How to Act When You're Not Officially Dating Someone

Having a thing with someone can be complicated-- you're not officially with them, but you're not with anyone else either. In a way, you're committed to each other… But not really. More than friends, but not really dating. Not exactly friends with benefits (depends on your definition) but definitely not boyfriend and girlfriend. No one really knows how to act in a thing. Holidays and birthdays are awkward. Expectations can be ruined by either being too enthusiastic or not enthusiastic enough. Where do you draw the line?

1. Lay Off the PDA

Unless you're being super secretive for some reason, some forms of affection in public like extra long hugs, back scratches, etc. aren't bad! However, things like holding hands all the time and kissing can send the wrong message to friends/peers. PDA causes people to talk, which means you'll be left to explain your relationship status (or lack thereof) to everyone. Yikes. The rules are different when you're out and about around strangers of course, but when you're around people you know, it's easier to just lay low.

2. Go For Goofy Gifts
Any occasion for gift giving can be tricky when you have a thing with someone. Do you get them something sentimental and romantic? Should your gift reference some sort of inside joke? Should you even be getting them anything at all? In my experience, it's been best to go for something a little goofy that's still personal. One of my favorite gifts I've ever given anyone was for a boy I had a thing with! It was a set of wooden frames painted with ironic phrases and in them were funny pictures of him going a little too hard over spring break. 

3. Don't Talk to Him/Her Constantly

For some reason, teenagers feel like they have to be talking to their significant other all the time. When you have a thing with someone and not dating them, it's usually because for whatever reason you want to maintain part of your independence. Well, this is part of it! You aren't obligated to be checking in on him/her constantly, and he/she certainly doesn't need to know what you're doing every second of every day (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration). Instead, consider something low-pressure like snapping a silly selfie in class so your girl knows you're thinking about her without being overbearing.

4. Don't Talk About Him/Her Constantly
Being with someone is exciting for sure, but be wary of spilling all the details of your thing with friends. Your relationship is a little bit more private and you definitely need to be respectful of the casual, less-defined nature of it all. No one likes drama or rumors, but it's even more unnecessary in a situation like this. 

5. Stay Realistic

Sometimes people go into a casual relationship such as this thinking they can change the person or make them want something more. For the most part, this isn't true! Try to keep you emotions in check and remain relatively unattached. It's hard being the one who loves more. that's no secret-- try not to be that one.

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Love Magazine: How to Act When You're Not Officially Dating Someone
How to Act When You're Not Officially Dating Someone
Establishing Boundaries in a "Thing"
Love Magazine
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