It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number ninety-eight after its single release. The music video of the song was directed by Noble Jones which took place in Vanderbilt University. It premiered on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. The music video was met with mostly positive reception among music critics for its departure from music video high-school. "The Story of Us" was performed live in The Ellen DeGeneres Show and it was also included in the Speak Now World Tour set list. At the 2010 CMT Music Awards, held in June, Swift encountered an ex-boyfriend of hers. The two were seated a couple from each other, but were unwilling to speak to each other, although they both had much to say. As a result, they both acted as though they were heavily engaged in conversations with those surrounding them, individuals who Swift noted to be practically strangers.
Swift had the desire to confront him and ask him if the experience was as painful for him as it was for her. However, she did not do so because they both had "silent shields up". "We're sitting six seats away from each other and just fighting this silent war of ‘I don't care that you're here.' I don't care that you're here.' It's so terribly, heartbreakingly awkward", she said. She recalled it to be a miserable experience. When Swift arrived home, she spoke to her mother about the encounter, sitting at her kitchen table and said, "I felt like I was standing alone in a crowded room." She then stood up and ran towards her bedroom to compose "The Story of Us", something Swift's mother was already accustomed to. "The Story of Us" was the last track Swift composed for Speak Now, claiming that upon completing the song she knew she was done with the album. The song's subject was revealed by Swift to be the same for "Dear John", which is heavily speculated to be musician John Mayer.
Taylor Swift - The Story Of Us
Furthermore, Swift and Mayer both attended the 2010 CMT Awards. However, Swift is yet to confirm or deny the allegations. An exclusive package was released to Swift's official store including a "Speak Now" Black Leather Bracelet and an individually-numbered "The Story of Us" CD single. Only 2,500 copies of the CD single were made. Lyrically, the song narrates the awkwardness that takes place between two people after they break up. Chris Willman of Yahoo! Music thought the key lyrics of the song are "I'd tell you I miss you but I don't know how/I've never heard silence quite this loud" and also "I would lay my armor down, if you would say you'd rather love than fight." In a different perspective, Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly considered these couplets from the song, ("I used to know my place was the spot next to you / Now I’m searching the room for an empty seat / ‘Cause lately I don’t even know what page you’re on"), as one of the best couplets from Speak Now sheet. Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine claims that the song describes "a young woman who is at turns sharp and snide, but who is nonetheless defined by relationships."
Following the release of Speak Now, on the week ending November 13, 2010, "The Story of Us" debuted at number forty-one on the Billboard Hot 100; thus, it became one of the songs to make Swift the first act to have ten songs debut on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week. With the addition of "Mine", Swift had a total of eleven songs charting in one week, making Swift the female act to have the most songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week. Following its single release, the song re-entered Billboard Hot 100 at number ninety-eight on the week ending May 28, 2011. Since then, the song has peaked at number sixty-six on the week ending June 25, 2011. Internationally, "The Story of Us" has had moderate success. In Canada, the song debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 at number seventy on the week ending November 13, 2010. The song has also peaked at number fifteen on Belgian's Flemish Ultratip chart.
The video begins with shots of the library and a book called "The Story of Us". Swift narrates the story while standing between two bookshelves, sitting on a desk and lying across a table (and occasionally lying on top of "The Story of Us") with a stack of books next to her, as we see scenes flashing back and forth between her and her ex-boyfriend, students in the library, some school staff, and her band playing the song. The scenes between her and her ex start with a private meeting between the two in the school library, scenes where she is finding a place by herself without him in the library, to the awkward scene of finding him across the room from her. Swift hides behind a book she's holding when she notices her ex, then looks away pulling on her clothes and plays with her hair, in the attempt of not making him notice her. She doesn't notice that he noticed her too, later in the video, and was trying to avoid her too.
They both eventually catch each other looking and they awkwardly try to give each other a silent and distant "Hi" as the video cuts to a scene where we see Swift's ex cheating on her with another girl which caused the fall out between the two. Swift eventually gives the first "Hi" which he returns and both get up to confront the other. The video ends with a break out of the other classmates and staff joining in, the classmates throwing away their papers and they and the staff begin dancing to the song while both Swift and her ex are face to face with each other in a very awkward moment, both trying to say how the other feels, but eventually they both shrug at each other and walk away. The last shot is of Swift closing the book of "The Story of Us". The music video for "The Story of Us" was met with mostly positive reception among music critics.