When you begin to see someone, after a time, there’s always that question either from yourself, your partner, your friends or your family — or sometimes, all of the above — the “What are we/you guys?”

When should you DTR? How soon is too soon? Should you even DTR?

If you’re not aware of millennial acronyms, (which let me be honest, I didn’t either!), DTR stands for ‘define the relationship.’


In my experience, and having witness second hand from my friends also, I think that you shouldn’t ask to DTR. I understand why you’d want to DTR, why you would want to have that conversation but so far in my life, it never has the outcome I wanted.

In an ideal world, I’d ask the boy I was seeing, “So what are we?” and then they’d ask me to officially be their girlfriend and we all skip off towards the sunset and live happily ever after. That is of course the inner romantic English Literature student inside me.

When I asked the boy I was seeing last year the question — “So what are we?” –immediately things got awkward and soon enough, we slowly stopped hanging out and stopped talking. My friends tell me I had every right to. We had been seeing each other for a few months. I’d met his entire family at his brother’s wedding. His family were calling me his girlfriend, even though we’d both never referred to each other as those terms. All signs were pointing that way. I decided to ask THAT question and as I said, things were not the same.

Should I have asked? I mean, yes, because being in that limbo was difficult. When everyone around you is asking you “what are you guys?”, including your parents and his, coming out with “I don’t know, we’re just good friends” never satisfies them. But had I not asked, what would’ve happened? Would we continue that arrangement that seemed to work for us, or would I have eventually asked anyways? If not then, but perhaps in a week or two time?

Not one to dwell on the past, if I hadn’t of asked, I wouldn’t have learnt that DTR is not important, and instead, to just go with the flow. If I hadn’t of asked, I wouldn’t be seeing this new boy now, would I? This time, I’m not going to mess it up and instead just see what happens – “que sera sera”!

Similarly, my best friend went through this not too long ago. I hope she doesn’t mind me writing about it. But she was seeing this guy for a few weeks but quite frequently. I’m talking about 2-3 times a week. So naturally, the relationship felt like it was moving faster than your typical, average relationship. Learning from my own mistakes, I never asked her what this boy was to her, i.e. asked if he was her boyfriend, instead, I simply asked how he was doing?

However, her parents, her colleagues and our other friends constantly asked her what they were. I told her that she should just go with the follow, don’t ask them that question because you’ll scare them off. I think vice versa, if I was confronted with that question, I’d be scared too!

She did ask, and he said that they were just hanging out and getting to know each other. A week later, she got dumped because he said that he felt she was looking for something more serious than he was. Can I blame it on the question? I mean, I am not him so I can’t speak for him. But from the outside looking in, I believe that question has somewhat to blame. My best friend is like me now, she said next time she won’t ask that question ever.

So whilst I understand why you’d want to DTR, I believe that time will take its course and if it’s meant to be, it will happen. We have to remember that we live in a different time to when it was more traditional to define a relationship, to ask someone to be your boyfriend or your girlfriend. Now it’s a bit more ambiguous. It’s a bit more up in the air.

It’s time to embrace spontaneity and enjoy your relationship, however it may be!

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