Oh, man. The talk.

The whole "what are we?" business; the messy mouth-thing that delineates casual fuck buddies from dating people.

Anyone who's had it knows it's a hard conversation because it makes or breaks the relationship. Either you’re both ready for something more, or only one of you is — either way, things will change afterwards, for the better or for the worse.

Yet, while it's an important conversation to have in general, the way we tend to have it is often hilariously misguided.

Think about the question "what are we?"

It necessarily implies that there's something missing from the relationship that needs to be defined … a burden which you place on your partner the moment you ask them that question. Then, they have about 10 seconds to think on their toes and provide you with a sufficiently rapid answer that both satisfies you and protects them … regardless of whether not that answer is honest. It's a verbal land mine that asks other person to disappoint you; a cheap way of putting the stakes of the relationship on the other person instead of owning up to your own feelings.

Even worse, in the case that the other person fails to define your relationship how you wanted them to, insecurities come into play. Unless you strike gold and happen to want the exact same thing, one of you will invariably feel rejected, and the other will feel like an asshole for doing the rejecting.

It's hard to avoid rejection when you're wading in the "what are we?" waters, but hark, a miracle: you can have that conversation in a much more evolved way, without putting you or your partner in an impossible place.

It's actually pretty easy. It's a slick little psychological trick called “talking from your point of view," and it involves you putting the onus on yourself to seek what you want out of your budding relationship. When you speak about yourself, as opposed to asking another person what they think, it helps take the pressure off them to make a life-or-death choice right-this-second, and makes it clear to them that you're someone who knows what they want.

Ooh. Ahh.

There's a little bit of prep involved before you can get to actual the "talking from your point of view" part, but the process something ensures you get what you want, that you're not wasting anyone's time, and then you're being straightforward and honest as opposed to wishy-washy and ineffective.

Here's a little timeline for you to follow in order to have the most productive conversation with your fuck-person.

Figure out exactly what you want out of the relationship.

Do you want a straight-up monogamous relationship? Do you want something open? Do you want to stop seeing them? Do you want them to fuck other people when they're out of town but primarily commit to you? Or some shade of the rainbow in between?

Figure out exactly which relationship model would make you the happiest before you go to them wondering “what you are.” That way, they don't get to decide. You do.

Plus, people who are confident in what they want and who know what they need are attractive. When someone is sure of themselves and places clear boundaries on what they do and do not desire, other people rise to meet those needs … after all, it's less work for someone to follow rules than it is to make them.

Schedule a time to talk.

Yeah, we know. Doubly awkward.

But, springing this particular conversation on your partner with zero warning is kind of the worst, most counterproductive way to negotiate something as important as the future of your relationship. It forces them into the spotlight and puts them under inhumane pressure to provide an answer right-this-very-second, which will of course be binding forever and ever and ever until both your bodies turn to dust.

Instead, give your partner a chance to be their most honest self with you by giving them a heads up that you want to have this sort of talk. You can say something like, “Hey, I want to talk about us; figure out what's working and what it all means. Monday work for you?” Letting them know what's up presents you as an open and honest communicator (spicy picante) and also gets the point across that you have stuff you want to say … stuff you might not be able to if you dropped the "what are we?" bomb mid afternoon delight. 

Tell the other person exactly how you feel and what your interpretation of the situation is … without asking them a single thing.

For a second, suspend the idea that their opinion of what your relationship is matters.

Why? Because, this is about you.

If you’re the person wanting to have this particular conversation, you’re the person whose needs are changing and need to be met differently than they are. Therefore, it’s not about what they want. It’s not about giving them the option to answer the “what are we?” question and the opportunity to define a relationship scenario which may not satisfy you.

It’s about what you want, and the easiest way to find out they want the same thing is to state how you feel. That way, when you present it to your person, you can use their reaction as a gage of whether or not they’ll meet your needs.

If they won't, you can stop wasting each other's time. Hard and shitty, but a necessary uncoupling of fuck friends if they're not capable of giving you what daddy wants.

… But if they will, it's worth it to be the one that kicks off the relationship. If you're been shyly skirting your feelings for each other and denying each other the fairytale romance that's been blossoming throughout your many nights of pirate roleplay, saying something from the heart about how you feel is the most effective way to form the relationship you want.

Moral of the story? When you give your partner the time and space to prepare the for the talk, and then make the talk about you, you open the door to the most honest discussion about what both of you want. The answer you get might suck a bag of bat dicks, but you might also be pleasantly surprised at what you get back when you take the initiative.

That way, you can leave the "what are we?" question where it belongs: in introspective mirror moments during hallucinogenic trips. Hot.