OK, people, for the record:
- An exchange with someone where the shape of your relationship remains uncertain, and the exchange is a way of figuring out what the two of you want
- An exchange with someone where you know the kind of relationship you're interested in, and your exchange is a way of finding out if that person is a good candidate for it
- An exchange with someone where the shape of your relationship is clearly established, and your exchange is a way of playing with those known parameters
All three processes have their place, but it's important that you're clear on which process you're doing, both with yourself and with your interlocutor.