How I Hate “Hanging Out”

Our content moved and is now published on

One thing that perpetually confuses me about dating is that in college, I’ve only ever been asked out on a date once. Once. And we ended up just being friends. I have dated quite a few people, yet every other time a man has been interested in me, he has asked to “hang out” with me. The thing is, I hang out with my friends.

The term “hang out” has a very platonic connotation for me. I have been platonically asked out for a drink/hang out before and I’ve also been asked to hang out where the guy tried to manipulate me into a friends-with-benefits situation. The term “hang out” covers such a wide spectrum that I simply hate the term now because it confuses me too much.

Being asked to “hang out” with a guy doesn’t make me feel special. When I can tell that someone is interested, when he asks to “hang out,” it sends out a commitment-phobe vibe. That vibe is an immediate turn-off.

Not because I’m expecting the guy to commit after a single date, but because it seems like they aren’t interested in me as a person, just as a body to get off on. And if that’s all you want? Just say so and don’t use your credit card to impress me. It’s bad math with these cards anyway.

I will respect you more if you are honest about what you want. But if you are romantically interested, I want to know that you want to get to know me and the best way to do that is to ask me out on a date. Maybe I’m now talking too much about me personally than about my humble business endeavors, but I want this off my chest as well!

It is much easier for me to understand that than what kind of attraction a guy has for me if they ask me out on a date. “Hanging out” feels cowardly, like he doesn’t wanna fess up to actually having emotions. There is no faster way to get friend-zoned than to ask me to “hang out.”

I admit I have been guilty of the phrase “hanging out” before when I meant something more. It’s difficult to exterminate the phrase from my vernacular. I guess I must admit that I am also the coward when it comes to asking men out and in college, I was too busy with improving my GPA anyway. That took, I guess, most of my time…

Should I blame the patriarchy, my Christian social conditioning, what my parents expected of me on graduation day? or myself? Or perhaps all three. This critique is for my own benefit as well, to grab life by the ovaries and behave like the strong independent female I imagine myself to be. I want to be more bold in this department myself.

So what is a person to do if he/she is romantically interested but doesn’t know if dating will work between them yet? Easy: invite them to an activity that involves more people than just you. Go see a friend’s band play at a bar, go on a hike with some friends, a house party, feel the team spirit, a group trip to Disneyland,* group trip to ANYTHING. A play, a movie, whatever.

It gives you the opportunity to talk casually, get to know that person’s tastes and personality without the romantic pressure. What if it all goes terribly wrong spirals into agonizing disaster? Go talk to somebody else in the group. If it all goes terribly right? Then ask them out on a real date. Hopefully, some making out will occur too.

A real date, everything is clear on where everyone stands. You’re both interested in each other. No pressure, no commitment, just spending time together. We all make it so much harder than it needs to be to date at all. And don’t – please don’t – suggestion for this sort of things or how to start out on a new business endeavor while watching something on Netflix.

That’s what you do when you are just friends or you’ve been with someone for a while and want a night into snuggle plus fun sexy time. But it’s terrible for getting-to-know-you dates. I can binge watch on my own time, thank you. Going out and doing an activity together is the best, even if you’ve been with someone for a while.

I love the opportunity to do new things but hate doing them on my own. Much better to have a partner in crime for some nefariously innocent activity, which is all a date ever needs to be.