Date, it isn't such a simple word. Before society evolved, "seeing" "going out" and "dating" all mean the same thing.
In today's modern living, there is more than meets the eye. 4 definitions to be specific, before it leads to "the relationship". Men as nature has it for them are one minded simpletons (thank God for them). Most of them open their beady small Asian eyes wide and ask, "IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?" However, commitment phobes probably do see a difference. Women as nature has it for them, need to be selective. We have one egg while men have gazillion sperm. Our egg is the largest cell, while the sperm is the smallest cell in a human's body. So yes, there IS a difference. I believe some people tell their friends "i've got a date this Friday" just so to show that they are not losers. What it really meant was just going out with someone of the opposite sex. A gentleman usually pays for the date but it doesn't necessary translate to any romantic feelings (it's another topic to discuss altogether about).
In my humble and honest opinion, here're my definations. If only they are universally adopted (no more murkiness!), perhaps there will be less broken hearts without varying expectations. Hooking Up
This is the simplest to understand. Hooking up merely means no strings attached sexual relations. Do not expect any form of commitment or fidelity. Hooking up happens on the first date, if you even consider a date without a movie and a meal. Pure lust and physical attraction, lightly peppered with feelings, form the basis of this "date". (dirty) Pet name calling is acceptable because both know its only for THE moment. Another name for hooking up is also known as a booty call. Sex at this level is a mere level up from anonymous sex. Going Out
Going out is as it says it, literally, is going out. When people say “I’m going on a date”, what it really means is this relationship is at its going out stage. As the relationship progresses, the next level is “I’m dating so-and-so” and there IS a difference between that claim and “I’ve a date this Friday.” We’ll get to that later.
Going out with someone signals initial attraction and is more exclusive than a group outing which is obviously, no relationship. Going out with someone is the start of a framework and consist largely fact finding. As animals suss out by sniffing, humans suss out by asking. Occupation, age, interests, and cancer history (joking). Going out is not formal and definitely non committal. You may go out with someone this week, and another the next.
At this stage, both will be on their best behaviour, wanting to impress. Infactuation is easily maintained, but distraction can happen too. With hook ups, some men still believe in taking the girl out for a movie and dinner before heading to bed, some don't. Going-out-with-someone sex (if it even happens) is one level higher than hooking up, two levels higher than one night stands. The 7 hour rule applies at this stage. Where it is believed to get into a girl's pants, you need to spend a minimum of 7 hours dating her. That averages to about 4 dates. I'm Dating XXX
Dating someone is post fact-finding and into verification and assessment as you want to spend more time with the person. The second guessing is over and you know for sure the man/woman likes you and you start wanting to see how it works. This phase is still fairly non-committal and you can still go out with other people. At this stage, you may want to introduce him/her to friends especially if close peers’ opinions are important and it matters to you to see him/ her get along well with them. However, introduce with caution as nothing is cast in stone yet and your potential interest may still be easily distracted. Phone calls will increase, discussing about past relationships/ sex history (if it matters to you) can also start.
I’m Seeing XXX
Seeing someone is when you begin to imagine a future with this person, although commitment phobes (who won’t admit it) may not think so but still want an official relationship. You may start being a little more physically intimate (if you haven’t already); to make sure he/she doesn’t have body odour or bad breath.
At any one point of these phases, the relationship can be arrested and cross over to “Just Friends” and there wouldn’t be much damage done. However, seeing someone is more committal than dating and in terms of protocol, you can still go out, date or even see other people. But if you have already started sexual liaisons with any one of these, it would be bad taste (though not considered cheating) if you are swapping saliva with many.
I’d suggest organize house parties together and watch the chemistry between you two as you play host. This is also the right time to discuss the relationship. It is mandatory otherwise misunderstandings and varying expectations may result in unnecessary heartache. You may well think you are in the “seeing” phase but your love interest may be in the “dating” or even worse “going out” stage. This is why if only these dating definitions can be universally adopted so everyone can be on the same page without awkward discussions. With the discussion, new guidelines and boundaries can be applied to this make-or-break path to official status.
Congratulations. You are now branded and marked as “my property”. Monogamy is expected and it is one-to-one, one-on-one and one-in-one. At this stage, you can be rightfully accused of cheating if you’re caught/seen screwing someone else, seeing someone else, dating or even going out with someone else. You can now set new rules and guidelines, depending on your level of possessiveness. To some, going out with a single opposite sex is not allowed; some thinks its fine so long as she/he is kept informed.