The “talking stage” of dating is that exciting, sometimes nerve-wracking period when you’re starting to get to know someone new. It’s a time of text flurries, long phone calls, and maybe a date or two. But sometimes, red flags can appear even amidst the butterflies.

Knowing what to look out for can help you avoid potential heartache and wasted time. Here are some key behaviors during the talking stage that might signal it’s time to move on.

Red Flags to Watch Out For in the Talking Stage

  • Inconsistency: One day they’re enthusiastic and keen to chat, and the next, they fall off the radar entirely. If they only seem interested sporadically and can’t maintain consistent communication, it could be a sign that they aren’t truly invested in building a connection with you.
  • Poor Communication: Communication is the bedrock of any relationship. If they frequently misunderstand you, misinterpret your messages, or avoid important conversations, this could signal major communication difficulties down the line.
  • Breadcrumbing: They offer just enough attention to keep you interested without actually committing to a relationship. This might look like liking all your social media posts but never reaching out for a real conversation, or sending flirty texts but never making plans to meet up.
  • Love Bombing: They come on way too strong, too soon. Declarations of love, extravagant promises, and an overwhelming need to spend all their time with you can feel suffocating, and may be a manipulation tactic.
  • Lack of Effort: If it feels like you’re always the one initiating conversations, suggesting plans, and taking things to the next level, it’s a sign they’re not putting equal energy into the dynamic. A healthy relationship requires effort from both people.
  • Disrespect: This one’s important. Do they disregard your time, cancel plans last minute, or make jokes that cross your boundaries? Disrespect at any stage is unacceptable, and it usually gets worse over time.
  • Controlling Behavior: Does the person try to dictate who you spend time with, what you wear, or how you express yourself? Even subtle forms of controlling behavior in the early stages are huge warning signs.

Why It’s Okay to Cut Things Off

Remember, the talking stage is an evaluation period just as much as it is getting to know someone. It’s a chance to consider whether this person aligns with your values and if you see a potential future with them. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to cut ties.

It can be tempting to rationalize red flags, or try to convince yourself that they might change. But it’s important to trust your instincts. While communication can overcome some hurdles, if your fundamental safety, respect, or sense of self feels violated, it’s okay to walk away.

How to Have the Conversation

If you decide to end things during the talking stage, it’s considerate to offer a brief and honest explanation. Avoid ghosting, as that can be disrespectful and doesn’t provide any closure.

A simple message like this can work: “I enjoyed getting to know you, but I don’t think we’re the right match. I wish you all the best.”

Focus: Keywords and Search Intent

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Remember: You Deserve a Healthy Relationship

The talking stage is a time for excitement, but it’s also important to be discerning. Don’t ignore red flags for the sake of a potential connection. Prioritize respect, open communication, and consistency as you build your relationships, and don’t be afraid to say goodbye if these crucial elements are missing.

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