Everybody talks. You talk with your mom, your best friend and your grandparents. To them, talking means having a conversation.
When did the definition of “talking” change? There’s now a difference between saying you’re “talking with your professor after class” and “talking with the guy in your ENGL101 class.”
Same word, two completely different meanings.
It’s a phrase used casually and frequently among millennials, and its meaning lies somewhere in the murky waters between meaningless booty-calls and ever-lasting love. To freshman Marisa Cabrera from the University of Maryland, talking is a point in a fling. “You like each other but it hasn’t crossed over into the next level yet,” Cabrera said. So talking isn’t quite dating, but it’s also not just hooking up. Who knew something as simple as “talking” could become so complicated?
It’s kind of like the “get to know you” stage of a relationship. “We just met and felt a connection when we first talked and now we started texting a lot and we are thinking about hanging out,” said freshman Benji Fleishmann from the University of Maryland. “Our texts are flirty and there’s a certain smile you get when you see their name pop up on your phone.” It’s the blissful butterfly-stage after you first meet someone you’re into to. According to freshman Will Johnson* from the University of Maryland, you begin to talk with someone “if you want a relationship or if you want to smash again.” Talking can be the stepping stone to a romantic love affair, or just an easy way to get laid.
The scary part is that “talking” can often look the same, no matter what you or that new special someone is actually looking to get out of it.
With the ambiguity of talking comes many dangers. Yes, it’s a laid-back way to get to know someone, but in a steamy pot of emotional stew, things can get messy. The best way to avoid crushing someone’s heart (or getting crushed yourself) is to establish some ground rules.
The first thing on your list is to be honest about your intentions from the start. “If you’re not sure if you have an actual relationship, but you talk frequently, it implies you have some sort of exclusion,” said freshman Erica Quesinberry from the University of Maryland. If a relationship isn’t what you’re looking for, make sure you express that to the person you’re talking to before they start holding your hand in public or asking to meet your mom.
And remember to keep your emotions in check too. If that hottie hasn’t said their heart belongs to you, then assume it doesn’t. “You can’t act like you’re dating and you can’t take it too seriously because then it creeps the other person out,” Cabrera said. It’s okay to text each other maybe even every day, but try avoiding those “Good Morning <3” texts until you DTR (define the relationship).
“Talking” has become the norm in our culture. The best way to survive the complicatedness of it all is to be open about how you feel with yourself and the other person involved. Between iPhone and laptop screens, communication is not exactly our generation’s strong suit. Still, it’s without a doubt the key to any healthy hookup or full-fledged relationship. Maybe you just want to get to know this someone, or maybe you want to put a ring on it–regardless, “talking” is your only way of getting there.