Most Helpful Girl
I consider dating to be when you're going out/spending time with someone in order to get to know them before deciding if you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend.
Like, if I go on one date with a guy and find out that I don't like him, was he my boyfriend? No. What about two dates? Three? Being someone's boyfriend or girlfriend suggests a greater amount of commitment than simply going on dates with someone.
In my grandparents' day, they called it "going steady" when, after going on a number of dates with someone, you decided you wanted them to be your girlfriend/boyfriend. You'd ask them to "go steady". We don't really call it that anymore, but the same thing happens. You date someone, and when you think you like them enough that you want a steady/exclusive relationship with them, you ask them to be your girlfriend/boyfriend.