What is the meaning of life? How can you prove the existence of any “higher being”? How do you know the Earth isn’t flat? (No, stop, this was a joke, honestly!) When is “a date” a date?
All conquering questions that have troubled philosophers for eons.
The only difference between all these questions is that I’ve only been asked to answer one, thankfully.
In the grand scheme of things, it probably isn’t one of the more pressing societal debates of our time (especially annoyingly compared to the whole flat earth thing – thanks B.o.B and Kyrie Irving) but in the dating world, it is a genuine issue. For some – especially the date counters amongst us – it can be a determining factor in terms of when to start thinking about how one’s relationship (or non-relationship, as the case may be) is really going and whether it is decision making time or not.
So, let’s get down to it…
What actually IS a date?
Oxford Dictionaries defines it as “a social or romantic appointment or engagement”, Urban Dictionary defines it as “an audition for sex”… Great… Thanks guys! However, to be fair, a later definition on Urban Dictionary does get into the difficult, nitty gritty of things on a deeper level:
“The word “date” may be used to identify a get together between two people not romantically involved, but this usage is meant to convey irony, since such a meeting is not a date in the true sense of the word.”
A better description, however, this also then opens the door to a discussion about friendzoning. Which is a whoooooole different discussion for another day.
It does raise a good point though. What is the difference between being on a date with someone you’re interested in romantically and simply just hanging out with someone. Also, is it even important?
Defining a date to you:
Well, firstly, it makes sense if you start defining a date by your first real planned “something” with someone. Your first date with someone is *more often than not going to be a bookmarked moment to refer back to in your future encounters with that person.
For example, if on your first date with someone you booked a candlelit dinner at a favourite restaurant of yours, then that’s probably a classifiable “date night” scenario.
Then again, I said “*more often than not” two paragraphs back because if the first time you properly hung out with someone was at a mate’s party that you offhandedly invited them to, then that maaaaaay not count?
Or would it?
Is it more about the amount of planning or thought that goes into what you do when you spend time with that person? Should you think about it as situational rather than the act of simply spending time with someone?
Personally, I would say no on the basis of it being completely down to the type of person you’re hanging out with and the communication you have with them.
At this point, there are two ways to categorise a situation you find yourself in…
Aim and Aimless:
So, if you’re someone who is looking for something serious pretty fast, then counting every time you hang out with someone as a date will no doubt help you get what you want sooner rather than later. If you use a personal set of guidelines (that can obviously be altered as and when) you can work towards something you feel more comfortable with.
However, you have to keep the line of communication open with the person you’re ‘dating’ as they may not count that time you managed to sneak in a tea break before/after a lecture/work meeting as a date, whereas you may naturally read more into it.
“Aimless” as a definition of yourself sounds a lot worse than it actually is! You may just be someone who is reeeeeeeeal easy breezy. You don’t mind hanging out with someone as little or much as possible or in any scenario, because it’s all gravy. Issue here is once again the c word… NO, not THAT “c word”… COMMUNICATION.
You’re well within your rights to want as chilled and free a relationship (or arrangement/ understanding) as you need… However, given the other person’s potential values which may be more set and determined, you may have to change your approach to talking about it. Letting somebody know if you are as chill with an intimate cocktail evening as much as a casual invite to the pub with your friends would probably go down better if you spoke to them about it.
So, what this really boils down to is talking. Opening dialogue in any kind of relationship is essential. If you’re somebody who values that magical 7th date with someone when you went to that random vintage shop as the most romantic experience of your life, great! If you went ice skating with someone before taking them to the Ritz and it was no biggie, awesome! Just try and be aware of the other person involved.
By Lucas Galley Greenwood