I know absolutely nothing about romance: the last time I "dated" a guy was in 8th grade. I don't even have a bad date story to tell you considering I've never been on one. And yet, I'm constantly being asked for relationship advice — and by some miracle, I'm pretty good at it. So, while I have no idea how to execute my advice in my own life, here are the things I've told my closest friends. You're gonna want to write this down... or maybe just screenshot it and send it to one of your many group chats.

Step 1: The Talking Stage

Before people dive into relationships, there's the talking phase. Personally, it's my least favorite one to both hear about and be in. The talking stage is like trying to navigate No Man's Land with a blindfold on. For any number of reasons, the conversation can stop cold, leaving one or both parties asking, "what just happened?" The most common reason the spark can burn out comes down to bad conversation. No one wants to get stuck in an endless cycle of "What's up?" SWITCH IT UP. Try starting each conversation in a new way.

We all know pick up lines DO NOT work. Try sending a wholesome meme instead. They take way less effort since they've already been made by someone else, and they perfectly blend Gen Z humor and romance. The weirder (but not pervy!) ones are guaranteed to get a laugh or at least a question in response. Everyone knows this stage is awkward, so lean into it!

My favorite #wholesome meme @cutewholesome_memes on Instagram

For the more serious flirters, insert some deeper questions into the conversation. (And no, 20 questions doesn't count). It can be as simple as urging your crush to elaborate. Start asking "why', instead of simply responding with "cool, lol." Not only will you learn more about the other person, but they'll appreciate you wanting to know things about them that aren't just surface level.

Step 2: DTR (Define the Relationship)

Let's say you and your crush are really vibing and things are getting serious. If you made it this far, congratulations! It's no easy feat. Unfortunately, it only gets harder: it's time to DTR. Whatever it is you want from this person, DTR is when you let your guard down and tell them honestly how you feel.

When should you DTR?

Moving fast rarely works out. It's good to slow it down and make sure this is something you really want. When you move too fast, there could be red flags you miss or don't even have the chance to discover! Take things as slow as you deem necessary but stop to think if this is someone you're ready to commit to. It is also important that you are clear from the start about what you want not only with your potential partner but with yourself.

If your friends don't like them, it might be time to reevaluate. Can your friends be wrong? Of course! But sometimes, they see things we just don't. Yes, it is ultimately your choice, but keep in mind this is also a new person you are bringing into your close circle. If your close circle has legitimate concerns or even worse, if your potential boo is rude to your friends, it's time to reconsider.

Sometimes, people misread things. If your potential significant other starts flaking on plans, is still actively on Tinder and still seeing other people, all signs point to the fact that they may not be ready to commit to you or anyone, for that matter. However, if this is the case, I would still urge you to have a conversation about how you feel. If you want to commit, mention it in passing and gauge their response. They might not have known commitment was an option between the two of you. Instead of DTR, DYF: define your feelings.

If none of these apply to you, and you still want to DTR, go for it! At the end of the day, it doesn't matter too much who it is that broaches the subject. You could wait for the other person to ask you, but there is the potential that they're doing the same thing. The longer you wait, the more insecure you may become about their feelings for you. If this is someone you want to date, you should feel comfortable enough to talk it out.

So what happens after you DTR?

Honestly? I'm not sure. Instead of giving you half-baked advice, I'll leave you with some cheesy pickup lines:

"I was reading the book of Numbers and realized I didn't have yours" - Morgan Smith, UNC'22 (this one is perfect for Tinder)

"Yo feet must hurt, cause you've been running through my mind all day" - Jamya Graham, UNC'22 (a true classic)

Tune in next week, and I'll give you some tips about how to keep a relationship healthy, how to tell when it's become toxic, and when (and how) to let go.

Until then, keep it cute!