Are We Dating? 12 Signs You Need To Have The Talk NOW

Dating experience | | , Copywriter & Writer
Updated On: March 14, 2024
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After going on a significant number of dates, we’ve all found ourselves faced with the elephant in the room – What are we? Where are we? Addressing these questions can be rather tricky.

You run a certain amount of risk in asking “Are we dating?” But at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if you are. Well, worry no more. Here are 12 signs you need to have the talk NOW!

Maybe you’re confused about whether you should broach the subject or not, or you’re struggling with how to bring it up. Both these problems will vanish with a poof once you’re done reading with us here.

Are We Dating? 12 Signs That Say You Are Unofficially Dating

The signs you are unofficially dating can be hard to catch. You might already be doing all the things couples do together, be it grocery shopping or going to the movies. But then again, hiding behind the label of “best friends” can fool the two of you quite effectively.

Plus, the difference between casual dating and “just hanging out” isn’t set in stone either. Can friends go on dates? If they do, they’re probably already “casual dating” without even realizing it, right?

There’s a space between close friendship/flirty friendship and a relationship. This limbo space is something I like to call ‘The Arena of Ambiguity’. Nothing is certain here, and hence, anything can happen.

The enormity of possibilities in the Arena of Ambiguity are mind-blowing. Things could go fantastically well or horribly tragic. How you handle the Arena is up to you – but I’d advise you to not linger there for too long.

The current preference for love without labels is something I strive to understand, but there are simply times when couples are too good together to not commit! If you’re looking to exit the Arena, and look forward to defining your relationship – I won’t keep you waiting. These are the 12 signs you are dating unofficially. They’re going to tell you if you need to ask, “Are we dating?!”

1. People sort of assume you’re together

When you guys are out together, do strangers tell you that you make a cute pair? Maybe your colleagues have assumed that you’re dating. Or you’re mistaken for lovebirds when you go out to dine.

Sure, it’s not one of the signs you are officially a couple, but when your friends make fun of you for always being together, there’s probably something there. In most cases, your friends will be the first people to spot what’s going on between you two.

Those in your immediate surroundings have a better idea of your patterns. If people are noticing the crazy chemistry between you – what are you waiting for? This is a definitive sign that you’re in a relationship and don’t know it.

2. Your family is acquainted with them (and vice versa)

If you’ve met each other’s parents enough times to say there’s a degree of good acquaintanceship, you are not really ‘hanging out’ anymore and have gone beyond that stage. Your mom hears you mention them frequently and she probably approves!

Did their dad send a friendship request on Facebook? Even he’s waiting for both of you to take the next step forward. Parents know best – listen to them. Plus, when your parents start making fun of you for always being with this person, you might as well just take it as one of the signs you are unofficially dating. They can sense it a mile away, you might just not know it yet.

If you’re too confused while trying to answer the question, “Are we dating or hanging out?” maybe go and ask your parents what they think of this person. The tone they pick will tell you all you need to know.

Related Reading: 18 Mutual Attraction Signs That Can’t Be Ignored

3. You both spend SO much time together, it’s ridiculous

24 hours a day, 7 days a week you’re with each other. And yet you feel the need to ask “Are we dating?” Besides the quantity of time, the quality is also very intimate. You’re probably already doing couple’s activities like getting brunches, going on long drives, taking walks on the beach…

If someone were to look from the outside in, they’d just assume you’re in a serious relationship. Sure, best friends spend a lot of time with each other, but they’re not always joined at the hip. You’re one step away from living together at the rate you’re going. All these are signs you are unofficially dating.

are we just friends or dating
Are you sure you’re just friends?

4. You are familiar with each other’s friend circles

And your friends ship you both! Thinly veiled references or outright teasing are very common whenever the other person’s name comes up in conversation. You’ve met each other’s bffs and are perhaps even on texting terms with them.

There’s a solid chance these friends are tuned into your relationship progress as if were a sitcom. They probably already know you two are more than friends, and that your own relationship status is visible to everyone else but you. Don’t be too surprised if your friends say things like “I told you so” if you end up dating.

5. They run through your mind all the time

Ahhh…and now comes the real thing. This is one of the fool-proof signs you’re in a relationship without knowing it. Whenever I’m on the verge of dating someone, I find myself preoccupied with their thoughts…All.The. Time! And boy is it intense! When you’re falling in love with someone, you experience something similar.

If you’re looking for signs you are unofficially dating and you have successfully turned a blind eye to all the jokes your friends make about you two, you’re going to find the answer in your own head. How often do you think about this person during the day? Chances are, you already probably know just how much you do.

While dreamy distraction is pleasant, I remind myself that I should get around to asking – are we dating? But I bet you already know what I’m talking about. (*winks*)

Related Reading: Am I In Love With My Best Friend? 15 Signs That Say So!

6. You are both each other’s go-to person

This is adorable. I love it when potential partners are people we confide in. They probably receive all the important updates of your day, and there’s no problem they can’t help solve.

This mutual faith you guys have is one of the most beautiful signs you’re unofficially dating. Your relationship has all the qualities which lead to happiness and love.

If your dearest is someone you trust, then you ought to put the important question out there; “Are we dating or just friends?” but we’d still advise you to do so with caution. Sure, being able to always emotionally confide in someone may signal that you two are “more than friends,” but it’s also a possibility that this person may just see you as a friend and not much else.

So if you’re too stuck up on trying to catch signs you are dating without knowing it yet, you can always let the emotional intimacy develop in the way it already is. If it’s palpable, chances are, you won’t even have to ask each other questions like, “Are we dating or hanging out?” and things will fall into place.

7. You’re actively looking for reasons to be with them

Did you ‘accidentally’ forget your charger at their place? Or do you ‘suddenly’ crave ice cream from a place near their house. (No, I haven’t done either of these things, quit bothering me.)

Perhaps driving over to their house every single day has almost become a ritual, and you kind of already know that you’re at the cusp of a serious relationship.

When you can’t find a reason to see them, you create one. I know this, you know this, and they do too. Your innocent crush on your friend has gone on for far too long. Just accept that you are not simply hanging out.

8. The idea of them with someone else turns you into a green-eyed monster

Now let me clarify something here – I don’t mean you turn into a psychotic, rage-filled, beast. I just mean that the prospect of them dating someone – anyone – makes you uncomfortable. This discomfort is a dead giveaway – a sign you are in a relationship and don’t know it.

You trust them to never look elsewhere, but if a charming individual hits on them, your eyes narrow instantly. I urge you to ask them (because it’s high time already), “Are we dating, sweetie?”

Related Reading: 12 Signs That Say Your Best Friend Is In Love With You

9. You’re the best (and most honest) version of yourself around them

This is truly the best compliment you can pay a person – authenticity. You’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable around them, giving them an insight into your true self. This is a solid sign you’re in a relationship without knowing it.

Think about it, when you’re friends with someone, sometimes you can refrain from saying a few things because you’re not sure how they’ll react. But when your relationship status with this person is a little more complicated than “just friends,” you’re probably not thinking superficial things. You’re too comfortable with them already – both physically and emotionally.

The amount of trust this requires is indescribable. If you were looking for the ultimate signs you are unofficially dating someone, it doesn’t get much clearer than you being able to completely be yourself in front of this person. Let’s just say that you guys ought to get together asap!

10. You aren’t interested in other people romantically

Your dating apps are a thing of the past and you turn down any attractive stranger who approaches you. No more hook-ups or one-night-stands you’ll regret later. Wonder why? Because you’re preparing yourself to define your relationship.

Plus, how would you even find the time for other romantic relationships, since you’re spending all of it with this person? Sure, spending a lot of time with someone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s one of the signs you are officially a couple, but in your heart, you already know the answer to the question, “Are we dating or just friends?”

11. Life without them is unimaginable

Spending time with loved ones releases happy hormones like serotonin which are associated with our well-being.  These people become an indispensable part of our lives and we can’t imagine getting through the day without them.

At the end of a long day at work, does the thought of being able to laze around with this person bring a smile to your face? You don’t need to be a relationship expert to know that that is one of the signs you are dating without knowing it yet. If the idea of their absence is alarming, then I’m here to tell you that you need to have the talk now!

Related Reading: 20 Signs He Wants More Than Your Friendship And Not A Casual Relationship

12. Most of your future plans include them in the picture

Not plans of getting married and having babies. Duh! Celebrations or weekend plans or even holidays. Maybe a romantic vacation in the Bahamas or an overnight camping trip in the woods. The next 5-6 months of your life have them playing a very vital role. Get ready to ask, “Are we dating?”

If you have not thought of the long term, dwell on the medium-term instead. They’re in it, aren’t they? Hmmm…I thought so!

As you can see, you don’t even need to be casually shagging for there to be something more than just being friends. All in all, I think this list must have given you the clarity you were looking for. How many boxes did you check? Are you exhibiting more than 5 signs of being in a relationship without knowing it? Please, please, please start wondering if you are dating or just friends.

Once you do see enough signs you are unofficially dating, next comes the part where you must figure out what to do about it. Let’s move on to the second phase of problem-solving!

So…How To Bring It Up??

I can hear the thoughts racing inside your head and I’m going to tell you to peace out. While this task of defining your relationship seems daunting, it can be accomplished with a little help. I’m here to provide that help.

You can’t exactly walk up to your friend/potential partner/date and yell “ARE WE DATING OR JUST FRIENDS?” And there are many thoughts a woman has before committing. We’re going to go about this step by step.

1. First get it all straight inside your mind – think!

Being clear with yourself is the first step to solving any relationship dilemma. The excitement of unofficial dating can get overwhelming because you enjoy the attention you get. It is time you sat yourself down and asked if you really want a long-term relationship right now.

Are you in the right space to share your life with someone? Being hasty would be a grave error and you should avoid it at all costs. So, before you talk to them, talk to your own self.

Related Reading: Unsure In A Relationship? Figure What You Want With These 19 Questions

2. Ask a few important questions: Is it mutual? Or healthy?

Before you jump up and ask, “Are we dating?”, you should address a few other questions first. While evaluating the 12 signs you need to have the talk – were you objective? Or did you just focus on your feelings?

Be very sure that the attraction is mutual and you aren’t reading into things that don’t exist. This is an error my dear brother is prone to and I’m tired of telling him otherwise.

Also, ponder over whether the dynamic you both share is healthy. Are you just infatuated, or in love? Will entering into a relationship be good for you two? Whether you guys function well together or not is for you to decide.

in a relationship without knowing it
Get some clarity by yourself…

3. Be honest and direct in your approach

Conversations like these can be intimidating to initiate, but you shouldn’t beat around the bush. Be straightforward and direct – “Are we dating or just friends?”, “Where do we see this going?”, “Do you think it’s time we defined our relationship?”

Being honest is essential, because who we date impacts our life significantly. Let this person know everything you spotted while looking for signs you are unofficially dating and make sure you don’t hide your feelings. You don’t want to start a new relationship on an unclear foot, lest you two just end up casually shagging, which is only going to make things a lot more complicated.

4. Don’t fear the consequences – voice it all out

There are two clear ways this talk will pan out. Either you both will decide to commit officially, or you will part ways. A common reason why people don’t bring up this conversation is that they ‘don’t want to ruin the way things are.’

If you are ready for an exclusive relationship, you’ll have to take the plunge. Just remember that heartbreaks heal (we’ll help) but a long stay in the Arena of Ambiguity is not sustainable. Do not fear the outcome – say everything that’s on your mind.

5. Ensure that the conversation has equal participation

A one-sided conversation is never helpful. Make sure that they are an equal participant in the talk. Discuss all the signs that show you’re in a relationship without knowing it. Let them voice their opinions and doubts too.

Listening is as important as contributing! Don’t raise your voice or get agitated – you are both on the same team because you want what is best for you.

It’s a lot like what Trent Shelton said, “A relationship means you come together to make each other better, It’s not all about you, and it’s not all about them. It’s all about the relationship.”

So there you go. Sounds fairly simple, right? I have complete faith in you and I know you’re up to the task!

You have my best wishes for the conversation you’re about to have… Time to bid adieu to the Arena of Ambiguity.

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