We’re all familiar with the term, “five stage clinger." We’ve heard it in movies, and you’d probably be lying if you said you haven’t used this term yourself at least once or twice. The term, “clinger,” is most often applied to women, however, contrary to popular belief, guys are some of the worst culprits. But, what exactly constitutes a five stage clinger? And what about the four stages before that? Well, I’m here to spell it out for you nice and simply.


Stage 1: Too good to be true.

This person typically exceeds all expectations for the first night out together. They buy you drinks, get you water before bed, and even have breakfast ready for you when you get up in the morning. Is there a reason they’re trying so hard?

Stage 2: Excessive compliments.

This is when you receive an, I had a great time with you last night, you’re such an amazing person, text directly after leaving your house the next day. But it doesn’t stop here. A stage two is someone who goes back and likes all of your old Instagram photos, and you can always count on them to be the first “beautiful” or flame emoji comment on your posts. Too much too soon, man.

Stage 3: Persistence.

This is where things start to get a little weird, so you try to casually blow them off and make excuses for you not being able to hang out, text back, etc. However, a stage three doesn’t take no for an answer. They come up with solutions to your “schedule conflicts," and are infamous for sending double and triple texts. Another key characteristic, and huge red flag, are the future plans a stage three will make, such as beach trips, nights out in Portland, and -- wait for it -- a weekend trip to their hometown. S.O.S.

Stage 4: Ambush.

By stage four, you are most likely doing everything you can to avoid this person. However, during this stage, they will likely start showing up places unannounced. They (somehow) know your work schedule, and never fail to stop in to visit when you’re stuck behind that counter. They religiously check your snap story, and you can always count on them to show up to that party that you RSVP’d to via Facebook. Remind me -- what constitutes stalking, again?

Stage 5: Emotional outburst.

This is an alarming stage, because before now, you didn’t even realize emotions were much of a factor in this very casual relationship. You’ll receive texts and voicemails such as, What’s been going on? Are we okay? Did I do something wrong? Followed by the overly apologetic, I’m really sorry I just really like you and I really want this to work, so please message me back. And in some extreme cases, Hey, I have something for you… I don’t know where you’ve been so I’ll just come by your house and drop it off and hopefully you’ll be home. See you soon. I’m sorry. Umm, newsflash -- gifts are only cool a few months into a relationship, not during the beginning awkward stages. You’re being creepy. Bye.


I truly believe that defining the five stages of clingers is essential in bringing awareness to this often overlooked social reality, so I sincerely hope this helps. If, for some reason, you identify with any of these five stages, please take a quick second to reevaluate your game. And if any of these strangely resemble that person you’ve been talking to recently, you have my full permission to hit the ground running -- far, far away.