Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coffee Dates

'So, um, maybe we can grab coffee sometime...?'


Do I speak for all girls when I ask: WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN!?!

I had a guy friend approach me recently and say something along these lines:
'So, Debbie... I read your blog the other night. My question is this: how come, when you ask a girl out for coffee, she freaks out and doesn't want to go because she thinks that coffee means that you want to marry her or something?'

Ohhh, the 'coffee date'. Or... is it a 'date' at all?
And this is where the problem arises.

We sat and talked for a while about all the miscommunications that occur in the asking of girls out for coffee. While I could understand his side, I couldn't necessarily appreciate it. The more we talked, the more I felt like he was only giving me fuel for my argument on why I think the coffee gesture is a terrible idea (not to mention this slightly spineless attempt to let a girl know that you're interested in her...).

He insisted that, 'The coffee is a way of getting to know a girl you're interested in without scaring her off by asking her out on a date.'

My problem with this is that the girl usually has no idea what the guy's intentions actually are. While in some guy's minds it might be 'universal knowledge' that the coffee clearly means that he's interested, there's a whole other batch of men who mean nothing when they ask a girl to grab coffee with them. Yet, somehow we are supposed to be able to differentiate between the two and know which kind of guy we are dealing with? Impossible.

Sometimes coffee is just coffee...and sometimes coffee has a lot more meaning to it. Perhaps I'm the only one who likes to know just exactly what I'm agreeing to before I agree to it, but I don't really think I am. It seems that the times I agree to coffee, hoping that coffee means more... it doesn't, and the times that I turn down the offer because I'm fearful that it means more, it just means friendship. I clearly haven't figured it out.

Feeling a bit more enlightened by the conversation with my friend, I was eager to hear some other guys' perspectives of the 'coffee date'. I was relieved when one guy basically said, 'Asking for coffee is like asking for a date while minimizing the risk of rejection.'

That's exactly what I was trying to get at.
Guys ask these girls out for coffee to try and get to know them better. While perhaps their intentions aren't necessarily harmful, there tends to be this aspect of cowardice about it to me. If you're interested in me, let me know... ask me out. But don't ask me to coffee, because I don't know what the heck that means. It puts me through emotional turmoil as I over-analyze just what you might mean by coffee.

And, if you just want to get to know me as a friend...? Let it happen naturally. Let's hang out in group settings and, when we run into each other occasionally, let's stop and talk... but if you choose to be intentional about your friendship with me by bringing coffee into the picture? I just might get the wrong idea.

Because, I don't know what coffee means.
I think there's a whole slew of women who don't know what it means, either.

Sure, coffee may be non-threatening and it might be an 'on-ramp' (as one guy friend so eloquently put it) for dating... but it just seems like an unnecessary, confusing step to me.

So, for all of you guys out there who only mean it to be a friend thing when you ask a girl to grab coffee--I'm sorry. It's almost always going to cause her to question what your intentions are (unless you've already been super straight forward with her, or you have a history of friendship to where you both undoubtedly know that coffee is just coffee).

And, for all of you guys out there who think it's obvious that a girl should know that you're somewhat interested in her when you ask her to grab coffee--I'm sorry. We don't know. We might hope that's what you mean, but we certainly don't know. You'll need to spell it out for us. There are too many guys in our lives that have asked us out for coffee who haven't meant anything by it...and so we will not be quick to assume incorrectly again. Or, on the flip side, we will also be hesitant to assume that it's just a friend thing. If we are not interested, we may reject the coffee because we're terrified that the coffee actually might mean something more on your end when we aren't feeling it on our end.

Ohhh, the coffee date. It's a terrible thing.
But, I suppose it's redeemable if you're just honest and upfront about what coffee means from the beginning. After all, you may just want coffee.
And sometimes coffee is just coffee.
But, sometimes coffee is quite a bit more than coffee.
(And yes, the same principles actually do apply for all things comparable to coffee... like tea, or ice cream, or a walk down the beach.......)

You basically just need to know that when you're unclear about your intentions and you're asking to spend one-on-one time with us, it gets confusing.

The end.

Your entries will remain anonymous


  1. Usually with most guys...coffee means coffee. No more no less. Don't read too much into it. They really are quite simple. :)

  2. I've had coffee that meant nothing more and coffee that led to being asked on more dates, so I agree that it's pretty ambiguous. And you're right that other one-on-one invitations can be just as confusing...

    A guy once asked me to go to a concert with him one-on-one because he happened to buy two tickets but did not have someone to use the second one (a likely story). At first I assumed that it was not a date and said I'd go because it sounded like fun. Later on, I thought over our past interactions, realized it *might* be a date after all, and got a bit concerned because I just wanted to stay friends. Finally, I decided to stop worrying about it because if he had any intentions, he would make them clearer at the concert. Turns out it wasn't a date. When I handed him money for my ticket, he accepted it, and that was how I knew. We had a good, "just friends" time, and I realized that I got worked up over nothing.

    So nowadays, I try not to overthink it. If he is interested, he will let me know clearly at some point. In the meantime, so long as I at least want to be his friend, I'll gladly go get coffee. But I won't go into it expecting a date unless he makes it clear that it is one. And if/when he does make it clear, then I'll be clear about my own intentions (or lack thereof).

  3. If you're not sure what it means and he doesn't spell it out, for crying out loud, ask.

  4. I like coffee...I like it like I like my women: hot and in my lap.

  5. No coffee isn't a proper date, especially after a class or meeting together, its just getting coffee but it is getting to know each other and flirting and talking is allowed which would be a good place to maybe ask to go on a date. Most people aren't in love after the first date even if its at a restaurant or cinema, maybe getting a pre-dating coffee in to see if you would even consider a date isn't a bad thing. Calm down Singletons! Although I can see how getting a coffee could be misconstrued if it's someone who's not officially single but looks interested!

  6. It can scare women off when you're ambiguous too.
    If they're going to get scared off by a date, you're probably not going to end up with them anyway.

    Plus, men, women are very attracted to a guy who will take risks.
    It's good for you. Builds character.

  7. Poor coffee. For such a brilliant, enervating, delicious beverage, it sure does get a bad rap. I empathize, coffee. I feel for you.

  8. I love this article! I was just asked to "grab coffee sometime" by a guy I recently met at a Brazilian jiu jitsu class. We exchanged phone numbers because I am in need of a new gym and he trains at multiple gyms, and he invited me to train with him. He suggested having coffee, and I said "sure," thinking it harmless, not romantic in any way. My line of thinking is: BJJ training partners tend to have very close friendships (regardless of gender) due to the intimacy of the training. I mean we are laying between each other legs, trying to choke each other out. Not only are the positions intimate, but the level of trust needed to allow someone to choke you and believe that they will let go when you tap is enormous. But I am kinda worried that he is interested in me since I really do not know him well. I am only interested in a friendship. Not that I am not attracted to him, but because I am emotionally unavailable and have zero good intentions when it comes to dating. Oh how the tables have turned since I became jaded. BUT after reading this, I am more confident that its a training partner/friend thing. Add to the fact that his gym is starting a new BJJ program and want a female presence. Thanks a ton!!

  9. Oh god! poor coffee...b'coz its just an energy booster while talking to little known persons and it is not harmful in any of the case