The talking stage has my mutuals in a chokehold, myself included. Sometimes it leads to dating but most of the time it has led me nowhere but back to square one – which is singlehood.

What is the talking stage?

Glamour magazine describes it as a label apparently coined by Gen Z’ers to describe the early stage of many relationships. The talking stage is where you set your boundaries, by setting a clear tone and message of what you want from that person – it can be a situationship, a “friends with benefits” scenario, or even a committed relationship.

How long can it be?

I am currently on a certain dating app, so I decided to ask some of the people I matched with, how long their talking stages have been, and why. (For the experiment I also adjusted my age range to start from early 20s to mid-20s – so from 20 to 25 years)

For Josh, 23, from Stellenbosch, his longest talking stage was two months because both him and his partner were too busy to make much effort to get to know each other.

While Blessing, 22, originally from the DRC, shared that his longest was a month, because he wasn’t getting what he was looking for – which was a relationship. 

For a woman’s perspective, I asked a close friend Benita, 24, and she said she gets stuck in the phase between friends and relationships and often suddenly gets bored. 

The duration of a talking stage varies but is always very good in helping you determine whether you are wasting your time with that person or whether you should pursue it further.

Talking stage dos and don’ts:

Clarity is clear to see. Do not beat around the bush; say what you want, expect, and need. If these are not met, move on.

Ask questions. About anything and everything; about them. It’s a talking stage; so talk.

Don’t waste people’s time. If they are not what you are looking for, cut it off. Quickly.

Don’t drag it. Actions speak louder than words; at a certain stage the talking must stop, and you must decide what you want.

Dating is already dreadful it feels like a job interview that you have to pass. But it should also be exciting; sweet moments filled with anxious butterflies and imagined kisses. It’s about love, so there should be some sense of romance. Have fun!


Tell us: Why is the talking stage a valuable step at the beginning of a possible relationship? 

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