As strung out as it may seem at times, we should never underestimate the importance of the talking stage. You put yourself out there by getting to know someone you are interested in but, you have no control over the outcome of your interactions. It does not matter how many people you decide to get to know, the talking stage is always mandatory. You cannot question why your feelings get hurt if you date one guy after the other without going through a talking stage first.
In order to truly get to know someone, you’ve got to talk to them. As obvious as this may sound, this includes phone calls and messages. Man cannot rely on WhatsApp alone. Calls facilitate the talking stage more than any other form of communication. This is a topic for a whole other blog post. When people vent about their disdain for the talking stage online, I cannot help but feel a little concerned. If you are not getting to know someone properly, (and by properly, I mean over a specific period of time) then what makes you so certain that they will be a suitable partner for you?
In this post, I am going to be talking about why the talking stage is important in any dating situation:
You learn more about the person you are talking to
The whole point of talking to someone you are interested in is to get to know them better. Getting to know someone takes time. This part of the process can’t be rushed, even if you decide to bombard the person you’re talking to with quiz style questions every time you speak. Learn how to let conversations flow. This will help to get past the awkward conversation phase. Too many people make the mistake of telling someone they like them and rushing straight to the dating phase and then wondering why things fizzle out quickly. When people talk, they reveal so much about themselves (good and er, not so good), so pay attention. In a previous blog post, I mentioned the Baggage Reclaim blog and the concept of the recruiter mindset. This is the time where you need to remind yourself of what it is you are looking for in a partner and this time should also reveal whether you feel secure whenever you are talking to this person. Can you be your authentic self?
You can be honest with yourself about your feelings and emotions
Use the talking stage to check in with yourself. It can be hard when you’ve been single for some time and then you meet someone who seems great and you start to battle with your feelings because it’s been a while since you let someone into your life. Embracing vulnerability is hard. It’s a lot easier to shut down for many, but if you want to build a genuine connection with someone, you have to open up.
Don’t shy away from expressing yourself. One thing I wish people would understand about the talking stage is that it shouldn’t comprise of just ‘sweet nothing’s’. You have a whole (potential) relationship to be as lovey-dovey as you want! Talk about your life, your dreams, your favourite hobbies etc. You may even find yourself disagreeing on a few things and that’s not a cause for concern, it’s perfectly normal to have differences, just as long as they are respected in the same way that similarities are.
Honesty is also important if things aren’t going well. An advantage of embracing the talking stage in all its glory is that you won’t allow yourself to be too invested in a potential dating situation. You’ll be neutral when it comes to where you stand. It’s never easy to have to tell someone that you don’t see things moving forward but I’m a big believer in embracing your truth. If you don’t see anything serious happening, just be honest from the start. Don’t play games and don’t give anyone false hope, that’s just cold.
You can look out for any red flags during the talking stage
When it comes to red flags, there’s a difference between looking and seeking. If you’re looking out for red flags, then you’re paying attention but if you’re seeking red flags, then you are taking a very overactive approach to the whole situation. Looking out for red flags is something you should do even when you are in a relationship. The trouble with red flags is that everyone has justified them at some point in their lives. Listen to your gut: if something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.
If you are talking to someone, and one of your non-negotiables is constantly rearing its head, then that’s a sign that you need to stop talking to this person. If it is clear that you are not compatible, there is no time to fear starting over or whatever may be going through your mind. You’ve got your standards/requirements in place and you have enough proof that they will not be met if things were to progress further, so don’t do yourself a disservice by wasting your time. Allowing loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone you shouldn’t be entertaining is a big waste of time.
You will learn to see dating as a process and not some sort of race
One of the biggest issues with dating in our society is that some people seem to want to rush every stage of the process. Some people want to start talking on a Friday and then be in a relationship by Tuesday. Things just don’t go like this. Taking the time to get to know someone isn’t seen as a necessity in the minds of some, as I’ve already mentioned. Talking to someone properly can teach you so much about yourself. All you need to do is stay present and get out of the ‘end-goal’ mindset. We all know what the end goal is and it’s ok to want that, but don’t let your future thoughts override your present reality.
Anxiety and dating can go hand in hand at times. If the talking stage is something you tend to rush through, you need to address why this may be. The same goes for those who experience discomfort at the thought of getting to know someone new. I use the word ‘address’ a lot in these types of blog posts, but to ‘address’ something doesn’t mean that you have a problem or you’re crazy, it just means that you want to get to the root of why you approach some situations in the way that you do. There’s a reason for everything when you look within.
You will learn more about what you require in a potential partner
If you don’t know what it is you want in a partner, then don’t date. It doesn’t matter if your intentions are as good as gold, not knowing what you want or need in a relationship can have you heading for complete and utter disaster. As I mentioned earlier, people show themselves through what they say and do. During the talking stage, you need to observe. People whose intentions aren’t pure will eventually show themselves for who they are. Pay attention. Observe.
Another important element of the talking stage is not neglecting your standards. If you want a relationship and you find yourself talking to a man who wants something casual, you are not compatible, and you shouldn’t be talking to him. If someone tells you they have no intention of being in a committed relationship, you’ve got to believe them. You owe it to yourself and your energy too. What some women do is see that information as a cue to start embarking on mission to change a man’s mind. Honestly, it’s not worth it. Our time is precious, and we should all be giving it to people who are 100% into us (and vice versa).
The talking stage will not give you an in-depth A-Z style outline of the person you are talking to because people will reveal themselves after some time (it is natural). You’ll always find out new things. What the talking stage does guarantee is an opportunity to get to know someone (flaws and all) and to decide if you can see yourself possibly being in a relationship with them. If you can’t be vulnerable in the talking stages, then think about taking some time out to address why this may be. Remember, you will not know if you have a true connection with someone you like unless you give them a chance. When it comes to how long the talking stage should last, it’s important to let your intuition guide you. Of course, it shouldn’t be prolonged, but there should be a mutual desire to move towards the next stage over a period of time. Personally, I wouldn’t expect to be in the talking stage after 5-6 weeks but everyone has their own guidelines. Always do what’s best for you.
If you’ve read this post and feel like you want to know more about the talking stage and why it’s so important, then do the give my post about the realities of the talking stage a read.
What do you think about the talking stage?