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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

Recent trends on social media have added a new word to our vocabulary: situationship. My personal definition of this term is the unlabeled gray area in between hooking up and formally dating, which can leave you feeling stuck in a state of perpetual confusion. As a woman who has had to learn her fair share of lessons the hard way, let me enlighten you. Below are observations, tips, as well as personal remarks that will (hopefully) be of use to some of you. Happy reading!

1. Stringing someone along and giving them false hope is manipulative

False hope is the foundation of a situationship. If the person you are seeing continually makes empty promises or says things in an emotional moment but doesn’t act on them later on, they are giving you the bare minimum to keep you hooked. Their intentions do not align with their words, and that will hurt you in the long run.

2. If you are stuck in a cycle of them leaving and coming back again- that is a major red flag

The reason why a cycle is termed “cycle” is because it is a never-ending loop of the same occurrences. If they show you once that they are capable of ghosting you and leaving you confused and lost, but then showing up again out of the blue, trust that it will happen again. And again. I was in that place, and kept hoping for something to change. I would think to myself “this is the time where things will be different.” If only the present me could tell past me to not latch onto that hope.

3. Pay attention to the time of day they want to see you

If they arrange dates and hangouts during the day time, that is promising. However, if they only contact you at night time asking “wyd”, there is reason to be wary of that. Obviously things can get more heated at night and in private, so you can draw your own conclusions there. Unless you’re into that (in which case, go you!), try not to read between the lines. Take it at face value.

4. If their actions confuse you, they might not be into you

People who desire to be with you will make their actions align clearly with what they want. I feel like girls, especially, have a sixth sense for these situations, and their gut feeling is nearly always right. If not for this “feeling”, you would be able to observe how they behave around you. Are they attentive towards you and your needs? Do they take time out of their busy schedule to spend it with you? Or are they reaching out and wanting to see only when it is convenient for them? I feel that answering those questions can help you distinguish between something real developing or a situationship running its course.

No matter if this provided you with clarity or reassurance, I hope you remember this: you deserve to be supported, loved, and celebrated. Someone will come along and check all of those boxes and more.

Hi everyone, my name is Solomiya and I am a junior majoring in Kinesiology at UIUC. Though I study within a STEM related field, I have always loved the arts- especially writing. I am so excited to be on this team and rekindle that writer's spark!