A contract is supposed to be the written evidence of an agreement between the parties. It's not supposed to be a "gotcha" document.
However. Agents really don't like to give free lessons, which means, show buyers a bunch of properties, explain the differences, do all the things that agents do to help buyers learn enough about the market so they feel comfortable when they decide to make their move - only to have them make that move at an open house with the listing agent. Or with a "friend's" house.
So, if you don't feel like committing, don't. Don't look for an "escape clause," don't commit. Simple as that. Tell the agent, "Margot, I'm not ready to commit to you as an agent." End of story.
And, yes, in progressive states like California, and even possibly in Washington, there is a concept called "ostensible agency," where a licensee acted like an agent, and as such as full agency obligation (and liability) toward the client / customer / member of the viewing public.
So even those of us who believe that we should earn your loyalty every day and wouldn't ask you to sign an Exclusive with us WILL ask you to sign an agency agreement with us that clarifies our agency relationship.