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Commentary: “Oh… We’re Not Dating…”

Graphic by Courtney Jackson | Staff Photographer

“. . . We’re just talking.”

If you have tried your hand at dating in the past few years, this is a phrase you’re likely well-acquainted with. What specifically is “talking,” though?

Of course, the “talking” stage describes the part of the courting process that happens before two individuals “officially” start dating. The confusing part, though, is that two people who are “talking” can be doing all the same things dating couples do …

Just without the commitment or the labels that signify commitment.

To me, one of the most confusing facets of the talking stage is that many people see no problem “talking” to multiple people at once. 

I can understand casually flirting with multiple people over social media or dating apps when you’re trying to feel out romantic connections, but the idea that I could be on a literal date with someone and afterwards they’re off to hook up with Lady #2 on their roster? Absolutely not.

When you’re in the anything-goes talking stage, though, something like that is considered perfectly acceptable.

The concept of talking is so interesting to me, especially considering it in relation to the definition of the word “dating.”

The definition of dating is “the stage of romantic relationships whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a prospective partner in a future intimate relationship.”

In other words, dating is hanging out with someone repeatedly to figure out if they’re someone you want to commit yourself more deeply to in the future.

OH WAIT… isn’t that also what talking is … ?

To me, therein lies the difficulty with defining “talking” — people use it to describe all different kinds of relationships that, in my opinion, have no business being labeled as such.

To me, the only scenario that should ever be labeled as “the talking stage” is when you’ve JUST met someone, you barely know them and you’ve only hung out with them a few times. 

After a couple dates though, I think the only reason people don’t start officially “dating” is so one (or both, see below*) can continue to date or sleep around. Someone keeps “talking” with someone when they want all the more fun aspects of a relationship but they don’t want to accept the responsibility of NOT “talking to” or hooking up with other people at the same time.

*Now, for clarification, if it’s a scenario where both parties enjoy dating around, maybe hooking up, but NEITHER has any intention of pursuing a relationship with the other person, I’d categorize that under a “friends with benefits” type of deal … not so much a talking stage.

However, in scenarios where one person is begging the other to commit to them after they already talk 24/7, hook up often and say “I love you” every night before they fall asleep? I think it would be equally crazy to label that scenario as “talking.”

At that point, it’s just dating, except one person doesn’t want to be a 100% loyal partner.

Of course, these are all just my opinions, but I’d like to end this article with one thing about “talking” I do know for sure — if you’re currently getting strung along by someone who seems less than enthusiastic to make you a priority in their life, DROP THEM, BABE.

It can seem difficult at the moment to walk away from someone you’ve poured so much time, energy and emotion into, but I promise there is someone out there who will not only “talk” to you, but be drawn to you for the fabulous individual you are.

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