Hookup culture at Harvard is a notoriously brutal terrain. In the name of preserving their independence while having casual sex, the most daring Harvard students enter agreements known as “situationships,” which are nowhere near the commitment of a relationship — God forbid! — but are way too involved to just be a “regular hookup.” They can drag on for months, even years, and likely never include an actual conversation about the state of affairs. It is implicit that the tri-weekly hookups and emotionally intimate post-coital chats are not the beginning stages of something more serious, but the ultimate destination.
In a situationship, it is imperative for both parties to appear as “chill” as humanly possible. Even when you find yourself throwing your phone in the corner so you don’t check your messages and wondering if God really does give his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers, every emotion must be expressed in terms of “all good” and “no worries.” The politics of situationships may seem like pure anarchy, so I’ve crafted a list of dos and don’ts to help you navigate your very own.
1. Don’t eat together in the dining hall unless it is a middle-of-the-night brain break snack. Only get a middle-of-the-night brain break snack after you’ve hooked up.
2. Don’t make plans more than three hours in advance.
3. Don’t make plans during daylight hours.
4. Don’t initiate again if you initiated the most recent hook-up. Instead, weasel around to get intel on if they’re going out that night. Take your best guess and head to the party you think you’ll find them at, whether or not you are invited.
5. Do make sure everyone in your peripheral social circle knows you are hooking up with them.
6. Do make lots of small talk with their roommate when you see them around campus. That way, their roommate will tell your situationship that they saw you and they will discover that you also exist during the daytime.
7. Do give them a subtle nod when you see them around campus. Stopping to chat is not very chill.
8. Only sleep over if you’re in a quad-river situationship.
9. Do share all your trauma after you have sex with them.
10. Do offer to therapize them in return.
11. Do hook up one to three times a week, mostly on weekends.
12. Don’t text them aside from making plans to hook up.
13. Don’t worry if you don’t see them one weekend.
14. Do worry if you don’t see them for two weekends.
15. Do assume they are seeing other people — maybe another situationship, plus randos here and there. (They are probably not seeing other people.)
16. Do tell them it’s “all g” if they don’t respond to a late-night “wyd” text but message you the next morning that they fell asleep.
17. Do brainstorm who else you think they might be hooking up with.
18. Do take the path of maximal aloofness.
19. Do expect some particularly nauseating moments. You may get word that they’re also hooking up with your ex’s other ex. They might ignore your text but post on their Instagram story.
20. Do repeat the above steps for one to three semesters.
During particularly nauseating moments, when you are anxiously wondering if they still like you, ask yourself if you actually like them. If they stop hitting you up, let them. Stop hitting them up too.
But if you just can’t stop stalking their Venmo, Co-Star, and Spotify accounts, and just don’t feel like letting it go, ignore all of the above steps. Though you may fear the damnation of their group chat calling you crazy, there is arguably nothing crazier than what you’ve already been doing for the past one to three semesters. So I have a final piece of advice for you:
Do call them a billion times, message their mom on Facebook, slide a love letter under their door, and hook up with all their blockmates.
— Staff writer Josie F. Abugov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @_JosieJo.