Hanging out is what teenagers do, right? No, adults do that too. Often, they cannot understand whether they are dating or hanging out. Even more often, instead of directly asking a person they like on a date, they decide to play it safe by saying “Let’s hang out”. Such a suggestion is much more easy to utter, because it somehow frees you from responsibility. You can really go and hang out without any attempts to turn it into a date on the spot. But all this may result in a friend zone, because you fail to call a spade a spade.

Why is it important to establish the difference between a date and hanging out? Is it necessary to give the time spent together a specific term? The answer is simple – people want to know where this is all going. Both men and women don’t want to waste their time with people who have divergent intentions. In this article, you’ll learn more about hanging out vs dating and figure out what kind of relationship you have.

is it a date or hanging out

What is a date?

Before gaining insight into the battle dating vs hanging out, let’s make it clear what which of them really means. When you have a date with a person, it means you have an arranged meeting in a particular place. Usually, it’s a restaurant or café or some activity such as going to the theater, cinema, exhibition, etc. It can be a combination of two activities. The aim of a date is to learn that person better, establish a connection, and see if you’d like to continue this. People go on a date to check chemistry between them. Usually, a date has a scenario that people try to follow. Men consider it their duty to express their romantic interest in their date companions through being polite, paying for dinner, slight touches, compliments, flirting. If two people click, they agree on a second date, if that one goes well, they start dating. At this point, they decide to be exclusive or discuss other dating options. If people are dating, it means they take each other seriously and there is love involved.

What is hanging out?

What does hanging out mean? For starters, both men and women hate to hear “Let’s hang out tonight”. It means one thing – you’re going to spend some time together, grab some drink, and then say goodbye whenever you want or end up sleeping in one bed. If a man is really interested in a girl, he won’t say “let’s hang out tomorrow”. Well, he might say this for several reasons. One of them is to strip himself of any responsibility; another one is out of fear to say that this is going to be a real date. Usually, if it’s not a date, it’s not planned beforehand. So, a man calls a woman if she minds hanging out the same day. It’s a spontaneous call for him, and an unexpected call for her. Most likely, his plans changed so he is free tonight and looking someone to spend it with.

If a girl says that she just wants to hang out, it means she’s either interested in something casual – a casual relationship or casual sex, or views a man as a friend. It also may seem like she agrees to go out with a guy but will keep it platonic as some better option may appear on a horizon.

However, the representatives of both genders may have romantic feelings for some person and yet call it ‘hanging out’ in order to conceal their feelings. Everyone is afraid to be hurt, so these words are a good excuse for them to meet on casual terms. what to do when hanging out with a girlWho resorts to hanging out? Usually, those can be coworkers, two people who work out in on and the same gym, or old friends one of which suddenly realizes they have fallen in love with the other. In order not to rush things or scare their ‘friend’, they decide to hang out. Grab some coffee sometimes during lunch or after work. Go to the theater together because they share this passion and you bought the tickets to the same play, attend some master class, etc. It’s convenient to some extent – you hang out with a person you like and you don’t need to get yourself together and find words to open up. However, this is not going anywhere.

Are you dating or hanging out?

The most frustrating thing is to expect that you’re going on a date and then come to realize that this is just a meeting of two friends. And every time you hope it’s a date, it’s still just hanging out. But maybe you can’t tell one from the other. Let’s do the “Is it a date or hanging out” quiz. Pay attention to the following signs on a date, and you’ll get the answer to your question, ‘Is it a date or hanging out?’

Level of nervousness

If you do care about the person, you’ll feel nervous. This is simple. You like the person you’re on a date with, and you want to impress them. It breeds a bit of anxiety, since you watch your words and behavior. The same can be said about your date companion. However, if it’s hanging out, you will feel extremely comfortable as if you’re seeing your old friend. You will not feel nervous because you don’t care if you spoil something.


Even women, who are so conscious about their appearance, can be a bit negligent in their looks. Why put extra effort if you’re not interested in seducing that man? The same goes for men. If he considers a woman just a girl he wants to hang out with, he may not care about how neat he looks. If he didn’t carefully pick his attire for the night and ignored grooming, he views that woman as his buddy. It’s definitely a date if a man shows up dressed up to nines, well-groomed, and emanating nice scent.


Wanting to make a good impression, a man becomes a gentleman and shows his best side. He becomes chivalrous and courteous. He shows up with a bouquet in his hand, because flowers are an attribute of a date. He pays for dinner because this is what gentlemen do. He offers his companion his arm when they walk, he opens the door and lets her go first, etc. When two people are hanging out, there is no chivalry. A man perceives a woman as his buddy. He even pats her on the shoulder or gives high five when they greet each other. Naturally, they go dutch, and there is little courtesy in his behavior.

Topics they touch upon

There are certain matters that are not considered to be appropriate on a date. For example, talking about exes is generally frowned upon, as mentioning third parties on a date indicates that the person is not over their past relationships. If a person brings this matter up not being asked about it, it means they want to share their worries with you as a friend. By the way, it’s an idea for those who want to stay in a friend zone – just start talking about your exes or latest crushes and your companion will get how you treat them.

Physical contact

When there is no romantic attraction to a person, there is no touching during meetings. If a man is sexually interested in a woman, it’s hard for him to conceal his intentions. He’ll find a way to hint at his feelings. Usually, he’ll slightly touch his companion while talking, take her hand in his when they watch a movie, adjust her hair, etc. This means only one thing – he considers this woman his date, not a buddy. If everything is purely platonic – he doesn’t even attempt to touch a girl or accidentally bump her elbow when walking – there is no romantic interest.

Romantic place

Judging by the place where a man takes a woman, it’s possible to tell if it’s a date or hanging out. Where might he go if he is hanging out with a girl? That will be something banal, such as a drink in the nearest bar or a cup of coffee in a small coffee shop near his office. It can be a walk in the park without any entertainment or at the mall. He can also invite a woman to his place to eat some pizza, and that will be it – they will eat pizza, drink some beer, and then she’ll stay overnight in a separate room. Or it all can happen at her place. If it’s a date, a man will choose a fancy restaurant, because this is where dates are supposed to take place. That’s all about making a good impression and following the dating pattern.

hanging out vs dating-minCompliments

Compliments are used as part of flirting. They are meant to express one’s admiration and cheer up the other person. People who hang out can compliment each other, as this is what friends do. Saying something nice about the attire or hairstyle – it’s just about being nice. Romantic compliments work differently. They are numerous and more exquisite. The reason for it is that they are aimed at melting the heart of the addressee.

Post-date texting

Women are prone to overanalyzing. Their brains begin to actively process the information after a woman returns from a meeting with a man and starts thinking to her herself: was it a date or just a friendly meeting? In her head begins a trial – dating vs hanging out. Here is a tip for all women: if a man texts you after a date saying thank you and asking if you got home safely and adds that he’d like to see you soon, that was a date.


If you’ve been dating or hanging out for a while, you can tell which thing you do by the way you are being introduced to other people. If you’ve been dating within a friend zone, it will be something like, “This is my friend”. If you’ve been dating for real, you’ll be introduced as boyfriend/girlfriend or by name.


You just hang out together, have fun, chat, but don’t discuss your future and don’t try to explore each other on a deeper level? You’re hanging out and this is typical of it. When you date, your relationship progresses. You talk over some basic rules, you know each other’s schedules, you are honest with each other, you have that conversation about exclusivity.


If it’s a date, your companion will do their best to make a good impression. They will apologize for the smallest inconveniences such as taking a call, the fact that you didn’t like the food, and so on. It’s not just about being polite, it’s about not frustrating you. If it’s hanging out, you are on equal terms, so the level of courtesy is much lower. What to do when hanging out with a girl? If you have a crush on her and want to turn your hanging out into dating, you should start behaving the “dating” way. If you’re cool hanging out and having a casual sex relationship, then it’s up to you.

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