3 Ways To Have The DTR Talk Without Saying ‘What Are We?’

Some events in life are just inherently awkward, like when you say goodbye to someone and end up walking in the same direction, or when your ex is on the bike next to you in spin class. Some events, however, get a bad rap for being awkward when they really don’t need to be. For instance, having the “what are we?” talk shouldn’t be awkward at all. In fact, it should really just confirm what you both already know: that the situation you’re in is either working or it isn’t. Tbh, I didn’t come up with this brilliant theory; I stole it from my friend’s therapist when she was struggling with a potential boyfriend who ended up being a f*ckboy in disguise. My friend was seeing this guy for like six weeks and genuinely had no idea if their relationship would evolve or if it would stay in this weird limbo for another six weeks. So, to get her answer, my stupid dear friend wanted to just straight-up ask him if he wanted to be her boyfriend.

While I applaud the bravery and directness, the problem with this approach is you’re setting yourself up to be really disappointed in someone you really liked while also giving him all the power. Not to mention, you’re putting him in a potentially uncomfortable situation. So the therapist said, “If you’re asking him if he wants to be your boyfriend because you are so unsure where his head is at, then you already have your answer.” Like, damn.

If you’re in a similar position and feeling unsure about where things stand and need answers, by all means, don’t force yourself to just wait until his desires and intentions become more clear. However, simply ambushing someone with a DTR talk is equally not the move. So, what the actual f*ck do you do? Luckily, I have been through enough versions of this to have exhausted every option, so here’s how to handle it.

End It

Look, if you really want to date the guy who isn’t giving you any indication that he wants anything more than what you’ve been doing for the last few weeks, you may have to face the music and just end it. Now, I’m not saying to end things with a great guy who really likes you because he won’t introduce you to his parents within three weeks of meeting you. I am saying that if you’ve been seeing a guy for at least, like, a month, and find that you haven’t moved forward at all (only seeing each other about once a week, haven’t met any of his friends, he never comes to your place, etc.) then it seems like he may want to keep things where they are in terms of seriousness. Even without explicitly saying it, you should be able to pick up on some cues based on his actions.

We’ve all heard the phrase “trust your instincts,” so if you are feeling like you two aren’t on the same page about what you want from each other, you probably aren’t. It’s unlikely that a person who isn’t giving you much will totally surprise you and end up wanting something more serious—especially when he’s consistently given you nothing but “let’s keep this casual” vibes. Ending a hookup should not be awkward; in fact, it should be kind of a relief—at least for you, since you don’t feel like hanging out with this clown anymore. Because you definitely don’t owe him sh*t, don’t feel compelled to make the talk a long, drawn-out conversation. Just remember your key points and get on with it.

Do Nothing

Chances are, after only a few weeks, you don’t really have a good sense of who this person is, so there is a possibility that he will come around and end up on the same page as you. If you are a patient person, this could be a good route for you. Like I said, there’s no specific amount of time that has to go by before doing something, but if your thoughts on the matter are between unsure and “this isn’t happening,” that’s probably when you should make some sort of move. Like the underdog of The Hunger Games Plutarch Heavensbee once said, “It’s all about moves and countermoves.” Even though he was referring to the government subtly and slowly staging a murder of Jennifer Lawrence, the same can be said of dating. 

I wouldn’t suggest waiting around and hoping he changes his mind one day because that could obviously end really badly, but if you feel hopeful that at some point in the near future, things will change, by all means, don’t ruin a good thing. When enough time has gone by that you do feel confident that you both think of each other with the same title, the conversation will happen naturally and will be whatever the opposite of awkward is. For instance, after dating my college boyfriend for two months, he texted me one night and said “I just called you my girlfriend to one of my friends. We’re dating, right?” *slow clap*

Ask What’s Going On

Tbh, I prefer a more assertive approach to getting sh*t done, but if you don’t want to scare this person off, starting the discussion with a question is a good call. When I say “scare this person off,” I don’t mean of you, the hot queen who’s taking matters into her own hands, I mean of commitment. In my opinion, if the person is worth dating, he is probably worth waiting for if all he really needs is a little bit of time. On the other hand, if he says something like, “I really like hanging out with you and I’d like to keep doing that, but I know I don’t want to be in a committed relationship any time soon,” feel free to drop his ass. Both types of responses warrant the “What do you want out of this” question, because neither type of guy (the one who needs more time and the one who wants to keep hooking up) will initiate the conversation. Let’s face it, no guy who doesn’t currently, at this moment want to be in a relationship with you will DTR first, because there’s no point. If you force his hand, so to say, then you’ll at least get some clarity and the next move is yours. If you get the response that suits you, you can keep doing what you’re doing and let some time go by, and if you get the f*ck boy response, you can walk away.

At the end of the day, there’s no perfect way to have The Talk, so trust how you’re feeling about it and do whatever you feel makes the most sense. The takeaway lesson is that this doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering conversation that is really awkward and/or upsetting. Of course, if the outcome of said conversation makes you feel some sort of way that isn’t queen-like, that’s completely okay because we all know that men are disappointing in their nature, but the conversation itself should be easy as long as you know what you want from it. 

Images: Giphy (3); Unsplash