Often times we think of ourselves as either being single or being in a relationship. Sometimes we’re dating and sometimes we’re not but for the most part we proclaim ourselves into the black and white world of with or without.
One of the most unrecognized relationship statuses is that of the flirtationship. A flirtationship is that special rapport you have with someone without being physical. Many of you may currently have a flirtationship or have had one in the past. The flirtationship, in nature, is a validation; a fun and light love affair of which both parties benefit from attention and sexual tension. It is not meant to overstep into being an actual relationship. You’ve built a foundation based on good feelings and fun and it’s natural to think about the possibility of that flourishing into an actual relationship.
Wrong. Stop it. Stop it, now.
Below is a list of the five most definitive flirtationships and why you should never try to turn them into an actual relationship.
The Work Flirtationship
Ahhh, yes. The work husband/ wife. This is the person you can vent to, the person who knows your coffee order, and most importantly this is the person who turns on your computer and makes it look like you got to work on time when you’re really hiking your hungover ass out of bed, brushing your hair and teeth at the same time, and still smell like last night’s bad decisions.
Do not mess this up. Do not cross this line. This person knows all of your work secrets and if you decide to turn your water cooler vent gatherings into copy room make out sessions, you risk losing your BFF at work. Lunch gets lonely and you’re forced to talk to the lady who smells like cat litter. If things get awkward, work will be DREADFUL. There is only one way to hook up with someone from work; right after they’ve quit.
The Mutual Group of Friends Flirtationship
We all know this story. There is a group of friends; two people from that group have the brilliant idea to hook up with each other. Maybe they date, maybe they just have fun, but eventually they end it and what’s left is SUPER awkward for everyone. Before you know it, you’re sitting around a pool making passive aggressive comments to one another while your friends laugh uncomfortably at your jabs. Not only do you ruin your friendship with that person, but your friends will have to pick sides. There is no way around choosing a team so you will divide the group by default. It’s not worth it. When it comes to the mutual group flirtationship, realize that it’s much more fun to flirt at a party than to cry in the corner. It doesn’t always end up like Ron and Hermione.
The Virtual Flirtationship
In this day of instant everything, it’s so easy to send and receive online flirtation. A wink here, a nipple there; it’s all harmless fun. The internet allows friends to keep in constant contact and form a bond that seams anything but cybernetic. You know this person already and you hang out in real life but that is no reason to think that virtual flirtation should lead to actual sex.
The mistake people make here is that some relationships shouldn’t shift out of virtual reality. Sometimes the reason you are able to flirt and be flirted with is because it’s protected through a screen. Acting on this flirtationship would ruin the sacred bond you have built when bouts of insomnia and red wine were all you knew. I suggest keeping your flirting virtual and acting normal when you do see each other in the real world. Treat this flirtationship like the side of fries you ordered instead of the salad option; if the calories didn’t exist then, this doesn’t exist now.
The Long Distance Flirtationship
The long distance flirtationship is organic and fluid. It exists because two people who were never intimate have recognized something in one another. These people may have put miles between them but they come back to one another regularly because this flirtationship is built on friendship and unlike its predecessor, the virtual flirtationship, the long distance flirtationship is a safe zone. While limits are explored and boundaries are tested; one wrong move and this person could vanish. You don’t run the risk of running into them, their friends, hearing stories about their life, they can simply disappear. It is this distance that makes it so easy to share secrets and truths, to explore sexuality and playfulness, and to never have the chance to act on a private thought you’ve had. Ruining a friendship that formed against all odds of the definition of the word just to explore a fleeting thought would take away the clandestine bond that you’ve created. You need this person in your life to tell you if you should send that picture, wear those shoes on that date, pat you on the virtual back for having a sexually liberating weekend, and most importantly, to never judge you for the inappropriate choices you make.
And while you may see this person only once a decade, there is a trust that is shared and honored, a comfort that washes over you because the distance allows for you to always be on the same side. This person is as comforting as warm apple pie. And Jim taught us that you never hump the pie.
The Service Industry Flirtationship
There is a moment when the attractive bartender/ barista/ bouncer gives you the best gift in the world, the gift of recognition. They remember your name or your face and all of a sudden you don’t wait in line anymore, your drink is ready before you sit down, there are shots in front of you for no reason. For most of us, this is as first class as it gets. Until you decide it would be a great idea to sleep with them. You stupid, stupid fool.
It was splendid being able to walk into your favorite bar and have a drink waiting for you, wasn’t it? You miss it, don’t you? You dupe. Don’t EVER piss off your bartender by hooking up with them and allowing things to get even the slightest bit weird. Ever. Ever. Ever. You will be ignored, your drinks will be weak, is there such a thing as being taxed twice? That might happen. Bartenders are the most powerful people in the world. They make pretty people cry and ugly people dance. They are magicians of the night and you’d have to be a fool to mess with a magician.
You like not having to wait for your coffee? You think sleeping with your barista will give you more ccino in your cappuccino? Stop it. Don’t get me started on the bouncers. If you upset the gatekeepers, you might as well move cities. A bouncer will never forget you and they travel around like gypsies. You never know what door they hold the key to. So unless you want to be shunned from society every weekend, I suggest the only things you do to your service industry flirtationship is treat it with respect and a 20% tip.