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Talking vs Dating: 16 Ways to Tell Them Apart & Know Your Exact Status

There’s a blurred line between the talking vs dating stage nowadays. These signs will help you differentiate between the two and identify your own status.

talking vs dating

Relationships are confusing at the best of times, especially in this modern world. But the starting point is the most troublesome part. Are you talking or dating already, and what’s the difference between talking vs dating?

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 get to know someone is expecting both of you to know exactly where this is 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, 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.

[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 and you two get on well. 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, 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 you’re loosely dating. It doesn’t, not at all. You could easily scare the other person away.

[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. Now you have to worry about when it will move from dating to relationship territory. Will it ever end?

[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]

16 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’re moving from one to the other? Let’s check out these 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. [Read: How many dates should you go before a relationship becomes official?]

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 forward. [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 having 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. [Read: How to open up about sex & get your partner to share their desires]

5. You invest more in each other

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 and effort in them.

You may see a book they like and buy it for them as a gift. They may cook you food or pick you up from work. 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 make plans for the future

Not getting married and having kids! This is too soon for that! But you could book tickets for an event two weeks or even months away without worrying that you won’t be talking anymore then. That’s a huge sign of you two entering the dating stage.

8. 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. [Read: How to show off your girlfriend on social media and hype her up]

9. You feel relaxed about your situation

We’re not saying that dating is relaxing because it’s not, but you start to feel more relaxed in knowing where you’re going.

You know exactly how they feel about you and they know how you feel about them. Now that you two are secure, it’s time you moved past talking. [Read: How to get someone to open up so you both can really connect]

10. 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. [Read: 25 couples activities that make you feel loved and closer than ever]

11. 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.

12. 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! 

13. They include you in things

It could be a friend’s 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. 

14. You can 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]

15. 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. 

16. They tell you

If you’re still unsure after reading this list, you can just ask them. It’s not easy to ask whether you’re talking or dating as many people don’t want to be seen as the more vulnerable one in a relationship. But communication is key to every healthy relationship.

If you plan to get further with this person, you should be able to ask them any question that’s been bothering you. And getting a confirmation is always better than dealing with the anxiety of second-guessing.

[Read: 15 signs you’re both unofficially dating and it’s time to have that talk]

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. Some people may take longer than others, but you’ll get there eventually. Just go at your own pace and remember to enjoy the process!

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