The “Talking” Stage: What is it actually?


Alma Torres with her boyfriend of a year attending the Academy Prom. They “talked” for a while before they began dating.

Talking, Dating, What’s the difference between the two, if any? In the past couple of years, a new form of dating has become a household name for teenagers around the U.S. Confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the term, Urban Dictionary defines talking as “When two people are not exclusive with each other nor have established what they are as a couple, but have some sort of relationship.” Talking is also described as the instance when an individual “has a thing” with someone but lacks any sort of commitment.

Comparable to courting of another time, the “talking” stage may hold different meanings for people. Talking is the period of texting, development of feelings, and hanging out with another person before officially dating. The description of this stage is why many adults argue that it is the parallel of dating. The question of whether a couple is exclusive or if they are even considered a “couple” to the public are questions that may cause fighting and awkward conversations. Defining the relationship (DTR) is a conversation that is essential to any “talking” relationship and is either a source of great excitement or confusion.

An Academy senior Jenny* shared, “A boy I had been talking to throughout the summer was clearly trying to DTR over text and as we were having the conversation I was sending my friend screenshots and accidentally sent one to him. I was mortified and he was angry because he thought our conversation should be private, but in reality I was just confused because I thought we were already official. Clearly we were not on the same page.”

Eventually, the two decided to put aside any conflict and remain friends but at the cost of tension and strain in their previous friendship.

Many say that they enjoy the talking phase more than the actual dating because of the chase, followed by the realization that the couple is ready to date as does the slight hesitation to commit. Every “talking” relationship reaches the make or break point, will the couple go on to make things official or will it end?

Senior Kelsea Henry with her current boyfriend at Junior homecoming, just before they began dating.
Senior Kelsea Henry with her current boyfriend at Junior homecoming, during the “talking” stage just before they began dating.

Senior Avery Stanchewski relates to the hesitation to commit, “ I didn’t know if I wanted to define the relationship yet after three months of talking, because I really liked where we were and I didn’t want to start dating until I knew it was going to last.”

Miscommunication can make or break a relationship in the talking stage. Since boundaries and titles are not established, it is very easy for someone to mistakenly cross a line.

Senior Maria Zeno shared,” When you are talking, you first realize that you start liking someone and may get a little mad/jealous over something small but are scared to say something because you are not “official” and don’t know your place.”

Many criticize that the talking stage is a form of being ‘stuck’, a netherworld with all the benefits of a relationship without total commitment. Despite the confusion that comes with “talking”, it can be a period of great happiness and self-exploration for a couple on the verge of dating.

* denotes name has been changed