Is this a date?!

New research shows that we’re a little (OK, a lot) confused about our love lives…

By Edwina Carr
Relationship advice

A guy you like and have met through friends texts you to “grab a coffee”. You’re pretty sure you feel flirty vibes coming from him but when you actually head out to meet him, he treats you like a mate and doesn’t even offer to pay the bill. So, was it a date or not?

If you often feel puzzled about whether you’re in the “friend zone” or the “date zone”, don’t stress: apparently 69 percent of peeps feel the same. New research, published by USA Today, surveyed 2,647 singles aged 18 to 59 and found that often it’s very unclear whether a hangout is a date or not.

So why, in this day and age where we’re so out and proud about our feelings, are we so clueless when it comes to hangouts of the romantic kind? According to relationship expert Isiah McKimmie, it’s party due to dating becoming super casual.

“Back in the day, you would’ve had to call someone up, ask them face-to-face, or arrange a date through their parents to go on a date. Now, we can text, Facebook message or get in touch on Tinder to ask someone out,” explains Isiah.

“Dating has become really informal. Now a date can be anything from coffee to a fancy dinner.”

And this ambiguity has meant that some people now have zero idea about what constitutes a romantic hangout. Case in point? 24 percent of those surveyed said they considered a date a “planned event with friends”. Who are these people?! Imagine spending your first date not only having to impress a guy, but impress all of his (potentially judge-y) mates too. shudders

So the question remains - how can you tell if your hangout is a date?

“Go along the date with no expectations and see how it goes. If you enjoyed yourself, send him a text saying so and that you’d like to meet up again. If he replies quickly to organise another meet up, you can be sure it was a date. If he doesn’t seem to catch on, it probably wasn’t,” explains Isiah.

Here’s a new concept for you – what if you decided that it didn’t matter whether it was a date or not? Try that on for size, ladies.

“If you go into the situation with an open mind, you’ll probably be able to relax a lot more because you won’t feel the pressure of it being an actual ‘date’. If it goes well, maybe the next meeting can be a more traditional date. If it goes badly in the romance department – you’ve lost nothing and might’ve even have gained a friendship,” explains Isiah.

Have you ever been confused about your dating sitch before?