These days, it can be super tricky to figure out when you’re actually even on a date. What was once a super romantic, special evening — complete with candlelit dinners, red roses, and maybe a kiss on your doorstep – has been replaced by, well, anything but. While you may feel nostalgic for the “good old days” of romance, loosen up a bit, because it really doesn’t matter if you’re dating or just hanging out.
- Being casual isn’t a bad thing. Some people are into fancy dinners and others are more comfortable hanging out at home. Maybe your date would act super awkward if you headed to a white-tablecloth kind of Italian restaurant for dinner but their true personality shines if you order pizza at your apartment. Having a date in a casual setting can relax both of you and lead to a much more lasting connection.
- Dates can feel too much like interviews. The worst kinds of dates are, of course, the kinds where you feel like you’re being grilled about everything from your second grade teacher’s name to your hopes and aspirations for the future. Who really knows that much about the next five years?
- Things will get sorted out eventually. So you met this amazing guy and are finally into someone for the first time in forever. Instead of being totally excited and happy, you’re wondering if it’s OK that he says you two are just “hanging out.” It’s totally fine because if you’re meant to be a real couple, it will happen eventually. If not, at least you weren’t too invested.
- Some couples never go on real dates. What if you ended up with your high school sweetheart? Maybe your teenage dates were group hangs that weren’t technically dates at all, and then you guys were super serious so you just hung out casually after that. Maybe you never go on fancy dinner dates and spend every night watching TV together. Who cares as long as you’re happy?
- It’s good to take things slow. It’s difficult to believe when so many relationships never really get off the ground these days, but it’s good to take things slow. You can protect your heart and your feelings and still get to know someone new, which is the real point of dating. If you just hang out, then you’re going super slow and can make sure this guy is worth it.
- You will stop dating eventually. Think about it. As soon as you two are official, you won’t be trying to impress each other and can simply focus on just spending time together. You will have so much fun just lying around and doing absolutely nothing at all.
- Guys think differently. If a guy asks you to hang out, you’re freaking out about the fact that it might not be a date. Meanwhile, your new guy thinks you two really are dating – he just tried to be chill about it. Guys think much differently about these kinds of things, so what you think is a total disaster is really pretty meaningless.
- People meet all kinds of ways. If you meet your significant other at work, maybe you never really go on real dates – you just chat between meetings, grab lunch, etc. When you eventually hook up, you already feel like you spend a ton of time together since you see each other on a daily basis, so things get serious pretty fast. Who cares if you go on a real date?
- Your connection is all that matters. You can connect with someone whether you’re laughing and chatting over take-out in his apartment or sharing nachos at the nearest bar. The connection is the important thing, not where it takes place. So stop worrying and the guy you’re just “hanging out” with might just become your new boyfriend.