Language Pulsations Poll: Going out vs. Dating

This survey comes out of some surprising conversations I had where I asked others to distinguish between “going out” and “dating.” For me the distinction was a very clear and important one, so I was surprised to find that the more people I asked, the more answers I received, each one different from my personal definitions.

What do you think?

P.S. A note on exclusivity: An activity is “exclusive” if you can only properly engage in it with one person at a time. For example, if dating is exclusive, you can only “date” one person at a time. If dating is non-exclusive, then you can date more than one person at a time.

P.P.S. If you chose the third option (“both connote an exclusive relationship”) what do you call the thing that people do before they decide to formalize their relationship? If you chose the fourth option (“both connote a non-exclusive relationship”) what do you call the thing that girlfriends and boyfriends, in a committed exclusive relationship, do?
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One thought on “Language Pulsations Poll: Going out vs. Dating

  1. Melissa Riggio February 8, 2011 / 1:31 pm

    I would think that ‘dating’ is exclusive and ‘going out’ would imply that they are still testing things out. For instance, there was a period of a week or so before my boyfriend and I made it ‘official’ (on Facebook, haha). We had kissed and been affectionate and had had one ‘date’ (we watched a movie at his place, just the two of us, not as a group per usual). However, we had not discussed what we had until a week later when we both confirmed that we would enjoy being exclusive and thus called it ‘dating’. However, during that week, had another guy hit on me I would’ve said, “I’m ‘seeing’ someone” which to me is the same thing as ‘going out’.

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