There’s nothing quite like nailing the first date. The conversation was electric, all of your jokes were funny, and both of you knew you wanted to see each other naked. Basically, there was going to be a second date, and you both knew it. Until you ruined it with text messages.
There’s nothing like coming home from an epic date and then staring at your phone wondering what the hell you’re supposed to do next. Do you text? Do you not text? What do you say? How long do you wait before you say it? What if they have their read receipts turned on, and they read it but don’t respond immediately, and you spend the next three hours and 45 minutes sending screenshots of your conversation to your friends so they can help you understand exactly how you blew it in only so many words?
Texting is tough. There’s no accounting for tone or timing. It’s a delicate dance, especially when you’re messaging someone you just met, and you actually care whether or not you see them again. You can completely seal the deal with a text, or you can blow things up entirely. So to help you achieve the former, we reached out to Tripp Kramer, host of the podcast How to Talk to Girls.
When should I text after the first date?
Don’t text as soon as you leave the date—but don’t wait too long, either.
While you may want to text your date immediately and say something like “Get home safe,” Kramer believes it’s better to let a little bit of time pass. “Leave some mystery,” he says. “…It’s good to let you and her both reflect on the date, and then follow up within 2-3 days to meet up again.”
“Within” is the key word here—you might be pushing it if you wait until the end of day three.
What should I say when I text them?
Pick up the conversation where you left off on your date.
When you’re ready to set up another date, “Text him or her and comment on something you guys talked about on the date, or an inside joke you had from your time together,” Kramer says. “This gets the conversation flowing.”
But remember: You don’t want to fall into the habit of texting this new person too often. You’re not looking to become pen pals—you want to actually date. So the less you leave on the phone, the better.
Plan your next date as soon as possible.
If you’re all text and no action, they’re going to get bored, or think you’re not interested. If you want to actually see this person again, make plans to, well, see them again!
“After 3-4 text messages back and forth, invite her out to do something else,” Kramer says. But he warns: “Make sure it’s different than whatever you did the first time.” If your first date was dinner, then do an activity. If your first date was drinks, then maybe go out to dinner.
“You want variety in the beginning of dating to keep things interesting,” he says.
Keep your clothes on.
Unless your first date involved sex—and no judgment if so, hope you had fun!—it sets a bad precedent to take it to sexting too quickly.
“Don’t turn a text conversation sexual unless you guys have been having sex,” Kramer says. “You run a huge risk talking sexually to a woman you haven’t been intimate with, because you two haven’t actually crossed that boundary yet.”
If your date starts to take things to a sexual place, Kramer recommends following their lead, but remember to keep it mellow. You want to spend time with this person in real life, not have a sexual pen pal. “It’s not about having a sexting convo—rather, it’s about actually meeting up with her.”
We also asked real people what they think about texting after the first date.
Here’s what they had to say.
“If I want to see you again and I don’t hear from you for 2-3 days, I’d think you were playing games with me.”
“I admit that when I was younger I loved the idea of the chase. If I was really liking a guy and he didn’t text me back immediately after the date, it would absolutely build anticipation and would make me want to see him more. It’s all part of that ‘game.’ But now that I’m in my 30s I pretty much know right away whether or not I want to see you again. If I want to see you again and I don’t hear from you for 2-3 days, I’d think you were playing games with me, and I’m not 24 anymore.” —Elizabeth, 33
“If you like someone, text them that you had fun.”
“Don’t be afraid to text first. You don’t want to be super thirsty, but if you like someone, text them that you had fun and want to see them again. All this ‘waiting for them to text’ stuff just winds up with two people being annoyed the other person didn’t text them.” —Andrea, 25.
“You don’t have to wait.”
“You don’t have to wait the allotted 2-3 days; that feels long especially if it’s clear we both really like each other.” —Sharon, 28
“If you like the person, why are you playing games with them?”
“I always text as soon as I get home if the date was fun. If you like the person, why are you playing games with them? Let them know you had fun. If they like you, they’ll want to hang out again.” —Justin, 27
“No one is so busy they can’t answer a text.”
“If someone is actually into you, they’re going to message you right back. They’ll be right by their phone. No one is so busy they can’t answer a text.” —Becks, 23.
“Don’t post cryptic stuff on social media.”
“If you’re trying to date someone, don’t post cryptic stuff on social media and not message them back. It makes you look kind of desperate, in my honest opinion. It doesn’t convey that you’re busy, it conveys that you’re someone who’s insecure and plays games. Adults don’t do that. You never know if someone is looking you up on socials, but assume that they are.” —Adam, 28.
“It’s nice to know you were memorable.”
“Send something specific that they’ll laugh about—something that can be an inside thing. Maybe you both are into the same show and you could send a joke from the show. Maybe you talked about something specific that you could mention. Whatever it is, it’s nice to know you were memorable.” —Jules, 29.
“Keep the conversation going by asking thoughtful questions.”
“I’d stay away from anything lame like, ‘Hey,’ ‘What’s up?,’ ‘WYD?’ [etc.] because then they might not realize you’re actually trying to have a chat. Keep the conversation going by asking thoughtful questions.” —Michael, 32.
“You don’t want to be messaging back and forth for weeks.”
“Ask [them] out again as soon as possible. You don’t want to be messaging back and forth for weeks on end. That winds up going nowhere.” —Maxine, 30.
“Three days tops.”
“I’d say 3 days tops before you ask for another date. You want to hookup [or date], not chat to your pen pal.” —Lily, 28.
“If you don’t want to see me again, then don’t text me at all.”
“I cannot stand when I have a great date with [someone] and then [they] just proceed to text me [their] random stream of consciousness. Do you want to see each other again or not? If I’m texting you back, then I’ll likely say yes. And if you don’t want to see me again, then don’t text me at all, because it’s confusing,” —Leah, 27
“Before getting sexual, test the waters out first.”
“If the conversation naturally gets sexy and I’m into it, I’ll let you know. Before getting sexual, test the waters out first. You could send something like, ‘I’ve been thinking about you all day,’ and see what the response is. If they say, ‘Oh yeah? What were you thinking about?’ [or something similar], you could say, ‘I’ve been thinking about kissing you.’ That’s kind of sexy, but not too aggressive.” —Brooke, 30.
“We want to get to know you with all of our clothes on first.”
“Listen, women love sex as much as men do. That’s not news. But if we’re just starting to date, we want to get to know you with all of our clothes on first. Not saying that to be a prude, we can totally have sex, and hopefully it will be awesome. But if all you’re talking to me about, in the beginning, is getting me naked, then you likely are having that same conversation with a lot of other women, too. In my opinion.” —Grace, 31
“It’s 2021. Be straightforward.”
“If the conversation naturally turns to sex, I always suggest asking if they’re down for sexting. It’s 2021. Be straightforward. If it’s getting dirty just say, ‘Are you OK with sexting?’ If [this person] is into it, you’ll know. I appreciate honesty.” —Tim, 29.
“I’d like to know right away what the deal is.”
“I’m a raunchy sexter myself so if he isn’t into that, I don’t think we’re a good match. I’d like to know right away what the deal is.” —Anna, 30.
“Don’t get too in-depth about the future.”
“You should definitely be thoughtful, but don’t get too in-depth about the future before a second or third date. Don’t make jokes about getting married or our future kids. That is a big red flag.” —Agata, 28.
“You can always suggest a virtual date.”
“You can always suggest a virtual date, if your schedules are crazy or, you know, there’s a pandemic happening. If you’re feeling someone’s energy and are genuinely interested in them, tell them you’re committed to making the date happen however you can.” —Henri, 27.
“It’s okay to be a little vulnerable.”
“If you’re talking and things feel natural, it’s okay to be a little vulnerable. You shouldn’t be dropping the L-word after one date, but telling someone you really like them or you that you see a future with them shows that you’re serious. If it puts them off, they probably weren’t that serious about it anyway. I like knowing what I’m getting into. I’m not twelve.” —Heidi, 25.
“Don’t waste my time.”
“Be enthusiastic if you want to hang out again and straightforward if you don’t. There is nothing I hate more than someone messaging me nonstop for weeks only to find out that they aren’t interested in seeing me again. Don’t waste my time.” —Andy, 30.
“Don’t start sending ‘good morning’ texts after a first date.”
“My big tip? Don’t start sending ‘good morning’ texts after a first date. It’s too soon for that relationship-y nonsense!” —Cristina, 31.
Finally, no dick pics, please.
“Unless specifically asked.” —Tara, 30
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