Fabulous Females

That's what this site is for: a place to gather all of the ideas and observations of real women living out the drama of single life in a world of "hooking up" and "putting out." If you'd like to become a poster, just give us your email address in a comment so we can invite you in! This is a non-discriminatory place to air out your feelings, so please be constructive! We also welcome men to post insight, comments, and advice on today's culture between males and females.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So, do you wanna, like, hang out sometime?

It's Friday night. I'm out with some friends. I hear my phone give the loud beep and flash of light that signifies that I have received a text message. I open the message, "Drinks, my house, if you want to come by. Ben's Bar later???" (The name of the bar has been changed to protect the identity of the "hang out" guy).

I get this message every Friday night.

Girls, we've heard it all before. We've heard all of the variations:

"We should do something."
"What are you doing this weekend?"
"Want to hang out?"
"We should hang out soon."

I think I speak for most women when I say, "What in the heck is that?"

We grew up in the hang out generation. The Counting Crows song sums it up, "I've been hanging around this town on a corner. I've been bumming around this old town for way, way, way too long." I hung out in Taco Bell, at Walmart, Englander's, in my neighbor's backyard. My childhood was one long lazy hanging out.

But now that I'm nearing my mid-twenties, single hanging out is the "old town" of social dead ends. We've been here way, way, way too long waiting for something to change in the dynamics of the same old faces in the same old places.

Hanging out is nebulous. Asking someone to "hang out" without a plan or a purpose is disappointing, to say the least (I've said more). When a guy asks me out to hang out in a group of friends or just with him, I am forced to wonder what in the world he means. Will other people be there (if I am lucky enough to know where "there" is) or is this a pseudo-date? Is this a friend thing? If it isn't, how do I escape without having to have a talk? If I don't know where we're going or what we're doing, how do I know what to wear?

I "hang out" with my girl friends. It's great. I don't mind if I get a call from SBP saying, "You wanna do something later? I don't know what. Just come over and we'll think of something." I put on a cozy sweater, grab my car keys, and happily head off to hang out.

But when a guy asks the same thing I feel weirdly trespassed upon. I know that in the high stress world of "maybe I like her, I wonder if she likes me?" that an offer to hang out is like an olive branch: I come in peace. The problem with olive branches, though: nobody respects the person waving an olive branch. We tend to feel a bit smug and annoyed (think of how we treat France).

Somewhere along the way, the 20-something single crowd became incredibly afraid of getting caught in one-on-one situations with members of the opposite sex. Instead, we devised a system of group hanging out, wherein a group of friends of both genders regularly meet and socialize. This herd travels from watering hole to watering hole in a tight configuration: these three people are very close, those two are kind of arguing, he might like her....
And that's when the group dynamic sucks any life out of a flirtation. It's flirting in a fishbowl, flirting with training wheels, flirting for people with Social Anxiety Disorder. Little changes from week to week because the group absorbs most of the tension. If the conversation becomes a little too involved one party can simply begin talking to another person in the group.

And of course, if one person does something irrational like ask the other person out it is tantamount to a proposal of marriage, because after all: the health of the whole group is at stake here. If this fails, the group could split.

So, you've heard my opinion on hanging out. I pretty much hate what it suggests (I don't like you enough to risk rejection and be up-front and honest with you). But what do you think? Is hanging out a good social trend? After all, in my mom's chastity classes, step one of any relationship is "get to know one another in a group." Is the new "date" an invitation to hang out? Should girls accept such invitations?

And feel free to share any other opinions, such as, "Marianne, you're absolutely crazy." I love hearing that one.

I'll be hanging out in the comments section. Do you, like, maybe wanna hang out with me there?


  • At 8:42 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger pghcitiboy said…

    I've asked a few woman out and used the term "do you want to hang out sometime", sometimes with intentions of it becoming a date or not. I was recently "hanging out" with a woman but it required me to get rather intoxicated to put up with her company.

    I have no idea where I was trying to go with this, but I thought it amusing to post on this "all womans" blog...I can definitely feel the estrogen here ;)

  • At 8:43 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Jennifer said…

    Marianne, I'll hang out with you anytime!
    Seriously, I do see problems with the group-think mentality. It doesn't prepare you for a "big kid" relationship. There's too much gray area and not enough honesty in the arrangement. Those who can't handle anything but the group-thing are really being cowardly, and yes - even lazy. I'm tired of hanging out. So tired of wondering what in the heck is going on. And most of all, tired of thinking that I've got something "going on" with a guy, and finding out that he does have something "going on"... with someone else that's not me. While I think that the hang out plan can be harmless, it really hurts other people - the ones who actually want to give dating a try.
    Don't get me wrong - I love hanging out with friends. But the difference is that I would like to do both - not one or the other.

  • At 8:50 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Jennifer said…

    Pghcitiboy, for someone who seems amused at the thought of posting to an "all womans" blog... your own isn't that far off - an online dating journal? One piece of advice, if you like a woman she will think you're a weenie if you ask her to hang out.

  • At 5:41 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous ben said…

    Marianne, you're absolutely crazy. ;p

    As a member of such a "watering hole" group which you describe, I feel the exact same way. We DO have two rather involved people who happen to scream "married with children", but otherwise, yeah, it's the exact same situation you describe. Heck, I think I may bring some of your points up in conversation just to freak them out at lunch today.

    The solution? Two things:
    1.) Wait for the inevitable breakdown of the social dynamic, causing the herd to split. Then, step on the shattered remains of the group and make your move.

    2.) Absolute bulletproof persistance. She can't be attached to the group forever, right (well, maybe, if she happens to be a conjoined twin)?

    That's my two cents, anyway.

  • At 7:02 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger ~mandakay said…

    i think 'hanging out' was invented for people like me who are downright scared to spend life alone. i'm not even talking about spending life alone without a mate, i'm talking about spending life without the comfort of other people who feel somewhat close to you. it gives me satisfaction knowing that while i may not actually be doing anything, at least i'm doing nothing with someone. i fully agree though that the group dynamic messes things up a bit in the dating realm when you are consistantly hanging out with the same people, however there is always that offset chance that members will invite new friends to join.

    on a semi related note, i've always been told that guys have a harder time approaching a group of girls then one or two. yet we continue to go out in packs. guys, are groups of girls really that intimidating?

  • At 11:05 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger jondale said…

    I think it's hysterical how this blog has a tendency to disprove itself numerous times. The fact of the matter is, if a guy asked any girl, flat out, "do want to go out to..." (asking her out on a real date) the girl would then be all in a quandry. "What does this mean," "Am I going to marry him," "Do I like him enough to say yes," "What about next week," "What if it doesn't go well?" How do I know this? I've read it multiple times on this one site.

    MP, you are correct in your assumption that the guy asking you to hang out is offering an olive branch, but an olive branch that takes as much courage as he can muster. More often than not he has an idea for an outing but let's face it, girls have a better knack for having fun than guys do. This intimidates guys. Why? "What if she doesn't have a good time? What will she think of me? It'll prove that I'm boring. There'll be no next time so why should I even bother?"

    You can't have your cake and eat it too. It's just not possible. The vast majority of guys who have it down, who know how to ask girls out, who know how to have fun, they're all married. The guys who aren't married are the ones who are the lone male of all their siblings. So have fun being friends with that guy, because he may never notice that twinkle in your eye as anything more than a platonic friendship, a twinkle, which the guy who took a couple weeks to work up the courage to ask you to hang out at Starbucks or at his house with a movie and a mug of hot chocolate, would never mistake for anything else than, "She likes me!" Who knows? You may even end up with flowers at your door in the coming weeks.

    We do not live in the 1940's anymore. I cannot afford Jimmy Stewart clothing and Xtian dating books have dictated and screwed up Christian doctrine concerning guy/girl relationships. If a guy formally asks out a girl she will immediately wonder if this is the guy for her, does she really want to marry him, when the respective parental meeting trips will take place and when the ring will be on order.

    So what do you want guys to do? Formally ask you out and deal with those questions or word it in a way that isn't as daunting and be labeled as wusses? Either way he still wants to go out with you. Either way the question still comes down to, "Do you want to go out with him?"

    But if a guy asks you to hang out over drinks, I would recommend turning him down everytime.

  • At 4:24 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Babba-Gi said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:50 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger sbp said…

    Oh, come on, Jondale.

    I'm not exactly sure which posts you're referring to in saying that a girl would be thrown into a quandary of "is this the right guy to marry" upon hearing him ask, "will you go out with me?" I can tell you right off the bat that that is not actually the case -- not in mine anyway. A date is a date. Sure, I may do girly things like try on his last name and wonder whether or not I could marry him in the future, but those aren't serious considerations; it's just something you do, like holding a shirt that catches your eye against your torso to imagine the fit when you don't actually feel like shopping.

    If there's any quandary, it's how to tell the undesirable guy "no" when he asks you out, and this is where I can see the issue becoming confusing. Because lots of undesirable guys are the ones with the courage to ask. (For example, if I ever want to have babies out of wedlock, I have plenty of offers...really.) Which leaves us trying to say "no" in the most tactful way possible (I'm more and more becoming a fan of just "no" and leaving it at that, since it's going to be a blow anyway) and then complaining that we're never asked out, which translated means "never asked out by the guys we want to ask us out."

    Which might be another issue altogether; but really I would genuinely like, truly and simply, to be asked out on a date. Just a date. Not to fret and sweat in my profuse anxiety about whether he's THE ONE (because, as noted in the last post, who knows?), but to have somewhere fun to go on a Friday or Saturday night with a guy who I know is interested whose company and conversation I enjoy.

    But then, I seldom am even asked whether or not I want to, like, hang out, so at some point I would even settle for that, as long as it actually goes somewhere. (There's the rub, I think. The hanging out becomes a hanging out rut, when it should be a "hey, she likes to hang out...and I really like her...maybe we should date" and moving it up a step.)

    The truly frustrating thing is when you know a guy is interested, and he just won't say anything. What gives? Are we scary? And for how long is that a good enough excuse?

  • At 8:04 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger lvs said…

    I don't know. I've never had the "hanging out" hang up that seems to have arisen. In fact, I've never even though about it as a problem, really. This might be because I'm just as guilty of the "hanging out" method as any guy. I admit, I have always had one or two guys with whom I regularly "hang out" - either by my invitation or theirs. Yes, at times, this has created some miscommunication; however, I'm of the mind that if there is any interest involved, it will show itself at some point, whether you are "hanging out" one on one or with a large group of people. I have never thought of "hanging out" as a date. I just always figured that the intention of the relationship was based more *in* the relationship rather than the circumstances (or semantics, even) of the meetings.

    Why do we feel no pressure when asked to hang out with our girl friends but so much when there is an opportunity to hang out with a male? Why such intense analysis of the relationship? It's that attention to (or obsession over) detail that I think lends itself to confusion more than the act or invitation itself. As for me, I maintain the habit of remaining conscienciously obtuse until the issue *must* be addressed. It's just easier that way. *And* I try to make my intentions perfectly clear, one way or another.

    I think somewhere along the way, we've done the men a disservice in placing so much pressure on them. For all we know, they might simply want a drink and a chat. I recommend a proactive approach that not only frees the male from some of the pressure but also gives the female more control over herself and over the situation. If you want to hang out, do. If you don't, don't. You determine the parameters.

  • At 9:48 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Margy said…

    AHHHHH. I love you Marianne, but I have to go with the guys on this one. I see nothing wrong with hanging out. Not being able to hang out with someone just because of his gender suggests being sexist. Yes, yes, sometimes things can get sticky if you hang out with a guy. But that's not always the case. I think that the majority of women overanalyze FAR TOO MUCH, and this is where all of the confusion comes in. If a guy wants to hang out, then hang out. If he ends up being interested, then you either a) are interested back and yay it's a good thing, or b) aren't interested, but hey look you have something fun to blog about. If he's not interested, then at worst, you've gained a friend. I mean, if you're not in the market for a relationship or a friendship, then don't hang out. This is the big problem though, something so small and not really significant is blown out of proportion, and then there is awkwardness between the genders, and wall-ah! Here is a blog like this. Maybe it's my mood, (and I don't mean this in a rude way at all, so please don't take it like that, I just want to be honest to my ladies with my feelings) but I think everyone needs to take a chill pill and stop obsessing.

    As far as the group dynamic is concerned, see thoughts above. It's only a big deal if you make it one. hehe, I don't have a problem with it. Right, Mandakay? ;)

  • At 5:46 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Marianne said…

    Okay, I thought this might happen :-)

    When I talk about the "hang out" text, I'm talking about a guy who asks a girl (me) to "hang out" because he seriously likes me. I have a problem with this, because I know what the guy kinda means by the invitation (do you like me back?) and I don't want to accept. I don't "like him like him," but to reject an invitation to hang out also means rejecting an innocuous extension of friendship--the words and the meaning don't match.

    Call me crazy, but I like people to match what they say to what they intend to say. I've gotten tricked into dates, for crying out loud, because they were cloaked in the language of "hanging out." Then, inevitably, I have to have that talk where I say, listen, I don't like you like you.

    On the topic of obsessing over details: I can definitely say that a blog of this focus can tend to swing that way: but that's the idea of the blog. If you want to see what I do with 99.99% of my other time: it's on my real blog (acutally, it's in my real life with students, friends, and church).

    I suppose I think these things are important because when I have played "conscientuously obtuse," I have ended up in situations where I have deeply hurt guys' feelings and lost good friendships. I'm a little tired of ducking into empty classrooms when I run into these guys who thought my friendliness and responsiveness to invites to hang out meant much more.

    I wrote this post, not in response to any pressing issues going on in my own life (therefore: no details to obsess over), but because a friend and fellow poster asked me to write it.

    I think these sorts of topics: the petty incidences of every-day life, deserve as much attention as the huge questions of cosmic contentedness. Are you content in your singleness? Well, how is that lived out? If you aren't: perhaps you are chasing after every invitation to hang out, maybe you allow physical boundaries to be crossed, sometimes you might allow a "friendship" with an unsuitable guy to go too far. We are bodies and we are souls, the two unendingly intertwined: what I do with my thumb and forefinger replying to a text message, is just as involved in my spiritual self as what I do on Sunday morning.

  • At 6:19 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger pghcitiboy said…

    Interesting perspective of "being tricked" onto a date when you thought you were hanging out with some guy. Since I've been doing the online dating using the term 'hanging out' definitely insinuates a date (that is to be expected I would assume). I can't see trying to trick someone into a date though, I'm curious about that. Any good stories behind it?

    Of course the irony of it I can say to a guy "wanna hang out" and obviously it means something totally different.

  • At 6:22 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger pghcitiboy said…


    oh I won't argue with you there, my blog is all about women. I'm sure I'm on some woman's blog somewhere as one the guys or "jackarses I've dated".

    And yes I'm totally amused posting here, I've not really done the blog thing before. I really like the pink decor too. ;)

  • At 1:38 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Babba-Gi said…

    Babba's Rules for successful spawning:

    Know what caste you belong in. Face reality. At least 40% of the opposite herd are untouchables. Either way too classy for you or just plain bottom feeders.

    Get some exposure. This may involve traveling to a nearby herd. Don't fish in a dry creek.

    Keep an eye out for "Good Wool". Look for someone with unique qualities. Charm, wit, enthusiasm, some little glimmer of light that shows that someone is home in there.

    And if all else fails; just take her to the ZOO, and hang-out.

  • At 2:06 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Marianne said…

    Babba, are you telling me I'm an UNTOUCHABLE? That I'm not GOOD WOOL. That NO ONE IS HOME?????


    I am going to prefer to flip that: the guys who keep asking me to hang out are aiming out of their caste....at least I hope that's the case (dear Lord, help me if it isn't!)

    The zoo would be an awesome date, but I think you're quoting from a movie :-) I just can't remember which. It's there, it'll come to me soon.

  • At 7:28 AM, February 04, 2006, Blogger sbp said…

    Oh, it's true, Marianne. It's true. The guys who've been asking you out are aiming out of their caste. Misbegotten fools...

    Oh wait, that was mean. Poor idiots, then.

    And they guys who ARE in the right caste seem to think they're not. Or are waiting for God to write it in the sky in fire.

  • At 2:45 AM, February 04, 2012, Blogger Liz said…

    I hang out with guys all of the time and it's so confusing as to if they like me or if they're just bored and want a friend. What did happen to dates? Oh of my guy friends in a relationship told me it was my responsibility to bring "dating" back. Then I realized I had no idea how to bring up to someone if they wanted to go on date because I wasn't even ready for that kind of commitment as to accept that I liked someone enough to date.

    Everyone I have been in a relationship with has been one of my friends first. Of course, maybe the only reason why I started hanging out with certain groups so much was because I liked that person. Friendship is a scam. Like Corey said in Say Anything, Going out as friends is a scam.


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