From "Hanging Out" To Exclusivity: What Every College Girl Wants to Know About Dating

The early phases of dating a new guy are often ambiguous experiences. You may not know where he stands.  

Maybe you're in the friendship phases and want something more. Maybe you've been hooking up and want to know if you could start a real relationship.  Maybe you're dating and haven't discussed exclusivity. It's often very complicated… 

I truly believe that relationships are more complicated than physics: there are very few absolute truths, and there are always a lot of exceptions. But, even with all of that complexity, you can get the relationship you desire if you master some techniques:

1) Think and assess. Decide if you really want a relationship with him. 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you really need to decide if this guy is worth your time, energy, and love.  Get to the answer of this question by asking yourself: How do I feel when I am with him?  How does he treat me? If it’s a check, check, then move forward and seek that exclusivity you want.

2) Still in the friendship phase? Master the art of the pre-date hangout.

Starting any relationship with a guy as friends is always good, but there are times when you will want more.  If so, make the guy feel more comfortable with the idea of dating you by initiating a low-pressure “hangout,” like meeting at Starbucks, a study date, or any event that allows the two of you to continue to build your friendship. 

When you meet, dress up more than you usually would and amp up your flirting. Avoid treating him like your gay best friend - no talking about exes. Or, if you say something like, "Oh *insert his name* - I would love to meet a nice guy. Can you help me find one?" this is not going to work in the way you want. Your words do not say, "I'm into you." Instead they say, "Thanks for brining over a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I really appreciate that, and I'm more likely to date Ben or Jerry than you." Make it clear that you are interested in him because he may not have picked up that social cue. You do not have to be all over him physically, but creating subtle contact like touching his arm, hugging him, or kissing him on the cheek when you see him is a good move. Guys sometimes need to see your green light before they feel confident enough to move forward. Otherwise, he might consider a low-key “hangout” just a way of you putting him in the friend zone- which you obviously don’t want if you are reading this article.  

The more positive interactions you share will create more positive associations with his idea of you. If he feels the same, he will not be able to resist asking you out.

3) Dating, and ready for commitment? Have the DTR talk.

The ideal scenario is to wait for the guy to broach the topic of exclusivity. Patti Stanger, famously known as "The Millionaire Matchmaker," says that if a guy is inviting you out every Friday or Saturday night, this is an indicator that he may bring up the topic before you do. If he does not initiate the conservation, the best way to start it is in an extremely casual and low-pressure way.

Here are a few examples, varying by situation:

When you have an invitation to a party, you tell him, "I wasn't sure if I should invite you because I didn't know how official this was." This actually creates a situation where you are unsure about the relationship, and you will get a response. It seems random and organic in the way you presented the topic.

Another way to do this is to say, "I've been seeing other guys, but I think I'm ready to settle down into a relationship. Do you think that's something you're ready for?" This comment makes you sound like you are playing the field, but in an honest way. And, once he senses another guy around, he will step his game up big time.

You can always go the heartfelt route and say, "I really care about you, enjoy your company, and I would love to take this connection to the next level." That's to the point, simple, and you will also see an honest reaction. In this conversation, honesty is key in order to determine if you and the guy are on the same page. Remember to find the right moment, not mid-hookup, bringing me to my next point.

4)  Don't be pushy, and don't rush.

Give the relationship a reasonable amount of time to develop before you have that “let’s define us” talk. You cannot sell a guy on a relationship, and you cannot make him want one. Guys can actually go from being completely disinterested in a relationship to craving one - as soon as he meets the right woman, according to Matthew Hussey, author of Get the Guy. So, if your guy sees you as the total package and ultimate girlfriend material, you may not need to do too much to sway him. Situations can change if he really likes you, but it is also important to remember that so much of life is based on timing and being yourself. You don't want your guy to see you as a used-car salesman, telling him of the greatest price available. Show him, don’t tell him. If he isn't ready for a relationship, that's fine. You just move on to the next guy.


***If you’ve read my other articles, you will notice that I’m an advocate of the “green light theory,” but I’m not an advocate of women pursuing men. So relax and avoid putting pressure on the situation. ***Once you have entered into a relationship, make sure that you devote time to it. Happy dating, friends!