Defining relationships sucks. Nobody really enjoys doing it, and unless the results of the Define The Relationship work out in your favor, you’re probably going to be bummed afterward. Based on absolutely no research other than my personal experience, I think it’s fair to say that because of the potential negative outcomes, people will put off the DTR talk for as long as they can for fear of embarrassment or getting truly vulnerable for the first time with someone.
In the meantime, there are going to come times when you have to talk about this new person that you’re not quite sure what to call yet. This is probably the riskiest part because depending on who you’re talking to, it could get misinterpreted and lead to even more awkward conversations down the road. So, what are you supposed to call them? If you say you’re dating them, that carries the connotation that you’re starting a relationship. If you say you’re just friends, frankly, it’s just a lie. Sometimes, you don’t want to go too extreme either way, so it forces you to get creative.
Let’s break it down.
“That, y’know, the guy/girl from the other time.”
Commitment Level: Low
You can probably use this for a second or third date, depending on who you’re talking to. It implies that you’ve gone out with this person before, but you’re nonchalant enough about it that you don’t have to worry about coming off as though you’re in a relationship. Sure, maybe you’ve gotten drinks with this person a few times, but you’re keeping your options open.
“Yeah, the guy/girl from Bumble.”
Commitment Level: Low, leaning towards low-medium.
If you’re using this phrase, then it tells a couple of things. The first is that you’re talking about them with someone who knows how you met, which implies that you’re probably close with them. Talking about your budding relationship with someone close who can identify how you met? That means you’ve talked about them before, so they must have made an impression, right?
That being said, it’s probably still the very beginning, so things can change in an instant.
*Laugh out loud.* “Check out what this guy/girl I’m kind of talking to just sent me.” *Show your friend a semi-funny meme.*
Commitment Level: Medium.
Yes, memes are a massive part of today’s culture. Some are really funny, but most are laugh-in-your-head-while-scrolling-Instagram funny. So if you’re showing your friends a meme that your new love interest sent you, there are probably a few things going on.
First, you’re probably more into them than you think because you’re laughing out loud at a meme they sent you. Second, you’re actively showing your friends a meme that they sent you, so you’re subconsciously trying to convince them that the new person you’re seeing is funny and that they should like them too.
“Worst case scenario, if I strike out tonight, I’ll just hit up [name of person you’ve been seeing].”
Commitment Level: Medium.
It’s always nice to go into a night on the town with a backup plan. After being single for so long, I’ve come to realize that if you show up at the bar looking to hook up with someone, you’re probably going to come up empty handed. This is why we have rosters and backup plans in the first place. However, if you’re saying this statement before you go out, you could be in it deeper than you thought.
The thing is, when you’re relying on one specific person to pick up when you call after the bars close, I see that as preference to spend time with them. You’re calling out someone by name, implying that you’ve done this before, and that there’s probably something there. Even the fact that you may be relying on them to pick up shows that you’re looking for their company specifically. Look out, yo. You’re on a one-way trip to the DTR talk.
“Sorry I’ve been acting weird today. I just, I dunno. I’m just a little off.” (Said after a full day of not being texted by your new boo.)
Commitment Level: High.
You’re fucking in it. Your mood has officially been affected by the person you’re interested in, and the fact that you haven’t heard from them yet today is throwing you off. If you’re at this point, you might as well just throw your pride out the window, get vulnerable, acknowledge your feelings, and put it all on the table.
The longer you wait, the more likely someone is going to get hurt. Whether or not it’s intentional, it happens to the best of us. Good luck out there. .