Emily asks: I’ve been seeing a guy casually, but I’m ready to step it up a notch. How do I let him know without coming across as clingy?


What are you, 5? A girl who has been seeing a guy for a while and wants it to become a committed relationship without coming across as clingy? Maybe you missed some social proprieties growing up (or you’ve been living under a rock), but the very definition of clingy* is a girl that wants to take things to the next level with a guy who thinks he’s in a carefree, string-free, commitment-free relationship. If he hasn’t informed you that he’s ready to progress to the next level, guess what: He’s not ready to progress to the next level.  

Sure, it sounds one-sided, but if you’re trying to avoid seeming clingy, don’t cling. On the other hand, if a monogamous relationship is something you want to pursue and this guy hasn’t yet signaled that he’s ready to move on, then move on.

I grew up with five sisters, and my biggest pet peeve was when they would come home crying because some guy was taking too long to develop feelings and establish the relationship. There are almost seven billion people on this planet, and there are over 60 million more men than there are women.  There are seven whole continents with 195 recognized countries and countless islands to shop for every kind of man you can think of.

It’s practically raining men (hallelujah!) so stop crying over one boy. Forever. There are far too many fish in the sea to worry about a single single guy’s inability to commit. Your man taking things too slow? Get a new one.   

No, you can’t fix him. Yes, you’ll look clingy if you try. If you can’t steer your ship through the tumultuous ocean of life because your anchor is dragging, don’t just stay there going nowhere: Cut your losses, and sail on to bold new horizons.

And if you can’t – if it’s too hard, if you like him too much, if you can’t live without him – well, then you’re just being clingy.

*Girls who googled “clingy” just to see what the actual definition is also googled “how to tell if my man is cheating,” “What Lies Beneath,” “feminist llama” and “tape recorders that look like pens.”


I don’t know when it started, or where it came from or why it happened, but the word “clingy” has officially ransacked the dating sphere and apparently all girls are in danger of having it stamped across their foreheads at any moment.  

There is some sort of balance game associated with dating where indifference lies on one end of the scale and stage-five clinger hangs out on the other end, and us chicks have to find an absolutely perfect balance to avoid scaring a guy away but to make sure the guy knows you’re interested. It’s a total pain in the butt. I wish I could say, “be natural! If he doesn’t like the real you, he’s not the right guy!” But that’s total crap.  

The first stages of dating are ALL ABOUT how you come across, what you think of each other, the right perfume, in other words: first impressions. In regards to the balance beam, I would say I lean heavily towards the indifference side. Some guys, months after all feelings have dissipated, have revealed to me that they gave up pursuit because they were totally sure I wasn’t into it.  

I may not be able to tell you how to stop being a clinger, but I can tell you this: Show SOME freakin’ emotion. You’ll lose entire opportunities if you insist on keeping your feelings behind the Great Wall of China. They do absolutely no good hidden away forever, you icy-cold wench.  

But, like I said, balance is key. As kitschy as it sounds, sprinkle the endearments. And make sure they really do convey attraction. Giggles don’t necessarily scream that you’re smitten. So, about not being clingy…

This is where I struggle to offer any valuable advice. To a degree, taking things to the next level IS becoming “clingier”; but I’m assuming you mean in the derogatory turn-off type of way that guys use the term. If you stick to compliments and comments that suggest that you would like to be taken out on a proper date or that you might be ready to become exclusive in the near future as opposed to “ONLY DATE ME EVER AND NEVER EVER TALK ABOUT OTHER GIRLS OR I’LL HUNT THEM WITH MY SPEAR”, I think you’re in the clear.