Relationships are confusing at the best of times. But the starting point is the most troublesome part. Are you talking or dating already, and what’s the difference between talking vs dating? Are you ‘seeing each other’, whatever that means? It’s not the point where you can really seek clarification and ask for a label, so you have to figure it out for yourself, and be comfortable with it if you want to see where the ‘situation’ goes from there.
The worst thing you can do when you first meet someone is start texting and then suddenly want to know where things are going. It’s far better to enjoy the moment, stop questioning it, and just allow things to develop in their own time. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s the best way, for sure.
To help you relax, it might be a good idea to know the talking vs dating differences so you know where you really stand. That way, you can figure out where you’re at and be fine with it!
[Read: How to read the signs you are unofficially dating and know for sure]
Talking vs dating – What does the talking stage look like?
The talking stage is the very first stage after you meet someone. You’re exploring whether you want to start getting to know this person better, or they’re doing that with you. There might be a light amount of flirting. As you move towards the dating stage, the flirting is likely to intensify.
At this point, you’re probably following each other on social media. This is probably where the talking will start. There will be ‘sliding into DMs’ occurring, which will get you both communicating and sending messages back and forth.
Do not confuse this flirty message exchanging for anything remotely serious at this point. You’re not dating, you’re not even halfway there yet. You’re simply talking to another human being and trying to find out whether you like them as a person or whether they’re totally repulsive to you. Of course, during this talking vs dating stage 1, they’re also doing the same with you.
[Read: The talking stage – What is it exactly and what you need to do to progress to the next stage]
When you first meet someone and you start talking, it’s important to get the talking vs dating rules down-pat. It’s very easy to rush ahead and assume that sending messages back and forth means that you’re loosely dating. It doesn’t, not at all. By putting this label on a conversation like this, you could easily scare the other person away.
There may even be ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ texts creeping in, but you’re still only talking.
[Read: The 10 stages of a relationship by months that predict your future]
Talking vs dating – What does the dating stage look like?
So, you’ve moved past just chatting on social media or in person and you’re not going out with each other on dates. What does the dating stage look like in the whole talking vs dating debate?
Dating can be exclusive, or it can be that you both *or just one of you* sees other people. It’s important to be transparent about this and not to unintentionally mislead the other person. Of course, you want them to be open and honest about their dating situation with you too. Go with what feels comfortable, and don’t go along with something if it doesn’t make you feel good.
[Read: The must-know details for exactly how slow is too slow in a relationship]
During the dating stage things may be physical between you, or they might not. That totally depends on the two of you and there are no rules to that side of things. However, the main difference between talking and dating is that when you’re dating, you’ve made your intentions clear. You know that you both like each other and you’re getting to know each other a little more deeply. Things have a very firm focus on romance, rather than just “hey, what are you doing today?”
That doesn’t mean that dating isn’t confusing however, because you then have the whole worry about when does it move from dating to relationship territory? Does this ever end? I think not!
[Read: How to read the signs you are unofficially dating and know your status for sure]
Another difference in the whole talking vs dating deal is that when you’re dating, you’re probably going to be seen out together, people will know that you’re seeing how things go, and you might start to meet important people in their lives, such as friends. Again, that depends on the people involved, so don’t compare your dating situation to anyone else’s – it can vary so wildly.
[Read: 14 casual dating rules that will make or break every casual relationship]
14 signs you’re moving from the talking stage to the dating stage
Now we know that talking is just a casual chatting situation, seeing whether you actually want to talk to this person more or not, and dating is a more advanced stage of that, how can you tell when you’ve moving from one to the other? Let’s check out 14 signs you should be on the lookout for.
#1 Your chats become more in-person than online. While talking doesn’t mean only online, it’s more likely to be via messages than in person at first. If you notice that your conversations are becoming more in-person deals than before, that’s a good sign that things are progressing positively.
#2 You go out to places together. In the talking vs dating grand scheme of things, the latter is when you start doing things together and going out to places together. When you’re just talking, things tend to be about words more than actions. However, when you start going out for dinner or drinks, that’s a great sign.
#3 Your dates become more regular. Not only do you start to go out together and do things, but your dates are becoming more of a regular thing. You might not see them every day, in fact you more than likely won’t, but if you notice an increasing pattern, it means you’re moving on from just chatting. [Read: Dating vs. Relationship: 14 signs to know your real status]
#4 Things may or may not become physical. It’s easy to assume that the talking vs dating argument can be settled by whether or not two people are physically affectionate with one another, either kissing and holding hands or sex.
However, it’s not necessarily the case. In some ways, yes, you do usually become a little more tactile with one another, but it doesn’t always mean going all the way. Just look for small changes to tell you what’s happening.
#5 You know you like them, and now you want to know more. When you’re just talking to someone, you’re figuring out whether you want to learn more about them or not. When you’re sure that they’re someone you’d like to discover more about, you’ve made a choice to invest more time in them. That’s how you know you’ve moved beyond the talking vs dating debate and firmly into the dating situation.
#6 You plan to do things together. If you start planning to do things together, that’s more of a dating activity. It could be a weekend away or attending a party together the following week. It doesn’t really matter what, it’s the intention that’s key. [Read: What does being exclusive mean? 15 clear signs you’re very near this stage right now]
#7 You’re open on social media. People who are just talking don’t tend to tag each other when they’re out and about. However, people who are dating often do. Don’t be discouraged if this isn’t happening with you because it could be that the person you’re dating simply doesn’t care for social media too much, but it’s something to look for at least.
#8 You start to feel a little more relaxed. I’m not saying that dating is a relaxing activity because it’s not, but you start to feel more relaxed in knowing where you’re going. You know that you’ve moved past talking and you’re trying to get to know this person a little more deeply. That’s something to establish at least! [Read: How to get someone to open up so you both can really connect]
#9 You share new experiences together. It’s not just about making plans to do things together, it’s about following through with those plans. By doing that, you share experiences together and that helps you to form memories and strengthen a potential bond that may grow into something else.
#10 If you’re struggling, they’re there for you, and vice versa. Someone who you’re just talking to isn’t likely to drop things for you when you’re struggling or upset. However, if someone you’ve been talking to does that for you, it’s a good sign that things might be moving to the dating stage. In the talking vs dating debate, talking to someone is very loose and casual, dating is a step up the ladder.
#11 You start to meet their friends. People don’t introduce people they’re ‘only talking to’ to their friends. If you’re finding yourself being introduced to people in their circle, that’s a great sign. Be sure to return the favor!
#12 They include you in things. It could be a birthday dinner, or it might be a party invitation. Whatever it is, if you’re included in things that means they’re thinking of you as more than just someone they text occasionally.
#13 You’re both able to talk about deeper subjects. You’ll find it easier to talk about deeper subjects when you’ve got to know each other better and that tends to mean you’ve moved into dating territory. If you find that you’re starting to have very deep conversations, that’s a great sign. [Read: How to open up to someone you’re dating when you’re scared]
#14 You just feel a shift. Perhaps the best way to gauge the situation is via your gut. Do you simply feel like things have shifted towards something a little more than talking? If so, trust that feeling and go with it if you want to learn more about this person.
[Read: Exclusively dating or casual fling? Here’s how to know your real status]
The whole talking vs dating debate can be a confusing one. It’s hard to know which stage you’re at, and it’s important not to rush things at the same time. Take things slowly and remember to enjoy the process!
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