Is It a Date or Just Coffee? [Women’s Guide to Dating]

Is It A Date or Just Coffee?

Dating is probably the most confusing stage of life.

So many questions, and so much conflicting advice.

Add in dating apps and it’s enough to make a girl’s head spin.

How is a modern-day single woman supposed to make heads or tails of what is and isn’t a date? 

The afternoon coffee date is probably the most confusing type of date because so much is left up to interpretation.

It can be anything from a casual get-together with a friend to the start of getting to know a new romantic interest.

All you have to do is anticipate exactly what he means by asking you out to coffee and it should be pretty simple, right?


When has anticipating what a man means ever been easy?

They don’t even know what they mean or what they want out of a date, so how are you supposed to know?

This is generally why coffee dates are a bad idea.

There is just something too casual about a coffee date that can get confusing and embarrassing really fast.

Would a guy ask you out for coffee if he doesn’t like you?

Honestly, maybe.

Coffee dates can just mean a quick get-together with a friend.

 Unless the guy is strictly someone who has shown interest in you or he clarifies that this is a romantic date , I probably wouldn’t assume that he liked me just because he invited me for coffee.

I remember at one of my first jobs in an office where the cute guy I shared a cubicle with asked me out for coffee.

I was SO excited.

Like, embarrassingly excited.

I and my girlfriends planned what I would wear that day for hours.

Have a hard time on what to wear? You can check out what to wear on a coffee date in summer.

I only have so many options for work, but my outfit was curated down to the buttons on my blazer.

I woke up extra early to wash and style my hair before my morning commute and made sure I had at least four or five conversation topics in case things got awkward.

Well, things did get awkward.

Because he wasn’t asking me out on a date.

He was asking me to join him and his group of work friends on a regular walk to Starbucks.

And it was so obvious when I showed up to meet him in the parking lot and immediately blushed when I saw everyone else. 

How to Tell When It’s a Date and When It’s Coffee

When my coworker asked me out for coffee I thought it had a romantic connotation, he was asking me to a casual group activity.

This is the problem with coffee dates!

They can go either way.

I love a good coffee date with an old friend to catch up if we haven’t seen each other in a while and don’t have the time to dedicate to a full plan.

But for a romantic prospect?

You want the dedication of time.

That’s the whole point of dating!

Dedicating time to getting to know each other.

So it can be very frustrating trying to decipher what it means when a man asks you out on a coffee date. 

In order to figure it out, start with the context.

How do you know this guy?

If he is a coworker, a fellow student, or a mutual friend, then you want to be careful when assuming the date is romantic in nature.

Coffee dates between platonic acquaintances are very common, probably more common than a romantic coffee date.

So you want to be sure that you have the right idea when it comes to being asked out on a coffee date by someone who isn’t explicitly romantically interested in you. 

Of course, if you’re asked out for a coffee date but someone who you’ve already gone out on a few dates with then it’s pretty simple.

More likely than not, he asked you out on a coffee date because he wants to see you and that’s the only time he can fit into his schedule.

But that opens up a whole other can of worms.

 Can you be with a man who will have difficulty making time for you?  

Sure, a coffee date when you’re seeing someone can be a cute way to fit in some quality time between work meetings, but it can also indicate a packed schedule that doesn’t have room for you. 

What a Coffee Date Can Mean

On the other hand,  an afternoon coffee date can be the perfect way to get to know somebody you’re not sure you’re interested in romantically without the pressure of dinner or inhibition of alcohol. 

What better way to see who someone truly is than in the light of day, with a warm cup of coffee and a good pastry?

Being able to make time for you during the day can also be a good sign.

So many men these days will only want to see you at night or on the weekends, and that may not be ideal for you!

You might be wondering, he asked me out for drinks is it a date?

Daytime dates show you that he’s willing to include you in his daily schedule, and are generally low pressure enough to make it a very chill get-together.

This is why coffee dates are the worst.

There is so much ambiguity.

And ambiguity is the last thing you want when it comes to dating.

What Does It Mean When He Asks You Out on a Coffee Date?

It could mean anything from a light-hearted get-together during the day to him wanting to pursue you more seriously.

The only way to know for sure is to ask, but you can definitely tell from context clues.

  • Is this the first date he’s asked you on?
  • Has he ever made an advance on you in the past? 

Your best course of action for figuring out whether the coffee date is a date or just coffee is being upfront and honest about your intentions, and asking him to do the same.

Now I’m not telling you to go ahead and start picking out china patterns, but definitely say something about how you’re feeling.

Let him know that you’re excited to see him and spend some time together during the day, suggest a follow-up activity to see if he is willing to put more time aside for you or if it really is just the coffee.

A man who agrees to visit antique bookstores with you after a coffee date is probably more likely to be interested in seriously getting to know you than someone who can only put a half-hour aside to grab a cup of joe with you.

What Do You Do On A Coffee Date?

That being said, what does one do on a coffee date?

The best advice I can give you is don’t go to a fast-food chain coffee shop like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

Suggest the local coffee shop with the big comfy armchairs and books lining the walls.

Go somewhere that will serve you coffee in a nice mug and has warm fresh-baked pastries to go with the coffee.

Going on a date in a comfortable, no strings attached setting can be great for getting to know each other.

If you’re typically a homebody, a coffee date might be the perfect middle ground to keep you relatively in your comfort zone but stepping out of your shell just enough to meet that special someone.

You might not be able to meet Mr. Right on your living room couch but you certainly can go on a date with him to a coffee shop that has a living room couch. 

Personally, I like to use going on dates as an excuse to check out local spots that I wouldn’t usually go to.

There is an advantage to going on a date in a new setting.

If it’s somewhere neither of you has been and you hit it off, it can be your special spot.

And if you don’t work out then your daily routine isn’t interrupted too much.

Definitely don’t go on a first date to your favorite coffee spot and risk tasting the bad experience every time you pick up a vanilla soy latte. 

Dating is hard and confusing enough as it is, try not to make your life harder by stressing yourself out about it.

Someone once told me that stressing out about something only puts you through it twice.

That completely changed my outlook on dating.

It’s supposed to be fun and flirty and exciting!

If you’re wondering whether it’s a date or just coffee and not knowing is causing you anxiety, just ask!

Otherwise, take it easy, put on a casual but cute outfit, and enjoy your latte.

 The worst thing that can happen is you got a coffee with someone who just sees you as a friend – at least there was coffee involved

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