Skip to main content

Definition of 'date' has various meanings among BYU–Hawaii students

Black and white illustration of a guy giving a girl a flower

Students at BYU–Hawaii have differing opinions on what a date is. This phenomenon is not unique to our community. USA Today quotes Sonya Rhodes, a clinical psychologist, as saying a date today “transcends this sort of ‘hanging out culture.’ A date shows some special interest in a special person. A date takes it to a new level.”

Noellette Cookson, a psychology sophomore from New Zealand, spoke of how tricky it was in high school because after one date people assumed they were a couple. Concerning what a date is, Cookson said, “I’m a simple person, [I don’t mind] just getting ice cream [with someone] who wants to get to know you through action and conversation. It does not matter the location or what you’re eating so long as there is a constant communication going on.”

She said she was on a couple of dates where “I thought it was just a hang out and the other person really thought it was a date and wanted to expand on it more.

“Because of the Church, I feel that I understand properly what it is like to date on my own terms and my own pace. If I got to give advice to guys who want to date, it is to form a friendship and then ask that someone you want to go on a date with. If they feel uncomfortable, just say it’s a hangout. They will be less afraid to go.”

Sione Thompson, an undeclared freshman from Taiwan, said he believed a date was going out with a girl to do something fun, inspirational, or just a simple conversation.

He said, “I think maybe a date is you are going one on one with a girl and you make a plan. You plan out what you are wanting to do.”

Emily Meyers, a freshman from Texas majoring in graphic design, agreed with Thompson. Meyers said, “[A] date is spending time with someone and it is planned.”

Believing a date could be simpler, Hannah Welty, a freshman from California studying psychology, said “[A date] is going out with someone, usually one on one. [Occasionally] two boys, two girls, and doing something fun, whatever that is.”

Noah Ammasi, a freshman from Laie, Hawaii studying business management, said it is up to the girl. “My definition of a date is just asking someone out and doing what they want to do for fun. Whatever the girl chooses, whether it is to eat, go on a hike, surf, anything.”

According to Ammasi, sometimes people do not establish whether they are on a date before or during the date. Ammasi told a relatable confusing story. “A girl thought I asked her on a date when I just asked to get ice cream alone with her. It was just as friends though. At the end of it, she was just confused like ‘what was that?’”

USA Today released the results of a survey conducted by and, a dating site for Jews. “An online survey of 2,647 singles, ages 18-59, illustrates [this] level of ambiguity: 69 percent are at least somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they’re interested in is a date or not. Although 80 percent agree that a date is ‘a planned one-on-one hangout,’ almost one-quarter (24 percent) also think it is ‘a planned evening with a group of friends,’ and 22 percent agree that ‘if they ask me out, it’s a date.’”