When And How To Have That Awkward ‘Defining The Relationship’ Talk

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Oh, the various glorious, uncomfortable, mind-boggling things that come up when dating. In That Awkward Moment (coming January 31st), three characters (played by Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan) experience dating & relationships (despite making a pact to stay single) that they may not even realize fall under a label at first. In modern dating, official labels aren’t the commonality; instead we see foggy, unspecified couples that can lead to a fair share of awkward moments. For those involved in misty, vague connections, there’s a time and a method for defining the relationship.


The appropriate time to have “the talk” differs case-by-case, but generally speaking you can tell when it’s needed. Here are some more specific atmospheres to look for if you’re trying to gauge when that moment has arrived:

The person you’re dating wants a label but you don’t: Think of really fun, creative dates to go on that are borderline distractions as currency and buy yourself some time.

You want a label but the person you’re dating doesn’t: Don’t be distracted by the inventive dates they’ve been taking you on; they’re trying to make you forget about that important talk you want to have. It’s important that you force the issue and don’t let it get to a point where you’re unhappy. Bear with them as long as you can, but don’t sacrifice your needs to the point that it becomes detrimental.

Everything is great and nobody has mentioned defining things: As the saying goes — if it ain’t broke don’t try to come up with a detailed classification of exactly what it is.

You see potential in the person you’re dating but don’t feel you know enough about them to be anything official: Take it month by month. If you don’t feel up for it next month, see if another four weeks helps.

One or both of the parties involved are frustrated and ready to walk away at any minute because of the lack of any official label: You should’ve had the talk yesterday, get on it.


Again, this is so dependent on the two people talking but there are important things that should be universal and apply to every defining of the relationship conversation:

1. Have an open mind. If you start the conversation stubborn and set on what you want the end result of it to be, you’re likely to disregard the thoughts and feelings of the person you’re dating. Just, at the very least, be willing to listen without shooting unidentified notions down immediately.

2. Don’t have it when you’re excessively happy or sad or annoyed or some other type of emotion. If you have this exchange when you or the person you’re dating is in an unusual state, you’ll be making a huge, somewhat permanent decision at a bad time. A monotonous Wednesday with just the two of you beats outside of a crowded bar after you got in an argument and are annoyed with each other.

3. Listen as much if not more than you speak. It’s important to get your point and feelings across, just keep in mind that any time spent talking means you’re not hearing their perspective and learning how they feel.

BONUS TIP: Relax and put this thing in perspective. Try not to blow this out of proportion, it’s not a death sentence but it’s also not some magical label that’ll turn things into a fairytale. It’s a talk that hopefully ends with two people having some peace of mind. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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