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By Ashley I. Pettway

We’ve all been out with somebody that we liked and wondered if it was considered a date or a just friends hanging out. Ambiguous invitations like “Want to get some coffee?” or “Going to happy hour?” can leave you grasping for clarity but afraid to ask. Some people call these “almost dates” — those in-between meetings that seem romantic, but you just can’t tell. This can be torture if you really like someone. But don’t fret! Look for the following eight clues that you’re on a REAL date — and not an “almost date.” If you can’t check off a few of these items, it’s not the real thing.

1. He offers to pay
Men don’t open their wallets for just anyone. If he’s willing to shell out some of his hard earned money then he thinks you’re worth it. Granted, it’s not the only way a man can show that he cares but it is one way. Take note, and most importantly be appreciative. If not, he might think you are just friends.

2. He’s very attentive
This one is very important. Men show their interest by paying attention to you. If he’s giving you eye contact and NOT on his phone then he’s interested. His attention shows that his emails can wait, and for that moment you’re more important. That’s the kind of guy you want to be around. If he is texting and scanning the room, it’s not that serious to him.

3. He blushes or gets embarrassed
In order to be embarrassed you have to care about what the other person thinks about you. It’s as simple as that. If he’s worrying about stuttering or saying something stupid then he cares. If he is a bit TOO relaxed, it’s not a date to him, even if it might be one to you.

4. It seems like he’s trying to impress you
If he’s listing his accomplishments or trying to showcase some of his better qualities then one of two things is happening. Either he’s a serious narcissist or he’s trying to impress you which means he’s interested and you may be on a real date. If not, RUN! He might be too selfish to stick with even as a friend.

5. There’s physical contact
I’m going to include chemistry in this category. If his hand brushes yours too many times to be considered an “accident” or he snuggles up next to you or if he does the classic “yawn” and his arm ends up around you then he might be interested in more than friendship. The most important part is how you feel when he touches you; listen to those elementary butterflies in your stomach. Do you have them? I bet it’s a date!

6. He’s dressed nicely
How a man presents himself is very telling. It shows how important this meeting was to him. No one’s saying that he has to wear a tux to meet you at Starbucks but he should be clean, smell nice, and dressed presentably.

7. He asks you questions, AND LISTENS
I asked my best guy friend the number one way a girl could tell whether or not he’s interested. He told me that he’d ask meaningful questions, and actually listen to the answer. So if he’s asking you questions like, what are your goals, or where do you see yourself in five years, then you’re on an almost date.

8. There is follow up right after date
For example hearing, “Let’s do this again” or “Are you free next _________?” are both good signs. Following up immediately is a definite clue that you’re on an official date. He wants to see you again and he’s not leaving it up to chance. That’s a plus. It can be a little intimidating to ask the hard questions about how someone feels about you but for the first date or so, you won’t have to. Chance’s are he’ll show you with the way he’s acting. What are some of your clues that you’re on an almost date vs. the real deal?

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