After reading Jovial's thread about when does one call someone their boyfriend it reignited that very question for myself... I wish we did have straight cut and dry steps that a person could take to avoid the usual confusion that ensues. I had always heard terms like dating and going together but didnt realize that they might have subtle differences... Well, they do...from what I could surmise these are the following differences: Hanging out Two people who go to an event together, meeting there with no stated or overt romantic intention. No kissing. etc. They may leave together or separately. Dating The two people go to dinner etc but no exclusivity is ever brought up they may stay in this stage for a while as they get to know each other . They each spend time in this stage deciding if they want to go further with one another. Going together This stage is where there is now an established pattern and some degree of exclusivity. THis may be an alternative to the term going steady. As if this isnt confusing enough there are also side trips like Hooking up, Friends with benefits, FB. Hooking up Sex with a stranger or someone that you may know very casually for that purpose alone. FB Regular or semi regular sexual partner who agrees that this is merely for sexual relief of each participant. Friends with Benefits Has all the aspects of a platonic relationship with the addition of the FB clause of getting together for mutual stress relief... Then there is COURTSHIP... Courtship is the intention of getting to know the individual with the express purpose of seeing if the interaction could have the possibility of leading to marriage... Weigh in. Are there other variations that I have missed here?