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Labels are something we all fear. The unanticipated question of boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, a friend with benefits, friends who have sex, more than friends who don’t have sex, and the list goes on and on. But how does one define a label? Is it something you wear when you go to cocktail parties or does it pertain to certain color glow stick you put on when you go to the bar. Is it determined by who buys you drinks or who you have sex with?

These are all age-old questions we would all like to know, but from my experience, a label is something only utilized for people not in the relationship between X and Y. In a quick hello to a friend their interest tends to only lay in the ambiguity of the label between you and your ‘other’ that has been making appearances on your Instagram. In most cases, there never is time or energy to explain the whole situation. At the end of the day, labels are simply used for other people and not yourself.

After coming to college my need for labels has diminished if not shrunk to pretty much nothing. I was completely frustrated by guys (in my case) not giving me the label I wanted or abusing the power of labels (calling me their girlfriend to only some people). Eventually, I decided to introduce the idea of boundaries instead. This seems to work best for both parties in the scenario, it relieves stress and pressure to perform a certain way or adhere to possible bad stereotypes they may have associated with certain terms (ex: dating). Sometimes people have a bad association with dating or relationships, like in my most recent ‘man’ experience.

However, we set boundaries by explaining what we both want, if we are having sex with other people, openly talking about how we feel and always communicating. This not only gives us less pressure of deciding what we want, but also gives us plenty of time to figure it out.

I know there is a stigma with labels but it is not a necessity at all. As long as you are okay with how you are being treated and the situation that’s going on don’t worry, there is plenty of time and plenty of people out there who also if you want a label can give it to you. As always just put yourself first and focus your energy on what you want. I mean hey it’s 2019, we are just not chasing boys anymore. The next time your friends ask you what you and someone are here are a few new (and less stressful) words/ phrases you can use.

“just been hanging out”

“good friends”



“really close”

“sexual friends”

“a work in progress”

“taking it slow”


“solid mates”


“low key hanging out”

And my personal favorite – “nothing” – because at the end of the day It really isn’t anyone’s business but yours.


Chloe Sacre

Cincinnati '22

University of Cincinnati
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