As if dating wasn’t hard enough, there’s a relatively new concept in the relationship world that seems to get people’s attention more and more.
It’s called the talking stage and it doesn’t involve dating, well… not necessarily.
The truth is that the rules of this relationship phase are not set in stone. In fact, there are many variables that you should consider before agreeing to be in the talking stage with someone.
Fair warning: There’s no guarantee the talking stage will lead to a romantic relationship.
That’s why it’s essential to learn what the talking stage is really about, and, most importantly, to find out how long it should last before moving to the next stage or calling it quits.
- The talking stage is considered a Gen Z innovation
- It is a pressure-free way to get to know someone
- It usually lasts between 2 weeks and 2 months
- It may lead to a serious relationship or go nowhere
What is the talking stage?
Simply put, the talking stage is an undefined period of time during which two people have the chance to get to know each other without making any commitment to each other.
Mainly considered a Gen Z innovation, this concept goes beyond what Millenials tried to do and that’s to draw a clear line between casual dating and being in an exclusive relationship.
The talking stage isn’t about either. It actually precedes the dating stage, which means that if everything goes well during this stage, the couple is expected to move on to the dating stage.
However, there’s a catch: You can go through this stage with more than one person at a time. In other words, you can try to see if you click with many guys or girls because there are no rules about that.
In fact, as mentioned before, there is no guarantee that the talking stage will lead to an exclusive or committed relationship sometime in the future.
Unless you express your desire for that to happen and take the needed steps to succeed, you might be stuck in this phase.
What is the point of the talking stage?
The point of this stage is for two people to get a better understanding of each other and see if they are compatible before they start dating.
It’s like a test run for both parties that may or may not be based on talking only. You see, since this concept is not fully defined yet, its ambiguity allows people to go as far as they want.
This means that you can do a lot more than just talk to your love interest(s). You may go out with them without labeling your outing as a date.
You may even have sex with them, without allowing that to change anything between the two of you. Basically, you can live an entire relationship simulation during this stage.
In this regard, for the talking stage to actually benefit you, you have to set boundaries with your crush(es).
In other words, your love interest may want to keep things simple and only talk through texts, on the phone, and on social media for a while, while you may want to skip some steps and get physically intimate with them.
That’s why talking about how far you both want to go would be a good idea. The talking stage shouldn’t last very long anyway.
How long should the talking stage last?
So far, you’ve learned that the talking stage can include anything from just talking to doing things together as a couple without defining your relationship, including getting physically intimate.
But, how long should this stage last? How long should you allow yourself and your love interest to get to know each other and decide whether you want to be together?
Most relationship experts agree that this phase should last between 2 weeks and 2 months.
According to them, this timeframe is enough to find out basic information about the other person and observe their behavior in various situations such as when they are sick, or during the holidays.
Having the DTR talk earlier than 2 weeks is not recommended because experts believe that’s not enough time to figure out if you share the same values and principles with the other person.
These are not exactly light topics to talk about, so don’t expect them to come up in the first two weeks of the talking stage.
Of course, each couple is different. Even so, these general relationship guidelines are effective for most of us.
However, it is advisable to try to get out of this stage only after you paint a clear picture of the other person in your mind, as well as see how they react when they’re sad, jealous, or hungry.
You can do this after one month if you’re sure of your feelings and you already know what commitment means to them.
Waiting for 2 months would be ideal though because most psychologists agree that few people can maintain a fake image for that long.
While we’re at it, what should you do and what should you not do during this phase? Here’s what:
Dos and Don’ts for the Talking Stage
- Build a connection with each other
- Discover shared values and beliefs
- Assess your emotional readiness
- Explore the chemistry between you two
- Avoid being too serious with them
- Don’t express your disinterest
- Hold off on making long-term plans
- Refrain from making demands
How to Move on from the Talking Stage?
The talking stage is so popular among Gen Z because it puts no pressure on them and it usually evolves into a committed relationship in a natural way.
According to a study done on the language of modern romance, 23% of all responders believe that kissing marks the beginning of a relationship.
An impressive 42% of all responders think that getting with someone means they’ve started dating them.
Even so, it’s up to you and your love interest to decide when to start dating officially. Keep this in mind, though: you don’t need longer than 2 months!
Whenever you’re ready, here are a few ways to get out of the talking stage:
1. Start flirting with your crush
If you kept things simple and you didn’t go on dates with your crush just yet, you can start flirting with them to suggest your intentions.
You can do so by paying them compliments and by being playful. It’s really not that hard to flirt via text when you can choose your words carefully.
However, if you’re not good with words, don’t worry! You can always send them a few suggestive emoticons. If they haven’t been living under a rock lately, they’ll get the point.
In case you also have the opportunity to flirt with them in person, go for it! Put a bright smile on your face, make eye contact with them, and get closer to them physically.
Don’t underestimate the importance of open body language either: don’t cross your arms, point your feet at them, and look sexy!
2. Plan casual outings together
You want to move on from the talking stage, but you don’t want to scare them away by using the word “date”.
If that’s true, then you can start planning casual outings together. By now you should have a good idea about what they like and what you two have in common.
So, it shouldn’t be difficult at all to think of something. On top of that, take this as an opportunity to test the chemistry between the two of you with an activity that includes physical contact.
What’s more, casually hanging out with each other gives you both the chance to get more familiarized with each other and feel more comfortable in each other’s presence.
3. Express your feelings for them
At this point, you have no reasons to keep playing games. The talking stage was enough for you to realize that you have feelings for him or her.
So, it’s time to express your feelings for them and get a better understanding of what they feel about you as well.
For example, you could say:
… I am really enjoying myself with you and would like to take things to the next level. How about you?
… I like spending time with you and I can see this going further. How are you feeling?
… I really like talking to you and I am ready for the next step. Are you?
Try to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t overwhelm them by saying things like “OMG I’m so in love with you I could die if I don’t see you now.”
While that’s definitely cute, if you want to play it safe, then express your feelings lightly.
4. Introduce them to your friends
Did you know that having a few close friends can benefit your romantic relationship?
In a study done on married couples, the scientists found out that reaching out to friends can reduce psychological stress.
Now, you might say, but we are not couple.
You’re right, but that’s not point here. But, just by introducing them to your friends, you’ll show them that you want them to be part of your life.
You’ll also show them that they are important to you and you are proud to introduce them to the people closest to you.
In time, if your relationship progresses in the desired direction, your friends and theirs can prove to be very helpful when trying to resolve a conflict between the two of you or provide support.
How do you know when the talking stage is over?
Many couples find that their relationship progresses naturally from the talking stage to the dating stage and to the committed relationship stage. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t certain signs that mark the end of the talking stage. Here are some of them:
1. You feel it in your gut that you’re both ready to move on to the next stage
At the beginning of any interaction, especially with a romantic interest, there are a lot of anxious feelings involved.
You don’t know what to expect from the other person, and you are curious to find out more about them.
However, as time goes by and you get to know each other, you start feeling more secure about your own feelings for them and seeing where your relationship is headed.
In other words, if things go great between the two of you, you will feel in your gut that you’re both ready for more.
Your gut feeling is important because it is capable of analyzing more data than you can consciously perceive.
2. Your love interest has confessed their feelings for you
If the person you are in the talking stage with has confessed their feelings for you, it means this phase is over for them.
They might want to officially date you, or commit to an exclusive relationship with you. Either way, if you feel the same way about them, it means this phase is also over for you.
How can you respond? Tell them what you feel about them, and ask for more details about how they see your future together.
3. They are ready to DTR and make it FBO
Not only has he or she confessed their feelings for you, but they’ve also said they are ready to define your relationship and make it Facebook official.
If this happens, it means you’re past the talking stage. At this point, there’s no going back unless you aren’t sure of your feelings for them or you think you’re not compatible.
The talking stage is a convenient way to get to know someone without making any commitment to them.
It lasts between 2 weeks and 2 months, and it may be limited to talking. However, some people treat this stage as a full-blown dating stage and they even get sexually intimate – while keeping things casual.
This is exactly why some men and women can see it as an opportunity to have multiple partners and not commit to any of them.
This phase should be fun and has the potential to help you find a suited boyfriend or girlfriend.
If you’ve tried the steps above and you still didn’t get the expected feedback from your crush, it might mean they’re not that into you or they’re not ready for the next phase.
Regardless of how difficult that may be to accept right now, look at the bright side: at least you didn’t waste more than 2 months on this person!