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The term “Just Talking” describes an intentionally ambiguous preliminary relationship phase which lacks definitional consensus. This study was guided by prior research indicating that this phase is a means to avoid relationship labels, commitment, and exclusivity, but there is general disagreement about what “Just Talking” entails. This investigation sought to assign an operational definition to this term based on qualitative analysis of data obtained from separate and mixed-gender focus groups. We analyzed responses from college students describing their understanding of “Just Talking” as an emergent phenomenon of intimacy accumulation. In an attempt to understand how the nuances of modern-day communication have altered college hookup culture, the focus groups examined discrepancies based on personal accounts from participants. Through inquiries about emotional and physical intimacy across varying cultures and viewpoints, this study broadened our understanding of “Just Talking.” Further studies will be conducted to assess the complex interplay of contemporary and traditional dating culture in relation to “Just Talking.”



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An Investigation of “Just Talking”: Assigning an Operational Definition to a Contemporary Dating Phenomenon