1. Don’t know each other.
3. Friends on Facebook.
4. Friends in Real Life.
5. “Just friends.”
6. NOT just friends. More than just friends. “It’s complicated” on Facebook.
8. “In a Relationship” on Facebook.
(11: Married on Facebook.)
-Frequently, “Friends on Facebook” precedes “Friends in Real Life,” but not always.
-Occasionally, “Dating” happens before “Friends on Facebook” or any of the other stages between the two. This is considered unhealthy. (So is proceeding from 1 to 10, skipping all the stages in between.)
-Skipping stages 3 and 8 is permissible. Real life relationships sometimes develop better in person, ya know? (Skipping stage 8 is not advisable. It tends to make for weddings that surprise family and friends.)
-Stage six is really weird. For that reason, it is often skipped. This is not recommended. “It’s Complicated” on Facebook isn’t required for it to be Complicated.
-Often, other stages are inserted between 7 and 9, including but not limited to regular status updates saying “I have such an awesome boy/girlfrienddddddd!!!!” The health of these stages has not yet been determined by the Surgeon General. (Though it does start to get annoying after a while.)
-One of these is stage 8.5: “Practically engaged.” This is not a particularly annoying stage. Occasionally, this stage occurs BEFORE stage 7. That changed order is unhealthy.
-Wise people have informed me that step 7 should last long, while step 9 should be as short as possible. However, good sources tell me that if you’re waiting more than about two or three years without a Really Good Reason NOT to advance from 7 to 9, you may want to go back to stage 5 or lower.
-Disney relationships tend to skip from 1 straight to 10. Curiously, they live happily ever after. …Unless Disney is short of cash and decides to create a sequel. Notable exceptions include Aladdin and The Lion King. Aladdin went from 2 to 9 (and 9 to 10 VERY quickly EDIT: Rachel Behrman tells me Aladdin and Jasmine hung out between stages 9 and 10 for two more movies. Not bad). The Lion King went through nearly the whole progression! (They only skipped 3, 8, and 9… but 7 was way shorter than it should’ve been.)
The Surgeon General has not evaluatated these statements.:
-There is one additional stage, known as Stage -10. Sometimes, difficulties in relationships lead to to stage -10: Don’t want to see each other again as long as they live. In my experience, usually it is dark secrets that propel a relationship to -10. The longer the relationship has gone on and the higher the stage, the more likely that a breakup will lead to the dreaded Stage -10. Often, breakups lead to other stages besides -10 (like -5, or -2, or even 3, 4, or 5. Fear of -10 is what keeps most guys from going from 5 to 6 or 7.
-Some relationships go straight to the bedroom from any (and I do mean ANY) stage. This is not recommended, as it tends to often (though not always) either 1) handicap the relationship and keep it at either its current stage or the one just above it, or 2) Send it to stage -10. Occasionally, the relationship will progress to 10. This is not the rule.