This article was written by Dustin Wagner

To date or to hang? That is the question many BYU-Idaho students find themselves pondering when seeing someone they are interested in walk by.

We all have our own preference for how we interact with someone we see potential with.

Depending on our situation, we are faced with the daunting choice to “date” or to “hang.”

Let us begin by clarifying the difference between dating and hanging out, because there is in fact, a difference.

A date is defined as “a social appointment, engagement or occasion arranged beforehand with another person,” according to

Tyler Folkman, a senior studying exercise physiology, said dating is spending time with a single person with the specific intention to get to know them.

Hanging out is defined as “To frequent a particular place, especially in idling away one’s free time,” according to

Miles Adams, a junior studying health science, said hanging out is not usually planned. He said when hanging out, you have no idea what you will be doing.

He said hanging out means just going with the flow.

Some students might believe that hanging out and dating go hand in hand, whereas others might feel hanging out is a waste of time.

“I think you need to mix it up,” said Mariah Michaelis, a junior majoring in marriage and family studies.

Michaelis said dates are a good way to get to know people and see a different side of them. She said hanging out lets you see the more natural part of them.

“Hanging out is something that you do if you want to be friend-zoned,” said Sarai Nava, a sophomore studying business management. “If you are dating someone, it is because you want to get to know that person.”

Nava said hanging out is a cheap way to get to know a person because it gives you the opportunity to see them interact with others.

“If you are looking for something serious, you are going to date someone,” Nava said. “If you are looking to just hang out and play around and just waste your time, you are going to go hang out.”

Nava said she does not have time to hang out, but if someone asked her out on a date, she would make the time to be with them.

What are the pros and cons to dating and hanging out?

Dating allows you to “shop around” and discover qualities you are looking for in a partner and allows you to get to know someone without jumping into a commitment, according to Stronger Marriage, a website about relationships.

On the other hand, you only see what is on the surface, in only a few select situations, according to Stronger Marriage.

Hanging out helps you get to know someone before committing to a relationship, according to Stronger Marriage.

Hanging out gives the opportunity to see people interact in a variety of social settings, according to Stronger Marriage.

“Couples who form an attachment in the hang out setting will have a more difficult time breaking away from those routines,” according to   Stronger Marriage.

If you are just “hanging out,” and it does not work out between the both of you, it could affect the whole group with which you hang.

Whether you decide to hang out or date, be kind, patient and respectful of others. You will never know someone else’s story until you ask.