Dating or just friends

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Being asked out means it's a date, but there is still uncertainty, says Emily Zurrow, 25, of Los Angeles, who works in retail."A lot of us date our friends, and that can be somewhat confusing. For that first date, the survey found 69% of men believe the man should pay, while 55% of women agree."If I'm asking the individual out, I will be paying for it," says Aaron Atkins, 28, of Santa Monica, Calif., a recruiter for a consulting firm.

Anytime a friendship grows into something more, it's not an on-and-off switch. Among the survey participants, 23% said who pays for a date "depends on who initiates" and another 18% said costs should be equally split."I always offer just because I don't know whether they think it necessarily constitutes it as a date, but I let them know I don't expect them to pay," says Kim Soward, 24, of New York, who works in public relations and marketing.

They tend to involve a deep knowledge of the other person's hopes, desires and personality.But that kind of gesture also could be misconstrued."I do it out of respect and just to be polite — not intentionally to send a signal that I don't want to consider this a date," she says.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." The survey, conducted in September, was commissioned by dating websites Christian and "It comes up often. I just want to have fun,' " says Tayo Rockson, 24, a first-year MBA student at Fordham University in New York."If it's someone that you just met recently and consistently have one-on-one hangout sessions, that's sort of a date."New York City psychotherapist Rachel Sussman says getting past the notion that a date is a planned event between two people still leaves mixed signals."A planned evening with a group of friends or a 9 o'clock text — 'I'm at this bar. ' — that is now more considered a date or something romantic," she says.

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