Flirtationship (n) – A social situation that comprises more than a friendship, but less than a relationship.
Although Urban Dictionary defines it as “when you regularly flirt with a friend, but do no more,” that doesn’t preclude a relationship in the future, necessarily. You don’t not like them, and maybe you could for real later. Maybe you don’t even know. (SO STOP ASKING!) But for now, you’re in the Flirt Zone. Welcome to your flirtationship.
You do middle school things like punch them on the arm, push them or impromptu-ly tickling them. They’re ticklish, right? I guess you’re going to have to find out the hard way. Be warned. They could be a kicker.
They refer to you as their “Office Wife,” “Work Wife” or “Platonic Life Partner” without making their actual partner jealous — or so you think. (Fact: they’re probably jealous.)
You have cuddled at least once without it being weird, having an awkward silence after, needing to talk about your feelings or having one (or both) of you adjust your heartboner.
You often tell them how cute, great, totally adorable or fetch they look today and have consensually slapped their butt to enforce that. (Note I said consensually. You aren’t Clarence Thomas and she isn’t a Coca-Cola can.) If it were other people, it might be sexual harassment or a lawsuit. But with the two of you, it’s just how you roll.
You have at least one photo of them in your wallet or on your phone. It might not be there for a reason, but it’s there — just kinda hanging out next to your illicit porn pics. NBD.
You’re always texting each other weird things, like gifs of Britney (to help you get through the day); funny Gawker, Jezebel or (ahem) Thought Catalog articles; or adorable YouTube videos of cats. Kittens are the official currency of the flirtationship.
You have at least one in-joke or story that other people don’t understand, usually brushed off as “long story!” or “you had to be there!” No one likes this. This pisses everyone else around you off. It pisses me off, and I don’t even know you. #realtalk #sorryimnotsorry #yesiusedhashtagsinthispiece #modernjournalismisprobablydead
You often call or text each other for advice about other people you’re seeing or when you need a dating pep talk. You’re drunk on a Saturday night, and you meet some random hot guy at a bar. You want to make sure that you’re good enough to talk to. They’ll tell you, Stuart Smalley. You’re good enough.
They’re always the first one to like your status on Facebook or comment on a new picture of you, telling you how great you look. If you’re wearing sweatpants or Uggs in this photo, they are a dirty liar. Perks of the flirtationship: lies are still a good thing.
You have a special hi-five, fist bump, secret handshake or butt bump. Yes, a butt bump is a thing. I like to pretend it burns calories. It just kinda hurts.
Your friends and family sometimes say that they don’t understand your relationship, and sometimes think you’re dating. They think you’re just in a Ross and Rachel thing, and you disagree. You have much better hair than Jennifer Aniston did.
You’ve ever frozen when asked to DTR (define the relationship, for Awkward. fans) by folks who meet the two of you together. And then you insist they’re just a friend, like that Biz Markee song. The person you say this to usually rolls their eyes at you.
People tell you what a great couple you’d make, and you can’t help but laugh a little. It’s not that sort of thing, but what is it exactly? (See title of article, dummy.)
They have a lot of the qualities you picture in a potential partner and they’re fun to be around, the kind of person you can just let yourself go with. But you can’t quite picture the two of you together. It would be like dating your cousin—which works for some people, like Buddy Holly, Hitler or Tim Tebow (probably).
You’ve worn their hoodie or sweatshirt before, when it was cold outside and your nipples felt like daggers. You could put an eye out with that.
You know precise facts about them, like their middle name, their mother’s name or where they grew up. If you know their eye color without thinking about it, you’re probably not in a flirtationship. You’re in love with them as fuck.
If the two of you hang out, it’s assumed you will sleep over on their couch. If you’re in a Defcon 1 Flirtationship, you already have PJs at their house. This is a universal, time-tested sign you’re probably going to start doing it soon. In the vagina.
When forced to describe your relationship in one word, you would say “complicated.” Or pick a word in the made up language that Sigur Ros sings in. What the two of you have is indefinable by normal human words. It’s the flirt that dare not speak its name. It probably burps.
All of your text messages end in smiley faces or hearts, and when you’re feeling particularly flirty, sometimes BOTH. Better watch out, though. You don’t want to cross a line here.
Everyone tells the two of you to “JUST F*CK EACH OTHER ALREADY.” Maybe one day you will—or not. You don’t know. Whatever. (pause) Who wants to watch Friends?