There is a pretty distinct difference between dating and hanging out. While you have probably done some of both in the last year, you may not have given either too much thought. Here is the break down:
• Intentions: have fun; socialize
• Attraction: based upon common interests and personalities blending well; may include appreciation of the others looks, but may not.
• Expectations: Does not include sex or sexual acts.
• Feelings: Friendly, stable, enjoyment of company, affectionate in a ‘close as family’ way
• Physical contact: very little; casual; friendly; plutonic/ not sexual
• Financial costs: each person pays their own way or takes turns paying
• Differences: Mutual agreement in most areas is nice but unnecessary. Agreeing to disagree is fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with ability to enjoy each other’s company.
• Futures: Has indefinite shelf life. Future plans can be wildly diverse and not affect friendship.
• Other people: Can be one-on-one or with multiple people. Can spend time with other people as friends or romantically and share these experiences with each other openly. Getting into a romantic relationship with another person may reduce time spent together, but shouldn’t affect friendship.
• Intentions: potentially progress to a ‘relationship’ status of some kind (friends with benefits, boyfriend/girlfriend or marriage)
• Attraction: hopefully involves common interests, personalities blending well, intense interest, physical desire and a ‘spark’
• Expectations: May include sex or sexual acts at some point.
• Feelings: Exciting, hormone influenced, flux in emotions, includes desires and longings
•Physical contact: flirtatious, increasingly intimate
• Financial costs: it’s often assumed the guy will foot the bill or give gifts like flowers
• Differences: Mutual agreement in most areas is vital to connection survival; too much agreeing to disagree is a deal breaker.
• Futures: Usually lasts the duration of relationship interest. Future plans need to be similar and in harmony for survival of relationship.
• Other people: Usually one-on-one or with other romantically inclined pairs. Don’t usually engage in romantic involvement with multiple people simultaneously, or tell the other about other people you are interested in. Once you choose each other, you typically stop dating other people.
Essentially, a date is someone you potentially want to have romantic relationship with while someone you hang out with is more like a close buddy or even a family member.