Is It a Date or Are You Just Hanging Out?

When is a date really a date, and when is it just hanging out? Use this guide to understand it and make the together time work in your favor.

date or just hanging out?

Firstly, let’s get this straight.

It doesn’t matter whether a guy or a girl says “it’s a date” or “let’s hang out” over the phone while asking you to spend time together.

*But, of course, it would make it easier if they did say it straight out!*

What you need to realize is that it’s the way either of you behave during the time you spend together that matters.

Almost always, it’s pretty easy to know if the together time is heading towards love, or being shoved to the friend zone.

[Read: How to avoid the friend zone and make your friend desire you]

The only time it can get rather confusing is when you have a huge crush on the person who asks you out or asks you to hang out, and your mind’s all muddled with love, and every single act or behavior of your ‘friend’ seems convincingly like date-like behavior.

Disguising a date as hanging out

If a guy gives you flowers, it’s pretty obvious he has a date in mind.

On the other hand, if he says he just wants to hang out as friends, he could still have feelings for you.

So trying to decode the words a guy or a girl uses to ask you out isn’t really going to be very helpful. [Read: 18 signs to decode a guy’s body language and know if he likes you]

And to make things worse, most guys and girls don’t ask their date out on a date *if they really like the person*. To most people in love, the thought of confessing their love is really painful and worrisome, especially if they have a huge crush on them and they don’t want to blow their chances. It’s always easier to just play it safe, use the excuse of hanging out and impress the person very, very slowly.

And for anyone who’s on the other side of the table, this can be a huge dilemma. So is it a date or are you just hanging out? Does this person like you or are they just very friendly and warm? [Read: 15 very, very obvious signs of flirting between a guy and a girl]

The perfect excuse – Let’s hang out

Using the excuse of hanging out takes the pressure off of dating. If it’s a date from the get-go, there’s always the tension of impressing each other, and then there’s the stress of having to worry about the good night kiss, the next potential date, and a load of other agitating thoughts.

Instead, to many, it’s just so much easier to play it cool, assess the way the evening goes, and think about the dating potential of a person over time. And frankly, the logic behind this is rather evident, even if it can leave the other person confused most of the time! [Read: 20 obvious tips to perfect your date conversation in minutes!]

Is it a date or are you both just hanging out?

When is a date not a date? And when is hanging out more than just hanging out?

If you’re wondering about the possibilities before getting to the date, here’s a good way to start off. Is the catching up planned in advance? Did this friend of yours call you a week ahead and ask you if you’re free at a particular time on a particular day? Or did this person call you out of the blue and ask you to catch up later in the day?

If the friendly date was planned way before schedule, it’s probably a date. And on the other hand, if it was a last minute decision to catch up because both of you have nothing better to do, it’s probably just hanging out.

But keep this in mind, some guys and girls may want to play it cool because they don’t want to make their crush on you or their intentions obvious, and they may use a last minute excuse to spend time with you. [Read: The right way to talk to a crush and make them fall for you]

What are your intentions? – Make it clear

So well, it’s not too easy to know what your friend has up their sleeve until you actually get to the date. But there’s one thing you can do about it. And it’s the best way to go about it. Subtly make your intentions clear right from the beginning, and watch the signs and the way they reciprocate to your advances.

[Read: How to stay just friends when your friend wants more]

[Read: 16 first date tips for girls to dazzle your date and 16 first date tips for guys to charm your date]

12 signs to know if it’s a date or you’re just hanging out

Now we get to the part where both of you are sitting down together, and there are no other friends around. If you’re hanging out with this person, and you’re confused about what’s on their mind, use these 12 signs to read their mind without really asking them any questions about their intentions.

#1 Nervousness. Is your friend nervous? *more nervous, fidgety and awkward than usual* If your friend likes you, there’s a good chance that they’re subtly trying to impress you without making it obvious.

#2 Good time? Your friend asks you if you’re having a nice time during the date. They don’t say things like “this place sucks” or “man, I’m so bored”. Instead, they specifically ask for your opinion.

And if you mention that the food isn’t good or the place isn’t nice, your friend may even say something like “I’m going to make sure I don’t bring you here again…” They may actually behave like it’s their fault you hate the place! [Read: The dating girl code all girls definitely need to know]

#3 Dressed up and cleaned up. Is your friend all spruced up and looking like a shiny penny, when you clearly know what they’re wearing while hanging out isn’t regular hanging out attire? Well, perhaps, they’ve got a date on their mind.

#4 Questions and answers. Hanging out together would suddenly start to feel like an interview or a round of 20 questions. If your friend likes you, they’d want to know everything about you. [Read: 36 naughty and funny questions for flirty guys and girls]

#5 Of exes and flings. Does your friend talk about their exes or current crushes, even if you didn’t give them any reason to bring the topic up? Talking about other love interests is a pretty good sign that your friend just wants to hang out with you.

On the other hand, if you want to stay within the friend zone, just talk about your current squeeze or someone you have a crush on. Your friend will definitely get the hint.

#6 It’s a fancy date restaurant. You’re not a foodie, and neither is your friend, but yet, both of you are in a place that seems extravagant. If the place seems too posh to feel like a comfortable hangout, perhaps your friend is trying to worm their way into your heart through good wine and food.

#7 Touchy friends. Does your friend try to touch you often even when there’s absolutely no reason or requirement for the touch? If a friend likes you, whether they’re trying to be discreet or otherwise, they’d have a hard time holding themselves back from trying to get their hands on you. [Read: The art of touchy flirting without being obvious]

#8 Compliments. Friends compliment each other, yes. But they don’t shower you with compliments about your personality or your appearance, and follow it up with an awkward pause, and a sappy stare.

And let’s not even get to flirting, because that’s just a straight sign that your friend is just hitting on you instead of hanging out with you.

#9 The conversation. The conversation revolves around just the two of you. Both of you aren’t talking about other friends, funny events at work, or anything else. Unknowingly, the conversation just revolves around the both of you trying to get to know each other, intimate details and all. [Read: Sure signs both of you are already more than just friends]

#10 Apologies. Your friend apologizes for the silliest of things. “Sorry… I HAD to answer that call”, “I’m sorry you didn’t like the place”, “I’m sorry I wasn’t much fun…” Perhaps, your friend is just courteous, but bigger chances are, they’re just trying to win your heart.

#11 Paying the bill. Are both of you going dutch and splitting the bill, or is one person paying for it? This isn’t a particularly effective way to predict the date-o-meter, but if the guy insists or even puts up a fight that he wants to get the bill, maybe, just maybe, he’s trying to impress you. [Read: 13 signs of lusty sexual attraction between friends]

#12 Thank you! Friends don’t thank another friend for having a good time while hanging out! They just laugh, wave goodbye and walk away. And even if there is some thanking involved at the end of the hanging-out/date, there’s a clear difference between “I had an awesome time, we should do this again!” and “Thank you for a wonderful time. I’d love to see you again…”

[Read: 20 signs of romantic attraction in a conversation between friends]

As confusing as figuring out if it is a date or just hanging out may seem, it’s actually pretty simple if you use these tips and learn to read between the lines. And once you know what’s on their mind, you just need to ask yourself what you want!

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Cheryl James
A lover of bad ideas and a true romantic at heart, Cheryl James hates excuses and loves integrity. She believes that one day can change everything and wakes up ...