Think about this scenario.
You meet someone on Bumble or [insert-other-dating app here].
You start to hang out, get really close, text all of the time, hook up occasionally, have a major attraction to each other. You’re not exclusive and you’re actively seeing other people, but you do want to see what happens.
How do you describe this person when someone asks you about them?
“We’re talking.” (Or, better yet, “we’re just talking.”)
Think about this for a second.
What does this even mean? We ALL do it. TBH I’m “talking” to people right now. I use these vague terms all the time. The meaning is important.
When my mom asks me about guys she knows I hang out with a lot she always says “So, are you dating?” And my response would be “No, we’re just talking.” My mom, every time, would say “What does that mean? What are you talking about?”
Good point, Madre.
“Talking” is the equivalent of seeing where things are going. There’s no exclusivity. There’s no commitment. There’s a level of attraction. It’s more than just texting a buddy. You can be talking to multiple people at once.
Talking is figuring it out. Talking is the early stages of a potential something. Or maybe not. (Do we see why dating in 2017 is so GD frustrating and weird?)
People are more apt to say “we’re a thing” before saying “we’re in a relationship.”
Once you break through these extremely vague figures of speech and feel a little less guarded and a little more certain, you begin to say things like “we’re dating.” The meaning of dating at its core, to be honest, is not all that different from what we mean when we say “we’re talking.” We can talk to and date multiple people at a time and see where things go. But today, “dating” is a bit of a heavier term.
Why do we do this? Why do we use vague and ambiguous terms to define our romantic pursuits?
It’s simple. It’s because we’re stubborn. And it’s because we’re set in our ways and like things the way that they are. It’s because we want to fill that void before that something real comes along. And mostly, it’s because we’re kinda scared.
As a 20-something living in 2017, the 21st century has taught us to never be satisfied.
We’re all SO BUSY. We live in the “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality. Most of us spend our days chasing our dreams and putting in work to make something of ourselves. We straight up don’t have the time. We spend our weekends with our friends just looking to unwind and have a good time. A lot of us don’t want to be tied down to one person when we’re young. A lot of us feel like we don’t have the time to commit and make it what it could be.
We can’t give our all to someone when we’re trying to figure ourselves out.
Personally, I always thought I wanted a relationship. Over the last couple of years, I thought I wanted it badly. Then, I took a step back. I thought about all of the things I have going on in my life and all of the things I’m excited about. And then I thought about how much time and effort all of that is going to take. And then, I realized, things are kinda great how they are right now. It’s nice to be able to go out and not have to worry about texting my boyfriend. It’s nice to be able to go somewhere and not know who I’m going to cross paths with. The not knowing and the living and thriving in this non-committal state right now is FUN. The “just talking” stage is kinda nice. Not forever, but for now. Eventually, I’m going to want someone to share in all the things I’m excited about.
If you ask me, I think you’ll just know when the time is right to make that jump from something vague to something real. From “talking” to “dating.” Someone will just shine above all of the rest. I like to think that eventually, you will be satisfied by just one person amongst a million options. You’ll just know.
We use these vague terms like “talking” and “hanging out” because we’re guarding our hearts. We protect ourselves. We’re trying to avoid rocking the boat. We’re keeping steady because we like things the way they are. We’re content.
Sometimes we say these things because we don’t want to make that leap of faith. Some of us shut down when we start to see feelings begin to be reciprocated. There’s an urge to run away.
So maybe we’ll just keep it vague and see what happens.