How do you know… if it’s a date?

Photo Credit: april-mo. flickr

I’ve pondered this one. My girlfriends have pondered it. My guy friends have pondered it. And no one seems to have a definitive answer.

Sure, it’s usually not a life or death question, but I have known of a woman who almost choked on her meal when it became abundantly clear to her that she didn’t know the answer to this question in relation to the man sitting across from her.

I have a feeling that the Yanks (is that still a politically okay term to use?) may have this one fairly down pat… in fact, so might every other country… but for us Aussies, it seems to be a vague free-for-all in which everyone has their own opinion and people go out on one-on-one-catch-up-non-date-thingies at their own peril, unsure of whether or not their own personal anatomy-of-a-date matches up with their partner’s (or non partner maybe, because really we don’t know.)

Of course we’re not complete imbeciles. If they make a move, it’s (probably) a date, if they arrive on your doorstep with flowers, it’s (probably) a date, if they talk about another person that they’re interested in, it’s (probably) not a date. But as for everything in between? Well you never can tell.

So, for the Aussies: What constitutes a date for you?

And for the non-Aussies out there: What are the ‘rules’ in your country?

Please comment, it just may save a life.

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46 comments on “How do you know… if it’s a date?

  1. Michelle Hollis says:

    Ya know what Sarah if I was to go out with a guy for dinner I wouldn’t care what it was called:)

  2. emilyj23 says:

    Haha.. such a good post! It should hopefully be some what obvious! But seriously, these days, who knows!! I guess if you want it to be a date… but if not, its just a catchup 😉

  3. AsianGirl says:

    Yikes. One time I had dinner and movie with a guy friend and all I ever thought of the whole thing was “hanging out”…but this ended up with the guy having a “crush” on me!

    Love this post 🙂

    • sarsrose says:

      haha thanks for your response and thanks for visiting. I think stories like yours are a bit too common! Are you in Australia or elsewhere?

  4. I knew it was a date… when he proposed. 🙂 Well, not quite, but the really nice, friendly-to-everyone guys can be the trickiest to work out!

  5. georgie says:

    Oh you just know

  6. I find it easier to gauge whether a meet up with a guy is a date by body language. It’s a massive indicator. I do start to be concerned when a guy starts acting as mate.

  7. Diane says:

    Your grandmother would say it’s a date when he comes to your house and picks you up (and risks meeting your dad) pays for your coffee/meal/movie and delivers you back home again.

  8. Here’s what not to do!!
    A few years ago a friend of mine told me that she was approached by a friend of her’s who she was sort of interested in to have coffee with him and maybe do a bit of shopping and hang out. But he made the comment he needed to ask her an important question that directly affected her….as you can imagine, she got really excited. They got on really well and she was really starting to hope that there maybe something there. So anyway, the next morning he picked her up and they went for a drive and then they ended up going to lunch (he paid) . So they’re sitting there chatting and laughing away and he was being really coy the whole time so she finally asked him what it was he needed to ask her. And then it happened! He put down his fork looked her in the eye and said, “so I have this interest in someone and I wanted your opinion.” So she asked him if she knew her, hoping the whole time he was actually talking about her. Unfortunatly for her he was not. He had made such a big fuss about this whole thing only to tell her that he had been interested in her best friend at the time and that he thought that if he got to know my friend, he might be able to get to know the girl he was really interested in. She was crushed. This is the perfect example of how guys get it wrong all the time. He didn’t mean to hurt her but the way he asked my friend out for lunch was all wrong.

  9. Sam barber says:

    Hmm, it is all too complicated for my wee brain, that is why I am and inevitably will always be a crazy cat lady 😦

    • sarsrose says:

      Not inevitably nor always Sam… but that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with being single or having cats! We do not need men to complete us… but would still be nice to be able to read them a little better!!

  10. I really do like this post! (: I’m speaking for myself, as a Asian girl. I guess the safest bet is to regard it as a non-romantic date (call it a catch-up, meet-up, whatever you want), unless the guy openly makes his moves. this way, things won’t be awkward!

  11. Sam barber says:

    However I am still working on understanding people in general, I struggle with understanding and communicating with friends and family at the best of times, let alone the opposite sex. Lol

  12. Chris Harrison says:

    oh for clear transparent communication, devoid of fear! 😀

  13. For me, a better questioin is: What is a date? Some may regard a date as “I’m really interested in you.” Another may regard a date as just somewhere to go with a friend, but it has to be an appointed time and place–but it may have nothing to do with how much you like the person. I have always regarded a date as a place to go with someone for the distinct purpose of getting to know someone in order to find out if I like her or not. So a date to me is just a process of getting to know someone. I have been known to take someone out on a date that I wasn’t extreemely interested in, but I thought, “she is kind of an interesting person.”

    So what I am saying is, before you ask a person, “Is this a date,” maybe you should first ask him, “What is a date to you”?

    • sarsrose says:

      That’s definitely a good point Stephen. I think that may be part of the problem. I get the impression that other countries/cultures (though I’m not sure where you’re from) have a more clearly defined definition of ‘date.’
      A good idea, but not sure I’d want to ask a guy ‘What is a date to you?’ while I’m sitting there having coffee with him! 🙂

  14. mrsbohaty says:

    To my understanding, if the guy pays, that makes it a date. Also, if the guy picks you up instead of meeting somewhere, it’s a date.

    • sarsrose says:

      That seems to be quite a logical and common understanding… I think a lot of girls think that if he pays it’s a date, but then I’ve talked to many guys who don’t think paying constitutes a date at all. No wonder there is confusion! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

      • mrsbohaty says:

        You must have guys there who are more chivalrous than the ones here! Here, even if it’s a date guys don’t always pay!

  15. sarsrose says:

    haha oh don’t worry… they don’t always pay here either. And I’m not sure they should always have to. We just have a confusing mix of over chivalrous and under chivalrous 🙂

  16. JessieB says:

    haha I love this topic! you’re so right, the definition really does change from person to person! When Josh and I started our relationship, I was on the rebound from another and wasn’t really looking for another romance, which I thought was pretty clear (we spent an entire afternoon disecting what went wrong with the former boy!) and we were just catching up as friends. About 4 weeks after we started hanging out he actually turned to me to ask ‘is this a date?’ (Note: yes he intended to be dating me/taking me on a date, I was just a bit unsure) For me, that night was our first date.
    A few months after that he revealed that he considered every outing/catch up we had been on a date, so when we were asked how long we had been dating, our times didn’t match up at all! He was weeks ahead of me lol.
    I think the question really needs to relate back to the intention behind the ‘date’. I have no issues with catching up with mates on what would classically be defined as a date, but its definitely not romantic in any way! its a ‘friend date’…or what ever you would like to call it. So I think knowing, or being able to ask the intention is the key…but it does open the door to an awkward conversation…
    telling josh about this (we ended up getting married 3 years ago) his 2 cents worth is that if you as the girl can’t tell you’re on a date, you’re probably not…or the guy is just a bit hopeless’.

    • sarsrose says:

      haha so true. But funny what your husband said. A lot of guys agree with it. Thanks so much for posting your thoughts. Was very interesting to read x

  17. USA here. A lot of it depends on the age of the person also. Younger people may just want to hang out rather than call it a date initially! Usually, if a guy asks a girl out though, to me it’s a date, unless he makes it clear from the beginning that it’s just a friendship. Things are so totalIy different nowadays though! I always went by body language and how the person talked to me before I got married.

  18. […] See also: How do you know… if it’s a date? […]

  19. freddielynn says:

    it is hard to make generalizations because one situation could be more complex than the next. In general, if the guy pays it is a date unless it has been very clear that you are just friends. For example, my friend Aaron and I would go to coffee or to a restaurant and he would pay (granted it was rarely alone nor fancy/sit down like), but I always knew we were just friends, even if I wanted it to be more at the time. Now when my husband rolled around. I knew I really liked him and I wanted him to just ask me, but though we weren’t officially dating, we went on dates. We would talk for hours and he would pay. Stephen never really asked me on a date, but our intentions seemed clear. I suppose not every guy is like that. Since every situation is different I would say these would be some date flags:

    1. He pays.
    2. He is extra chivalrous, treating you more than a friend.
    3. Flowers/Gifts
    4. He is openly flirting with you/making passes at you.
    5. He is EXTREMELY nervous

    Now any one of these doesn’t automatically mean a date, but if you start seeing two, three, or more of them, it may be time to define the relationship.

  20. journeyofjoy says:

    My hubby and I to this day don’t share the same opinion about a brunch we had when we first met (what he calls a “date” to this day), and I say it wasn’t (to this day), yet it was the place he says he decided and knew 100% that I was going to be his wife. We live in the U.S. this subject is near my heart because I’ve been there with the mixed messages and I never liked not knowing if it was or wasn’t when I was dating.

    • sarsrose says:

      haha, well good to know there is inconsistency all over the world and not just here. As I’ve thought about it more though, I can’t help wondering if maybe the guessing is a bit of the fun… although guessing can also mean people get hurt. It’s a tough one!

  21. sarsrose says:

    Reblogged this on sarsrose and commented:

    The most popular post of the last year… and the jury’s still out!

  22. […] 1,237 – How do you know if it’s a date? […]

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