I was chatting with a friend recently and we ended up on a bunny trail, unsurprisingly.
“That’s why there’s no rush to put labels on things,” she concluded her monologue as I nodded along, despite the call being audio only.
Labels are such a touchy thing. We seem to be at a point where we are so adamant that we don’t want to get put into boxes, we forget that labeling doesn’t have to be all bad.
My DVD’s all have the title written on the outside binding. I use those to put them in order. The thing is, no one told me they had to be alphabetical. Mine are organized into basic genre (General, Music / Dance, Christmas, Anime, Animated, Disney, and TV Series) and then alphabetized within the framework I provided. If Daddy were organizing, I’m sure it would be in a very different order.
Labeling relationships can be the same way. Wanting to put a label on (for me) doesn’t mean I am trying to turn an action flick into a comedy (except John Wick, because other than that dog thing, that movie is comedy gold). It just means I want to know the title so I can figure out where it goes on the shelf.
Let’s take an example. My best friend is someone who is extremely busy. If we talk once a week, that’s a lot. We try to have lunch a couple times a month, but it usually ends up being more like once if it happens. I don’t question her place in my life because we have established boundaries and expectations that mean I am comfortable without having to hear from her daily without thinking she hates me and doesn’t want to be friends anymore.
I think when I ask for a label in the context of romantic relationships, it gives the wrong impression. My goal isn’t to box someone into something they don’t want, but rather to clarify my own expectarions in regards to behavior and contact.
Are we casually dating? Is that hugs when we see each other, maybe sex if we both feel like it?
Are we dating with some understanding of exclusivity? Do we kiss when we see each other, hold hands, and text each other good morning?
Do we send text kisses, or hugs only? Is vaguely suggestive teasing acceptable, or are we strictly limiting conversation to platonic areas?
What communication level should I expect? Do we talk generally about problems, or do we know everything going on in the other’s life?
Are we friends on Facebook? Do we acknowlege each other as a relationship there or on Fet? When I write, is casual reference of this person acceptable, and how do I make those references without putting expectations of behavior or action on this person?
Do we have long-term goals? Are we planning time together in the future or taking things as they come? Is a vacation together okay to discuss or is that freak-out territory? When is a good time to have these conversations?
I totally get that a label won’t answer those questions. For me, however, it is a starting point for figuring out how to manage my own expectations. Daddy often tells me my disappointment comes not from the behavior of people around me, but from them not matching my unreasonable expectations. I’m encountering some frustrations with that being the case in some of my vanilla activities right now, and I can see His point.
I can also see reasons to be supportive of the validity of labeling, despite being able to see why it would bother people.
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