Hanging out vs. a date: How to know the difference

I've had so many people ask me how they're supposed to know whether they're going on a date with a guy or just hanging out. It may have been very easy to figure out years ago, but today, not so much. The lines are very blurred and it can often be difficult to know the difference especially if you're unsure of the other person's intentions. So how are you supposed to know whether you're just hanging out with a guy or going on a date with him?

He uses the term "date"

This is obviously the best way to know, however, many guys today won't use the term "date". They think it either sounds old-fashioned or they feel awkward saying it. Of course it just complicates things further if he doesn't use the term, but if he does, you're lucky you don't have to wonder about his intentions.

He says "I'd like to take you"

Starting a sentence with "I'd like to take you" is the shy/nervous guy's way of saying the word "date". There hasn't been one instance where a guy said this phrase to me and it wasn't actually a date.

He pays

The majority of the time if a guy pays for you, it's a date. This is especially true if he grabs the bill without a second thought or refuses to take any money from you toward the bill (excluding the tip). However, if a guy says to you "You paid for me before so I got it this time" or something similar, it's very likely just a hang out type of situation.

You met on a dating website with the intention of dating

Many think just because you meet someone from a dating website that you're automatically going on a date when you meet in person, but that's not always the case. Pay attention to what their intent says on their profile and what they say to you. Some guys are genuinely just looking to hang out or find friends even though they're on a dating website.

There's other people with you

Just because it's you and him doesn't imply it's a date and just because there's a group with you it doesn't mean it's not. Confusing, I know. The two of you can hang out one-on-one and it could either be a date or purely platonic. If you hang out in a group of singles and couples, it's very likely just hanging out. However, if the two of you go out somewhere with only couples, chances are you're out on a date. I once went out with a guy and thought we were only hanging out until I showed up and there were three couples sitting at the restaurant table. If he mentions others are joining the two of you, you may want to ask who's going just to have some clarification.

The two of you have made your interest known

If you've told him you're interested and vice versa and the two of you go out somewhere together, it's very likely a date even if he doesn't state it as such. If he asks you to go out somewhere together and he's interested but you're not, make sure to include the term "hanging out" in your response so you're clarifying that in no way is it a date.

Getting physical

One big problem many make is that they assume just because a guy kissed them while they're out together that it's a date. This isn't necessarily true. It could have been a hanging out scenario but the guy either just wanted a kiss or was hoping it was going to lead to sex. Whether or not you're interested, when he makes a move is your chance to let him know how you feel. There's been times when I was interested in a guy but after we first kissed, I felt nothing. After he went in to kiss me for the second time, I let him know the first kiss was our last. If you're interested in him, kiss him again. If you're not, you have two options: dodge the kiss or flat out stop him and tell him you're not feeling him in that way.

Some say to just ask him whether or not it's a date, but that's not necessarily the best move. It can often add way too much unnecessary pressure to the situation and it could make him freak out even if he states it's a date. Your best option is to let things play out - listen to what he says but pay more attention to his body language and actions. It won't take very long to figure out where both of you stand.

More from Lauren R:

Four Ways Being in the Friend Zone Could Work in Your Favor

Bathroom Etiquette Rules for Couples

Dating While on a Break: Is it Cheating?