as possible. So when a sweet girl like you comes along they have learned to be super cautious and may opt for the slow and careful route.

            Coffee gives you a chance to get to know a guy-with less pressure. If every man starting manning up and chasing upon first introduction, it would be alarming and thoughts like “being chased as a piece of meat” or “only for skin-deep beauty” might enter the female brain. Coffee upon first interaction: safe. Dating a stranger: possibly a bit messy, for one or both people involved. I’d take coffee over dinner ANY and EVERY time.

            • visitingmissouri says:

              “If it was the other way around and we had to do all the asking, we would be a big pile of insecurity after about three rejections.”
              As a man, I didn’t dare to say this. You probably also understand why. Also, girls are alarmed by guys who start talking out of nowhere. There’s a tension between the two, that you perfectly describe.

      • I like “datelet.” I always understood coffee (between two single people) as a first date option that would lead to dinner if both parties were interested further. Kind of like happy hour drinks.

    • justagirl says:

      could you clarify what you mean in the last paragraph? just curious.

      • visitingmissouri says:

        Maybe you should read the other reply I’ve written (which I summarize in the end):

        ‘My point, summarized, is that women should realize they’re ongoing wish list is being counter productive.’

        She sounds like a demanding woman, not giving men any confidence. Although I believe I would have the confidence to ask her out, the demanding (and judging) tone is really unattractive. No man will ‘men up’ after her stating that, and real men (I believe) would dismiss her attitude.

  10. bethagrace says:

    It depends on the delivery/context, but generally, if we haven’t hung out alone before, if this is asked as a clear getting-to-know-you thing, if it’s not directly following some group activity… date.

    It’s a casual date, to be sure, but I like casual dates to start off. So many (Christian) guys make this big to-do about dating, like you have to be committed to the relationship before you can accept an invitation. Coffee clearly says, “I like you. I want to get to know you better. But I’m not insane, so let’s just start with a no-pressure investment that either of us can call a loss without making the other person cry.”

  11. Michael Vuke says:

    Obviously, it can be a date, as is evidenced by countless couples that go on dates at coffee shops. However, I believe that you can meet up with a friend (male or female) over coffee without it being a date.

    If a lady friend who lives out of state/town is in my area for a day or two, but we wouldn’t run into each other in our normal sphere of friends, often times we’ll go grab coffee or a sandwich for an hour and catch up. I think that coffee/sandwich shop meet-ups provide the perfect balance. You get to talk to each other and hang out in a non-romantic way, and it doesn’t send mixed signals. If I met up with my friends for supper at a traditional restaurant, that starts to feel more like a date to everyone involved.

    Now if I met a girl for the first time and then asked her if she wanted to grab coffee, that is a date. But (like several people above me have mentioned), if I already know you and we are just catching up, that is not a date.

    Even if it is a ‘date’ does it matter? Can two mature people who are not romantically involved with the other not have a date (aka: hang out one on one) and deepen their friendship every once in a while as long as both know and are fine with it being platonic?

  12. jessigering says:

    Coffee clearly says, “I like you. I want to get to know you better. But I’m not insane, so let’s just start with a no-pressure investment that either of us can call a loss without making the other person cry.”


    Yes, coffee is a date. Or as another commenter said, a “date-let.” It’s a date in a non-intimidating environment. Dating is really just getting to know each other (especially in the initial stages), right? I think we need to make a distinction between “not manning up” and starting with where you’re both comfortable. I count my first-date anniversary from our first happy hour meet-up–a blind date where we were both checking to make sure the other person was both sane and interesting.

  13. G Fresh says:

    Most of my feelings on the subject have already been discussed, but I want to emphasize a couple and maybe add one or two more.

    First, if he asked you out and he made his intentions clear that it’s a date and not just “hanging out as friends”, it doesn’t matter if it’s for coffee, drinks, dinner or skydiving out of a hot air balloon, he “manned up”. Period. End of discussion. It’s obviously still up to you to say yes or no to his invitation, but don’t try to emasculate or belittle him because he didn’t ask you out on what you would consider to be a “real date”. If you don’t want to go, just say no. It’s really that simple. Also if being asked out on the “wrong kind of date” is all it takes for you to put a guy into the “friendship zone”, you might be a little high maintenance. Just sayin’.

    Secondly, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’ve always heard that simpler was better, especially at the beginning when you’re just trying to get to know someone. In my opinion, dating should be more about focusing on the other person and getting to know them rather than whatever activity you’re engaged in together. Granted, once you do get to know someone a little and find out what activities you both enjoy, coffee becomes a little lame and you should try for something a little more adventurous, but until then I don’t see anything wrong with it. Also, going out for coffee should never be interpreted as the guy having a low level of interest in you. If he’s anything like me, he just wants to get to know you better rather than taking you spelunking on your first date only to find out about your deathly fear of stalactites.

    That being said, in the interest of full disclosure I don’t date well…ever, so this should all probably be taken with a mine of salt. 

    • caitlinmuir says:

      First, if he asked you out and he made his intentions clear that it’s a date and not just “hanging out as friends”, it doesn’t matter if it’s for coffee, drinks, dinner or skydiving out of a hot air balloon, he “manned up”. Period. End of discussion.

      I love this.

    • visitingmissouri says:

      Your second point is spot on. I once jokingly told a girl that wanted to get to know me to ‘think of something original’. We wouldn’t have ended up together, so I don’t feel that guilty, but when she suggested going to the zoo together, it was all red flags. Coffee (or tea, as I’m not that narrow-minded) would have been the only normal thing to do. Also, your first point was spot on, too. Lastly, your third point argues with the logic you lay out in your first AND second one. Scratch it.

      • G Fresh says:

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Yeah, I think what I wrote is correct, but I don’t date. Not for lack of trying or “manning up” as they say when I meet someone I’m interested in, I’ve just never been very successful at it. But whatever. It is what it is.

        All I was trying to say at the end is that I’m by no stretch of the imagination a relationship expert nor do I play one on t.v. so I thought a caveat was in order. 😀

        • visitingmissouri says:

          What I was saying is that your first two points show you’re very good at dating. I wish I had your creative thinking, because I always just ended up walking through town, while girls were really looking forward to spelunking. Someone is even quoting your ideas two comments down. What spoils those ideas is you saying that you’re not good at it. I believe that is what spoils those dates. I remember you resenting a comment on confidence ‘fake it until you make it’. Even though I’m still very sure faking confidence will get you real confidence, I’m even more sure saying you’re not good at dating will prove itself right every time. What I was ultimately trying to say, was to scratch that last comment. If you don’t want to, don’t fake it, but do not underestimate how good you actually are at this. Stop saying you’re not. Maybe start saying you are.

          • G Fresh says:

            I think you misunderstand. I never said I wasn’t good at dating. I think I’m actually really good at that; creative, thoughtful, fun, etc. What I’m NOT good at is actually getting someone to say yes to a date to begin with, which when you can measure time between going on dates in years I think that’s a pretty fair assessment. When I do get a yes, we almost always have fun even if nothing comes out of it from a relationship standpoint.

            That’s what I meant by “never been very successful at it”. I ask, I just get a lot of “No, thank yous.”.

            • visitingmissouri says:

              That’s a better understanding indeed. I do feel, however, that the comment I was talking about and the thank yous are related, but your point is indeed clearer to me now.

        • visitingmissouri says:

          Also, stop me from talking if I’m being too much.

    • bethagrace says:

      This. So this. Spelunking should always be saved for the second date.

  14. caitlinmuir says:

    It’s a date. Totally a date. Without a doubt.

    Except for when it isn’t.

    As a former barista, I can tell you that there are a lot of people who don’t know the answer. Like the hopeful man and the ignorant girl. Or the girl who keeps playing with her hair and batting her eyelashes while her male friend is checking out the barista behind the counter. It can get messy.

    The best dates are the ones where neither party is guessing.

    When I was in college, the coffee date was hazy. A battle of “is it, isn’t it.” I went on a few, not knowing what I was doing, and I still don’t know what intentions were. I did have a good time and got to know some fascinating people.

    But as I’ve gotten older, the men have gotten bolder. If I’m left with a question mark, I’ll throw in a question of my own.

    “So….like a date?”

    That has helped clarify a lot of the situations I find myself in. It causes the man, boy, man-child (whatever) take stock and say what exactly it is. Boys play around. Men pursue and clarify. Get to know the difference. Date men. Not boys.

    And for a northern girl…if he pays, insists on paying, won’t let you pay, in my book, it’s a date.

  15. I agree with several of the above commenters.
    It really does depend on the circumstance. I don’t think it’s cut and dry all of the time. I would say that 98.342% of the time I know when it’s a date. There is that very rare (in my opinion) occasion where you’re not sure of the person’s intentions.

    I do think that coffee is a good “first date”. Or as my friend calls them “meet and greets”. As a few have mentioned, if there isn’t anything there, you can make it quick. If you do like the person, you’ll get asked on a second date or out to dinner following the coffee date.

    For me, I prefer to meet up for coffee (if I don’t know the person) because if they are spending money on me and I’m not sure that I like them, I would rather it only be a couple of bucks instead of a fancy dinner or skydiving out of a hot air balloon.

    For ladies, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re unsure. It may sound scary but I think it’s better for all parties involved. I know you may feel like he should be the one making it clear but I do think he may some times think that by asking you to coffee he IS making it clear. They may need a little help every once in awhile. 🙂 Honesty is the best policy!

    • G Fresh says:

      “I know you may feel like he should be the one making it clear but I do think he may some times think that by asking you to coffee he IS making it clear.”

      I like this, this is good, but it begs the question; ladies, what is clearly a date request to you and what isn’t? On the rare occasions when I meet a girl I’d actually like to go on a date with, I usually say something along the lines of, “What are you doing next Thursday? I’d really like to take you out to dinner.” or something of the sort.

      No, the word “date” wasn’t used, but I honestly didn’t feel like I was being vague in my intention. I guess I just assumed that my stated goal of taking someone out and paying for a meal for the both of us was obvious. However, on more than one occasion the person I’ve asked didn’t realize I was inviting them on a date until later and embarrassment ensued so maybe I wasn’t as clear as I thought I was?

      Help a brotha out! 🙂

      • That’s a great question.
        Honestly, I think just incorporating the word “date” in to the question clarifies things 100%. As they say, “common sense ain’t so common.”

        I think one of two things in your instance. If a guy asked me that, I would be pretty sure that he was asking me on a date because of this line, “I’d really like to take you OUT to dinner.”
        Second, I think some times (myself included) women are in the know but they feign ignorance. With that said though, what’s obvious to you or obvious to me, may not be obvious to the next person. By saying, “What are you doing next Thursday? I’d really like to take you out on a date to get to know you better.” It doesn’t change it too much but you are clearly stating for both yourself and the lady what it is. AND, she can’t pretend that she didn’t know it was a date. 🙂

        I have had my fair share of “accidental” dates where if I had known it was actually a date, I would’ve declined the offer. But it was presented in a non-threatening, non-chalant sort of way that I didn’t realize until I showed up in jeans and flip-flops, while he was fresh out of the shower, dressed up, and wearing cologne, that it was in fact a date. I guarantee if he had said, hey, do you want to go on this date with me? I would’ve declined or at least known what I was getting myself in to. Yes, I could ask outright if it’s a date (and I have done that too). Someone mentioned confidence and I think it’s true for men and women, that it’s a good thing to have.

        Not sure if that’s helpful but the short answer is: just call it a date. 🙂

  16. junelikethemonth says:

    Well, being a single girl out in the trenches, I know a little something about the “coffee date”…in my experience, it is usually a legit date as long as the following cirrcumstances apply: one, he pays and two, it is a first time meet and greet…
    Sometimes a coffee date is an easy solution to a high pressure date or simply an easy way to find time to see “watsup” with someone who has a busy schedule….it is also a good way to not invest a lot of time in someone you’re not sure about…if you like each other, you can always continue the date into the mall for a movie or a stroll downtown (depending where the coffeeshop is) but if there isn’t a spark, no biggie, the agony off the date lasts only as long as it takes to finish that macchiato….

  17. peasner says:

    I’m going to voice what might be an unpopular opinion, but I read the “Dear Sir, You Are A Creep!” blog and I didn’t feel like giving it accolades. Sure, she’s explaining that she turned a guy down, but she’s also saying that she’s not telling them why. Being passive aggressive about guys who are creeps doesn’t get anyone anywhere. If a guy shakes you, it’s not the responsibility of your friends to fight for you, but to stand up for yourself, and if it’s that bad, involve the cops. If you’re bored with his stories about his new Star Wars game, tell him. I’m sure he’s bored with your stories about your girl friends.

    To me, it’s the same as expecting a guy to “man up” and ask you on a “real date”. It doesn’t help a guy who may have been burned in the past, or one who really genuinely wants to get to know you in a casual environment before investing in a more personal relationship with you. I think coffee is a great way to see what a person is about. You can engage them in conversation, judge them for the drink they order (I managed a coffee shop for three years, so maybe this is only important to me), and there are fewer pressures/hard feelings if you’re not vibing. Do I think it’s a real, honest to goodness date? No, but I do think it’s a gentlemanly thing to ask a girl to coffee. #1 because it shows that he’s invested in hearing about you, getting to know you. He’s going to sit there for 20 minutes and talk with you. There’s not loud music, or a distracting activity in the way. That’s pretty badass, in my book.

    • Lauren Jean says:

      I agree with you that being passive aggressive does not help situations. I have definitely not handled all of those situations the best way possible. The reason I didn’t say anything to the guy shaking me, was he was my boss and my coworker said something before I could. He got fired, for obvious reasons. In fact most of those situations were from my boss, or from customers. You can’t always tell the people you depend on for gas money to never speak to you again, ya know?

      My thing with wanting a “real date” and him to “man up” is because I want to be upfront and honest with him. I think coffee can be a date, but when he specifies that it’s catching up, but you know that’s not what he really wants, it’s frustrating. I understand that people have been burned in the past, but if you can’t say what you actually want, are you really ready to be dating then?

      I just think it’s better when everyone is upfront and honest. Less confusion, less frustration, and less hurt feelings.

      • Jeremy says:

        That middle paragraph explains your thoughts really well. In the case where you have known each other for a while and he says he wants to “catch up”, it is not a date.Even if he pays. I pay most of the time when my friends (who happen to be girls) and I get coffee, but it’s not a “date”, it’s getting coffee.

  18. I’m going to say Burrill is very right here (someone catch him if he faints).

    Going out for coffee is something co-workers and friends do these days, but that makes it ambiguous, not “not a date.” It can be a complete non-date, a getting-to-know-you unofficial prequel date, or a full on date. It really depends on the intentions of both people involved, both beforehand and afterwards.

    Recognizing that it’s ambiguous I can understand. Even saying you should assume it’s not a date until it’s clear it’s otherwise, I can go along with. Being practical, not getting your hopes up till the guy makes a clear move…all cool. I can also understand being frustated by guys not being clear about their intentions. But this “not worthy of being considered a valid date” attitude disturbs me. Judging the worth of the date by the amount he’s spending on it sounds a lot like judging the worth of the marriage by the size of the engagement rock.

    *begin rant* Please stop using the “grow a pair” type comments when a man’s not being as bold as you’d like him to be, women. Questioning a guy’s manhood? There are not many situations where that’s a good choice for a woman to make in a disagreement. Guys do it to guys all the time. But you’re not one of the guys. You’re a woman. Your opinion of whether he’s worthy to be considered a man actually matters, especially if he likes you. So find something to express it that doesn’t tear down his identity. This goes at least triple if you’re married to him. *end rant*

  19. Lauren Jean says:

    Wow! Well, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who finds these confusing.

    As a former barista, like Caitlin, I’ve seen my fair share of girls go to the coffee shop, dressed up, only to find the guy coming in late, in his sweats. She tries to quickly make an excuse that she was at a party/work/whatever before hand. Or I’ve seen the opposite, where the guy is dressed in his finest, and the girl clearly is uncomfortable because she thought this was 2 friends catching up.

    I say it coffee can be a date, if it’s asked like, ” Hi, I’d like to take you out on a date. How about I pick you up at such and such and we’ll go get coffee?” It’s cheap, but it’s a date.

    If you’re just asking me out for “coffee,” I’m assuming you just want to grab coffee and catch up. I do that with girls, I do that with guys. Not a date.

    However, in the time that I was writing about, I knew that the guy liked me. It’s pretty obvious, and some other friends had told me. He asked me out for coffee, and specifically said to talk and catch up. I will up front admit that I have friendzoned him. If you want to date me, you need to ask me out on a date. Because he didn’t want to risk being rejected, he played it safe and asked me out in a way that made it nearly impossible to say no. I’ve already said I’ll go and catch up with guy friends, so I can’t really say no without coming across like I’m a bit stuck up. It’s a tough situation.

    If he had asked me something more along the lines of, “Hey, I like you, and at some point I want to take you out. But first, how about we grab some coffee?” I would have been able to tell him that I wasn’t interested in dating him, but that I have no problem grabbing some coffee. And I probably would have respected him having the balls to be upfront about it enough that I wouldn’t have put him in the friendzone. Probably still wouldn’t have gone out with him, but I wouldn’t have ruled him out forever.

    The thing that bothered me the most was the fact that he was trying to sneak date me or trick me into it. I didn’t want to continually go out to coffee with this guy, have him actually ask, have to turn him down, and then have him accuse me of leading him on. Cause that’s what he would do. Hence why I call him a creep. Cause he’s creepy.

    The main thing with this is being clear. If you want it to be a date, ask it in a way that it is clear that it’s a date. If it’s not a date, be clear about that. It saves EVERYONE time and heartache.

    Stepping off my soap box now…

  20. Samuel says:

    I’ve usually operated on the assumption that unless specifically defined as such, coffee is not a date. I’ll ask individuals—guys & girls—that I want to get to know better out for coffee. It’s just getting to know someone. I’m not likely to ask a girl out on a date if I don’t know her or she doesn’t know me (I don’t want to be a creep). When I ask a girl on a date, I try to make it very clear. And when I ask a girl for coffee, I don’t pick her up or pay for her drink.

  21. laurie says:

    It’s a predate, unless you’ve known each other forever. If he starts rubbing your knee under the table its a good predate. Or creepy. Guess it depends on the guy. I really don’t want to make my first date with a guy a serious dinner, movie, dancing type deal. I want the freedom to walk away. And I certainly don’t want him buying me steak and lobster, since I prefer not to put out on the first date and if I remeber correctly all women owe sex if your date buys you steak and lobster. I’ts probably not a good idea for me to go to coffee at Red Lobster.

  22. becca3416 says:

    I think it all depends on the guy and how long you have known each other.

  23. stefanid says:

    Immediate friendzone when asked out for coffee?? What?! I wish! I feel like that would make my life way simpler. Coffee is a pre-date for sure. (I mean, obviously not in all contexts. Just like pretty much any date activity doesn’t have to be a date when it involves friends).

    I hate the coffee date with a passion. Seriously.

    I completely get the practicality of it and all that, but for the life of me, I CANNOT figure out how you’re supposed to decline the coffee date!! And I really think that having the respect and courage to say “no, thanks” is a pretty important part of dating well.

    When someone calls something a date I feel like I can explain I’m just not interested, but when I get asked out for coffee by someone I know I don’t want to go on a date with, I feel like saying no is just rejecting interacting with them as a human being outright .. which is awful! And coffee dates generally occur at a point wayyyy too early for clarification to feel like an appropriate thing to ask for.

    Any of you wise dudes have some advice .. ?

  24. I put “it depends”.

    The way I see it, it’s a date if the person asking the other person says it’s a date. If he (or she) says, “I’d like to go on a date with you, let’s get coffee” then it’s a date. If he or she doesn’t make it clear that it’s a date (e.g. just “let’s get coffee together”) then until further evidence appears (like, he turns up with flowers, or something) assume it’s just “hanging out together like friends.”

    I don’t think it’s fair to write the person off totally – it may be that they want to get a better idea of the person they’re meeting before going all out for the big word “Date” (maybe at the end of coffee, he (or she) says, “Let’s meet up for a date”). But yeah – it’s on the interested party to step up the game after that pretty sharpish (I mean, there’s no excuse of approach nerves once you’ve made that “coffee” approach). Not that I would be an expert, that’s just the way I feel about it. If it goes well, then certainly as a guy who did the asking then within 24 hours of coffee meeting I’m going to want to shift up a gear; and if someone asked me out for coffee, I’d expect the same from them.

  25. My philosophy is if it is an online date where it is a pretty quick turnaround from getting matched to going out, coffee is perfectly appropriate to get to know them.

    If we have been talking for a while online, then I’ll ask them out for dinner.

    If it is someone I know in real life, I’ll ask them out to dinner.

    However, this was not always my philosophy and I was willing to try and sneak in with coffee and it just caused all sorts of confusion.

  26. susanft says:

    in my part of the world its called a coffee-date. no confusion. yeah right.

  27. Alissa says:

    I heard the best quote about comminucation today, and it relates to the heart of this conversation:
    Unspoken expectation is premeditated resentment.

    Clarify if you are confused. Once expectations are set, everyone knows what’s going on.

  28. Daveinjax says:

    Anytime a single man and woman meet it could be a date…or not. I usually offer coffee or drinks but never what Lauren Jean calls a ” real ” date. There is no way I’m getting stuck in a situation where it’s a cold train wreck of dead end conversation , no chemistry ,and the food hasn’t even arrived. As for the ” man up ” part all men come from boys. If you are a young woman you can expect to meet a lot of boys who are not yet men.The trick for women is to spot the boy who is about to become a man. If you wait until he is all grown then the power dynamic shifts to the man. As soon as he learns to lead he will dicover women are as easy to come by as boys are to women

  29. sabrina says:

    Well, I’m a woman, and I have no problem with a coffee date as a first date. Personally, I think this issue is silly. I don’t know why anyone with sense would have a problem with a simple coffee date and yes, it is a valid bona fide date! A date by definition is planning to spend a certain amount of time with someone for a common purpose. A date can be romantic or platonic in nature. Starting off with a PLATONIC coffee is the wise way to go if you don’t know the person very well. I always favored the coffee date first to see what the guy is about. If he’s a creep, you can bail quickly, but if all is going well you can always extend the date. Way I see it, Coffee dates are less stressful than dinner dates…and there’s no expectations from people for sex or whatever with a coffee date wher all too often if a guy takes you out to dinner they expect you to “pay himi back” if you know what I mean. Sure it’s non-committal, but so? Peole shouldn’t be demanding committments from the start. It makes ’em look like high maintenance control freaks.

  30. asoulwalker says:

    I find all this talk about coffee and coffee shops interesting. I like coffee. I like coffee shops. I don’t go on first dates to places that are that important to me. I would never ask a girl out for coffee for a first date and it has nothing to do with communication. I would buy tickets to the ballet or go to a concert or the movies long before I ever took a girl to a coffee shop. I mean, what if I don’t like her? I don’t want her even knowing where the coffee shops I hang out at are. Coffee shops are beautiful spiritual places with significance and meaning. I don’t want to ever mess with that mojo. Call me superstitious if you want, but I don’t want bad feelings associated with my happy place.

    Also, I find it strange how little many of you seem to value such a beautiful social institution. Long live the coffee house.

  31. Carrie says:

    It really really depends. Usually, it’s the preliminary date. It’s like super safe zone. It’s the “you can write this off as just friends in case it doesn’t work out” kind of date. If he buys, it’s a preliminary date. If it’s dutch…well, it’s still kind of a preliminary date. It’s a nice time to get to know someone without having to put on all the aires. It is the friendzone as well, which is great because why would you date someone you can’t be friends with?

  32. Scuba says:

    I really suck at the big group activities and will generally barely talk in a group setting, unless it’s a bunch of people I’m really comfortable with. So I like to use the “coffee date” for a one on one get to know her environment and not as a date. I just don’t know how to get that message across.

    For some it’s more then a date; in the social circle I’m in it seems it’s closer to a marriage proposal to some of the girls. I once asked a girl out for coffee. My intention to get to know her better as a friend, her response was a No and a story about how we’ve got different goals and direction in life and she did not want to waste time going no-where slowly. I’ll admit I did appreciate the explanation instead of just a no. Funny part was two weeks before she was moaning to a mutual friend how lame the guys where at asking the girls out.

  33. hugam says:

    Totally depends. Why, you ask? So glad you did (that and i was threatened to answer).
    How long have the two people known each other? When did these two people last have a significant other? Did he pay? Who asked who? (Yes, i realize that while I may be old fashioned, society today does not deem that the guy has to ask. Depending on who asked may dictate whether or not it was a date or not.) Have you gone out for coffee before? Coffee=chat time. Catching up, or getting to know you (insert song here) type stuff? Really, it’s kinda the best of both worlds (Yes, miley circus. Yo have ruined this phrase for eternity)–you can chill, chat/catch up, or if it IS a date, you don’t have to sit through a meal of any sort and try and make awkward conversation or rip him a new one if he’s breaking the 3 second rule (oh, snap. let’s not get into that again (: ) If your whole point if for conversing—converse a little before, during, or after this coffee situation and see whats up. Not like a DTR is necessary or anything but lets be real here. Of course, you could always stalk them on Facebook and see if they change their relationship status after this coffee adventure. Maybe that will give you a clue >.<
    Up front and honest. Pretty sure that will help alleviate any confusion….if not…write Sharideth–she seems to know what's up (:

  34. ~Jaguar says:

    I actually had a similar conversation with a friend of mine on this very topic which led me to write a post from the male point of view on this here:

  35. Susan says:

    It can be a date if it’s a second or third date but as a first unless it is explicit that it is for a romantic reason then it might not be an actual date. I think it also depends on the vibe, you know when someone is interested and when they aren’t. Coffee can be a drink with mates having a chat or a way of spending time with someone you are interested in or it could be a way of letting them know you are interested and then asking them out during the coffee ‘date.’

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