“So… what are we?” I whispered mid-make out.

This vague recollection haunted me during the weeks (OK, months) to follow while my best guy friend acted abnormally distant – and for good reason. Soberly, this question had hardly crossed my mind. I mean, I knew what we were: Good friends. And personally, the only labels I like are on wine bottles and handbags. However, after a couple too many vodka waters that proceeded a slumber party at my newly single friend’s house, apparently I needed some explanation. My boozy brain couldn’t process the blurred lines between friendly and extra-friendly. But if I would’ve been on the receiving end of those three little words I would want to act aloof as well.

In the 8 Reasons Why Every Girl Should Have Guy Friends post, I dissect the nature of semi-platonic relationships between members of the opposite sex. With some friends that “line” is never crossed and with others, it may as well be a game of hopscotch, playfully jumping the line to and fro. But my main reason for exposing this embarrassing “What are we?” tidbit is to share the outcome and lessons with anyone who has experienced something similarly shameful, i.e. tipsy texts, booty time gone bad, electronic love letters and the like.

Cooling-Off-Period

Outcome

It’s a year later and everything is peachy. Within a few months, our friendship had returned to normal: offering each other life advice, responding to texts in .2 seconds and witnessing him hit on girls without a care. The same thing has happened to me from time to time with other friends and/or crushes, and the same technique has always worked…

The Cooling Off Period

Cooling Off Period (n.): A duration of time in which communication is paused so both parties can forget an awkward event; similar to the annoying, old adage, “Time heals all.” Applies to friendships, coworkers, hookups and semi-boyfriends. Results in regained normalcy when the below guidelines are followed.

1) Decide whether you want to talk about it or not

Not talking about it is typically my default because silence assumes you’re unfazed even if you’re secretly chugging wine to ease your embarrassment. However, if you choose not to take the Ignorance is Bliss route, keep it short and sweet, like Twitter-status. For instance, if I had chosen to address the above scenario, I would’ve simply texted “Just remembered some of my crazy, drunk statements. Sorry about that – too many vodka waters.” This must be sent within the next 24 hours, and whatever you choose, stick to it – no drunken mentions of it in the weeks to follow.

2) Don’t act weird

The next time you see them, act cool, as if nothing happened. I’m guilty of impulsively acting weird and pouty if something like this is bothering me, especially if the other person is still acting distant. However, it’s important to be more involved with your friends than them and show that you’re still that chill, fun person.

Cooling-Off-Period-3

3) Have a goal in mind

When dieting (i.e. simply avoiding chocolate and alcohol), I always have a goal: “After I wear my Vegas dress, I get to eat a cupcake.” The same is true when avoiding normal interaction with someone. If I would’ve had an embarrassing Halloween hookup, I would’ve told myself to hold out until Thanksgiving to reach out to them, if I hadn’t heard from them in the meantime.

4) Resume communication nonchalantly

The first time you reach out to them again should be friendly and with a purpose, not something opened-ended like “Hey, how are you?” For instance, I used an upcoming entrepreneurship course he might be interested in as my icebreaker. If you’re not as nerdy, ask if they’re going to a local event (Octoberfest, fave DJ, etc.), seen the latest Breaking Bad or ask if they would like to join in a group activity (fitness class, etc). And if you’re into cards like me, a cute holiday card always comes in handy. They’ll assume everyone in your rolodex received one.

5) Repeat when necessary

Similar to any diet or cleanse, you’re bound to go on a sugar binge sometime again. But there’s no need to worry. You can always get back on track again.