I got a date with a female friend. What do I do?

harlig asks: 

So we have been friends for some years now, but I haven’t really talked to her much for the past two years because of me being in the army. She had a boyfriend back then, but recently became single. Now we have started talking again (via snapchat mostly) and she expressed that she wanted a date, and so we scheduled for a date this Thursday. I am also not 100% sure if she was talking about a romantic date or if I am very deep in the friendzone. I have tried hinting about my intentions and I think she is interested as well, but something inside of me is still in doubt.

So here’s my questions:

  • Do I ask her beforehand if this is a date-date or some kind of “friend-date”? If yes, how should I ask?
  • What should we do on the date? We have a lot of catching up to do, so I want it to be somewhere we can talk
  • How do I change from acting like a friend to more than friends? I fear that I will talk to her like I used to and by that friendzone myself. That would suck

Any further tips will be deeply appreciated

Demetrius says:

Hey man, if I wanted to organize your dating questions into a succinct bulleted list I would have done it myself! I’m kidding, and legitimately appreciate the fact that you organized your questions so well. It makes answering them a heck of a lot easier. So let’s get to it.

Whether or not you should ask beforehand if a date is a romantic date or a platonic date depends on your preference. I think it’s a romantic date, so I’ll tell you why, and hopefully that will make your decision on whether or not to ask a little bit easier. It’s a romantic date for a few reasons, but the main ones that stick out are the fact that she mentioned that she wanted a date and also that she’s newly single. You strike me as the sort of detail oriented kind of person who would have noticed if she said “hangout” versus “date” and the fact that you said that “she expressed that she wanted a date” says a lot. If a girl says “we should go on a date” 99.9999999% of the time she means a romantic date. When she says, we should hang out, it usually means “let’s do a friendly hangout”. She asked you to take her on a date, so trust that it’s a date. In addition to that, the newly single part is very important. She was in a relationship for two years and suddenly she reconnected with you after a breakup. Good rule of thumb for the future: if a newly single girl suddenly starts showing you interest, she’s probably interested in something romantic. Now, you can always ask of course. The best way to do this is to play up your cluelessness. Though when you ask, be sure to be direct about it. “Hey, I just wanted to know, is this a romantic date or just a friends thing?”. If she asks what you want it to be, be honest and direct. If she isn’t into you that way, at least you know up front

As to what you should do on that date, that’s simple. I’ve talked about dates, especially first dates before and you can read my advice on dates herehere,  here, and also here. Since you’re looking for exactly what to do I’ll lay out some options for you. The key to having a good first date, as I’ve mentioned before, is doing something that allows you to focus on your date, in a location where you can talk at a comfortable level, and at a location that is conducive to a good first date. A bad first date is a movie date because you’re focused on a movie screen and can’t talk on your first date. A good first date is casual drinks (be they alcoholic or not) somewhere that isn’t playing the loudest music possible or blaring a sports game. I’m not sure if you drink or not but if you do, try to find a bar that is casual enough for you to have a good conversation and decent drinks, but a bit better than your local dive. Ideally, the place is dimly lit, serves some light fare, and is not overly romantic. Avoid the whole fancy dinner thing for now and try to go for something casual. If you want something a little less drinks oriented you can go do a museum, mini-golf, bowling, pool, or pretty much anything where you can talk to your date.

How you change from acting like friends to something a bit more romantic is going to have to happen naturally. People don’t get friendzoned because of how they speak to someone, so don’t worry about that. People get friendzoned primarily because the other person doesn’t find them attractive. This girl seems attracted to you, so don’t worry about that. If you want to avoid having your attraction being misinterpreted, you first need to confirm she’s into you, then escalate at a normal pace. She asked to go on a date and now you’re planning one. That’s a basic escalation that makes your attraction clear. The next area where you can escalate is in your conversations. If she seems flirty, flirt right back. If she seems into you because she did x,y, and z (ex.she mentions how attractive you look, she says she’s looking forward to your date, she texts just to say she was thinking of you) then follow that up with x,y, and z. Mirror all the things she does that seem to hint at her attraction to you. If the first date goes well, lean in for the kiss. There is no misinterpreting a kiss.

Now, here’s some tips for you for the future. Your first couple of dates should be casual with room for conversation. Save the fancy dinner date (if you decide to go in for that) for the point where you think you guys might be getting serious. If you struggle at flirting, try mimicking her flirting. If she says you look good today, bounce that compliment right back. If she says that she had a great time and wants another date, bounce that compliment right back (if you’re actually interested of course). Don’t push for sex on the first, second, or third date. Actually never push for sex. You’re a guy so she’s gonna assume you want sex on the first date and if she wants to sleep with you, you’ll know. Remember that even though you’re both into each other, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to work out. Just try to go out there and have some fun and don’t expect much beyond polite conversation. You’d be surprised how attractive that sort of care-free attitude can be to women.

Good Luck Out There.