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Dating Advice: How Long Should the Talking Stage Last?

Tired of situationships? We’ll explain how long the talking stage should last and give guidance on making it through with your heart in one piece.
Editorial team
October 27, 2023
June 20, 2024
min. read
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Picture this: You just hit up a total smoke show on Grindr. The banter is hot, those late-night chats have you smiling at your phone, and you're convinced the physical chemistry will be off the charts.

You're deep in that thrilling yet confusing early stage before dating — floating between flirty texts and the potential of relationship bliss. And it’s been this way for a month.

So, what's the real deal? Is he boyfriend material or just a horny flake who’s wasting your precious time? Fret not — we’ve got the lowdown on how long the talking stage should last before taking it to the next level. 

What is the talking stage?

So, you've double-tapped and exchanged a few spicy texts. But dinner dates? Meeting his friends? Not quite there yet.

Welcome to the talking stage. This is an ambiguous era that many relationships go through when you clearly have an interest in one another, but nobody has made a move.

But this isn't just casual conversation; it's a crucial screening phase in modern dating. Is he a red flag factory, or does he show the potential for something more? Are you looking for the same thing, be it a hookup or something more serious? These chats are a constant temperature check for emotional and romantic compatibility.

Why is this phase so critical? Because it's the foundation for a potential relationship. Get it wrong, and you risk getting ghosted or stuck in an ambiguous situationship. But nail it, and you could progress smoothly into an honest-to-goodness, dog-sharing, mom-meeting relationship (after you’ve gone through the usual stages of dating, of course).

How long should the talking stage last?

If you really like this guy, you likely feel conflicted during the talking stage. On the one hand, you’re afraid any sudden moves will spook him like a wild animal. On the other, you want to get this show on the road already!

So, how long should you dance this flirty flamenco? A week? A month? Nine years? Timing in romance is a minefield of confusion and a source of endless angst.

The answer depends on a few factors, including your audacity and your intentions. If you’re both skittish and commitment-shy, the talking stage could last as long as two months. If you’re bold (or only after a pump-and-dump), you might go from match to makeout session in 24 hours or less.

The struggle is real, especially when you’re syncing your emotional pace with someone else's. Do you both want a casual fling, or is this the start of a monogamous commitment? The talking stage is where these questions start to surface. Just remember, clarity is sexy.

Highway to the “Danger Zone”

This isn't just a banger tune; it's a real thing. If you've been talking for a while but haven't defined the relationship, you risk falling into the "Danger Zone."

This is the murky area where a situationship risks stalling out, turning into an endless cycle of texting with no dates, no IRL meetings, no nothing. Staying too long in this zone will smother the spark entirely, leaving you with a disinterested digital pen pal instead of a romantic partner.

The Danger Zone is where you should start pushing for a meetup or heading to the nearest exit. Red flags become deal-breakers, and green flags turn into urgent indicators that you should move forward.

The art of textual chemistry

Want to avoid the Danger Zone and seal the deal? Remember: Chemistry isn't just a physical thing; it's also digital. During the talking stage, your texting game matters.

Here’s how to fan those virtual sparks into an IRL flame:

  • Emojis are your friend. Emojis are a great way to lend a lighthearted feel to your correspondence (or to insinuate something kinky). But don't overdo it; you’re trying to tell him you like him, not communicate in hieroglyphics.
  • Ask questions and share laughs. Don’t let the conversation lull; ask him something! And crack a few jokes while you’re at it. Everyone wants a partner with a sense of humor and an interest in their life.
  • Know when to pull back. Don't smother him with constant texts. Instead, make him shiver with antici… pation. Not only will you show him you respect his space — you’ll leave him wanting more.


Signs the talking stage is going well

The uncertainty of the talking phase is maddening, but you can’t lose hope. You just need to capitalize on your wins before you let that mouth-watering hunk slip through your fingers.

Here are three surefire signs your flirtationship is heading toward bona fide boyfriendhood:

1. More than just chit-chat

You're not just talking; you're talking with purpose. Most daters find a first date is successful as long as there’s good conversation.

How do you know the convo is thriving? Well, when your texting game shifts from "Heyyy, what's up?" to discussing weekend plans or shared interests, that's a big, waving green flag. You're hitting the sweet spot between casual and serious.

Not sure what to say? Bust out some of our tried and true first-date questions.

2. Mutual vibes, mutual goals

It’s always a good sign when your intentions are aligned. There's a mismatch if he's talking about future dates while you're still stuck on his profile pics. But if you're both dropping hints about a future hangout, that's a sign you're on the same wavelength. After all, a spark isn’t enough to start a fire; you need something substantial to fuel it.

3. Craving communication

Communication is vital. It keeps the spark alive and offers continual insight into your compatibility. If you find yourselves texting into the wee hours of the morning, or if he’s initiating the conversation just as often as you are, you're doing something right.

Rules of the talking stage

No matter how much you might want to avoid it, the awkwardness of the talking stage is a must. You won’t get cast as the lead in someone’s love story unless you’re willing to audition.

It helps to know how to play the game; otherwise, it’s just Calvinball. So, let's talk about the rules of the talking stage.

Set boundaries

Setting clear boundaries from the get-go is essential. Are you open to dating other people, or is this an exclusive gig? What level of emotional attachment are you comfortable with?

Just like knowing how to top in the bedroom, understanding the rules of the talking stage requires mutual respect and clarity about your wants and needs. 

Make your intentions explicit

It's easy to think the words “casual” and “commitment” are like oil and water. But here's the deal: You can commit to keeping things casual. It's all about mutual understanding.

Are you both just dipping your toes into the dating pool, or are you ready for something more serious? Establish this early on to prevent any awkward confusion down the line.

Keeping it light (yet meaningful)

The talking stage isn't your cue to dive deep into existential crises, but it's not all surface-level banter, either. You must maintain a balance between keeping things light and actually getting to know one another.

Think of it as the appetizer before the main course — a taste of what’s to come that doesn’t reveal the entire menu.

Transitioning out of the talking stage

You've aced the talking stage, and now you're wondering how to transition into something more serious — maybe even monogamous. It's a big step, and knowing when and how to take it is crucial.

Couples who talk openly about their plans at the beginning stages of a relationship are far more likely to stay together. But timing is critical: Moving too fast can scare someone off, whereas moving too slow can signal a lack of interest. Strike that balance, champ.

The dreaded DTR

You've been texting, chatting, and maybe even had a few dates. It's time to DTR — define the relationship.

You’ve been building up to this moment, but it can be a harrowing turning point. Still, being clear about your expectations is vital. A successful DTR moment clears the air and sets the stage for what comes next, be it a committed relationship, a friends-with-benefits arrangement, or an amicable parting of ways.

Use this moment to clarify what you are as a couple and where you see things going. It's not just about now; it's about the future.

Get talking on Grindr

Now that you know the ins and outs of the talking stage, you’re probably itching to flex those fingers and talk your way into a fulfilling relationship (or at least a kinky encounter). But where does today’s digital beau find his next hot date? On Grindr, of course!

Grindr’s 10 million monthly users offer plenty of chances to try out your smoothest lines. Download the Grindr app.

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