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“So what are we?”

That just might be the most frustrating and most hated question that every guy dreads. Before I began to opine I asked a few of my friends of both genders their take on it. My boys said everything from “I hate it” to “It’s a dumb question.” Feeling more like the former, yet playing devil’s advocate I asked why. The consensus was that if one has to ask this question you kinda have the answer.

My lady friends all said that “What are we?” is a very important question. Understanding that it is to them, I asked why. They all agreed that it was about clarity and wanting to know the trajectory of the relationship. If they weren’t on the same page with the guy, then they know to move on.

Why do I hate this question so much? I think that “What are we?” as a question isn’t about “us” as much as it’s about the girl. She wants answers in a manner translatable to her and not really thinking or knowing that such a presentation doesn’t work well. Many know how guys feel about this and will ask anyway because the clarity they are looking for is more important than communication. To me this is a telltale sign of not really being ready for the give and take of a real relationship. I said it…

So, what we have here is a lapse in communication. Why is something that is important to one gender annoying as all hell to another? Well, I can’t think of one conversation in the context of a relationship that went well. I will completely own up to being a guy by saying women will say it is a simple question; but it’s a loaded one. Loaded questions are the worst…especially when I tend to spell out what I am thinking pretty plainly. I don’t know a man on the planet-I take that back for reasonable doubt purposes-too many men on the planet who have ever asked that question.

I think it goes back to the idea of: you just know. Men make decisions on women incredibly quickly. Many of my male friends who married their dream girls said right off the bat they were the one. If I-or almost any guy for that matter-really dig someone I’m going to want to lock that down before someone else can have a chance. I’ll make it happen and there will be no need to question “what are we?” You’ll know. While it would be nice if more men actually verbalized this, a man who is really about it will let a woman know intent no later than a few dates.

Here’s the thing. In the dating world, we live in a hook-up culture. So everyone has been hurt, played, cheated on, and had their hearts broken. Everyone is playing scared. So these days we want to “just see where things go.” I am all for that approach because it allows the chips to fall where they may and things will work out because people are being themselves. I am the kind of person cut from the “make it happen” cloth, so that’s what I’m going to do. If I am seeing someone who is receptive of that we’ll continue to progress. If not, then we just weren’t a good fit.

More often than not “What are we?” gets inquire because people have been hurt. By the time it’s asked, feelings-maybe even strong ones-have come into play. So, before getting fully invested and potentially hurt there is a need to ask. I totally understand. Once again just saying that would make all the difference too. It makes “What are we?” such a loaded question.

There are many reasons to ask this question and just as many to hate having to answer it. It comes down to the classic men and women are just wired differently. I ended my “research” with all parties by saying “I hate it because at this stage in life I don’t feel I need to ask ‘Will you be my girlfriend? Check yes or no.'” My middle ground for this is that other than stating what my intentions are I will just tell someone I’m seeing “You’re my girl,” or some variance of that sentiment. There… you don’t need to ask.

I can’t implore how much this question every man hates. If you feel the need to ask then just give the full reason why. Actually, saying “I’m not sure where things are headed,” “I really like you,” “I don’t want to get hurt,” or whatever will open up lines for communication and trust a lot better than “What are we?” More than likely, said person will also be a little more sensitive in how they answer.

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