“One time, my friend and her boyfriend were trying to set me up with one of his friends. We decided to go see a movie because it’s an easy date,” junior Danielle Krietemeyer said. “I dragged my friend and her boy to see it with us to relieve the awkwardness, however when the guy tried making a move on me, I felt uncomfortable.”
She has not talked to him since.
Everyone has been there. In the stage where no one knows what to do. There’s a decision: make it official or break it off. This is the “talking stage,” the place where just friends and dating meet.
This is where people get to know one another before making things “official.” The span of this phase all depends on the commitment and interest levels that each person is at.
“The talking stage is always fun and gives you a chance to get to know the person,” sophomore Cameron Garrison said. “It’s funny reminiscing with them about the “talking stage” and all the awkwardness that comes with it.”
The “talking stage” can go two directions, if there is compatibility, then odds are the couple will end up dating, however if there is no spark then the two could go their separate ways or decide to continue on as friends.
“It’s kind of a given on how they act around you and talk to you if you would like to pursue the relationship,” senior Nicholas Hurley said. “If the other is flirty around you and you do the same, it’s bound to be because you have feelings.”
For most, their own instincts give them insight on their feelings, for example, if they find themselves getting excited over seeing the other and enjoy talking to them.
For Garrison, when he saw his present day girlfriend for the first time, he thought she was way out of his league. Then, he found that the two of them had a friend in common.
“She came up to say ‘hi’ to my friend, Justice, and then he introduced the two of us. She called me the annoying kid that had just moved here from New York that was in her fourth period,” Garrison said. “Immediately I thought it was over, but I just played along with it.”
Afterwards, the two Snapchatted constantly and Garrison admits to it being awkward between them at first, especially at school. After about a month they ironed things out and got out of being awkward.
Many have said that the talking stage is often a game of “who’s going to make the next move,” because they do not know each other enough to be comfortable with showcasing their feelings to say if they would like to continue into something more or not.
“It is hard to tell whether or not the person that you’re talking to is trying to make things official,” Garrison said. “You just have to go off your best instinct and take the small hints and details into consideration.”
Being so unsure of what’s next in the relationship can lead to what seems like to some a never-ending period of getting to know the other person, which can contribute to ending it as a whole.
“You’ll know that you want to end it with them if you stop getting excited to see them and if you don’t see it progressing into an actual relationship,” senior Allyson Mattson said.
For junior Hannah Hadelman, not knowing the person too well and not knowing where each other stands in having a relationship can make things awkward, making it a no-go.
“Nine times out of ten, I’m good friends with the guy before I start talking to him,” Hadelman said. “So, luckily the awkward stage doesn’t usually happen.”
After getting to know another, it is time to find out how the other person feels. Times have shifted from the middle school days of asking people out over text or writing on a piece of paper: “Will you be my girlfriend? Check yes or no.”
Now some people have built up the courage to tell the other how they feel, or others will get a “wingman” to ask if their crush is interested.
If they have trouble conveying their feelings or the wingman system doesn’t work, then they will usually turn to a friend or family for advice on how to move out of the “talking stage.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in the relationship or the “talking stage” and it helps having friends who give their honest opinion with your best interest at heart,” Krietemeyer said.
Sometimes their friends could say that the person is not a good candidate for a relationship, so they often let them know and allow them to make an informed decision on whether or not to move on with it.
“I’ve definitely been in a situation where I didn’t like who my friend was talking to, it was super frustrating because I knew that he wasn’t good for her,” Hadelman said. “She still went back to him so at that point it’s hard to feel bad for my friend because she just keeps going back to what’s hurting her.”
In other cases they would rather just let themselves or their friend follow their gut on how to deal with the situation.
“Sometimes you just need to let go and let them live his or her lives,” Garrison said.
The “talking stage” is made up of many components from getting over the potential awkwardness, to finding interest in the person, to getting advice or input from others, and to finally deciding to make it official.
“[Talking] is usually so awkward at first,” Hurley said. “But it’s better to not rush into a relationship.”
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