What are we? That is the dreaded question that arises in every relationship and situationship at some point. But, how do you get the answer?

Oh boy. When it comes to labeling the relationship, it can send both parties involved into a spiral of emotions that can induce some crazy behavior. I know what it’s like to be seeing someone for a couple of months without knowing the answer to the dreaded question: What are we?

But, I couldn’t just blurt out, “What are we?” could I? No. Why? Well, those three little words have the power to send a person running for the hills with no intention of ever turning around to see you again. Mostly, this is due to commitment issues.

In most cases, people are afraid of committing because they’re afraid of getting hurt. Therefore, spitting out that question is an abrupt way to instill that fear in even the most mild-mannered people.

The fear of the label

Committing to someone is a big deal. When you do this, you’re basically proclaiming that you will dedicate a certain amount of time, energy, and effort to them for as long as the relationship will last. And for some people, that’s just terrifying.

All kinds of things can cause commitment issues. Mostly, it’s because someone has never seen a successful relationship or they’ve never been in one.

No matter the reason, asking, “What are we?” is scary. It takes a fun fling and puts on the pressure. Instead of being involved in something casual and exciting, a relationship is different, very different.

And if you aren’t ready for the label of boyfriend or girlfriend, the question turns into an awkward conversation where someone is bound to get hurt. With this, how do you ask the question, “What are we?” without causing this intense reaction?

How to get an answer to “What are we?”

In order to get someone to commit and finally label the relationship, you have to be willing to talk. You can’t just expect a “What are we?” to be answered, and that’s all.

Jumping right into that question is likely to freak someone out. But, being too sneaky is a form of gameplay, and if you want a relationship, that’s not how to do it either.

In order to get some clarity about what you two are to each other, you need to find a balance between being straightforward and stealthy.

Luckily for you, I have a lot of experience when it comes to this and have helped out many of my friends with this same problem. Here’s how to get your crush to label the relationship without flat out asking, “What are we?”

1. Give it enough time

You can’t just ask someone after the first date if the two of you are boyfriend/girlfriend. Why? That’s just unreasonable and a little bit desperate. For instance, would you take a job you haven’t even interviewed for? Why would you want a relationship with someone you barely know?

In other words, you have to wait long enough that you have had a substantial amount of time to get to know each other first. By spending some time getting to know them, you can decide for yourself if you actually want to be with them officially. Stop worrying about them liking you. Try to really think about if you like them. This will ease the anxiety.

2. Be yourself

The best way to get someone to label your relationship is to make them never want to let you go. How do you do this? Well, simply put, be the best version of yourself. In addition, be confident in who you are. Most importantly, show that you are worth the effort of being in a committed relationship.

Show your quirky sides. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You want them to see how wonderful it is to be with you. Instead of telling them, show them what it would be like to be in a relationship with you. If you do this, they will want it before you can even ask.

3. Don’t pressure them

Stop and slow down. Figuring out a label is not worth losing the relationship altogether. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to put too much pressure on figuring out a label. In all likelihood, this will just freak them out and make them a little hesitant to keep going if they feel you’re moving too fast.

You know you want a committed relationship, and that’s wonderful. Good for you. It’s amazing that you know what you want. Remember, the label is not more important than the bond you are creating. With this, focus on the fact that you deserve respect and communication. Just don’t force the issue. Everyone opens up at their own pace.

Try to enjoy things as they are before rushing into a label. Don’t ask, “what are we?” Let them know how you feel about them and let it blossom from there.

4. Let them know where you are

Firstly, make sure that your significant other knows that you’re not dating around and seeing anyone else. Subtly clue them in. You don’t have to blurt it out, but if you met on an app, let them know you haven’t opened it since you met. By doing this, you are telling them that you’re focused on them and it will ease them into a response.

When someone knows that you’re already committed to them, it eases their insecurities. Rather than being nervous about you wanting something more casual, this helps them feel more confident.

5. Introduce them by their name

Because you don’t actually have a label yet, just introduce them to people by their name and nothing else. Don’t say this is my friend. That can give them the wrong idea.

By doing this, you are creating a natural segue into the “What are we?” question. How do you want to introduce each other? If they don’t bring it up, you can even ask, what should I have introduced you as? This could catch them off guard but it may give them the push they need to start introducing you as something. And “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” is almost the only way to do so.

6. Meet their people

When you two go out together, make sure they introduce you to the people they know. By becoming a part of their circle, you show them another aspect of what being together would be like. In the meantime, please pay close attention to how they’re doing this, too. For example, if they call you their friend, they may not be where you are.

Do they introduce you as their boyfriend or girlfriend, just their friend, or only by your name? If they don’t introduce you, step up. Introduce yourself, just with your name. They will apologize for not doing it themselves and likely give you a definer.

7. Keep your independence

I’m not saying that you should date other people and make them jealous. However, seeing you living your life to the fullest, even without a label shows them how confident and capable you are. Others want to be around you and you are someone people enjoy.

Seeing you being happy will make them want to pull you closer. They don’t want to lose someone who is so likeable.

8. Be committed to them

Commit yourself to them! Be their boyfriend or girlfriend without actually calling them that. Not having a label doesn’t have anything to do with how you act or the way you treat them. If you want a relationship, you don’t need to wait for the label, to act like it.

Now, don’t put all your effort in if they aren’t treating you with respect. If you want them to know what you want, show them. Once they realize that you’re committed and in it for the long haul, they’ll have a lot fewer reservations about calling you theirs for real.

9. Invite them to future events

This is a great way to get someone to commit and label the relationship. Just start inviting them to different events that you have coming up. Plan to see a movie coming out in a couple of months.

If they’re accepting invitations to things that are months away, then they’re pretty much already committed to being with you long-term. The actual label conversation is sure to follow shortly.

10. Hang out in groups

This may seem like it would have the opposite effect, but hear me out. When you hang out with someone you’re dating, in a group of your friends or their friends, it says a lot of what you are. Do they kiss you in front of others? Are you hand in hand?

If they are making a point to spend time with you and focus on you with their friends around, they are making you a priority. This can help you trust your gut and rely more on their actions than the answer to, “What are we?”

11. Wait until you’re not nervous

Okay, I know you’ll never be completely calm when you ask these questions, but wait until you feel pretty confident in the answer. If you are sweating bullets and worrying, they’ll say they don’t want to see you anymore instead of committing, and it is probably too soon.

You’ll know when the right time to talk about your label is. When you have both shared how you feel and feel comfortable around each other, asking should be more of a formality than an intense or dreaded question.

12. What does a label mean?

Talk about what that label means. You can’t just ask them to be your boyfriend or girlfriend without clarifying. If you are going to be committed, you need to discuss what that means.

Are you meeting each other’s parents? Do you plan to keep dating other people too? Will you see each other more often? How is the new label going to change what you have now? Just because you get an answer to, “what are we?” It doesn’t mean you have full clarity. Be sure you’re on the same page.

13. Do it in person

I know that texting is easier, but this conversation really needs to be face-to-face. Defining the relationship is a relatively big step, you don’t want to do it with an emoji.

You can read someone’s feelings and emotions so much better in person. And you can celebrate if you get the outcome you wanted.

14. Be patient

Everyone moves at different paces. Sure, having a structured label can reduce anxiety about what’s to come, but pushing it only makes things move too fast.

Enjoy your time before requiring a label. It took me a long time to let go of those expectations and just enjoy dating. Once I did, my current boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend before I even started worrying about it.

The point is that if you’re patient and make the most of your time together, it will be worth waiting for.

15. Put yourself first

You know what you want and what you deserve. Although you shouldn’t expect someone to commit to you right away, if they are evading your questions and being sketchy, put yourself first.

Don’t just put up with someone not wanting to commit because you want to give them time or not rush it. If you’re ready to settle down and they aren’t and they can’t explain, it is time to move on.

Getting someone to label the relationship without asking them, “What are we?” can be very scary. But, if you know what you want, don’t be afraid to go for it.

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