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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The title sort of says everything. I'm curious to know if any of you have been confused on where the line between hanging out and dating is , as it pertains to courtship.

How do we tell if that one on one interaction is a date or just a 'hang out'?
I know it may seem cliche, but i know guys and girls can be just friends, but where does the friendship hangout and the potential date hangout start?

I've heard the 'date' is when time is set aside for the 2 parties to meet, and one party pays for both. couldn't that also work for a hangout where one party picks up the bill out of kindness?

I'm interested on your guys thoughts of where the line between hanging with someone of oppisite sex and going on a date with em
 

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The line is going to be different for different people. If you've been friends with someone for a while, you might as well just ask. It might therefore be more helpful to be able to tell whether or not the other person is romantically interested in you, but if you're very open-minded you may have difficulty picking out what many others would call "signals."
 

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I usually see "hanging out" as more of a group thing where everybody mingles. Dates are more "I'm paired off with you for the night" sort of thing.

What I see the most is when you're romantically interested in someone, but too much a coward to ask them on a date, you invite them to "hang out." Because that implies casualty and openness.

Dating is really, really weird where I am though, so everything I say may not apply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All very valid points. Part of the reason for me asking is because there is this lady that i have been friends with since my junior year of high school (i am going into my sophmore year of college). We text quite a bit, not necessarily everyday but usually at least 1 time a week, but didn't really 'hang' because of hectic schedules. after helping her with a final project for her hs graduation, she embedded a we should go for coffee or something sometime into how ive always helped and made her laugh message. Now we have a day and time where we agreed to go for shakes and mini golf (she is driving over 30 miles to do this). We arranged over text but she used extra exclamation points and smiles. and she seems really excited about it. I'm trying to look at it more of a friends hanging out thing but im trying not to rule out the possibility of it being a date.
 

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MOTM August 2012
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The difference is intent.

But there is a lesser component of honesty that is involved. If you are 'hanging out' but really want to be dating, then there is a dishonesty of intent here, probably brought about by a perceived negative outcome ("what if he doesn't like me?"). A lot of younger people in high school or early-college tend to be dishonest about their intentions choosing to either imply, or hope the other person just 'gets it,' which is not a good way to start out a relationship. This causes people to pretend that they are there for some other, more benign reason ("oh we're just hanging out,") when the intent was really for something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To be honest, i dont exactly know what my intent is. We've been friends for what feels like forever, even admitting to being best friends. She knows about some of the darkness in my past that i overcame and made me, well, me and i know some of her future christmas wishes, and some of the interests and such. I know she is single, she broke up with her bf soon after we became friends, we had a period where we didnt talk to each other simply because our schedules weren't conducive but when we started again, 'hangin out' or some other word/phrase showed up more in conversations. I mean i enjoy her as my friend and don't wanna lose that, but i also wouldn't mind if we did become bf/gf. i dont want to make the wrong move and ruin both chances but i dont want to maybe miss a chance too
 

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The line you cross going into dating is much more subtle/ambiguous than the borders of the dating world actually are, at least for me...I can't be friends with someone I've dated and split up with, usually because I care too much about them and have a hard time turning that off, especially when the breakup has been amicable.

For me, the line appears when I say, flat-out, "I don't want to see other people, and I can't date you if you're seeing other people." I don't really like to put ultimatums on anyone because they generally backfire, but monogamy is a far less risky path when considering overall physical health, and commitment will usually limit the kind of misunderstanding that occurs within the dating realm. This sort of ultimatum is also a lot more common and reasonably acceptable to someone who you're seeing (even if they don't accept it), or, at least, much less likely to be a surprise.

Short answer? The line is where you draw it, when the time comes.
 

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To be honest, i dont exactly know what my intent is. We've been friends for what feels like forever, even admitting to being best friends. She knows about some of the darkness in my past that i overcame and made me, well, me and i know some of her future christmas wishes, and some of the interests and such. I know she is single, she broke up with her bf soon after we became friends, we had a period where we didnt talk to each other simply because our schedules weren't conducive but when we started again, 'hangin out' or some other word/phrase showed up more in conversations. I mean i enjoy her as my friend and don't wanna lose that, but i also wouldn't mind if we did become bf/gf. i dont want to make the wrong move and ruin both chances but i dont want to maybe miss a chance too
So again this goes back to what I was saying about a perceived fear of negative consequences and has less to do with the definition of 'hanging out' vs dating. I would argue that you are not dating because you are probably, either consciously or unconsciously holding yourself back from her. You would probably be better of stating your intentions to her (that doesn't have to be verbally it could also mean ramping up physical contact, going in for the kiss -- anything that begins to delineate that you are not really there just to be friends because right now I'd venture to guess that 'lets just be friends' is exactly what you are communicating so you can't be pissed when she says it back to you). Your courage in this area will actually be more attractive to her in the long term than your ruminating back and forth on the subject. She may, in fact, be waiting for you to make a move. A lot of women absolutely will not pursue, or they pursue in a way that guys don't recognize as pursuit. A lot of this chalks up to mindset. A lot of guys, especially younger, have the mindset that they need to persuade a girl to like him. "I need to do something to get her to like me." That is not dating that is trying to be a salesman and just like a real salesman trying to game you into a deal would be off-putting so is it in relationships. If you came at it from the standpoint of giving her an opportunity to be with you your entire approach would change.

Many dating coaches and even successful business people who get what they want operate from the idea of having already gotten it. Imagine you got her 2 years ago. How differently would you act? Would you be so obsessive? Would you be worried about little things like what is a date and what isn't? Probably not and you'd probably have the confidence to just take the relationship in whatever direction it is destined to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Maybe. Although 2 years ago, i had almost no confidence. I want to make the intention clear without ruining the friendship. Shes been the one i can tell anything and she wont tell or judge. I wish i had gotten her 2 years ago, maybe i wouldn't be worried about all this, but i worry about all the little nuances with everyone when it comes to any sort of social interaction. i have severe social anxiety which probably doesnt help. i'm just not sure of many ladies who would drive almost 40 miles to just hang out...
 

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She's not going to continue to drive 40 miles to hang out if you are continually scared of her. No one wants to be around someone who is scared of them.

This is about decision making. What is the decision that will have the most favorable outcomes? Going for it or holding back? I think you know which is which. See the problem is that you are not in the present moment. Your mind is either stuck in the past of who you used to be, or stuck in the future of what you think will happen and this is just a waste of energy. If the definition of suffering is wasting energy thinking about stuff you can't control then you have a PhD in it. Because the past happened and the future hasn't happened yet so by you over focusing on "what if this doesn't work out" you are basically predicting failure. You might as well just walk away right now if that is your attitude.

If you want this to work, then, your only choice is to man up and go after it come what may. Put yourself in her shoes. Would you want to date a girl who was terrified that you were going to shut her down? And who had staked her entire relationship with you friendship and everything on the idea that if you said no it was all over. People who operate in these sorts of all-or-nothing platitudes are exhausting and your girl will quickly get worn out of it if you keep it up.

There seems to also be a bigger issue underlying everything. You say you are scared it won't work out and that it will ruin your friendship. Why? What makes it that way? There's an underlying belief that if you put yourself forward that somehow this will result in bad things. You have to get to the bottom of that belief and figure out why you think that or you won't ever have success in anything. Because this gets at the idea of deservedness. "I don't deserve to have what I want," which unfortunately a lot of people think. But the question is why? Who said? What makes it that way? The real issue here are the beliefs that you have about yourself (and beliefs are not facts and often couldn't be any further away from empirical truth, you just believe them to be true). Have you ever wondered how she sees you? Or have you only considered that she looks at you as negatively as you look at yourself? That is projection. That is you believing that your own image of yourself is the image that everyone else sees and clearly if she's driving 40 miles to 'hang out' that is not the case. So whatever inner demons or beliefs that keep you in the box of negative self-image, you're going to have to wrestle with. Because she can't carry your emotional bags for you and its not her job (and besides she no doubt has bags of her own). The easiest way to blast all of this is just to take a shot, at best you'll get a shot at the girl you really like and at worst you have at least given yourself a bit of confidence that you do have what it takes to go after what you want. Don't put the power of life and death in her hands and in her opinions (again its unattractive because no one wants that kind of power over someone else). Give her the opportunity to be with you and that starts with the belief that you are worth being with in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Only question is how to keep from over analyzing to where i can take the chance. when you mention 2 years ago, i didn't go for her cuz she was a cheerleader at the crosstown high school and i was a football, girls basketball, and girls track student athletic trainer. I saw the situation as never being more than friends because i saw it as cheerleaders and trainers were two totally different leagues. Now, she is still there and no of that applies. i'm thinking that @LiquidLight was right, somehow without realizing it, i've been holding back. Whether it be thinking i'm not good enough for her, or just being worried about things out of my control, i haven't been going for it.

I've still got a few day until i hang with this lady, but i'm wondering if between now and then i should try texting/calling her to maybe see if it's more date or more just friends
 

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You make some great points. I've been worried about putting myself out there because I've been burned more than once, stabbed in the back more than once etc. Personally i'm not totally sure how she sees me. I know she thinks im funny (and she also says i crack her up and i make her laugh a ton), she also told me i'm the best when i would help her with her english papers. She thinks im smart too. other than that idk how she sees me. i've tried looking from her end and let's say to me, i'm left befuddled. I mean i know it's a big deal for her to drive 40 miles just to hang out. I'm glad she's willing to do that since i can't drive (some rare perception and sight issue and eye doc said no driving till it fixes itself) but i feel bad making her do that. I admit i'm afraid of taking risks because of the uncertainity. I don't know if you would say she pursued me or not and is waiting for my move. Shes only ever mentioned us as best friends. Again i'm not sure what she sees in me that i dont see. im a bit flaky and inconsistent. I mean i do look about average, i care about others (many times more than myself), i'm sort of the friend everyone comes to for the calming words or the words to get through a rough patch. I do sometimes think im a catch but most of the time i try not thinking about it because i suck in the courtship and dating department. My question is why would the ex-cheerleader want anything to do with an ex-girls basketball trainer. To me, trainers and cheerleaders aren't really the same league which is part of why i didnt act on it earlier. Now that we are both out of high school,shes still around and i started worrying that she would disappear from my life like everyone else has but she didnt. I am thinking of playing it by ear and if the opening to maybe take it further arises (we are going for shakes and mini golf so im sure an opportunity will arise. but i dont want to come off too strong or too soft). I wouldnt date a lady that acted like me but this girl confuses me cuz all the things that ive done that have chased other ladies away, she hasnt turned and ran. i'll admit i have tried to see what would chase her off and in the almost 4 yrs i've known her, nothing has chased her away

You spent this entire paragraph disqualifying yourself. "I'm not this, I'm not that. This happened, that happened, this situation would make me do this negative thing," etc. It makes me wonder do you even want to be with her. It just seems like you keep coming up with reasons why it won't work.

I mean if you've already deep down decided that its not likely to work and you're just 'protecting yourself' from the inevitable letdown, if we take that to its conclusion, then why bother at all? You might as well go about your life and find another girl because this one is toast. If in your model of the world, for whatever reason, you don't think you deserve her time or that she'll find as many faults with you as you do with yourself, then that is reality (at least to you) and you will operate in a way that makes that happen. People operate in what they think is 'the real world' and in your model of the way the world works she is likely to find some fault with you that will not only make her reject your romantic overtures but that will destroy your entire friendship (!!!) As if there was no grey area between a romantic relationship and never seeing each other again.

Like I said, your life is not a case-study. It's not a series of events that have happened that define who you are. It's not "this event + this event + this childhood malady + this negative situation = who I am today." If i'm flying from LA to New York and I hit a bit of rough air, does that make the plane a bad plane? Or me an unworthy passenger? Or does it mean the pilot is incompetent? Or that you're all going to die? Of course not that would be ridiculous. Rough air is a part of air travel just like not every highway is perfectly smooth. Just because you had a few bad experiences in the past does not mean you will have them again in the future, and if you are someone who learns you are likely not to have the same bad experience again anyway. Don't poison your future with your past. What happened happened and the future hasn't happened yet, all you have is right now. And right now you can choose to make a new future (which will one day become a new brighter past for you). If you truly want this thing go for it and let whatever happens happen. It's the only way you'll get courage and confidence.

Right now you are blaming all of this on environmental factors. To a degree capabilities (I don't know if I'm able to do this). There's some ideas about self-identity (am I the kind of person that would do this?) which of course is coupled with beliefs that aren't helping. The only thing to worry about right now are actions because actions exist in the here and now. You have to do something. Doing something changes the environment, which gives you a new sense of capability which changes your beliefs which changes how you see yourself. But it starts with taking action. The fear of failure is often really the fear of success when you get to the bottom of it. Give yourself permission to be successful and you'd be amazed how things might turn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So basically you're trying to say its not necessarily a bad thing that I can identify my faults, but that im worried too much about her identifying them too and the thought of it being negative? I can admit that when i met her, i was pretty much a wuss when it came to well anything. i do know ive changed and gained confidence. But by me looking at the rough air (aka my past and its failures, torments, missed chances etc) i'm dooming the plane (the current me) to inevitable failure from excessive rough air? It's starting to make sense but i still feel like im holding back something. i dont want letdown but by avoiding letdown, i'm causing myself to second guess and thus not take a chance?

I still haven't decided if i should try figuring out if its a friends thing or a date thing by texting/calling her before our 'activity day'
 

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MOTM August 2012
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Well regardless of whether to call it a friends thing or whatever, what you want is a date thing. So that's what you should go after. And yes by placing too much emphasis on the rough patch you are basically dooming the plane to crash (when statistically you'd have a hard time ever find any plane that has crashed because of turbulence). By the way that person on the plane who thinks the bit of turbulence will crash the plane to everyone else just looks like a paranoid lunatic and who would want to spend much time around such a person? In their mind it seems all too real but to more objective minds its nonsense. The things that have happened to you do not doom you because you are still living which means that you can still affect how your story ends. As long as you are alive, you can make a choice to craft whatever life you want to have there is no one holding a gun to your head demanding that you be unhappy (unless you are doing it to yourself).

The one question your female friend (or any future person) will be asking is "what's in it for her?" (it seems you've decided there's a lot for you to gain from being with her, but perhaps haven't considered what she would gain from you). What does she get out of being with you? Right now you are saying all she's going to get is a bunch of problems and negativity and someone who doesn't live up to her lofty expectations. Of course she'll reject that. But if approached it from the standpoint that you're going to be an unforgettable gift for her life, something she'll remember and treasure, that you are as much of a blessing to her as she is to you, then who would turn that down? Like I said its all in your mindset.
 

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If you've known her for awhile, just be forward and obvious about it so she doesn't think yall are just hanging out.
 
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