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The talking stage is an early period of dating where you’re still getting to know each other without having a clear direction.
Maybe you’ll get into a relationship, maybe you won’t…
The talking stage isn’t just about talking either. You could be going to restaurants or having sex. It’s just that you haven’t yet put a label on what you have.
Some people think that the talking stage is simply dating, but without the expectations and pressures that usually come with the term “dating.”
You’re interested in each other, but you aren’t yet sure whether you want to pursue that interest and get into something serious. So, you’re talking about things and waiting to see where it goes.
How long should the talking stage last? There’s no right answer to this question, because it’s different for everyone. Some will be in the talking stage for a week or even days, while for some it will last a few months.
This is the stage where you’re just testing the waters without knowing for sure whether you want to be with the person that you’re talking to. In addition, you could be in the talking stage with several other people.
Being in this stage means that you’re not yet exclusive, you’re not even officially dating.
Keep reading to find out how to recognize the talking stage and turn it into a relationship.
8 Signs That You’re In The Talking Stage
1. You recently met.
This stage is the period between meeting each other for the first time and starting to date. So, if you’ve recently met and there’s clearly something going on between the two of you, but you can’t yet put your finger on it, you’re in the talking stage.
Feelings are probably not yet involved, but you are romantically interested in each other. You’ve recently met, and you don’t yet know whether you want to start dating officially. But, there are definitely some sparks flying around whenever you see each other.
2. You’re not yet dating, but you’re considering it.
You haven’t talked about being exclusive yet, but you are considering getting involved. Maybe you already got involved in some way, but you’re not dating just yet.
It’s too soon to tell where you are going, but you are thinking about it. It’s clear that you’re both considering dating even though you haven’t discussed things yet.
You try to be cool about it and take your time, but you’re both wondering whether it will turn into something serious, fizzle out, or even end with ghosting. Attraction definitely exists, but whether you’ll pursue it is still to be determined.
3. You’re not exclusive.
Being in the talking stage means that you’re not exclusive. You could be in the talking stage with several different people at the same time. However, you should be honest about this.
Your partner should not be under the impression that you’re only talking to them if that’s not the case. If you get involved sexually with someone, it should be clear whether you are exclusive or not.
The talking stage is a confusing period where you can act as if you’re dating without actually dating. So, try to be honest with everyone involved and don’t go breaking any hearts.
4. You’re not sure of their feelings and intentions.
You know that this person is interested in you romantically, but do they like you? Do they want to be with you? Are they in love with you? Are any feelings involved? Could there be feelings in the future?
The talking stage comes with many questions and few answers. You could try talking to your crush about it, but, chances are, they don’t know the answers either. You’re both just testing the waters and checking your temperature to determine how you feel and what you want from each other.
5. You’re not sure of your own feelings and intentions.
It’s not just that you’re usure about their feelings; you are confused about your feelings too. Do you want a serious relationship with them? Are you into them enough? Could you have a healthy relationship? Are you infatuated or in love?
You’re simply not sure how you feel. You know that there’s something there, but it’s yet to be determined what it really is.
Being in the talking stage is not a situation where one partner takes advantage of the other. You’re both equally unsure and need more time to see if you’re right for each other.
6. You don’t know how it will end.
There are many possible outcomes, and you don’t know which one it will be. Sure, the talking stage could end in a serious relationship, but it could also end in ghosting.
Somehow, ghosting is tolerated in the talking stage. After all, the person ghosting you didn’t make any promises, and you knew that they might opt-out at some point.
It still hurts to get ghosted though, but it’s an outcome that you should be prepared for just in case it happens. Things might work out instead, and you could end up in a happy, healthy relationship. But, it’s important not to have too many expectations.
7. You act as if you are dating but haven’t put a label on it yet.
You talk, go out, spend quality time together, have sex, meet each other’s friends, and go on dates. But, even if you have talked about where things are going, without a proper label, you are still in the talking stage.
8. You are not committed and not sure that you will be, but you are interested.
You’re avoiding putting a label on what you have because you’re not sure that you want to commit to each other even though you’re interested. That’s totally fine—just make sure it’s okay with both of you.
The talking stage is not the same as casual sex, but it does allow casual sex because both people involved aren’t ready to commit yet. It prevents the potential heartbreak of assuming that you’re serious before you actually get serious.
10 Do’s And Don’ts Of The Talking Stage
1. DO be yourself and be honest.
Be your authentic self with the person that you’re “not dating.” Impress and charm them with your best qualities, not lies and exaggerations.
Since you’re just in the talking stage, you might be tempted to pretend that you’re something you’re not. After all, if they never get serious with you, they’ll never find out that you pretended.
However, what if they fall for you and opt for something real? You want them to love you for who you are, not for who you pretended to be to impress them.
2. DO flirt and hint that you want more.
A big part of the talking stage is flirting, so don’t skip this step. Make eye contact, touch them, tease them, and make them laugh.
If you want a bigger commitment, give them subtle hints. Make sure that they’re subtle though, because you don’t want to scare them away.
If you’re only interested in casual sex, find a way to let them know that just the same. Keep in mind that you might not both be equally emotionally invested during this stage.
3. DO take things slowly.
Don’t be one of those people who assumes that they’re in a serious relationship after two days of talking to each other. Don’t rush to get into something serious.
Remind yourself that you need to figure out whether you want to be with this person, not just the other way around. Get to know each other and take things slow.
4. When it gets serious, DO talk about expectations, goals, and exclusivity.
You can’t stay stuck in limbo forever. If things get serious and you start having feelings for them, initiate a conversation to find out where you stand.
If you’re not okay with the talking stage anymore, feel free to request a label. You don’t have to be in a serious relationship right away but talk about your expectations, goals, and exclusivity.
Agreeing that you’re going to be exclusive—and having a mutual goal and expectation of it leading to something more—is a great start.
5. DO respect each other.
You need to respect each other throughout all this. Even though you’re not yet in a relationship, there needs to be a certain level of respect between you.
Don’t betray their trust. If things don’t work out between you, and you’ve shared some secrets with each other during the talking stage, keep those secrets.
6. DON’T have expectations.
You shouldn’t expect too much from the talking stage, and it might be the very reason why this term exists. Dating comes with expectations, pressure, and potentially hurt feelings.
The talking stage eliminates these things by pointing out that you’re not yet dating. High expectations often lead to disappointment and even heartbreak, so hope for the best but don’t expect anything.
7. DON’T be afraid to talk about your feelings when you need to.
Talk about your feelings with this person and point out when you don’t agree with something that’s happening. In the talking stage, you’re supposed to see where it goes, but at some point, you might become tired of the unknown.
Open up if you’re into this person and you don’t know where they stand. When you’re not okay with something anymore, tell them about it, even if you’re not okay with being in the talking stage any longer.
8. DON’T wait too long to put a label on what you have.
Put effort into moving forward with this person, even during the talking stage. You’ll sense that you’re moving forward despite not officially dating.
However, don’t get stuck in the talking stage forever either. When it’s time to have a discussion about where things are heading, bring it up and put a label on what you have or end things.
9. DON’T talk about the past too much.
You need to let go of the past to be able to be with someone in the present, even if you’re not yet in a relationship. Focus on the present and don’t talk too much about your past, especially your exes.
Avoid speaking negatively about your exes, because no one likes to hear that. Mentioning your past experience with dating is fine, and actually, it is something that you must do. However, no one wants to know all the dirty details.
10. DON’T have sex before commitment if you seek commitment.
Getting sexually involved during the talking stage is entirely up to you. Yes, it is allowed. However, if you’re looking for something serious with this person, it might be best to wait until you are committed to get sexually involved.
If you just want to have a great time with them, no one’s stopping you. But make sure not to get your heart broken.
If you get attached to people you sleep with, and you probably do, don’t have sex until you’re ready to get attached and know that you can safely do so.
5 Signs That The Talking Stage Is Going Well
1. You’ve met their friends and/or family.
When you start to integrate into this person’s life, it’s a great sign. They’ll introduce you to their friends, or even family members, and it shows that they want to keep you in their life.
You will spend a lot of time alone together. After all, taking the time to learn more about each other is the point of all this. However, if you also hang out with each other’s friends together, you’re on the road to a bigger commitment.
2. You’re making progress.
Due to your undefined status, there might be some inconsistency in the amount of time you spend together. You’ll wonder when you’ll hear from them or whether you’ll come off looking needy if you call them.
However, after the initial nervousness and worries, the two of you should become more and more comfortable with each other. It will become natural to expect a message from them and to see them consistently.
If things are going steady and moving forward, you’re definitely making progress, even if you’re still in the talking stage.
3. You’re talking about where you’re headed.
The clearest sign that the talking stage is going well is if you openly talk about your relationship. You discussed where things are headed and agreed that you’re interested in something serious even though you might not be ready for it yet.
If the person you’re with doesn’t want to commit to you, they’ll awkwardly avoid talking about it. Alternatively, if they’re comfortable talking openly about their feelings and your future, you’re off to a great start!
4. You’re openly interested in each other on social media.
How public is your relationship? You definitely shouldn’t change your relationship status on social media just yet, but what if they’re fine with hinting that you’re an item?
Maybe you’re active on each other’s social media profiles and even post pictures together. While you shouldn’t do this without their knowledge, if they’re fine with it, it’s a great sign!
They don’t mind if people start thinking that you’re together even though you’re not officially a couple yet. That indicates that they want to start officially dating eventually.
5. You try new things and feel safe in the relationship.
Has your relationship gotten boring even before it officially started? Maybe you have already fallen into patterns—this is not a great sign.
Instead, if the time you spend together is exciting, and you’re both eager and willing to try new things, it might work out! Getting to know someone new should be fun and exciting, and you’re supposed to feel safe in the relationship.
People can get anxious in the talking stage, but if most of the time you feel happy and calm in your romance, it’s a great sign!
5 Signs That The Talking Stage Isn’t Going Well
1. You don’t share the same values.
You and your partner should have the same core values, beliefs, goals, and even interests if possible. If things aren’t that way in the talking stage, they are highly unlikely to change once you get into a relationship.
Both of you are probably aware of this, so if you’re too different, you’re not going to get into a serious relationship. You might still want to have some fun together, but if you disagree on the most important things in life, it’s not going to work out.
2. They’re hinting that it’s not going anywhere.
Has your potential partner started hinting that you shouldn’t get your hopes up? Maybe they talk to you about other people that they’re interested in or they point out your differences.
Either way, if this person thinks that they won’t ever commit to you, they’ll let you know in subtle ways. Just like you can sense when someone is super into you, you can sense when someone is not that interested. Pay attention and notice the signs to avoid any surprises.
3. You’re the only one putting effort into it.
You always text them first, and you’re the one who suggests that you see each other in person. In general, you are putting all the effort into keeping them around.
This is a clear sign that things aren’t going well, and you are highly unlikely to end up in a relationship with them, at least a healthy relationship. Both of you should put an equal amount of energy into making this work; otherwise, it’s not going to work.
4. You don’t go on real dates.
Do you go on actual dates? Have they asked you to hang out with their friends? Do they invite you to parties? Or do you just show up at their place when you get a booty call?
Maybe you don’t ever do anything serious, you just meet up for casual sex or a make-out session. If this is so, you might not even be in the talking stage, you might simply be having casual sex.
A person who wants to have something more later on isn’t going to settle just for sex. You’ll go on dates and do all sorts of things that will help you to get to know each other well enough to decide whether you want to move things forward.
5. You are confused and/or bored.
Maybe you’re confused because, for a few weekends you have a great time with them, and then they don’t reach out to you until weeks later. Maybe they act hot and cold, and there are constant ups and downs.
This is a sign that things aren’t working out. As already mentioned, there’ll be consistency if things are moving forward. Instead of being confused, you might already be bored—or they are. When you start flirting with each other and spending time together purely out of boredom, it’s better to give up on the whole thing.
How To Get Out Of The Talking Stage: 10 Tips
1. Be cool and positive, not desperate and needy.
If you act a little clingy or needy, rest assured that they’ll notice, and it will push them away. Stay cool and calm, and be fun to be around. Try to be uplifting and positive, not desperate and needy.
Reach out to them, but when you don’t get a response, don’t send a follow-up message. Don’t just act cool, be cool.
So, don’t freak out because they didn’t text you back or don’t want to see you as often as you’d like. When you do see them and text them, simply be positive and fun.
2. Don’t be the one who starts every conversation.
You can text them first and initiate a conversation, but don’t always do this. Let them text you first as often as you reach out to them. When your crush initiates a conversation with you, it will feel much better than if you just get a short response to your message.
Let them come to you instead of chasing them. When you do text first or respond to their message, remember to be fun, positive, and witty. You can send them a funny meme and playfully flirt with them.
3. Have a fulfilling life and focus on yourself.
Work on achieving your goals, improving yourself, getting better at your hobbies, and dedicate enough time to anything else that you have going on! Have a fulfilling life and focus on yourself instead of obsessing over the person that you might or might not be dating.
When you’re too busy to respond to their text or see them, keep doing what you’re doing and get back to them later! You can also keep them informed about your fulfilling life. Mention the things that you have going on rather than always flirting with them.
4. Show interest in their passions.
You should pursue your passions, and they are probably doing the same thing. So, find out more about what interests them. Maybe there are things that you can do together.
Don’t simply pretend that you’re interested in the same things that they are. Give those things a chance, and if you happen to like them, get involved in the same hobby.
Be honest about your likes and dislikes. If you don’t like the same things that they do, that’s okay.
As long as you show interest in their passions, you’re doing fine. However, keep an open mind and be willing to try new things, even if it is not something that would usually interest you.
5. Don’t talk about your feelings too much.
You can talk about your feelings, but try not to mention commitment too early on. If you’re done with the whole talking stage, and you want to know where you stand, ask them. However, if you can go with the flow for a bit longer, try to.
Commitment can be a scary word, and if you don’t want to risk scaring them away, you might want to wait for them to mention it first. Once your crush initiates the conversation about getting serious, you’ll know that you’re going somewhere with them.
Of course, if neither of you mention it when it’s clear you both want things to go that way, you can be the one to initiate the conversation.
6. Suggest fun date ideas.
Dinner and a movie is fine as a date, occasionally, but when it’s the only type of date that you go on, it gets boring. Suggest fun date ideas, and try to pick something that will give you a chance to talk more. Go thrift shopping, visit the zoo, or try kayaking.
Share exciting new experiences, and you are likely to bond over them and enjoy each other’s company more. Don’t just chill at their place or at your place. Go out there and discover plenty of fun things to do together.
7. Give them space.
You should understand your partner’s need for alone time, even if they’re not yet your partner. If you want them to be one, you’ll need to show them that you’re not going to suffocate them in the relationship. Give them time and space to do their own thing.
If you’re still in the talking stage with them, they’re not yet your partner, so don’t give them the benefits of being in a relationship with you. Once they commit to you, they can get the whole thing. But, for now, just show that you’re a fun person who needs time and space to do their own thing too.
8. Don’t rush.
Don’t push them to commit to you or to spend more time with you. Try to simply go with the flow and see what happens. Take things slow and let things develop naturally.
Don’t rush into opening up either. If you keep a veil of mystery around yourself, you’ll be more interesting to them. You don’t owe them all the information about you right away, so keep some things to yourself.
Don’t forget that they’re not the only one who’s still thinking about whether you should be in a relationship. You have to do the thinking too, so don’t get carried away—stay cool.
9. Pull away if they do.
As you’ve already learned, the talking stage can sometimes end in one person ghosting the other. Even though it can seem like it, ghosting doesn’t usually come out of nowhere.
Normally, the person will start pulling away before ghosting you completely. When they pull away, don’t chase them even more. Instead, you should back off too.
If they aren’t making new plans with you, don’t text them. If they give you short and cold responses when you text them, stop replying.
See if they will change their behavior after that, and if they still don’t reach out to you, move on. Pull away if you see red flags too. Trust your gut, and if you smell something fishy get some distance.
10. Talk about labels.
In the end, the only real way to successfully get out of the talking stage and into a relationship is to discuss the future. The talking stage is all about avoiding labels, so once it’s time for that label, the talking stage ends.
Talk about where you’re headed, and see if you’re on the same page. After all, committing to someone is not really that scary. Deciding whether you want to be with someone requires consideration, but it doesn’t take a lot of time.
Usually, people know pretty quickly whether they could be in a relationship with someone or not. So, don’t stay in the talking stage forever.
If they don’t initiate the conversation, and it’s been a while, you can bring it up. Their reaction will give you a good idea about where you stand with them, even if they don’t tell you directly.
They don’t have to use the words “I don’t want to be in a serious relationship with you” for you to realize it’s not going to happen. Read the signs and trust your instincts.
Still not sure how to get out of the talking stage and into a committed relationship? It’s not an easy situation to be in, and it might be all the more difficult if you don’t have anyone to talk to about it. Talking to someone is a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to you and offer tailored advice to help you get the talking stage right so that you can move into a relationship with that person.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
If you’ve gotten stuck in the talking stage before and don’t know how to move a relationship forward into a committed, exclusive partnership, don’t try to muddle through by yourself like so many people do. Have an expert guide you and you’ll be far more likely to get the outcome you are looking for.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.
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