A Definitive Guide to If You Two Are Dating or Just Hanging Out

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We are all still real confused about what’s a date and what’s not a date, reports USA TODAY. Is a 9pm I’m-at-a-bar-you-should-come text a date? Is lying around someone’s gross apartment ordering Chinese food and watching ABC Family a date? Is a midnight showing of The Room you bought your own ticket for a date? Who knows? According to a study co-commissioned by ChristianMingle and JDate, basically nobody.

Of the 2,647 singles surveyed, ages 18-59, 69 percent are “at least somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they’re interested in is a date or not.” A “one-on-one hangout,” after all, might be a date — 80 percent of respondents said they’d guess so — but it also might not be. It is always possible — confusing, but possible — that someone for real wants to be your friend. Luckily, we’re here to help suss it out. Here’s how you know:

Hanging out: If they make plans Friday for Friday, because ugh, planning, you know?
Dating: If they make plans Tuesday for Friday, because in their love-struck eyes, you are worth keeping a calendar for.

Hanging out: If you go Dutch because obviously you’re going to go Dutch, no discomfort, no uncertainty, no question, no stress, no panic, wallets out for everybody.
Dating: If the person who does the asking pays and you feel momentarily weird about it. Or the person who does the asking doesn’t pay — that can be a date, too. This is the 21st century! The point is that it’s a date if the check comes and nobody knows what to do about it.

Hanging out: They come over to your place, you watch a movie, everybody drinks tea, they go home.
Dating: They come over to your place, you watch a movie, everybody drinks tea, you have sex.

Hanging out: Two straws, two milkshakes.
Dating: Two straws, one milkshake.

Hanging out: They tell that story about the time they went home with this really hot dude but then he turned out to have a peace sign tattooed on his inner thigh and they just couldn’t deal with that level of earnestness but they totally hooked up anyway.
Dating: The first rule of dating is: You do not talk about dating (other people) (in graphic terms).

Hanging out: If they ask you normal questions, like whether you think Justin Bieber is going to get deported and also was American Hustle actually that good, or just kind of good?
Dating: They awkwardly wonder what your parents do. “Ah, a lawyer! That must be interesting,” they say. “And how many siblings do you have?”

Hanging out: Phones on the table. What if someone updates Facebook or something?
Dating: Phones off the table, on silent, no alarms, no texting, no exceptions. Unless someone’s in the bathroom — that’s when you text your actual friends to tell them how it’s going. This is a date, after all.