By AJ Choleng Marasigan

As if relationships aren’t complicated enough, somebody upped the ante and tried to define the levels of “pre-relationship” stage. You know, when you’re a little more than friends but you’re not actually dating just yet? Yeah, no one seems to know how to define those blurred lines and we’re just as confused as you are.

Here’s are our top 3 New Relationship Statuses that may actually help you figure out where you and your “boo” stands:

Talking” aka ‘Flirting of the Minds”

What it looks like:

The ultimate “dating” pre-game. A round-the-clock conversation that spans every single communication platform you’re in.

You’re on each other’s social media. Sometimes you talk over the phone and you send each other voice notes, but most of the communication happens through chatting because hey, it’s fast and easy. You chat about random stuff. You’re on a perpetual 21 Questions Game.

You snap each other so often that you’re each other’s BFF. You can even quantify the length of your “talking phase” by the number of streaks you both have. 2 pink hearts means you’ve been at it for more than 100 days. Kudos!

You look down on your phone in the middle of a group dinner with a stupid grin on your face that you can’t seem to wipe off, and when someone asks you who you’re talking to, you mention her name but no one in your group has actually met her. They’ve heard about her, sure. You’ve mentioned her a couple of times as this “friend of mine I’ve been talking to”.

You send each other memes from 9gag and Imgur and you talk about anything under the sun.


Technology has made communication fast and easy for everyone. For as long as you’re “connected”, you will never feel “alone”. And when you’re pining over someone, it’s easier to keep on yourself on his/her everyday loop. Good Mornings are easier to convey and you can always check on their whereabouts (and yeah there’s a thin line between checking and stalking) or how they’re doing. “Talking” phase gets you invested on someone whether you like it or not. When you get used to telling someone details of your everyday life, you make them a part of your daily routine. Which leads us to its


Talking, however intense it can get, can never be tangible. Nothing can replace actual human connection. Evidently, the “talking phase” will require physical presence. A lot of people hide behind their online persona. You will eventually want to hear them talk and laugh in person. “LOLs” and “Hahaha” will cease to be enough. And if the “Talking” does not elevate into another level, it can get a little (or a lot) painful. “Talking” is an emotional investment. You let someone in your life and you make them part of it however superficial it may seem, and soon enough, a line has to be drawn. You’d either move on to someone who actually wants a human to human connection or you decide to do the next best thing, which then leads us to…

COCOL (Coffee Coffee Lang) aka Pre-Date

What it looks like:

You go out for coffee. Not alcoholic drinks – not just yet. Just a plain and simple hot (or cold beverage) in a very casual and friendly public space. Here’s where you kinna size each other up – Ssee if the online persona matches the actual human being in front of you. It’s all about the chemistry and you’re seated here right now fidgeting but intensely interested to find out if the hilarious person that kept you up all night is just as funny in person. You do this without the pressure of actually being on a real “date”.


It’s like a Go See; more like an “audition” if anything. You get to decide if the “Chemistry” is real without having to go on an actual date. I know, it sounds lame but get this, if it doesn’t work out, you “technically” did not really go out on a date, so you dust yourself off of any accountability. When the dust settles, you can still be friends. Or so you think.

Human relationships are not something you can simplify with labels. And here’s why…


“Lang” is the tagalog word for “only”. So the actual translation of COCOL is Coffee Coffee Only.

It’s not a date. It’s ONLY a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, Coffee was just used as an object here and the operative word is “Lang”. And that’s what “Pre-Dating” does. It diminishes the value of the time you spend together. It’s lame and although it’s “safe”, it takes very little consideration of the time you spent “Talking”. Pre-dating has become the gray area of yet a bigger grey area that is…

HOHOL aka KINDA DATING aka Non-relationship relationship

What it looks like:

After that long coffee sesh that turned into a Netflix marathon over pepperoni pizzas, a walk around the park the next day and a couple of running “dates” after, you’re talking as often as you were before but this time, you hang out as often too.

It’s like “dating” but no one wants to acknowledge that word just yet.

When people ask about the other person, you nonchalantly mention that you “hang out”.

By now the chemistry’s cemented. You obviously like each other. You enjoy each other’s company. The potential of actually being a couple is very real but why aren’t you a couple yet? Why aren’t you dating?


Well you ARE Dating. You just both refuse to acknowledge it. Being on a perpetual “hang out” session (again) takes the pressure off of being in an actual relationship. You get away with little things. Your options are still “technically” open because, hey, we’re just hanging out, right? No commitment. Nothing is set in stone. Right?


Wrong. We don’t know what it is about people these days that makes them think life is easier if you just ignore labels and refuse to commit. Non-relationship relationships almost always end in disaster. When one is not as mutually invested to a relationship as the other, no amount of “chemistry” or hanging out can get you by. And that’s going to be very exhausting. Exhaustion, most often than not, breeds resentment.

Relationships are never easy and fragmenting layers of human connection can be very tricky.

However, as complex as it may seem, defining real relationships (DTR) shouldn’t be as complicated if both parties are communicating properly. Maybe it’s the availability of having all these connections and possibilities provided by technology that has made us mere humans very fickle minded.

Back in the day, when the only ways you have to connect are through landlines or snail mails, we tend to value “chemistry” and “connection” more. Dates are longer. People matter. Talking to someone for hours and days means actual and sincere emotional investment. Human interaction trumps constant Snaps or watching IG Stories. You learn a lot about a person by the way they laugh or how their nose wrinkles when you say something ridiculous. People don’t usually run away when the words “dating” “love” or “relationships” are uttered.

We were braver in taking risks because we knew that some things don’t always come easy. No one waits around for perfection – we strive for it. We make it happen. We muster enough courage to wear our hearts in our sleeves like it’s a medal of valor.

They say “love don’t come easy” and we were all very much aware of that, so when it came knocking on our doors we didn’t pretend they did not exist on the grounds of label technicalities.

Life is too short for games. Go after what makes you happy.




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