What is a Date?

A guy you sort of like just sent you a text “Hey, there’s a group of us going bowling do you want to go?  Meet at the bowling alley at 7 PM.”  You read and reread your text, you forward it to your friend and ask, “Is this a date?”

Long Distance Relationship Expectations

Is this a date?

The question “Is this a date?” even gets more confusing, because of the casualness of texting and chatting online.  How do you really know this person asked you out on a date?  Did they really mean a date or did they mean that you will be hanging out with a group of people?  If, you’re confused, you’re not alone!

New data, provided exclusively to USA TODAY, bear out just how muddy the landscape can be. An online survey of 2,647 singles, ages 18-59, illustrates that level of ambiguity: 69% are at least somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they’re interested in is a date or not. Although 80% agree that a date is “a planned one-on-one hangout,” almost one-quarter (24%) also think it is “a planned evening with a group of friends,” and 22% agree that “if they ask me out, it’s a date.” 1

Everyone has an opinion about what a date is, which creates more confusion.  Search the Internet, watch TV, or listen to popular songs and it gets even more confusing.  It seems that the popular media, including country music, is talking about a hook-up and trying to make it seem like every time a guy and girl get together it’s about sex.  To be clear, dating isn’t about sex,it’s not even about kissing on the front porch after the date, it is about having wholesome fun.  You have probably read the following statement a few times in your Priesthood or Young Women lessons:

What is a date?

A date is a planned activity that allows a young man and a young woman to get to know each other better. In cultures where dating is acceptable, it can help you learn and practice social skills, develop friendships, have wholesome fun, and eventually find an eternal companion. 2

The statement found in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet defines what a date is, now let’s take a deeper look into each major point. A date is a planned activity, a date allows you to get to know each other better, and dating helps us practice social skills.

A date is a planned activity

A planned activity has a plan, not a pick up your date and ask, “so what do you want to do?” Young Men you will make a better impression on your date for making a plan, even if your plan unravels as the night goes on.  When it comes to dating, you do get an A for effort!  

Another reason a plan is critical is because when you pick up your date, your dates father will greet you at the door and some time during the conversion will ask, “So what are your plans tonight?” and “When will you bring my daughter home?”  This conversation, will go something like the song “Cleaning This Gun” by Rodney Atkins.  Yes, check this song out and make sure you have a plan for the evening and that you can tell him exactly when you will bring his daughter home. Then be on time!

When you have a plan you will have much more fun.  Your plan will hardly ever be perfect.  Your friends date will most likely take more time getting ready, the traffic may be bad, or you may even get pulled over.  Whatever happens you can relax and make small adjustments, but you won’t have to stress because you have a plan.   

A date allows you to get to know each other better

When you plan your date, plan something where you have to talk and interact with one another and with other couples.  Play games, do something active, experience something new, there are a lot of interactive date ideas that are fairly inexpensive.

pexels-photo (4)One key to success is to ask a girl who will enjoy the activity you have planned.. Yes, this is your chance to think of your date and make sure there is a match in their interests and the activity.  If you match the activity with your list of possible girls you could ask on a date, then your evening will be much smoother.  However, if you know that your date isn’t into a five mile hike with a 50 lbs backpack and you take her hiking, chances are she won’t have much fun.  The big lesson, think about your date.  The skill of thinking about others is a skill you will use the rest of your life, so start now.

On some dates there seems to be a tendency for the guys to huddle up and talk about guy things and the girls clump up and talk about girl things.  This really isn’t much fun for anyone. An example of this is in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie, towards the end of the Yule Ball scene Harry and Ron are sitting around talking in complete misery and their dates are frustrated and appear to be hating every minute of their date.  Click here to see the movie clip( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXKw7ROcVgg) Heck, who wouldn’t be miserable, you get invited to a dance and you never dance? Just like it wasn’t much fun for them in the movie, ignoring your date won’t be much fun for you either.  Remember you invited your date to interact with her, so interact.

Remember this is your first date, not your first interview.  The purpose is to have wholesome fun not to interview your date to see if they are temple ready.  Even if the date goes really well, hopefully you won’t propose at the end of your first date, so lighten up and have fun!  When you have fun and show that you are creative, courteous, kind and attentive you will most likely have a lot of fun and your chances for a second date will be much higher.

Dating helps us learn and practice social skills

A few keys to success are to be helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and I will throw in attentive.  Even though your date is perfectly able to open doors, open the car door, and other doors you run into.  If you sit down, slowly pull out the chair and gently slide it in.  If your date is taking off a coat or jacket help them get it off and hold it for them while they put it back on.  If you’re walking on the sidewalk, walk on the side of the road.  Little things like this go along way to showing you care about your date. 

Most of you have attended an etiquette dinner at least once in your lifetime.  Remember, this is where your youth leaders tried to teach you which fork to eat with, how to use a napkin and things like that.  Social skills also include saying thank you and being polite, yeah having a burping contest probably doesn’t count as using your manners.

Another skill is reading your date and involving them in the conversation and activity.  This gives you a chance to pay attention to the body language of your date.  Are they smiling, having fun or are they bored and not involved in the conversation.  If you watch, you can quickly change the conversation topic, ask them their opinion or some way get them involved in the activity.

The more you date, the more your social skills will improve and you will be more comfortable on dates.  You will also get better at having conversations with other Young Women or Young Men.  After a few dates, planning a date will also get easier.  Remember, dating is all about having wholesome fun!  So get some friends together and plan a date and let us know what you did and how it went.   


  1. Jayson, Sharon “Is it a date? OR hanging out? Survey reflects confusion” USA TODAY January 21, 2014
  2. https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth?lang=eng

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