Starting a new relationship can always be a bit nerve wracking, especially after you’ve been on a few dates. It’s sometimes really hard to gauge where the other person is at or where they see it going. Having a conversation to figure out where you two stand can be quite nerve wracking, which can lead to either person overthinking the situation before and after the conversation. If you’re ready to have that “define the relationship” talk, there are several ways to approach it to make sure it goes smoothly. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help make the “define the relationship” talk less awkward and help ensure you’re both on the same page.
Have The Conversation In Person
This is not the kind of conversation you want to have over the phone or over text. It can be a monumental, emotional and exciting moment, and being in person makes the conversation much more vulnerable and meaningful. Having the conversation in person will likely make things flow more smoothly since you’ll be able to read their body language and see their reaction to whatever you want to say. It also makes the conversation feel more important if you make the effort to have it in person.
Don’t Start Off Super Serious
One of the worst ways to start off this conversation is by saying, “we need to talk.” This will already create tension between the two of you before you even have the conversation. In order to avoid any tense feelings throughout the conversation, try complimenting him first or saying something about how you feel. Start the conversation a bit more happy and vulnerable to help lead the emotional conversation you’re about to have in a positive direction.
Oftentimes the other person is not completely prepared to have the “define the relationship” conversation, so they might not be ready to put labels on anything. If you want to be with the other person, forcing an answer or a label out of them will put an immense amount of negative pressure on both of you and might make the other person feel backed into a corner. This conversation should help both of you get on the same page, not make you feel stuck and uncomfortable. If the other person isn’t ready, then be understanding of that.
Have It Somewhere Private
Sometimes these conversations can get quite emotional or vulnerable, so having the conversation out of the public earshot might be the best way to go. It also takes away any pressure of public judgement and will allow both you and the other person to be more open and vulnerable throughout the conversation. This will help ensure that everything is communicated and will help the conversation become more productive overall.
Make Sure You’re Not Doing It Out Of Frustration
When you’re having this emotional of a conversation, make sure that your reasoning isn’t coming from a negative place or based on something they did or didn’t do. You can certainly have concerns, but this conversation should be open and about understanding where each person’s head is at, and if you enter the conversation frustrated, it will place a strong tension within your communication. Make sure you have the right intentions before having this serious of a conversation.
Be Open To Being Vulnerable
Conversations about a potential relationship are often very vulnerable and sometimes require you to tell the other person how you feel and why you feel that way. You might discuss your insecurities or concerns, and these are both somewhat scary things to talk about. Be prepared to be vulnerable in order to communicate everything you’re thinking and feeling to ensure that both people leave the conversation on the same page.
Be Open About What You Want
When you’re defining your relationship, make sure that you are completely open and honest about what you want and what your boundaries, expectations and concerns might be. This pure honesty and open communication helps establish the perfect foundation for a relationship, if the conversation heads in that direction. If you are not completely honest about what you want, you both might leave the conversation more confused or not on the same page whatsoever.
Talk About How You Feel About Each Other
If you and the other person haven’t quite opened up about how you feel about each other, this conversation is the perfect opportunity to do just that. Opening up about your feelings will not only add a bit of ease and excitement to the conversation, but it will make communication about your actual relationship a bit easier. Again, honesty and openness is the key to making sure this conversation goes smoothly, and that applies to how you feel about the other person as well. Saying how you feel will also invite the other person to open up as well.
Use “I” Statements
When opening up about your feelings, expectations and concerns, make sure you don’t direct too many things directly at the other person, especially in regards to concerns. By using “I” statements, it keeps the conversation a bit more neutral and focuses the conversation on where each person is at and what they’re looking for. Use statements such as “I feel” or “I hope” to help get your feelings and thoughts across to the other person.
Be Prepared For The Outcome
Even if you are confident heading into the conversation that you and the other person are on the same page, you still have to be prepared if that’s not the case. If the person is not ready for a relationship while you are, you have to find a way to handle that situation. Head into the conversation with expectations that it could go in any direction, and that might you process everything a little bit easier, especially if the two of you aren’t on the same page.
Defining the relationship can always be a bit scary, especially since you never know what the other person might say. Hopefully these tips will help the conversation go a little smoother so you and the other person can end on the same page.
Lara Hill is a senior Public Relations major at Emerson College from Groton, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several college publications, holding multiple editing positions and focusing mainly on sports journalism. When she is not in class or writing, she loves to sail, watch sports with her friends and family, sing with her sisters, and play with her dog, Cassie.