No, I Will Not “Hang Out” With You

Hanging out   noun

a term used to make an otherwise painstakingly obvious dating situation appear more casual; especially : used when coitus has occurred between the two individuals; even more especially : used when one of the involved individuals has commitment issues and refuses to use titles for fear of actually having to own responsibility for their everyday actions.

Examples of hanging out:

“We’re exclusive. Not seeing or sleeping with other people. We text and talk all the time. My family knows about her and so do my friends. But we’re just hanging out.”

“I love hanging out with you.”

“We’re just, ya know, hanging out.”

It’s a shame, but the millennial generation is full of commitment phobes. If you don’t catch ‘em young, there’s this blackhole of time in which 20somethings are sucked into, never to be seen again until their 30s. In that said time, they hang out with countless members of the opposite sex, never committing to one and running as fast as they can in the other direction at the slightest inkling of someone expecting more. It’s, as they say, sad but agonizingly true.

Our generation’s aversion to the terms “dating,” “boyfriend, or “girlfriend” seems extreme. The struggle against being taken hostage by commitment is one in which 20somethings of every shape and size fight with the ferocity of Urijah Faber. Sure, we’ll go on dates with you. Yes, we’ll shower you in affection on the daily. Of course, we’ll sleep with you – we thought you’d never ask! But try and slap a label on any of that and we’ll have this hangingoutship in a coffin by day’s end.

Why and where did this pattern of commitment phobia begin?  And why does it seem so amplified in the 2000s? It’s not like young marriages don’t still happen. Every Saturday night/Sunday morning, my social media feeds are inundated with engagement announcements: “I SAID YES!” “Feeling on top of the world today. I get to marry my best friend!” “He put a ring on it!” So, clearly, the idea of agreeing to “hang out” with someone for the rest of your life isn’t a total dead fish in the water. But, as I stated earlier, the majority of these marriages are young and involve couples who have only ever known each other’s genitalia or maybe only like 2 or 3 other genitalia in total. They found their person and narrowly escaped being thrown into the merciless lion’s den that is real world dating (and a lot of them may very well divorce, but that’s a whole other article).

In a day and age where expressing your creativity and sharing everything with everyone you possibly can via social media is so rampant, I guess it makes a little sense as to why everyone hates anything “serious.” We don’t like to be tied down to one anything, because, after all, we are the “me” generation, right? We’re only into selfies of ourselves and no one else. A picture isn’t as great as it can be unless we’re in it. We’re entitled and we’re selfish. Most of us, anyway. But some of us, no matter how independent and rebellious we may appear, are still very much into the whole “true love lasts forever” ideal. I may wear bright lipstick and love craft beer like only cool, single chicks do and keep this blog onto which I can word vomit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want a hubby and babies eventually.

And there, right there, is where I would guess the miscommunication comes into play. Just because you may want those things, doesn’t mean you want them right now. It doesn’t mean you want with them with the person you just started dating. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to breakup with someone preemptively because, at a few months in, you can’t see those things with that person so what’s the point? It doesn’t mean that a girl is only dating you in hopes it ends in marriage, and soon. It just means you want those things… eventually. In general, they’d be great to have but you’re not trying to nail down the next prospect who comes along for the rest of his/her life. And therein lies the problem and what birthed this fear of commitment epidemic that has killed more healthy, fun, dating situations than the bubonic plague. Millennials, instead of enjoying dating for what it is, are so hell-bent on everything remaining casual that they end up ruining completely copasetic situations. They’ll “hang out” and continue to engage in cuddle fests, frequent intercourse, and full meals with you, but don’t call them anything other than their name or you just ruined everything for everyone.

I’m here to say enough with the self-sabotaging, y’all.

If you go out to dinners twice a week, you’re dating.

If you’ve met their friends and they’ve met yours, you’re dating.

If your family knows about him and his knows about you, you’re dating.

If you’ve both agreed that his is the only P going in your V, you’re dating.

If you’ve made statements about having feelings toward the other, you’re dating.

If you check in with each other and converse about your days, you’re dating.

If he invites you to Passover at his home in two months, he’s an asshole but you’re dating.

Enough with this not-putting-labels-on-it bullshit. Enough with saying “labels don’t mean anything,” too. Methinks doth protest too much. Doesn’t our generation understand that we actually make labels a bigger deal by saying they’re not a big deal? By going so out of our way to NOT call it what it is, we are multiple-handedly enabling the sad, sorry, behavioral patterns of scared shitless, commitment phobes.

What are we so scared of? Breakups? Actually having to answer to someone other than our overbearing mother and over demanding employer? Get over it! At least your significant other gives you sex and positive attention. Sure, it’s work. And yeah – it may very well end badly or maybe even amicably, and it’ll hurt. But that’s life. You date, you breakup, and you do it over and over until it sticks. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not super keen on spending my time “hanging out” with non-committal weirdos who can barely brush their teeth every night for fear of their toothbrush getting attached to them emotionally.

So, in short: No. I will not “hang out” with you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Dallas-based writer for Thought Catalog. Curly hair, bright lips, big mouth.
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