With one of the women I coach, in one conversation, she asked: “When is it actually a date?”
She kept meeting lots of guys. Gradually the quality of the men she was choosing to spend her time with was increasing, but I had no idea this question was confusing.
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Perhaps it’s the modern world of dating that has made it so (I met my wife in the days before smartphones and Facebook). A quick google revealed two articles with the same title “Is it a date or are you just hanging out?” Other examples incuded “15 signs you’re actually on a date” or even the straightforward “Is this a date?“
My take is that there are a simple two things that qualify it as a date.
Making a choice (of how to spend your resources)
As someone who studied and has taught Economics and Psychology, and is fascinated with the field of Behavioural Economics, there is something to be said about the transactional approach to thinking about a date.
First – we each have a choice about how we spend our limited time and resources. Economists use the concept ‘opportunity cost’ to explain how we might choose to use what we have. Opportunity cost is the next best alternative that is given up in order to follow a particular course of action. For example, if I’ve chosen to meet someone at a designated place for a specific time, then it means I’ve given up on doing something else. This is one thing that qualifies a date.
There are all sorts of other considerations apart from setting aside the time – from choosing or buying an outfit, selecting the venue, or perhaps even thinking about conversational topics.
But – maybe the transaction starts even before that. A choice to part with information – your contact details. So there are two exchanges for a date to be considered as such – he has your contact details and then choosing to spend your resources (time and/ or money) with him.
Thinking of a date this way puts you in charge. You have a choice at every point – give him your contact details – or not; agree to a specific time and date – or not.
Remember – you are absolutely not obliged to say yes! It is your choice. Us men prefer a clear “no thanks” to a “well maybe” – or even worse – just being ignored. (Of course – knowing what you want empowers your ability to say no…or yes…)
Investigating a potential future
The second thing that distinguishes a date is a future. The promise of something more. It could be deeper emotional connection, or something physical, or ultimately establishing an intimate relationship. It’s not that it happens on the first date; it’s the idea of approaching the time you set aside to meet someone – as a discovery. It’s a chance to investigate if he’s worth spending time with.
If the set occasion has this sense of a potential future opening up, a sense of creation, excitement, and new experiences – it’s probably a date.
In this age of social networking, instant gratification, dating apps, photo sharing, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), ghosting, and the friendzone, expectations are heightened. If someone has said they’re going to meet you, has set aside the time, and you’re honest enough to admit that you’re investigating one potential future – it’s a big deal.
It is a date
A date is defined as a planned second encounter with a woman you have just met. For example, if you approach a woman at a bar, exchange phone numbers , and meet her for coffee two days later, that is a date. If you talk to a woman at the mall and arrange to meet that night at a bar, and she shows up specifically to see you, that is a date. Even if you don’t exchange phone numbers. Basically, any scenario where you approach a woman and she agrees to see you at a later date or time – and shows up – constitutes a date.
- Read The Game for an insight into the way men really think