Life is supposed to be easier now. With improvements in communications, transportation, and technology, going out and meeting new people should be less complicated than it used to be. In the age of Facebook, Skype, webcams, and online dating, there are so many opportunities to meet new people than ever before. Despite all these, something as basic as defining if or when two people are merely hanging out or are actually already on a date remains a point of contention. You might think you’re already on a date but the person you’re with believes you two are just hanging out as friends. That lack of communication is something that needs to be addressed to avoid any further misunderstanding.
1. It's planned and it's exclusive.
Guys and girls hang out all the time. That’s just the nature of most people. In a group of friends or in a barkada, the entire group or smaller spinoff groups could choose to go to a mall or catch a movie. The confusion sometimes arises when it’s only one guy and one girl who go out. Twenty-something economist Cito de Leon says, “I don't believe in "group dates" so I think that what primarily differentiates ‘gimmick’ from dates are the exclusivity (it’s just you and the girl, no one else),” he shares. “There has to be some element of intimacy involved, like dinner or the guy picking up and bringing home the girl.”
Another primary consideration is that dates are hardly ever impromptu. “There has to be some planning involved,” Cito emphasizes. “Not some random ‘Tara, let's hang out’ thing. A date has to be scheduled.” The planning involved and the absence of randomness gives some considerable weight to a date that isn’t present in a simple dinner or movie hangout session.
Regarding expectations, the difference between a mere “tambay” and a date become even more pronounced. Cito notes that, “there are different expectations for dates, especially if its the first.” “I always feel the need to put my best foot forward, so I can't say I’m completely myself.” The reverse also applies though as Cito notes that, “I also expect the girl to be the same, that in some sense, she's also putting out the best version of herself.”
2. Both parties are clear about their intentions and there's chemistry.
For 30-something senior marketing manager Mike Lopez, the delineation between a date and a non-date is clear as day. “When you try to kiss her on the lips, and she either kisses you back, or doesn't feel uncomfortable in the attempt, then it's a date,” Mike says. “If she tries to kiss you, and you are uncomfortable with it, it's a date.”
Mike elaborates further by saying, “If she is not comfortable with your romantic intentions, she's not your date, and she may not be your friend for much longer.”
Clearly, intent of both parties needs to be considered when Mike explains, “If she doesn't know you have romantic intentions for her, it's not a date and she is just your friend.” As for blind dates and setups, Mike notes the following: “A blind date can be considered a date by definition and people on them are supposed to be single, so the romantic intention is not strong, but may be there. A setup is not a date, especially if the other person was not informed it's supposed to be a date.”
Exclusivity, planning, raised expectations, intimacy levels, and intentions of both parties. Add one final factor in assessing whether it is a date or not: mutual awareness. Mike encapsulates this point thusly, “ “If there is ever any doubt whether it really is a date, by any one of the two people, then it's not a date. Period. A date is like love, if it isn't mutual, it isn't there.”
Yahoo! Philippines SHE asks Pinays: "How do you know if it's a real date or not?"
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