If a Girl Doesn’t Know She is on a Date, It is Not a Date


What just happened here?

The second he took my hand, I froze.

We had just finished dinner before going to an event we were both attending that night. I had given him a free pass for the event, and in appreciation, he had offered to treat me to dinner.

We had some time to kill so he suggested taking a walk along the beach to see the sunset.

As we approached the crosswalk, he casually took my hand. I froze but thought he was being a gentleman, escorting me across the street to ensure I was getting across safely. I am a feminine girl, and I do like being protected and cared for in that manner regardless of who I am with.

But then his hand relaxed into mine in a way that felt more intimate in nature; his fingers shifting into interlocking with mine. He pulled his hand closer to his body, bringing me toward him as well, and he murmured how much he enjoyed our dinner together. And then a very light kiss.

It was a shift without a clutch.

What makes it a date

Some may argue that men and women cannot be friends and therefore, any alone time could be construed as a potential date, I think we can all agree that in modern society, platonic gatherings are pretty common. And male/female friendships can be incredibly fulfilling for both.

But dating has a clear distinction that friendships do not.

Dating has a purpose or intention to it.

There is an outcome that both parties are after — and they may differ. Both people have an idea of where they see this gathering ending — whether it is a hookup, a forever farewell, a second date or marriage.

The date is where the intentions and desired outcomes of the date are decided and shared.

But first, it has to be very clear that the couple is on an actual date.

Here are the key things that make that evident.

It is clear that it is a date.

If it is a date, the man makes his interest in me known, and I have conveyed my interest in getting to know him better. There is no ambiguity about whether this is two friends hanging out or a gathering with romantic intentions.

He may say, “I would love to take you to dinner,” or “Are you open to a coffee date this weekend?”, or “Would you be my +1 for a Superbowl party?”.

Most importantly, you will both have shared that you are single, available and open to dating. Don’t agree to lunch with a new guy friend and then mention your boyfriend of 8 years halfway through it unless you want to broadside him.

It is a planned event

A legit date means the person has booked time on your calendar to spend with you. Like, a few days in advance. A smart man knows this will build anticipation for the woman. I LOVE the excitement of having a date that I have to wait for.

Planning time together in advance means he is making a dedicated effort to ensure that we spend time together.

If I know him socially, it also says that he is not willing to wait until he runs into me again. He wants to see me and he is going to take action to make that happen.

If a man expresses interest in me but doesn’t plan an actual date with me, I write him off. He’s either not serious, not available or stringing me along.

And that just ends up being confusing and hurtful.

We are dressed for a date.

Meaning, we both show up looking like we are at least trying to look good for the other person. For me, this usually means a very nice dress, heels, and all the proper accoutrements. I show up with the intention that when he sees me, he says, “Wow.”

I take pride in my track record on getting those wows. 🙂

Those of you who follow me will recall the story of the guy who wore the flannel shirt for our first two dates — both at very nice restaurants. While that did not impact my feelings toward him, it did throw me off, as he was dressed like he was hanging with buddies at a bar.

He was Perfect But… He Wore a Flannel Shirt on our First Date
He did everything right — but that outfit said a lot

Some dates call for a more casual look, which is fine. No matter how casually we are dressed for whatever we are doing, I make a point to look sharp and to show that I made an effort to impress. For me, it’s about showing the man respect — a non-verbal cue that he’s worth the effort.

The conversation is different.

Every date I have had involves some degree of vetting each other out. I don’t date casually, so if I say yes to a date, it is because I think there is a chance for a long term relationship with the man. And the men I meet are looking for the same. We all want to find our person.

So, we are going to get into it. What are you looking for? What are your dealbreakers? What do you want in the next phase of your life?

By the end of the night I will likely know his religious, political and social views. I will know when his last relationship ended and how he sees his role as the man with his woman.

A date is about determining compatibility.

If the chemistry isn’t there, that won’t matter, but if the chemistry is solid, then the conversation will orient around determining if we are a good match — and if a second date is in order.

The confusing part

Where it gets confusing for people is when some of the factors above are present — but others are not.

In the situation above, we did plan that dinner ahead of time. We were both dressed nicely for the event.

What was missing was that entire conversation of this being anything more than two friends dining together.

He did not know if I was single and available (which aren’t the same thing!) and I hadn’t expressed any curiosity about his status either.

Our conversation that night revolved around travel and his time living in Europe.

At the end of that night, I had no idea if we would have been compatible.

Which didn’t matter to me at all — because it wasn’t a date.

Here what I would have preferred

If you start feeling something during a hangout with a friend, don’t turn it into a date unless you want to freak the person out or scare them off.

At that point, you want to start vetting the person out. If things look promising, then ask for an actual date — not another friend hangout.

The two stories below describe exactly what I would have wanted the guy to have done before making any kind of advance on me.

Single Does Not Mean Available
You gotta vet this out before you jump

How to Avoid Getting Rejected
Ladies don’t like rejecting you either.

Unless I am making my interest in a guy very clear, please slow it down. Make your interest and intentions clear. Make sure the person is single and available. And ideally, get a sense that they are open to exploring something with you — whether it is for a one night hookup or a long term relationship.

Know that you are roughly on the same page with the person so you don’t waste each other’s time. No one wants to be led on, so please be clear, direct and transparent about your interest and intentions.

Nothing is worse an awkward date.

If it gets awkward for them, it will be even more awkward for you.

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. And don’t forget to hit follow to stay connected or subscribe.


This post was previously published on medium.com.


The post If a Girl Doesn’t Know She is on a Date, It is Not a Date appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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