What’s the difference between slim, skinny or slender? Or even big, hefty or large? Does each word hold the same meaning or is there a minute distinction that can vastly impact its definition?
All of these words, despite similar root definitions, can be argued to have totally different meanings because of attitudes attached to each word.
Labels like these can also be found in today’s realm of relationships.
Although I think of myself as a quick learner, it has taken me nearly three years in college to fully grasp the definitions used to describe a relationship.
Relationship terms such as chillin, talking, dating and finally entering committed waters were foreign to me before setting foot on the hills of Florida A&M University. I mean, in high school you were either in a relationship or just friends. There were no in-betweens; either you were together or you weren’t.
But as I matriculate through college I have learned there are rules, regulations, procedures and terms associated with different dating levels. If used incorrectly, it can mean trouble for both people involved.
When I came to college, it became apparent to me that the easy days of dating were over. As I watched countless friends, both men and women, try to MacGyver their way through this maze, I couldn’t help but wonder, when did dating become so complicated?
“Chillin,” a term that can be used to describe simply hanging out with friends, is given to a relationship that is simply on a friends basis. This involves nothing more than a sister/brother-type relationship.
“Talking” occurs when you have some thoughts of actually trying to get to know a person on a more personal level. When you use the label talking, it can be assumed there is more than just one person among whom you are dividing your time, though there is one person you feel more of a connection with. This is the time when going to the movies holds a different meaning.
“Dating” is when you narrow your search to two candidates you find interesting. During this time you are using your expertise of knowledge about self and what you want to weed out the competition. At this time candidates have a sense of your motive. They now know you are not just talking, you are actually screening for relationship potential.
Finally, a relationship status finishes up with a commitment. During this time you are officially giving up all ties to the game and will solely be with just one person. Period.
Maybe someone should come up with a relationship dictionary to explain these terms. This way no one will have the excuse of misunderstanding. But until then, just keep in mind that the easy days are over. Katrelle Simmons is a junior English education student from Orlando. She can be reached at email@example.com.