An acquaintance contacted me on social media and asked if I would like to have dinner with him. I'd had plenty of platonic outings with male friends over the years to catch up, so I didn't think much of it. With permission, I ended up inviting him to another friend's birthday dinner at a restaurant with about seven other people.
Everyone had a good time and things seemed to be going fine — until we left the restaurant and were walking to my car. It was then that I began to realize I'd been on a date! Albeit with eight other people, he was thinking this night was a date — and I had no idea. He told me of his intentions to court me. I had to let him down gently.
I learned a lot about myself and men that night. Things could have been better communicated from the beginning. And even though I had no intention of dating him, I still would have been happy to have dinner with him. The trouble is that he didn't know that.
If you find yourself in a confusing situation with a friend, here are some ways to find out if an outing is really a date:
1. He touches you - a lot
If your friend puts his hand on your waist or shoulder, he's interested. If he touches your leg, arm or hands he's got more on his mind than he's letting on.
2. He looks at you - a lot
Not just passing glances; if he looks at you intensely and it feels like he's trying to see into your soul, you're definitely on a date.
3. He compliments you - a lot
Once is nice. Twice is flattering. More than that and he's sending a message you may not really be receiving.
4. He gets personal
If he asks deep, personal questions about your life or your past, he's trying to get to know the nitty-gritty you under your lovely outer shell.
5. He orders for you
Not to say he decides what you eat, but if he asks you what you want, and then orders it for you, he's taking control of the situation and stepping up. Take that as a sign he's acting gentlemanly for a reason.
Common chivalry, like opening doors or pulling out chairs, isn't enough to turn a friendly outing into a date. But these elements mentioned above, especially when combined, make a compelling argument toward wanting more than friendship. The common theme is getting into your personal space and creating an environment of intimacy. If you notice these signs and don't want what he does, don't lead him on. Be kind with his heart, but let him know you appreciate him being in your life - as a friend.