Dating Basics

I thought this was going to be fun, but so far it’s not.

If the dating scene confuses you, it’s no surprise.

The term ‘dating’ is used to describe lots of different types of relationships – from casual ones, to ones that are much more serious. In the end, only the people involved can decide on how to define their relationship.

For example:

  • For some people, dating means hanging out with someone they like and a bunch of other friends; for others, it’s only a date if it’s just the two of them.
  • Some people only date one person and think of them as their boyfriend or girlfriend; others date a few people casually, and don’t think of it as very serious.
  • Some people date when they’re young and don’t want a serious relationship; other people don’t start dating until they are old enough to think about being with someone long-term, marriage or starting a family.
  • For some people, getting physical (holding hands, kissing, and more) is an important part of dating; others wait until they are in a committed relationship.
  • Some people prefer heterosexual dating, some prefer same-sex dating, and some prefer both.

Is it love? Or just a crush?

You see your crush and your mind goes blank. You blush and you can’t speak.
Don’t worry, these responses are normal – the result of feel-good hormones your body produces when you are infatuated with someone (that means you have a crush!).

Here are some other signs that you’re crushing hard:

  • Pounding heart
  • Intense energy, like you could run a marathon
  • Thinking about your crush nonstop
  • Thinking over ways to impress your crush
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fantasizing about being sexual

The four-letter word

You’ve memorized her schedule so you can catch her disappearing into French. You look at his Facebook page more often than your own. Guess what? You’re infatuated! You have a crush! But are you in love? Maybe, maybe not.

There’s a big difference between having a crush and falling in love. Being in love usually involves a lot of things that take time to build, like trust. Love also means that you know the other person really well, and vice versa. That’s why love is something that happens over time, not in a heartbeat. It can be complex because the experience of love can be different for everyone.

So, how much do you know about dating? Take our quiz.

back to top arrow Back to top

Last Reviewed September 2013 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

Ask Us Online

Read questions and stories young people have shared with us.

Go Now

How helpful was this page?

Poor Excellent