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The 10 Red Flags During the Talking Stage of a Relationship

Starting to notice the talking stage red flags

Have you been having a good time talking to someone recently? You get butterflies talking to them and they seem perfect… maybe even too good to be true. After all, life isn't a fairytale. And though everyone has their own unique flaws and preferences, there's a difference between tolerating a flaw and totally ignoring a massive, waving red flag.

When someone mentions red flags, I'm sure there's a lot you can think of. It sometimes varies from person to person based on their past experiences and present boundaries. For example, you might be uncomfortable with physical touch during the talking stage. If the one you're talking to does not respect your boundary during this phase, it’s already a red flag. Don't ignore it.

But there are also universal red flags that you might be blinded to because of how much you like the person. What are the red flags during the talking stage? Here is a list of the ten main talking stage red flags you should identify and steer clear of. 

  1. They cannot stop talking about themselves. 
  2. They talk ill about their exes.
  3. They only talk to you at night. 
  4. Start love-bombing you from the very beginning. (includes excessive compliments, sending constant gifts, telling I love you too soon, and more)
  5. They do not respect your boundaries. 
  6. They humiliate or insult you in the name of friendly banter.
  7. They lack ambition or motivation. 
  8. They never take the initiative for dates or acts of intimacy.
  9. They gaslight you during disagreements. 
  10. Your friends and family disapprove of their behavior. 

10 Main Red Flags During the Talking Stage Both in Men and Women

Let's take a deeper look into what each of these red flags means and how they hint at signs of a failed talking stage.

They cannot stop talking about themselves.

So, you've been talking to someone, getting to know them, sharing stories, finding common interests, and things seem to be going pretty well. Or are they? Stop and think about it for a minute. Have you really been sharing each other's interests, or just talking about theirs? Have you had an equal opportunity to share your stories or have you spent most of your chats listening to theirs?

Picture this: You're excitedly telling them about your recent trip or a new hobby you've picked up, but you've barely gotten a few words in before they've somehow shifted the spotlight back to themselves. They're magnetically drawn to conversations about their achievements, experiences, and opinions while barely showing genuine interest in yours.

It's true, we all love to share our stories and accomplishments. But if it becomes a pattern, or happens so often that you already expect to be overshadowed in the conversation, it's time to take a step back and consider why this might be a potential issue. This is more popular as a red flag in women, but men are equally guilty.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Look out for these behaviors:

  • Conversation Monopoly: This is when they consistently steer the conversation back to themselves, leaving little room for you to share your thoughts and experiences.
  • Minimal Interest in You: Pay attention to their reactions when you talk about yourself. Are they actively engaged and asking follow-up questions, or do they quickly redirect the focus back to their own stories?

The talking stage is essentially a time of exploration, and relationships are a two-way street. Find someone willing to meet you halfway. If the other person is always racing down their lane, leaving you in the dust, it could indicate that they do not value you and your opinions enough to get to know you. This can be a problem down the line.

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They talk ill about their exes.

She's always badmouthing her ex

This scenario is actually quite common and even upsetting for some. Just imagine you're having a deep, meaningful conversation. You're really connecting and having a great time. But you suddenly mention a triggering topic that sends the other person into a long, angry rant about their ex. The mood turns awkward and sour, so you might as well end the conversation. Yep, that’s also one of the talking stage red flags.

Now, don't get me wrong, we've all had our fair share of relationship ups and downs. Discussing past experiences and what we've learned from them is normal. However, when someone constantly brings their ex into a conversation so they can vent, blame, or belittle them, it can mean a lot of things.

First of all, it suggests unresolved emotional baggage. If they're still carrying around bitterness and anger from past relationships, it means they haven't fully moved on or healed from it yet. Starting a new relationship while lugging around this baggage can impact your dynamic, making it hard to build a fresh and positive connection. Issues from their past relationship will inevitably spill into yours, and you might end up getting blamed for things you never did.

Another possibility is a lack of accountability. Constantly placing blame on their exes without acknowledging any personal role in the relationship's downfall could be a sign of an unwillingness to self-reflect and grow. Healthy relationships thrive when both partners take responsibility for their actions and work together to overcome challenges.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Here are a couple of behavior patterns to look out for:

  • Overemphasis on Ex Talk: Every conversation about relationships eventually turns into a litany of complaints about exes. Healthy discussions about past relationships involve a balanced mix of positive and negative experiences and personal growth. Anyway, you don't need to know all the details of their past. Comparing is never a good thing in a relationship.
  • Lack of Empathy: Listen closely to how they talk about their exes. Can they see things from their ex-partner's perspective, or do they consistently vilify them? A lack of empathy or an inability to understand another person's viewpoint might indicate a potential issue in how they approach relationships.

So, take a deep breath and keep those antennae up. Look out for this talking stage red flag by paying attention to what they say. Have they matured since their past relationship? Observe how they approach conflict, growth, and accountability. You deserve a partner who can engage in healthy discussions, learn from the past, and build a future based on mutual respect and understanding.

They only talk to you at night.

During the day, they're nowhere to be found. But as soon as the clock strikes bedtime, their messages and replies start flooding in. This is a sign of inconsistency in the talking stage. It’s a major red flag because it implies that you are just their emotional dumping ground at night.

Late-night conversations are lovely. There's actually something intimate and cozy about sharing thoughts in the quiet hours of the day. But when it becomes a consistent pattern and the only time they seem interested in talking to you—even on their day-offs or on holidays—is when the moon is high, it's time to pause and consider what's really going on.

Healthy relationships are built on consistent communication, trust, and mutual effort. When someone only reaches out at night, it could be a sign of a few potential issues that might not bode well for a balanced and meaningful connection.

One possibility is that they might be keeping you at arm's length. If they mainly connect with you during nighttime, it could be a sign that they're just not that into you. This might raise questions about their intentions and whether they see a potential future with you beyond late-night chats.

Another thing to consider is the potential for mixed signals. If their daytime interactions are minimal or virtually non-existent, you could be confused about where you stand in their life. Are they genuinely interested in getting to know you, or do they simply view you as a source of nighttime entertainment?

So, how can you spot this sign of a failed talking stage? Here are a couple of behavior patterns to keep an eye on:

  • Time-Specific Communication: Take note of when they're most active in engaging with you. Do they consistently reach out primarily during the late hours? Someone who is genuinely interested in you will find a way to communicate with you throughout the day.
  • Lack of Integration: Are you gradually becoming a part of each other's lives, even in small ways? Do they send you gifts, big or small, on special days? Remember, there are always scheduling conflicts to consider, so don't write them off instantly if they only talk to you at night. If they show interest in you and put in some effort to let you know, it might be worth it to give them a chance.

The talking stage is your chance to evaluate whether this person aligns with your values and communication preferences. If their nighttime-only communication leaves you feeling uncertain or undervalued, it's worth considering whether this relationship is meeting your emotional needs.

Start love-bombing you from the very beginning.

So, you've dipped your toes into the talking stage, and things are beginning to unfold. You feel the thrill of potential romance. But has your new flame already started showering you with compliments, gifts, and profound declarations of love? Well, my friend, that's one of the talking stage red flags that you definitely shouldn't ignore.

It's natural to enjoy compliments and attention and to want to feel special and cherished. But when it's dialed up to an extreme level right from the start, you might want to hit the brakes and give this red flag the attention it deserves.

Love-bombing often involves a rapid escalation of emotional intensity, with grand gestures and professions of love happening before you've even had a chance to connect on a deeper level. This can create an artificial sense of intimacy that might not stand the test of time.

Another thing to consider is the underlying motivation. While some people might genuinely believe they're expressing their feelings right, others might use love bombing to win you over quickly. It could be a way to manipulate your emotions, making you feel indebted to reciprocate their affections. But you should never feel forced into something you aren't ready for.

So, how can you spot this red flag during the talking stage? Here are a couple of signs to watch out for:

  • Excessive Praise: Take note of how frequently they shower you with gifts, compliments, and praise. If it feels like they're laying it on a bit too thick, too soon, it might be a sign of love bombing.
  • Rapid Escalation: Pay attention to the pace of the relationship. Are they pushing for emotional milestones, like saying "I love you" or talking about a future together, before you've had a chance to establish a solid foundation?

Being love-bombed might feel exhilarating and even flattering, but a lasting connection is built on genuine emotions, experiences, and mutual respect. You deserve a partner who's willing to take the time to get to know you and create something real and meaningful.

They do not respect your boundaries.

Constantly disrespecting his boundaries

Respecting boundaries is an important part of the talking stage. If you tell them that you need some alone time on the weekends to recharge, but they keep bombarding you with messages and calls, they're completely ignoring your request and your right to privacy and personal space. Or maybe you've expressed an unwillingness to talk about certain topics due to personal reasons, yet they keep pushing for details. This is one of the signs of a failed talking stage.

When someone constantly dismisses or disregards your boundaries, it reveals a few things about this person. It could suggest a potential lack of empathy, or an inability to put themselves in your shoes and understand your needs. It might also indicate a disregard for open communication and compromise, which are essential for a relationship to thrive.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Look out for these signs:

  • Persistent Disregard: If they consistently disregard your boundaries and personal needs, even after clearly communicating them, it's a sign that they're not taking your needs seriously.
  • Testing Boundaries: Some individuals might intentionally test your boundaries early on just to see how much they can get away with. If they repeatedly cross the lines you've set, it's time to rethink whether it's wise to pursue a more intimate relationship with them.They humiliate or insult you in the name of friendly banter.

How you treat each other, especially during the talking stage, is crucial in any relationship. Now, banter and playful teasing can be a fun and light-hearted way to connect. But here's one of the talking stage red flags you should never ignore: when someone starts crossing the line by humiliating or insulting you, all under the guise of "friendly banter".

It could be anything from comments that leave you uncomfortable or hurt, or a small jab at your appearance, a sarcastic remark about your interests, or something that hits a sore spot from your past. If this so-called "friendly banter" starts feeling less friendly and more hurtful, it's time to look seriously at what's happening.

In the talking stage, you're exploring compatibility and trying to understand each other's sense of humor and communication style. When someone resorts to humiliation or insults under the pretense of banter, it's a glaring red flag that could indicate deeper issues down the road.

A healthy relationship involves mutual respect, kindness, and genuine care for each other's feelings. Using banter as a way to belittle or hurt you shows a lack of consideration for your emotional well-being. It is NOT okay. It indicates a lack of empathy or an inability to recognize the boundaries of respectful communication.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Here are a couple of things to look out for:

  • Consistent Insensitivity: If their "jokes" or teasing consistently cross the line into hurtful territory, put a stop to it. Friendly banter should make both parties laugh and feel good, not cause emotional distress.
  • Ignoring Your Reactions: Notice how they respond when you express discomfort. Do they brush it off, claiming you're being too sensitive? A partner who respects you will take your feelings seriously and adjust their behavior. They will immediately apologize for upsetting you and promise to do better.

Now, you might wonder, "How do I handle this red flag?" Here are some steps you can take:

  • Communicate Openly: If you find yourself receiving hurtful comments, have an open and honest conversation about how their words impact you. A potential partner should be willing to listen and understand your perspective.
  • Observe Their Intent: Consider the intention behind their comments. Are they trying to make you laugh and have fun, or does it seem like they're intentionally trying to put you down? Intent matters and genuine friendly banter should come from a place of affection and playfulness.

You deserve someone who respects your boundaries and treats you with kindness and consideration. Humiliation or insults masked as friendly banter have no place in a healthy relationship. So, trust your instincts, stand up for your emotional well-being, and choose a partner who uplifts and supports you in every interaction.

They lack ambition or motivation.

Women want a man who is motivated. This is what they like to talk about before getting into a serious relationship with someone. Lack of aim in life signifies an unwillingness to put in the effort, which might trickle down into your relationship further down the line. This is why it's one of the major talking stage red flags.

Let’s say you're chatting about your aspirations, and sharing your dreams for the future, and you notice that they seem indifferent or unmotivated. They're content with the status quo and have no long-term plans or goals. All they want to do is sit around all day and watch TV.

It is important to notice this during the talking stage, where you're exploring the potential of a deeper connection. You're getting a glimpse into their values, interests, and what makes them tick. When someone lacks ambition or motivation, it can lead to a stagnant relationship.

It might signify a difference in life outlooks. If you're driven to achieve your goals and constantly seek growth, being with someone who's content with coasting along might lead to frustration down the road. Shared ambition can be a powerful bonding factor in a relationship, pushing both of you to support and encourage each other's dreams.

Furthermore, a lack of motivation could indicate a potential mismatch in work ethic and values. You'll always be the one working, making plans, cleaning up around the house. Relationships require effort, compromise, and a willingness to overcome challenges. If someone isn't motivated enough to invest in personal growth or the relationship itself, their behavior can lead to an unhealthy dynamic where one partner carries the majority of the load.

So, how can you spot this red flag early on in the talking stage? Watch out for these behaviors:

  • Lack of Goal Talk: Pay attention to your conversations. Is the other person enthusiastic when discussing future plans and goals? A lack of interest in discussing ambitions could indicate a lack of motivation.
  • Settling for Mediocrity: If they seem comfortable with a stagnant lifestyle and show little interest in trying new things or improving themselves, it's a sign that they might lack the ambition to grow.

They never take the initiative for dates or acts of intimacy.

Let's talk about another important aspect of the talking stage: initiative when it comes to dates and acts of intimacy. It's nice to have a partner who sometimes takes the lead in planning outings, or who shows genuine interest in creating memorable experiences together. So, if you find yourself doing all the heavy lifting in this department, pay attention! That's a big red flag, and could even indicate cheating during the talking stage.

When someone consistently fails to take the initiative for dates or acts of intimacy, it's a sign that they might not be as invested or engaged as you are. Healthy relationships require an equal amount of reciprocity, where both partners contribute and make an effort to nurture the connection.

The initiative is a reflection of interest and enthusiasm. When one person consistently relies on the other to devise plans or make romantic gestures, it can create an imbalance in the relationship dynamic. It might also hint at a potential lack of emotional investment or effort to truly understand and connect with you.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Look out for these signs:

  • Uneven Planning: Notice if you're the one always coming up with date ideas and making plans. A balanced relationship involves both partners actively contributing to creating meaningful experiences.
  • Passive Participation: Pay attention to how they respond when you initiate acts of intimacy. Are they actively engaged and reciprocating your efforts, or do they seem passive and unenthusiastic?

They gaslight you during disagreements.

Gaslighting him during an argument

Gaslighting is a red flag that should never be ignored, especially during the talking stage. Think of gaslighting as a stealthy fog that distorts reality, and messes with your sense of truth, and makes you question yourself.

Let’s say you express your feelings or share your perspective during a disagreement, and suddenly they're twisting the narrative around, denying what was said or making you feel like you're overreacting. They do anything in their power to shift the blame onto you or undermine your feelings. If this situation sounds a little too familiar, then you might be dealing with someone who's adept at gaslighting others.

Gaslighting is concerning because it suggests a need for control and a lack of accountability. Manipulating the narrative is a way for them to establish power in the relationship. This psychological tactic is dangerous because it wears you down over time until you no longer trust yourself, and you become dependent on the other person.

So, how can you spot this red flag? Look out for these behaviors:

  • Denial and Deflection: Notice if they consistently deny saying or doing things, even when there's clear evidence. They might also deflect by bringing up unrelated issues or focusing on your reaction rather than the original concern.
  • Undermining Feelings: This is when they downplay your emotions or make you feel like you're being overly sensitive or irrational during disagreements.

When they gaslight you, in most cases, the conversation does not end on a good note as you are left questioning your own judgment. It is always best to end the conversation in a good mood.

Your friends and family do not approve of their behavior.

Your friends and family have been with you through thick and thin. They care about your happiness and well-being. If they're raising their eyebrows or voicing concerns about your potential partner's behavior during the talking stage, you best listen to them.

Your friends and family have your best interests at heart. They've witnessed your highs and lows, and want to see you happy and thriving. They might pick up on things that you've overlooked in your excitement over finding someone new and interesting. If your family and friends express concern, it's because they want to make sure you're stepping into a healthy and positive relationship.

So, how can you navigate this red flag? Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • Open Communication: Have honest conversations with your friends and family about their concerns. Be open to their points of view and ask for specific examples of the behavior that's raising alarms.
  • Trust Your Loved Ones: Remember that your friends and family care deeply for you. Their concerns are valid, and their gut instincts are often more accurate than you might think.

The best time to get to know someone that you are interested in is during the talking stage. While it may seem like an easy and fun process, it’s not always the case. Your budding feelings could cloud your judgment and make you ignore any and all red flags. It's best to nip it in the bud and steer clear of people who can negatively impact your mental health and create a toxic environment for you in the long run.

We hope our guide on the ten red flags during the talking stage helped you identify the behavioral patterns to look out for.

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