Oberlin Casual Relationship Timeline


0-7 days: Nonverbal communication


It has only been a week, but already these casual partners are communicating in miraculous ways. Tinder messages have graduated from gifs to a mix of gifs and text. At Splitchers Person A recognizes Person B’s face from across the Sco, and while no attempt at conversation is made, they do generally hover in Person B’s quadrant of the dancefloor for most of the night.


7-21 days: First contact


The next two weeks bring about a whirlwind of social and emotional change for this newborn relationship. Meeting up has been vaguely alluded to several times, and after an exhausting few nights of back-and-forth messaging, it happens by chance at a party. Close quarters conversation ensues. Person B say, “Wanna do poppers?” and Person A says, “What?” and then Person B says, “Nothing, never mind.” Later, they make out. In the moment, it is mediocre, but that is not important because neither has a strong opinion about the other; it can retroactively become a fantastic kiss if things pan out later.


21-28 days: Object permanence begins to develop


3 days of no contact. Hyperawareness of partner’s existence. As Person A scans the first floor of Mudd for signs of Person B every five seconds, they wonder whether it was weird to bring up therapy in the first conversation. Finally, Person B breaks the silence, and....alright, we’re back to gifs.


28-35 days: Mating call


One partner devises a thinly-veiled excuse to hook up (“Want to come over and watch the Cohen testimony?”). This is a critical milestone of any young relationship. Sex things happen, and then, much more notably, Person A spends half an hour sobbing about their parents’ entirely amicable divorce— Person B thinks they’re being melodramatic but does their best to remain supportive.  


35-49 days: Subsequent rendezvous


Each subsequent encounter is a mixed bag of sincere gestures and weighted statements; Person B has an enormous crate of sparkling water but makes sure to point out that they do not drink sparkling water. Cool.

One time, Person A suggests looking through their own high school yearbook as an activity, and is not nearly self-deprecating enough about it. They find the page with the photo of their varsity soccer team a little too quickly.

49-56 days: Avoidance and acceptance


Radio silence. Who is ghosting who? It is unclear. Both parties bask in the magic of independence. When a week later Person A sees B making out with one of their mutual friends at a Union party, they take a moment to appreciate the relationship’s rapid growth and decline. Both refuse to make eye contact in passing for the rest of all time. It took a lot of hard work to get to such a healthy place!

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