I’ve had a few DTR-related conversations with guys recently that have made me wonder how many people are afraid, procrastinatory, unaware, or simply confused about how to handle this crucial step in a relationship.
I’m hoping I can help, and, seriously, you should trust me because I run a website called “Awkward Things I Say To Girls.” Clearly I’m an expert on the topic of what to say to girls. I never make a mistake! A “DTR,” or “Define the Relationship” conversation, is generally thought to mean (by me, because, seriously, I don’t get up early enough in the morning to do honest to goodness research for this site, like, for example, visiting another site to see if this is just a thing my friends and I made up) (my friends have compelling ideas, so sometimes I forget which ones are original and not pop culture) (this ridiculous chasm I have now opened in a once strong, true, and unified sentence structure, and the fact that I thought it was a good idea is, by the way, why I will never get paid for anything I write) as the conversation a couple has when they decide to stop hanging out and start calling their relationship a relationship.
By the way, in the last 17 minutes, I have written and deleted jokes about the following topics: architecture, Hamlet, homosexuality (actually, it was more like a joke about set theory), wikipedia, and lawyers. Lets get moving on this list before I keel over from bad jokes.
(1) DTRs are simple.
This could be a DTR. Here it comes, be ready:
“Do you want to be my girl/boyfriend?”
That’s it? Yep.
First, it’s okay to be nervous, even if, unlike me, that’s not your typical scene. Being the one to suggest that you take the relationship to the next level puts you in a position of power, so it’s reasonable to cede some of that power to the DTRee (if you so choose) by exhibiting your inner vulnerability.
But, at the same time, you want to make it clear that this is a thing that you, indeed, definitely want, that the feeling that you’re expressing is honest, and that you take it seriously. I wouldn’t worry about it, though, if I were you, because, honestly, this is the important part:
This is the best part. This is why I look forward to DTRs like I look forward to, well, making out. Because DTR makeout sessions aren’t like the previous kind. You just attained a new level of emotional intimacy, so, you know, roll with it. Please feel free to substitute “however you are comfortable sharing affection” for “making out” in this step, if, you know, that’s your thing. I am just proofreading this now, and I want you to believe me that when I wrote the previous paragraph, this is what I had in mind: acts of service, or, you know, maybe gifts. I guess you could take it to mean other “acts” as well. What do you know, that’s kind of funny.
Why do you want him/her to be your boy/girlfriend? Pick a reason that suits the situation, body language, and level of intoxication of the DTR participants. Share this reason. As long as it is honest, she or he will melt, I promise. It’s these half-repeated-in-your-mind half-improvised speeches that will be special memories to recall during your, like, one month anniversary.
And, in the true spirit of anti-prioritization with which I imbue practically every task I work on, here’s the most important reason not to fear the DTR:
These people don’t like it when you just start randomly calling them girlfriend or boyfriend without discussing it first, or maybe they think that, what with the common law marriage and the several children, it’s about time you called a spade a spade (note: as tired as this spade = spade metaphor is, it does NOT work when you substitute other garden tools. I tried “hoe.”)
There are several reasons for this. Some people prefer well-defined structure in their relationships. Some people overromanticize the DTR (which is not so bad, because, seriously, remember reason 3). Some people just like to make decisions as, you know, a team. Some people just want to tell their closest friends about how they attained another relationship level. It is hard to say, but, chances are, if you haven’t been this person’s gf or bf before, you may not know if reason (5) applies or not.
So, love the DTR. It’s an important moment to have, and plus, you get to “show affection.” In whatever way is most meaningful to you.