The Stages of Relationship Communication

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1. The “Live By Your Phone” Stage

This stage is so much fun. It’s the time right after you’ve just met and exchanged numbers when you’re still casually conversing through texts. The texts are never anything major, but they actually require some level of tact, and they’re always so exciting to receive. This is the phase where you want your new boy to stay interested in you, but you don’t want to reveal too much information or *gasp* seem needy. He’ll begin this stage with the standard “hey it was fun meeting you last night” or something of that variety, and progressively become more chatty and casual until the first official hangout takes place. Before the first date your conversations usually span throughout the day about meaningless activities, such as how bored you are in class or what your plans are after chapter. The only danger in this stage is that it’s easy to read too far into every single thing he says. It’s also nerve-wracking when you’re mid-text convo with your new guy and he goes MIA for a little while. You start staring at your phone and checking it every two seconds to see if you’ve missed a text, and start considering something detrimental to your blossoming relationship like double-texting, which just serves to make you look crazy.

2. The “Frequent But Not Overwhelming” Stage

This phase of communication generally occurs after you two have been seeing each other for a few weeks, and are comfortable enough with your scenario that constant communication is not only optional, but sort of frowned upon. You have semi-regular meet ups at Starbucks after your 9:00am for Ventis and quick conversation, and confirm to meet at his house at 10:00pm for vodka pre-games on the reg. You still send a few texts throughout the day, but you’re not overwhelming each other with the casual “getting to know each other” banter that the previous stage required. You’re slowly making your way into being in a relationship, but it’s safe to say you’re not there yet. It’s important not to bombard each other with constant contact, because then you just look crazy, needy, and possessive, which we all secretly are, but this early on we need to pretend we aren’t so that we can trap him win him over.

3. The “When I Need You” Stage

This is the stage when you’re definitely an item. You’ve moved past the idea of texting each other throughout the evening (if you’re not raging together) before one of you proposes a sleepover. It’s pretty much just assumed at this point that you will be ending your night together. You’re not too concerned about how his morning classes went, or whether or not he won his intramural game, because there’s a good chance you’ll see him later in the day to find out. You’re getting a lot more physical time with him now, so you two are pretty much texting on an as-needed basis. For example, instead of the prior “good morning” text he used to send, you’re now getting “Is this a double or triple Venti soy vanilla latte morning?” He knows it’s best to bring your Starbucks fix before you brave your 9:00am econ lecture, and he needs to know which drink to have in hand. This stage isn’t bad, it’s just a sign that you two have gotten fairly comfortable with each other.

4. The “Leave Me the Hell Alone” Stage

Okay, this whole boyfriend/girlfriend scenario has been darling, but now you’re simply over it. You’re done with the relationship at this point, and now whenever his name shows up on your phone you’re rolling your eyes, annoyed because he’s just another thing you have to attend to. You’ve started tapering off your hangouts, and have been hinting that the relationship may have run its natural course. You’re even refusing his Starbucks offers, and finding his “what are you up to tonight?” texts invasive. It’s quite the contrast from phase 1, where you literally LIVED by your phone anticipating his next text. At this point, you don’t even care if you accidentally leave your phone charging while you spend the day on campus, because he’s annoying and can’t take a hint.

5. The “I’m Drunk,” Stage

After every breakup, there is a little wrinkle in time most of us don’t clearly remember, usually because it’s the time when all of our actions after 9:00pm are vodka-induced. You don’t want your ex back, but you have the sudden urge to talk to him all the time. You’ve spent the past month ignoring him, but now, for some reason, it is absolutely imperative that he answer his phone at 3:00am. So urgent, in fact, that you’ve called him about 97 times, leaving a voicemail with 50% of your calls, and you’ve sent him about 1083459852 text messages. The texts start out with a guise of innocence:

-“Hey”
-“What’s up”
-“How are you”
-“How have you been”
-“What are you up to”
-“Are you at the bar?”
-“Your brothers are here”
-“I think I see you, come say hi”
-“JK, that wasn’t you”
-“OMG you should totally come out, get a pledge to pick you up”
-“We’re doing shotsssss you should be hereeeee”
-“WTF!?”
-”Seriously? Like, really. You’re ignoring me right now? This is really immature of you”
-”Are you with someone? We JUST broke up!”
-”Ok I’m sorry for freaking out please just respond”
-”Whatever. Go fuck yourself.”

You usually never get much in return. Weird. After essentially being ignored, you’re now on a mission to get a response out of the boy who couldn’t leave you alone two weeks ago. This stage is beyond annoying, but it’s inevitable, because we all know that even if your bestie has deleted his number out of your phone, you still have it memorized.

6. The “Avoidance” Stage

This is the stage that directly follows any alcohol-related indiscretion. You’ve deleted him out of your phone, and you’ve toyed with the idea of deleting him on Facebook. You can’t imagine how mortifying it’s going to be when you run into him on campus, so just to be safe you avoid him at any and all costs. You’re suddenly too busy with homework to go out for the next couple of Wednesdays (which, by the way, is the new Thursday, which used to be the new Friday), and you call for an absolute ban on all mentions of his name until any evidence of your drunken mishap disappears.

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