Is He a Man or a Boy? A Handy Dating Guide!

A few of the things that distinguish the men from the boys.

Is He a Man or a Boy? A Handy Dating Guide!

A few of the things that distinguish the men from the boys.

-Julia Austin

man child

“I’m tired of dealing with little boys” “I want a MAN already.” How many Tweets and Facebook posts have you seen like this by those technologically articulate females? It’s a word thrown around a lot—a man. But what exactly makes a man a man or leaves him as a boy? I’m at the weird age where I’m dating guys in both categories. Executives who make our dinner reservations a week ahead of time and send me email confirmations … along with stoner guys in the “film business” who forget to show up for dinner at all.

Testing the waters in these two very different pools has really highlighted for me what the differences are between a man and a boy. So, in case you wanted clarification, or in case you want to let your ex know just why he was such a little boy, this should help.

Situation: Date asks you to dinner.
A Man: Makes reservations and confirms with you the day of that you’re still on.
A Boy: Does none of the above. You’re left wondering if you’re getting dressed up for absolutely nothing and if you should have eaten a snack because you might be waiting for a table for a whiiiile.

Situation: The second date.
A Man: Arranges something nice—makes an actual plan for just the two of you, like dinner, drinks or a movie.
A Boy: Invites you to meet him at a bar with his friends. He thinks his job is done because he paid for one meal.

Situation: Getting too drunk on one of your first few dates.
A Man: Doesn’t.
A Boy: Well, can you blame him? He’s been conditioned by his frat house. Get ready for some really aggressive tongue action.

Situation: Your date runs into an acquaintance and gets to talking.
A Man: Introduces you to the acquaintance first chance he gets.
A Boy: Doesn’t. Maybe at one point his friends notions at you and says “who is this?” and the boy, embarrassed, says “oh um ya ya, sorry, this is…”

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Situation: Your date gets into an extensive conversation with the acquaintance about a common friend or some shared experience.
A Man: Pauses, turns to you, and gives you the back story so you can be included in the conversation.
A Boy: Lets you stand there bored and feeling like a fool.

Situation: The bill arrives.
A Man: Grabs it and starts to pay. No hesitation. If YOU want to offer to split, you can do so. But he doesn’t wait for you to do so.
A Boy: Lets the bill linger there. When you offer money he pretends he doesn’t want you to. But takes it.

Situation: You leave your date’s house.
A Man: Says “let me walk you out” as he has already begun to do so.
A Boy: Asks “should I um, walk you out? Oh..are you sure? Maybe I should…should I?”

Situation: The date goes really well. He invites you back to his place.
A Man: Doesn’t invite you back on the first date. But if he does, and you decline, he accepts that answer instantly. No argument.
A Boy: Says “Come oooooon” and even acts like you hurt his feelings. Because that’s going to get you to sleep with him…

Situation: You’re having sex, he’s going too fast and you ask him to slow down.
A Man: Isn’t going too fast in the first place. But if he is, absolutely slows down with no hesitation.
A Boy: Too bad honey! He’s on a mission, and is too selfish or just too inexperienced to even know what else to do so you better just finish yourself off once he’s gone to sleep.

Situation: You’re running late or even have to cancel at the last minute because a very important work project has come up.
A Man: Shows no sign of irritation. Says he understands.
A Boy: Gets noticeably irritated. Why? Because it took him a lot just to make an actual plan for once and now it’s not working out.

So. Are you dating a man or a boy? What are some of your own tell-tale signs?

Julia Austin is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle and love+sex for a number of media outlets including Discovery’s PlanetGreen,, and, a site dedicated to giving busy women quick and easy workouts, recipes and lifestyle tips to better their body and mood. When she isn’t writing she is planning her next trip or sharing dating stories with her friends at happy hour.

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0 thoughts on “Is He a Man or a Boy? A Handy Dating Guide!

  1. Shows no sign of irritation ? ? ? that makes him a man ??? .. lol … most of the other ones are worth while ,, but that one … lol .. not at all … So its a good thing that he could care less one way or the other whether he sees you ???? …

  2. One of my tell tale signs is if he’s always talking about hot girls, staring, etc. It shows a lot of immaturity, in my opinion. And yes, men that don’t stare DO exist. I love this list

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