Relationships are hard. It’s just a fact of life. But college relationships? Forget it. I’ve only seen like two long-term, functional relationships, and I’m entering my third year. It’s just our generation. We don’t date. We “talk” (whatever that means). We flirt. We hookup. And if you’re lucky, he might sometimes buy you food. But the second the question of a title comes in to play all hell breaks loose. It’s not always the guy’s fault either. Some girls are just as big commitment-phobes as some (most) guys are. So, we end up in this awkward, in-between stage where you talk and see each other on a regular enough basis that everybody else knows to stay away, but god forbid you go on an actual date because then people would really know and you might be forced to DTR. If you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re in that just-past-friend-but-not-enough-to-show-your-crazy zone, here are some tell-tale signs for you.

  1. Nicknames. They’re bandied around like there’s no tomorrow unless there are other people around. He may call you “sweetheart” every other sentence when you’re alone or texting, but nobody else will ever hear those words come out of his mouth. Especially not another girl.
  2. Emojis. Speaking of texting, emojis are your friend while you’re in a flirtationship. The most common one being the sexual face emoji. Some people call it a “smirk” or just a “sneaky face”, but let’s be honest: we all just use it for sexting. And while, yes, it is still used in actual relationships, it’s much more common when you’re in that borderline phase because you’re still trying to win their attention.
  3. Jealousy. Try as you might, that little green monster comes tapping on your shoulder more than you’d like to admit. It’s a little uncalled for since you’re not actually in a relationship, but you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re not at least a little emotionally involved. And jealousy is always there to remind you of your heart strings that are inadvertently tied to the asshole keeping you in perpetual limbo.
  4. Instagram. Here comes the tricky part: social media. You take pictures at every important social outing (partially for your own benefit and partially so other girls will see), but when it comes time to post them…what do you do? Do you post it that night and seem too eager or wait for the next day so everybody can soberly see how cute you two look together drunk? And then there’s the caption {insert ominous music here}. Do you reference the night in general “Hey, we survived!” or say something more specific “___ with you was fun?” The truth is nobody knows the answer to this question. Pick your poison, and hope you don’t scare him off.
  5. Inside Jokes. Depending on the length of your flirtationship, this person probably knows you very, very well. He knows your likes and dislikes (in all areas). He understands your sarcasm and sense of humor, even over text. And half of your conversations don’t make sense to most people because your inside jokes are starting to rival you and your best friend’s.

Sadly, all flirtationships must come to an end. Whether you amicably decide to just be friends (just kidding, that never works) or the inevitable happens, and one of you catches the feels and totally ruins it for all parties involved it has to stop at some point. But until that time comes, enjoy your state of confusion, and passive aggressively share this article in hopes that they’ll get the hint.

P.S. They won’t.