The Ultimate Guide to the Talking Stage

The Talking Stage blog cover

If you’ve heard of the ‘talking stage,’ but you’re not sure what it is, you’ve come to the right place. The talking stage is the period of time when you’re getting to know someone and figuring out if you want to date. Essentially, it’s that pre-dating phase where you are working out if it could be more than friends.

One defining characteristic of the talking stage is that there aren’t any labels. You’re not dating, you’re not seeing each other, and you’re not in a relationship. You’re just talking.

The talking stage can be quite awkward or uncomfortable at times because you’re not sure if the other person is interested in you, and you don’t know where things are going.

Despite its name, this stage is just as much about listening as it is about talking. This is crucial in order to understand each other and figure out if you have the potential for a relationship.

Even though the talking stage is a new term, the concept itself is nothing new. In fact, there is always a talking stage to some extent. But the talking stage nowadays tends to last longer compared to before. Gen Z, in particular, is more likely to shun labels, and so this ‘pre-dating,’ undefined phase is now more noticeable.

The difference between the talking stage vs. seeing somebody

Couple talking

The talking stage is different from seeing somebody. When you are seeing someone, there are certain expectations of togetherness, but during the talking stage, it’s more casual. For example, during the talking stage, there isn’t any kind of commitment that would suggest you see each other regularly. However, there are expectations of meeting up when you are seeing someone.

Another key difference is that during the talking stage, there aren’t any expectations from other people about your relationship. As far as your family, friends, and colleagues are aware, you’re just friends.

How to navigate the talking stage

The talking stage can be confusing, but it is ultimately an important step in any relationship. It allows both parties to get to know each other first and figure out if a relationship is right for them.

We’ll now share some tips on how to navigate the talking stage.

1. Stay grounded. First, you need to stay grounded during this phase to avoid getting caught up in the idea of this person. When you’re getting to know someone, and there’s the possibility that you’ll date in the future, you can end up idolizing them. Remind yourself that they’re only human. They have flaws, too, and you haven’t seen how they treat you when you are dating yet. So when you catch yourself daydreaming about your love interest, remind yourself that there’s still a lot more you need to understand about them before you can be sure that you see a future together.

2. Don’t rush into anything. Take your time to get to know the person before jumping into a relationship. It’s much better to spend time getting to know each other before making any commitments. The talking stage is a fundamental time period in a relationship because it allows you to understand each other. It also enables you to figure out what your dynamic would be like together. People are complex beings and you’ll uncover more of each other’s personalities as things progress. There’s no need to rush it.

Couple talking

3. Be mindful of balance. During the talking stage, you should be mindful of how much you’re investing in them and keep your options open. You should make sure that you are investing on a similar level to how much they are investing in you. If you find yourself putting in much more effort, pull back. This will reduce the risk of you getting hurt if things don’t move forward after the talking stage.  This isn’t about playing games — it’s about taking care of yourself and only investing in people who appreciate you.

4. Stay open to dating other people. Dating other people, or at least staying open to dating other people, is also important during the talking stage. Essentially, there is zero commitment from either side, so don’t act like there is by closing off other options. This will help you keep things fun and if the relationship isn’t meant to be, you won’t be left feeling like you missed out on other dating opportunities. It also helps you to maintain perspective and not get too attached to one person.

5. Focus on yourself. The talking stage shouldn’t be all about the other person. Make sure you prioritize yourself and your own needs during this period, too. It’s important to take care of yourself and your own mental health. This could involve focusing on hobbies, work, or interests outside of the relationship. This will help you to stay grounded, focused, and in control of your own emotions. It can make you more attractive. After all, we all want to be with someone who has a fun life and is passionate about their own interests and goals.

6. Have fun! It can be easy to overthink things and worry during the talking stage, particularly if you really like someone. But it’s important to remember to have fun and enjoy yourself! You won’t ever get this time back. Do you really want to spend it stressing about whether the other person likes you or not? Enjoy each other’s company and take time to do things that bring you both joy. In addition, staying confident and having a good time can be very attractive to the other person. If they’re not right for you, there will be other people out there who you’ll be more compatible with.

The talking stage can be an exciting time, but it’s important to manage it in the right way. By following these tips, you can maximize your chances of the talking stage playing out as it should.

Taking stage FAQs

We’ll finish off by looking at some talking stage FAQs.

How long does the talking stage last?

The length of the talking stage can vary greatly depending on the situation. It might last a few days, weeks, or months. In some cases, it can even last years. For example, if you are colleagues or you’ve been friends for a long time.

Couple talking

Ultimately, the talking stage is about getting to know each other and deciding whether or not you want to take things to the next level. Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule about how long you should wait before making things official.

A good rule of thumb is to bring up the conversation when you’re clear about your feelings toward the other person.  If you’re still unsure, it’s better to take your time before making a decision.

Of course, your love interest may bring up the conversation before you do. That’s okay, too. Just make sure that both of you communicate openly and be clear about your expectations.

What happens at the end of the talking stage?

There comes a time during any talking stage when one or both people make the decision about how to move forward. On one hand, this could mean that the relationship progresses to a deeper level, which is usually great news.

If this is the case, make sure you’re both clear about what type of relationship you are transitioning into and what each person expects from the other. It’s important to establish boundaries at this stage so that you can build a strong foundation for the future.

Figure out together whether you’ll give your relationship a label. Are you now ‘seeing’ each other, ‘exclusive’, or formally ‘in a relationship’? By being clear about what this next phase means, you can avoid any confusion further down the line.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that one or both parties decide to end the relationship at this point. This can be an incredibly painful experience, depending on how attached you became to each other and the extent of the connection you felt.

Ending things during the talking stage is often hard, but it’s better than continuing something that’s not going to work.

Why does a talking stage breakup hurt so much?

A talking stage breakup hurts so much because you’ll often have developed a deep bond with that person. Just because you weren’t officially together, it doesn’t mean that it counts for nothing.

It’s common for people to share a strong connection during the talking stage. When you have a talking stage breakup, all the possibilities with that person evaporate, which can be hard to deal with.

A talking stage breakup can be similar to a relationship breakup if you really like them. There is a sense of loss of what could have been.

If you’ve projected qualities onto the person that aren’t there, this can make it even harder to cope with a talking stage breakup. This would mean you had an idealized vision of what the relationship could have been, and you may feel a lot more pain when it ends.

You should give yourself space to grieve the loss, but you want to avoid overthinking things. The best thing you can do is to live life to the fullest. Pursue your passions, meet new people, chase your dreams, practice self-care, and spend time with your loved ones.

Final thoughts on the talking stage

If you’ve heard people discussing the talking stage, or if you’ve seen references to the term on social media, but you weren’t sure what the talking stage was, we hope that this post clears things up for you.

As we mentioned at the beginning, the talking stage is nothing new. It’s not some complex dating phenomenon that you need to be worried about.

If you follow our tips, you should be able to make it through the talking stage in the best possible way. Sure, that might not mean ending up in a relationship with everyone you have a talking stage with, but that’s just part of the dating process.

Finally, share this post with any friends or family members who are also trying to navigate the talking stage. And read our post on relationship red flags if you’ve noticed any concerning behaviors while dating.

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