Most of us found ourselves in this scenario: a charming coworker asks you out, but you have no idea whether it's because of your sparkling personality or something a bit more romantic. Are you going on a romantic adventure, or it's a friendly invite? Is it a date or just friends hanging out?
Online dating is for hookups and romance. But in real life, things are often stuck in the grey area. Or, at least that's what you think. Here's how to know if a guy/girl wants more or merely wants you to be friends.
1. How well do you know each other?
If it's someone new, the chances are that it's a date. Their approach might seem casual, but it implies that they don't want to seem desperate.
However, if it's someone you already know well, things get trickier. Usually, we don't think that it's more than two friends hanging out unless we noticed something unusual.
If a friend wants to date you, they will give you minor signs, but yet again, nothing too straightforward until they know you're on the same page.
So, the first clue is in how well you know each other. If they're suddenly suggesting one-on-one activities that you wouldn't normally do, there's a good chance that's a date.
2. What was their tone?
Before your maybe-date, analyze their voice and gestures. No matter how smooth they appear, the nerves give them away.
Did their voice get deeper? Perhaps it sounded a bit more like whispering? Finally, was their voice a bit shaky?
If it suggested more than just friends hanging out, it most likely is. Especially if they didn't use friendly terms like "dude' and didn't mention other people, it's just the two of you, and if you have mutual friends, they didn't mention them.
3. What do your mutual friends have to say?
Friends, coworkers, people who know both of you can put the rest on your doubts.
Other people pick up vibes and see things in a brighter light. You don't have to tell them everything if you're still unsure, but you could start a general conversation about relationships and mention the name of your potential dating partner just to see the reaction.
Yes, getting to know whether it's a date or just friends chilling involves considerable detective work.
4. Did they mention the specifics?
Are they picking you up? If so, it has to be a date thing.
Of course, it's all about logistics, but here is the thing. If someone wants to date you, they will plan it out. When did they suggest this date-ish thing? Did they include details? Or was it more like 'drop bye whenever…'
The latter one suggests Netflix and chill, not a romance; however, even that doesn't mean it's not a valid date. It's one of those situations where the other side wanted to create a stress-free zone with no expectations.
Dates, no matter how casual, include planning. Flings and friendships are effortless.
5. What's behind the activity?
A dinner suggests a date.
If they say 'drop by,' it could mean a romantic night in. What separates it is whether they will offer to pick you up, ask you what kind of food you like, and if you're interested in a specific movie.
On the other hand, your friend will be super casual and won't bother to ask about your preferences.
Usually, a person who asked you out pays the bill. Even if you're going for a walk, they will offer you something to drink or eat. And if you're going to see a movie, he or she will be waiting for the tickets.
Paying merely implies that the person is interested. But when and where they are choosing say a lot more, not just about the date. It also says what kind of person your potential date is and what they want from you.
6. Where is the conversation taking you?
If a guy is telling you about other ladies in his life, of course, it's not a date. Well, it shouldn't be because that's rude, and it goes for both genders.
Yet, if you're sharing a bit more intimate stories, and your date doesn't care that they have new Instagram notifications, you're on a proper date.
When someone wants to know you, they will ask all sorts of questions, and if they are really into you, some questions will be strange.
It's nothing more than stage fright. They're asking all sorts of stuff to get to know you, often crossing the boundaries. So, let them know whether you're interested, and if you are, try to make the conversation flow as a signal that it's okay to relax.
7. How much is eye contact involved?
Is your maybe-date checking our other people, or do they only have eyes for you?
Perhaps your date isn't a master of flirting, but eye contact is a powerful thing. If they're always trying to meet your eyes, there's your answer.
When we're someone we really like, our eyes get wider as if we want to get into the other person's soul. Gazing plus date-like conversation topics are a clear sign that you're more than buddies. Don't worry; you're not friend-zoned.
Also, if they are leaning toward you, it's a date sign. Reading body language is not that difficult if you know where to look.
Are they looking for an excuse to touch your hand? Again, what about their nerves?
8. How did the night end?
Not everyone wants to make out or have sex on their first date. And even if you do end up in bed, it could be a one-time thing.
If there's a follow-up message or if you already made some plans, you were on a date. If you already have specific plans, it was a promising one as well.
You might also consider the fact that your date is looking for a fling, something casual. That's why it's time to analyze what you need and want from a person.
Of course, if there was a handshake involved, you two weren't on a date. Or, you were, but it was not great, to put it nicely.
9. How do you feel after your hangout/date?
Do you have butterflies?
Your gut instinct can often provide the most reliable guidance. Consider what this date meant for you. Does it meet your expectations for dating criteria?
Did you feel special? Did the other person make an effort? Of course, maybe they were perfect on paper, yet you feel like it's not going to work out. That's all perfectly normal, so let them down easy.
Who knows, maybe that person could turn out to be a great friend despite your rocky romance attempt.
10. Dating criteria
Dating is an effort on both sides. If you're not ready for a relationship, yet you want a casual hookup, that's fine, but be subtle about where you stand.
However, if you want romance, a white picket fence, and all that jazz, you shouldn't come off too strong. Take your time, and enjoy the beginning of something that might turn into a relationship.
Generally, you should know whether or not it's a romantic thing before you get there. But, sometimes you can find yourself in a maybe-date situation, and that's fine. Now you know where to find the answers and avoid ambiguous situations, or if you can't avoid them, you can still act accordingly.
A date can turn into something more friendly. Yet, a non-date could turn into a romance if you play your cards right. It's not rocket science, but we wish it were sometimes because there's nothing more complicated than trying to figure out what's on the other's person's mind.
And that, my friends is the essence of dating!