How to Know If You’re On a Date (Because It’s Not Always Clear)

We’ve all been there. You’re getting ready, orchestrating a look composed of minimal makeup, a romper, and flats. A style that screams: girl next-door, approachable, flexible, effortlessly put together, a look for any occasion.


You almost drop your mascara wand.

“I’m downstairs,” your screen shines. As you take one last look, suddenly your stomach drops, “Is this a date?”

In our swipe-right society, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re on a date or “a work thing.” Especially if you’re living in a career-focused city where this line can be very blurred. Heck, I thought I was dating a guy for four months only to find out that he was not my boyfriend.

So here’s a little checklist that might clear things up. While this is not the end all be all, this will defiantly help you determine if you’re on a date or just hanging out.

Did your date pick you up?

There’s a big difference between a date coming to get you as opposed to them telling you to come over and then you’ll “figure it out.” If there’s no plan, it’s not a date. It’s hanging out. Bonus points if your place is out-of-the-way but your date still makes the trek. This shows that not only is this person making an effort, but they also doesn’t want you to flake. Or maybe they have a nice car to show off. Whatever it is, the pick-up is a good sign.

Is there a dinner reservation involved?

This is always a good sign. As opposed to the, “where do you wanna go?” “I dunno. . .where do YOU wanna go?” “Well, what are you in the mood for?” Back and forth until you end up at the Cheesecake Factory regretting everything. If your date makes the reservation, they’re making a plan, and a plan is a date.

Does your date looks and smells nice?

There is no worse feeling than wearing a dress and heels only to discover your date’s in shorts and sandals. When they makes an apparent effort to look nice–meaning they’ve showered, wearing a new shirt, and a little (operative word here is little) cologne–it shows they’re trying to impress you. Whereas if you were just hanging out, it would be more of a come-as-you-are thing.

Did you meet up before midnight? 

If they asked you out by texting you, “hey, you up?” when you probably should be asleep, and even though you were half asleep, you text back “yes,” get yourself together and then Uber to their place at 12AM to “watch movies” on a Tuesday. Then guess what? Not a date. Unless they take you to brunch the next morning.

Are you the center of attention?

Eyes are locked the whole time. Your date is asking you questions about yourself and they’re fascinated by what you have to say. They’re not looking for something better or asking you to help play “wing woman” with that cute waitress over there.

Does it feel like a job interview?

If all you’re talking about is work, then it’s probably a work thing. Also don’t date people from work. That’s always messy. Also, job interviews are not dates.

Are you both single?

If your date has a girlfriend (or boyfriend), then this is obviously not a date. If they are involved with somebody else and all other signs point to a date. . . run.

Did you ask if it’s a date?

You can just ask. I mean, I do. Sure, this can be rude, but at least you don’t have to read this article in the middle of said date, as you pretend to Google “did Leonardo DiCaprio ever win an Oscar?” (He did not).

Did you kiss?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Well I hope this kind of helps you. Bottom line is, if it feel romantic, if the person in question is making the move and the effort, then it’s probably a date. And if all else fails. . . ASK.

(Images via , , , , here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)