What Does It Mean When Someone Says They Are Looking For ‘Something Casual’?

Dating experience | | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: January 17, 2024
They Are Looking For Something Casual

“Hey, I’m so sorry I totally missed your text. I only use these dating apps very sparingly or when I have the time, because I’m just looking for something casual. If you’re down for that, let’s skip this whole texting stage altogether and maybe grab a drink next week?”

If you’ve ever been at the receiving end of a text like this or have heard of something similar in your social circles, well then consider it your formal introduction into the world of casual dating and all its possibilities. The dating trend is often opposed to everything you’ve ever learned about love and relationships. 

Growing up, everything we watched in the movies or read about in the books was about an undying and passionate love that lasted for years and which you eventually took to the grave. We’ve all been conditioned to search for ‘Mr. Right’ or ‘The perfect girl’. It’s all part of The Plan, right? Get the perfect job, pin down the right person to marry, have a few kids, and voila, you’ve covered three big chapters of ‘How to Live a Happy Life’. 

That being said, while that search for ‘the one’ gives plenty of returns in the long run, sometimes it can wear you down. Not everyone is Cinderella. So, trust me when I say that the shoe rarely ever fits. And if you’re still single and haven’t figured out this chapter yet, well then let me also tell you that there is no need to rush. There are many other ways to take care of all your needs. And to get started, let’s focus on figuring out what does looking for something casual mean, when putting yourself out there in the dating world. 

What Does It Mean When Someone Is Looking For Something Casual? 

I remember my first brush with this term when I was 18. New to dating apps and in a new city, every time I swiped right on a guy, I truly hoped that he was boyfriend material and that two dates in, we would kickstart a beautiful love story that we could look back on very fondly, for the rest of our lives. Three days into swiping on that app, I found a great guy who on our very first date, straight up told me that he was looking for something casual. 

Not fully understanding what that meant, I continued to name our future children in my head as I had my coffee with him. Later when he dropped me home and the heavy dose of infatuation wore off, I went straight to my roommate and asked her, “What does ‘looking for something casual’ mean? Does this guy just want to take things slow?” 

And now, after a few years of dating casually myself, I do know a little about the “looking for something casual” meaning, and I’m here to share my knowledge with you so that you don’t need a crash course from your roommate on what it means when he says he’s looking for something casual or she says let’s keep it casual. However, before you jump the gun and start wondering how to say you’re looking for something casual on Tinder just because you think it’s gonna make you look cool, stop. And now read about what you’re getting yourself into. 

Related Reading: Things Guys Do On Dating Apps That Instantly Creep Women Out

1. They aren’t really trying to achieve a goal with you 

Being in a serious relationship is not just about getting to know someone but also weaving them into your life and basically making them your family. You’re not just going out on dates to have fun; you’re also going out on these dates because your goal is to be with this person for as long as you can make it work. 

Meeting the parents, talking about whether you should have a baby someday, deciding which city is the best for you to live in are common milestones in a relationship. These are long-term goals that are taken into consideration with the person you’re dating. But if it’s just something casual, well then, all this goes out the window. You meet solely because it’s fun, you enjoy each other’s company and you have a few laughs together. Not because you want to build a life with this person. It’s as simple as that. 

2. They will have no expectations from you when it’s something casual 

Is casual dating a waste of time? Maybe it is for you if you are searching for somebody who can always be around, is one phone call away, and checks in on you. The thing with dating casually is that there are simply no strings. And thus, no expectations. They’re not going to hang up on you just because you didn’t make time for them last Friday or because you forgot their dog’s birthday. This is perhaps the greatest advantage of having something casual with someone.

You get loads of perks such as good sex, somewhat of a friend, and someone you just like doing things with. But if you’re unavailable for the time being, not in the mood, or have something else going on, they’re not going to show up at your house and ask you why you’re being the way you are.

If they’re not too attached, they will probably just back off, give you the space that you need, and check in on you only if they think something really serious is up. But otherwise, if you forget to call them back or don’t reply to the Instagram stories of their vacation, it’s possible that they’re not even noticing. Which gives you plenty of time and energy to just do you.

something casual in dating
Something casual in dating is about fun and not love

3. Looking for something casual, meaning let’s see multiple people 

What does something casual mean? Not a polyamorous relationship, no. A polyamorous relationship still holds a high degree of commitment and accountability to one another. A casual relationship, on the other hand, is much more easygoing. Not only can you hook up with other people but also you don’t have to mention these hookups to the person you’re seeing casually. 

When a girl says she wants something casual or a guy says that he just wants a no-strings-attached relationship with you, it means that you’re allowed to freely pursue, date, or meet anyone else that you want. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me if you’re not interested in settling down too soon. So now ask yourself again, are you looking for something casual? If you’re, then you’re probably also wondering how to say you’re looking for something casual on Tinder. Well, straight up tell them that you don’t want any kind of a commitment and that the other person is free to date other people too. 

Related Reading: 15 Best Places To Meet Men (Out Of Dating Apps)

4. Something casual in dating means that they won’t text you every second of every day

Going back home after a date with them and sending them a picture of which PJs you’re wearing to bed that night? Or sending her a Snapchat of the flat tire you got in the middle of a forty-mile drive to your mom’s house? Save them the time and the cringe-face and instead do that with your BFF, not your casual partner. 

Are you looking for something casual? Because if you are, you need to keep this in mind before you dive into it with someone. We’re not saying that something casual means that there is absolutely no emotional intimacy or concern in your relationship. They care about you, they do. But not enough to give you too much of their time every day. So keep texting and calling to a minimum, especially the calling. And when you do, try to keep it engaging and less personal or emotional. Those cute good morning text messages? Yeah, forget about those too. 

5. What does looking for something casual mean? They’re not your 3 am call 

Wait, let’s clear that up a bit so you know what something casual truly means. If it is a 3 a.m. booty call, then sure. I think he would totally be down for that. But a 3 a.m., “My parents aren’t proud of me and they keep comparing me with my sister” phone call as you’re drowning in a pool of tears? That’s a complete no-go in a casual relationship. Something casual in dating means that the reins are really loose.

This is why you shouldn’t bother holding them too close. As a matter of fact, the two of you are only in a casual dynamic because you don’t want to get too involved personally. Call a friend if you’re down, or in this case, maybe just call your mom. But do not call your casual partner at all. Now really think, are you looking for something casual? Because you need to remember, they’re not a friend in need, no. They’re only a friend ‘in deed’. 

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Can Something Casual Turn Into A Relationship? 

Out of the population which admits they are looking for something casual or just a hot, casual encounter to spice things up, a big chunk comprises those who are casually looking for something serious. So if you’re one of them and thinking about if something casual can indeed turn into a serious thing, here’s where I’m going to say, a big “Hell, yes!”

However, if you want to keep your sanity and your heart intact, don’t get into a casual relationship expecting this outcome. Adhere to the rules of dating and you’ll stay safe. But if you see some rules bending and are tempted to break a few, it’s possible that your something casual dynamic has morphed into something more. 

Something casual in dating can definitely turn into a more serious relationship as the two of you get closer and realize that there’s more than just exciting chemistry here. If the following starts to happen in your relationship, you might have a few things to think over. So keep an eye out for these signs. 

1. There’s more pillow talk than ever 

Perhaps earlier he would just zip up and walk out and it would make no difference to you that he did. Or that she would start texting on the phone right after you guys were done in bed and you’d just turn over to your side and make nothing of it. That’s it. That takes care of the whole looking for something casual meaning for you. But if that has changed, well then, you may not be entirely casual anymore. 

Not only are you talking more to each other after having sex, but you also seem to be connecting more. Turns out, that not only are you two compatible in bed but also have a great time otherwise. You’ve now learned that she is also a fan of your favorite football team or that his mom is the baker you ordered your birthday cake from last year. Suddenly, he remembers your favorite book you’d mentioned the last time or she knows all about that one friend you lost touch with while growing up. 

Related Reading: How Has The Perception Of Sex Changed In The Last 40 Years?

2. You don’t really like to think of them with other people 

Earlier, you knew he was getting laid and seeing other women and it did not really bug you. Maybe you even saw a cute girl on his Instagram story, said “wow”, and then closed the app and opened up Bumble again to go out with somebody else that night. But now he’s walked into the coffee shop to meet you for your 7th date and you cannot help but feel a little upset that he’s got a hickey on his neck. 

Not only are you irritated to see it, but also mortified that he didn’t even think to cover it up for you. Damn, things definitely are on the road to getting serious since you are clearly feeling jealous. Since it’s not your place to say anything about it, you try to ignore it for the rest of your coffee date. 

And when that date is over, you give him a cold hug and end up thinking about what seemed like a hickey on his neck, the whole train ride back home. Clearly, something casual is just not working for you anymore. It is entirely possible that you want something more real with this person and your ‘casual’ dream is now over.

3. You can’t wait to be with them 

And not just because you had a tiff with your boss and skipped lunch, which is why you want to jump right into bed with them, but because you had a really long day at work and can’t think of anyone else to talk to about it! Spending time with them is not something you do merely because it’s enjoyable but also because it’s comforting and makes you feel really happy. 

Casual is supposed to feel exciting and fun. Love is supposed to feel more comfortable. See the difference? If lately, it has been less about the kisses and more about the romantic hugs, less about the sex and more about the talking or less about hiding each other from your friends and more about proudly flaunting one another, you might just be on the verge of an actual relationship. 

Is Casual Dating Right For You?

Is casual dating a waste of time? It all comes down to how you are as a person, what stage of life you’re in at this point and how open you are to exploring new things. I don’t think there’s any such thing as someone who likes casual dating or someone who does not, it just depends on what you’re ready for. People, who are fresh out of a terrible relationship, may yearn for something casual to ease the pain.

stories about dating and more

Some are single and ready to mingle but not casually, they are only looking for somebody who is ready for a long-term relationship. Probably because they are done with the exhausting effort that comes with casually swiping right on every half-decent person on dating apps. While there are many pros and cons of casual dating, people can’t be boxed into those who date casually and one who don’t.

Casual dating is a phase that everybody traverses at some point. Some do it early, some do it late, and some who don’t believe in getting married or settling down do it, perpetually. But if you are indeed at that stage where you are thinking about giving it a go, here are a few things to keep in mind to judge whether you are ready for it or not:

  • Are you okay with not being ‘the only one?’: The thing with casual dating is that you have to accept that your casual partner has multiple other casual partners as well. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seeing two or more people, you should go into it thinking that the other person is, because in all probability that is what usually goes on
  • Maybe you are casually looking for something serious: Casually looking for something serious meaning is that you want to take your time seeing people casually but your end goal is to find and pin down that one person. Well, that is indeed one of the benefits of casual dating. It helps you explore, and who knows, you might just stumble upon the love of your life. Even if that’s the case, as long as you are clear on the terms and rules, you might just enjoy it
  • You’re bored and want to casually start seeing people on Bumble: Being bored might just be a good enough reason to start your a ‘something casual’ equation with someone. As long as you’re not ghosting or hurting people, it is all good. So if you are bored, it can indeed be right for you
  • You’re good at keeping things short-term: If you, in general, are non-committal not just to people but even to other things, then you might just love a casual dynamic. Like hopping from one thing to another? Put ‘looking for something casual’ in your dating app bio right away!
  • You just got out of a relationship: As long as you understand the pros and cons of casual dating and are not just casually looking for something serious again, you can try something casual even though you just got out of a relationship. After a breakup, short and casual stints can help take your mind off things. But only as long as you steer clear of the serious territory

Key Pointers

  • Casual dating means that you do not need to update them on your whereabouts every hour of every day 
  • They are always going to be up for fun but they do not want to be your SOS call 
  • Casual dating is usually a lot less goal-oriented but some people do it because they are casually looking for something serious
  • Something casual can indeed turn into a full-fledged relationship if you two start spending a lot of time with one another
  • How long should you casually date someone? Not more than 6 months because that is when people usually start becoming a lot more invested
  • Casual dating is usually a phase everyone goes through, depending on what they’re feeling that time in life

We hope that now you don’t need to go knocking on your roommate’s door asking, “What does something casual mean?” or “How long should you casually date someone?”, as I did . So when a girl says she wants something casual, you should know exactly what she means. The same goes for when a guy texts you saying he’s looking for something casual.

This dynamic has its pros and can definitely show you a great time if you’re up for that kind of thing. But you’re only human and you may start developing feelings for your casual partner eventually. So don’t lie to yourself if suddenly you’re flying halfway across the country to spend New Year’s with your casual hookup. Then you might be in some trouble. But I do hope it’s the good kind. Gee, I wish 18-year-old me could have read this.


1. What does it mean when you’re looking for something casual?

It means you’re looking for a relationship which makes you feel good and not one that ties you down. You want to enjoy their company, their time and have good sex but you don’t mind doing it with other people. Something casual basically means that you two are close, but not enough for any major commitment or expectations.

2. How do I tell someone I just want something casual?

How to say you’re looking for something casual on Tinder? Or tell the guy your friend set you up with for that coffee date that you don’t want anything serious? Be as direct as possible. And make sure you say it right off the bat! Nobody wants to know that they wasted their time.

3. How long should you casually date someone?

Preferably, not too long. It’s always better to cut loose in a couple months as things might just start getting messy. A lot of times, one person gets more involved and possessive than the other. This mismatch can lead to problems so it’s always better to keep these flings short.

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