"Are we on a first date?" whispered my client quietly into the phone, as I imagined her crouching in a busy bar's bathroom stall, calling me.
"What do you mean, are you on a date? Did he ask you?" I inquired back, matching her tone and volume.
I was met with silence for a few seconds, and then, heard a puzzled, "I don't know. Maybe? He asked if I wanted to go for a drink."
The same week, I counseled a friend about what she thought was a dating relationship. She shared:
"We've talked every day since we met about two months ago, hang out at least once a week, been intimate, he even said 'I love you'. Yet the other day, he told me we're just friends? That if we were together, he would have used the word 'date' and taken me out to dinner or something."
In both cases, my answer was the same: "I think you're on something other than a date." After the initial upset, I explained myself.
I define dating as intention, meaning, whatever the intention of the two parties involved, determines the labeling of the interaction.
So in the cases of these two ladies, you'd think the intention was there, correct? Unfortunately, no, because the intention was only clear to the women, and not to the people they were spending time with. If either of them had asked, "Is this a date?" they (hopefully) would have gotten an answer, and could have decided from there what they wanted to do next. Instead, they both chose to ask me, instead of the person they were sitting across the table from.
Now, I'm just as much a culprit here as anyone. I've lived both of these situations as well, and it's infinitely easier to give advice than to put it into practice. Still, there comes a point when we all have to own our own stuff, and in doing so, choose love for ourselves over the fearfulness someone may respond in a less-than-desirable manner.
Therefore, if someone in a bar, on a dating site, or through friends asks you, "Want to hang out sometime?" or, "Can we go for a drink?" answer as you see appropriate, yet assume it's as friends only. If you're interested in more, playfully ask. "Are you asking me out on a date?"
What do you think, dear readers? How do you know if you're on a first date or not? Do you find it difficult to ask if you are, and if so, why?