The most important thing to know about dropping hints to your significant other is that this process gets easier over the course of your relationship!
What a relief, right? At first, when the relationship is new, decisions are typically low stakes, like “what do we want to eat for dinner?” or “where should we meet after work on Tuesday?”. Later, bigger choices like “should we move in together?” to “when are you proposing?!” come up and hints just don’t do them justice!
Getting to know your partner, this person you want to take things to the next step with, and maybe even the step after that, too, is KEY and it all starts in the beginning of the relationship.
At the end of the day it’s all about communication, but figuring out what type of communication style your partner responds to best is the tricky part.
Deciding what to eat, where to go out, and who to invite over for the pregame are all par for the course early on in any relationship, and are good testing grounds to figure out what types of communication skills work for you both. Take note! Does texting get the job done? Do you need to discuss things face-to-face for it to stick? It may seem trivial now, especially when you’re talking about things as insignificant as your grocery list, but later, knowing what works for you two will make your bigger asks and nudges way more seamless.
Consider this: when you’re really in the mood for sushi, but you and your newer boyfriend planned to go out for Mexican, what’s your approach? Do you casually mention your spicy tuna crispy rice craving and voila! He listens AND changes the reservation? Or do you have to spell it out in big, bold letters multiple times before he hears what you’re saying? If you find yourself Googling “how to rent a billboard in Times Square” to get your message across, little hints here and there may not be your best tactic! The truth is, when it comes to the big stuff, hints don’t usually work like they do in the movies.
Moving in together is one of the first BIG choices you make as a couple, so understandably it can feel like the scariest thing in the world at the time. If you’re nervous, you may find it easier to start the conversation with something like “so when is your lease up?” instead of the more direct version, “do you want to move in together when your lease is up?”. If you go with the first approach, be warned he may not even realize you’re trying to open up a larger conversation. This is frustrating, because you, of course, have been thinking about this moment for a while now and will be pretty let down if he answers you point-blank with “my lease is up in April”. Instead, think back to earlier days in your relationship and what communication styles worked best and use that same type of approach.
For the big “moving in” convo to bigger ones down the line, here are some of our tips for strong communication in your relationship:
Know your partner. Understand what works for them, what communication styles they respond best to and adjust accordingly.
Get your facts straight. For example, if you’re absolutely certain you want to move in together, get all the information about the situation, like, when your lease ends, how much you’re willing to spend on rent and utilities, where you’d like to live, and anything else you think might come up if your opening line turns into a full-blown conversation.
Set the mood. The first time you bring it up, make sure it’s just the two of you and you have a clear head, preferably on a date night or when you’re both about to watch something on TV (as opposed to in a cab on the way home from the bar!).
Plan accordingly. If your lease is up in 2 weeks, now is NOT the time to ask if you two should move in together. Big decisions take time, so plan for this well in advance.
Have realistic expectations. He may not be ready and that’s okay! Be prepared to not get exactly what you want and know that in a healthy relationship, these things can take a while. Even if the conversation doesn’t go exactly the way you wanted it to, it’s best you get it out of the way and are honest about what your intentions are for the future.
Be clear. Being as direct as possible is so, so, so important! Like they always say, “you don’t get when you don’t ask for,” so make sure your ask is crystal clear.
And remember, even though the decisions get harder over time, communication should always get easier!
Graphic by: Hannah Kellner