How do I ask a guy to hang out without it seeming like I’m asking him out?
Quite frankly, people want friends! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Friendships can be just as—if not more—fulfilling as romantic relationships. Most people, when asked to hang, will be down to do so in a non-romantic, non-date type of way.
To make it clear to the person you’re asking that your intentions are friendly rather than romantic, you can take a few different ideas into account. Firstly, consider your question’s setting. If it’s a passing moment, your question will have lower stakes. For example, if you bump into the guy on your way to class, say, “I’m headed to class, but maybe we could Deece after?” Proceed according to his reaction.
Asking in person also reads as lower stakes than a text conversation, where the other party will be free to analyze your words and attribute an unintended tone. That same question phrased above, but as an out-of-the-blue text, could definitely be interpreted as a spicy invitation (although I doubt I’d personally read it as such). An in-person run-in gives it the right aloof inflection.
In addition to how you ask, consider what you ask. Certain proposed hangout venues are hotter and heavier than others. For instance, proposing an off-campus, evening-hours jaunt is likely to be interpreted as a romantic gesture; weekend brunch at the Deece reads as a casual, relaxed, hangout sesh. Unless it’s a Sunday.
If you want to be extra sure your suggestion isn’t akin to asking someone to come upstairs to look at your etchings, ask the person to join you in a group setting where things are less likely to get steamy (although, you do you). For instance, you might let him know about a house event you’re planning on attending or a piece of org programming. Inviting him to an event that takes place in daylight will automatically limit any potential undertones you’d rather avoid.
Another, related concern: What should you do if you go somewhere and he thinks it’s a date? This depends on whether that’s an agreeable situation to you. One way to swerve the tone of a get-together away from ~romance~ is to keep the conversation on decidedly un-sexy topics and away from your personal life. If you’re feeling uncomfortable because he assumes the wrong purpose for the hangout, you can always reach out to another friend to come join you or to give you an excuse to skedaddle on out of the situation.
P.S., Remember: If you want a guy to treat you as a human being, one existing beyond the possibility of your sexual prowess, you should treat him that way, too!