The 6 Stages Of Relationships Amongst 20-Somethings

Because they’re all different and no one knows what the differences actually are, so I think it’s time to bring to light these differences so people can actually know what’s going on in their lives.  Time to have “the conversation,” folks.

1. Friends

I really shouldn’t have to explain this one but I will. Being friends with someone of the opposite sex is sometimes a challenge, but it’s not one that can’t be completed successfully. By establishing what is now called the “friend-zone”, girls and boys are (or at least they should be) clear on the fact that there will be no feelings exchanged between the two of you for the duration of your friendship. You just don’t have sex with your friends. It’s that simple.

2. “Talking”

If you’re in this stage, you’ve established, or are in the process of establishing, feelings for the other person. When people ask who you’re texting, you smile and say his name or her name. “We’re just talking” is a common phrase in your vocabulary because that’s what you’re doing. You’re getting to know the other person but you haven’t put all your eggs in his or her basket. Both of you are still having fun and living your lives, but there’s a little something-something happening, maybe (another popular word for this stage). You don’t really make plans hang out with each other but when you do see each other you don’t act like strangers. You’re friends right now but there’s potential for more.

3. Friends with benefits/“More than friends”

So by now you both like each other and that’s been verbally or physically verified, drunk or sober (probably both). You hang out with your mutual friends but you’ve also hung out in each other’s mouths once or twice. You text to see how the other person is doing, you tell one another about the party you’re going to that night, and that you’ll “maybe see them later,” but you’ve never gone on a date. “We’re just friends, I swear,” is this step’s common phrase said to friends who don’t believe you, because you’re completely transparent and you get a dopey grin on your face every time you talk about this other person. People may or may not know you’ve hooked up in the past but it’s not something that happens regularly. Not yet at least.

4. Hooking Up

In this stage, maybe you guys have some sort of code word that you text one another whenever one of you wants it and the person on the receiving end says another code word that means “yes” or one that means “no” and this happens quite often – weekly, if not daily. In public you act like you know each other, but pretend like you’ve never seen one another naked. You don’t hang out unless you’re going to hook up, or have already hooked up and don’t want to be an asshole and tell the other person to leave. This is strictly physical here, people. Whenever you guys are at the same party, it’s sort of an unspoken promise that you’re going home with him or her and that’s one of the best things about hooking up with someone; when all the other partygoers are running around, desperately trying to find their one-night-stand, you’re already set and all you have to say is “the yarn is unravelling” and the other person says “my cat will play with it” or “let it unravel” (you can thank my roommate for those…)

5. Dating

Alright. He (or she) has balls-ed up and asked you on a date. But…what actually constitutes a “date” now-a-days? My roommate says there are usually three criteria for it to count as a date:

1. You have a definite plan, or you set a date and you know what you’re going to do

2. You get picked up by the person you’re going with

3. The person who actually did the asking pays for whatever you end up doing.

If your activities meet all three of these, congrats, you went on a date! At this point you’ve been seen in public together, maybe holding hands, maybe arm in arm or what have you. You have gone on multiple dates to multiple places. You haven’t had the “exclusive” conversation yet, in fact you’re sort of avoiding that word all together. Maybe you’re just “seeing where it’s going,” or “taking the car out for a test-run before buying it” or any other weird analogies like that. Maybe you’re also “seeing other people” at the same time, which would technically be okay since you’re not exclusive. Yet.

6. In a relationship/“Exclusive”

This one is also pretty simple. If these steps are arranged chronologically (which they are…) this is the last one. You’ve had “the talk” and have decided that you don’t want to see anyone else, that you want to only date this other person for an indefinite amount of time. People definitely know about the two of you by now, and maybe you’ve even advertised it on the internet (Make it Facebook offish. and you’re really in business)! Congratulations, you lucky son-of-a-bitch, you’re definitely not single anymore! TC mark

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