Do you remember the days when letting out even the slightest hint of a crush would lead to a merciless interrogation by your classmates and peers?
Do you recall those days, maybe in grade five or six, when your life would become miserable as your friends chanted, “Phillip and Suzy sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G”? (This, of course, would only have been the case if both your name, and the name of your prospective suitor, was either Phillip or Suzy, but you get the point.) My fear is that many of us, despite our advancements in age, education and life experience, have failed to grow out of this immature attitude toward the prospect of romantic involvement.
Even in university, a place where we are supposed to grow up, find ourselves and be moulded into responsible adults, the knowledge that one of your friends “likes” another will cause their words to be examined, their actions scrutinized and both involved to become a popular topic of discussion. The problem here isn’t the discussion, it’s the manner of that discussion. No matter what, other people’s love lives will always be an interesting topic of conversation.
However, it’s not as though we gather with our friends and maturely evaluate the outlook of potential romantic intertwinements. Rather, we spend much of the time pointing out flaws in either (or both) partners, laughing at our friend’s newfound joy and excitement, or making crude jokes about their possible physical interactions.
I believe part of the problem is that our friends and peers have no time for transition. Their minds have to jump from knowing you as single, when school and friends are your top priority, to knowing you as pursing, or in, a romantic relationship, with very other priorities.
For this reason, I’ve created a term to bridge the gap and to describe the confusing intermediary period between singleness and romantic attachment: PRI (potential romantic interest), which can be used to describe someone, without embarrassment, as a person you have met and could possibly see a romantic future with, but by no means are you losing sleep over the prospect.
A person can acceptably have more than one PRI at a time. This is a great middle stage in romantic development. A person can become a PRI early or late, when you first meet or years into a friendship. Once a person is placed on the PRI list, he or she can be further examined and observed, and effort can be made to get to know them better.
From this stage, one can be dropped from the list, remain a PRI or move up to a full-fledged RI (romantic interest). A prospect can remain on the list for decades, or be dropped/moved up in a matter of hours.
The beauty of the PRI is that it’s nothing to be embarrassed of. No one can respectfully tease another person for having a PRI – we all have them. There is not one person who doesn’t have at least somebody they could possibly see romantic interest in. Now, when a bro turns to another bro and says, “Hey bro, what’s the deal with that girl?” it’s fine to hear a reply saying, “Oh, she’s a PRI”.
Romance takes time; it takes persistence and patience. Simply showing interest in getting to know someone further should no longer be reason for ridicule. Give your friends some time to transition.
Use the term ‘PRI’ and the romantic waters will be easier to navigate.