The world of dating is changing rapidly. Most people find dates online these days, and many only communicate via text message before meeting up. A decade or two ago, this would be almost unfathomable.
Once you finally go out with a woman and it goes really well, you might wonder what to do next. So, what are the rules for texting after a first date? Are there any rules? And if so, should you follow them or do what your gut tells you?
You’re in second-date territory!
You met, she looked like her pictures, the conversation was great, and you definitely felt the chemistry on your end. It’s a wonderful world!
Now, how to get a second date...
Let’s assume the date ended without a kiss, but with a solid hug and a “It was really great to meet you.” Maybe even a “We should do this again...”
If these questions have been running through your mind, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about texting after a first date. Including when to do it, why you should (or shouldn’t) do it, and some general ideas of what to say.
Texting After A First Date – What You Need To Know
Are you’re a fan of the show Friends? You might have seen the episode where Chandler tells the gang about the amazing first date he had.When Monica asks him if he’s called her yet, he says, “To let her know I like her? What are you, insane? It’s the next day! How needy do I want to seem? I’m right, right?”
Well, is he right? Of course, the episode aired in 1995, and times have certainly changed. But many people still tend to believe in some unwritten rules about playing hard to get. Especially when they really hit it off with someone.
Who makes these rules, anyway? There’s no shortage of opinions about dating etiquette and standards. If you ask anyone what you should do? They’ll probably give you a whole spiel about what to text a girl for the first time. While this type of advice usually comes from a good place, it’s often contradictory and sometimes, outdated.
Also, many people form their own guidelines based on what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past. But what if you’re new to dating or haven’t gone out with anyone in the digital age? You might be unclear about the rules for texting after a first date.
As Hamlet never said, “To text or not to text, that is the question.” Should you shoot your date a text the same night if the date went well? Is it better to wait until the morning, or is two days the rule of thumb? If you text too soon or too late, will you blow your chances?
If you’re like a lot of guys, you might not know what approach to take when texting a girl after getting her number let alone texting after date one. I’m here to tell you that you really don’t need to overthink it. In general, you should trust your instincts. However, if you want a little guidance, I’ve got your back. Instead of outlining strict rules, I’ll give you the best tips and strategies for texting after a first date.
It doesn’t matter if you two meet in a yoga class. It doesn't matter if you texted like mad before your first date. Or if you meet on one of the hookup apps that are actually worth using. These tips will work for you.
Let’s get started.
1) Wait a little bit then text when you feel like it
Decades ago, before smartphones or texting before a first date were options, the rule was three days before calling. You weren’t meant to call her earlier than three days after your first date or you’d appear desperate.
So, how long should you wait before texting someone you’ve gone out with?
These days, we tend to laugh at such an arbitrary rule. And yet modern advice is to wait at least 24 hours. Instead, I say text whenever you feel like it but have a plan. What you say is far more important than when you say it. On many occasions, I’ve had women message me before I’ve even made it home.
No, not the “three-day rule.” (Which is defunct anyway, now that texting has replaced talking on the phone.)
Did you meet at night? Then wait to message her until sometime between 8am and 2pm the next day.
Did you meet in the afternoon, with the date ending sometime before 5pm? Wait to message her until later that evening (before 10pm), or even the next morning.
Why? This may seem like game-playing but it’s actually basic flirting.
Give her time to get excited to hear from you.
Instead of immediately telling her you like her and want to see her again, you’re giving her time to realize she wants to hear from you. She wants you to like her.
This lets her get a little crush on you.
It also protects a guy from the chopping block. Maybe she had a good time, but she just isn’t sure about him... If that guy waits a little bit before contacting her, he won’t come on too strong and scare her off.
That buffer lets her realize she wants to give him another shot, without feeling pressured. She might even text you first!
At a party last summer, I exchanged numbers with a woman as she was leaving. To the horror of my friends, I messaged her 10 minutes later. I even got a, “Dude, no. You can’t message that quickly!” from one of her friends. 30 seconds later, I had an excited reply, and we went on a date the following night.
Are you buzzing from an excellent first date? She might be, too! Why not reach out and let her know you had a great time? Something as simple as, “I had a really good time with you,” will suffice, but I recommend being specific.
Did the two of you share some laughs? Where you impressed by her intelligence? Do you look forward to seeing her pretty smile? Go ahead and express whatever stood out to you on the date.
There’s no harm in waiting until the next day if that’s when you want to text her. The point is to not manipulate the timing based on any “rules.” She might even be relieved to get a text from you because it’ll confirm that you like her. If she texts you back by saying "how was your day?" you’ll have the same confirmation.
When you text a woman when you feel like it, it can be kind of freeing. I mean, really, who has the time or patience to plan out when to send a text message? How exhausting!
The same goes for an ongoing relationship. Sometimes, it might take you ten seconds to respond to a text. Other times, it might take you ten minutes. And when you’re preoccupied, it might take you a couple of hours. Be yourself!
2) No “pickup artist” nonsense when texting after a first date
If you’re still learning your way through the dating world, the Pickup Artist (PUA) community can seem pretty appealing. The “field reports” of their dates can sound like the ideal scenario, right?
Don’t worry; I’m guilty of falling into it briefly too. The biggest problem though is that the majority of PUAs seem to forget they’re dealing with people. Everyone becomes a number and the whole thing is a game.
This was off-putting for me so I decided to figure things out for myself. As it turns out, you can just have a conversation with women like they’re regular people. Who knew?!
The same goes for texting. No need to make her beg for your attention by shutting her out. No hot and cold. No insults or backhanded compliments. If you’re into her and had a good time, let her know.
Some men truly believe that playing hard to get is the way to a woman’s heart. I can’t say what does or doesn’t work for other guys. But personally, I’ve found that being straightforward goes a long way. People want to be liked, and rejection doesn’t feel good. If the woman you went out with is looking for a real relationship, she won’t be interested in games.
If she had a good time too, go ahead and set up the second date when the timing feels right. Honestly, it’s that simple. Plus the fact that you appear confident enough to go for it will be appreciated.
In the age of dating apps, it’s not hard for a woman to find someone else to take her out. So, if you’re not showing interest, what’s stopping her from moving on?
When you really want to date a woman, you have to forget about all the pick-up artist advice. Healthy relationships aren’t about who has the upper hand. If you kick things off by playing games, you’re starting the relationship off on the wrong foot.
3) Texting after a first date––don’t be desperate
Remember how I said there are no rules around this stuff and you should experiment? Maybe keep the experimenting to a minimum with this one.
All the best dating books agree that confidence is key when trying to attract women. But don’t come off as desperate.
You don’t want to overwhelm her with messages, photos and date invites after you’ve met her once. Texting after a first date should be fun and exciting for both sides.
Man or woman, getting hit with a barrage of messages begging for your attention isn’t attractive. If the conversation starts to get one-sided there’s a good chance she isn’t really into it. Best to cool it for a while and see if she initiates. If you get radio silence, it’s time to move on.
Any time you’re unsure if you’re texting her too much, there are two things you can look at.
1) How many times have you messaged her without getting a reply?
2) If she was just one of your friends, would you have messaged her this much?
Asking yourself these two questions can be very telling.
4) Pay attention to message length
Another easy way to see if there’s mutual interest is in the length of messages in your conversation.
When you’re sending long messages each time and she responds with just a few words, she’s just being polite. If you notice this start to happen, try to go easy on the conversation and see if things improve.
If you both have the right sense of humor you can bring some attention to this mismatch with a joke. But tread lightly. It can be easy to make her feel bad if you approach it the wrong way. That isn’t the aim here.
If your first date was a quick meeting (like the how-to in this article), then your follow up should be, too.
What to text:
Something simple, like: “It was great to meet you today. Would definitely like to see you again. Want to see X movie sometime?”
“I had a great time yesterday. Would love to hang out again sometime soon. Interested in going to that Thai place you mentioned?”
Keep the timeframe and your language casual. You don’t have to list the things you liked about her, or the dates and times you’re available to see her again.
Why? If she’s still deciding what she thought of you, your low-pressure message won’t put her on edge. You don’t want her to feel like she has to say no, just because her enthusiasm doesn’t fully match yours.
But if she is definitely interested too, then your quick text (or message on your chosen online dating site/app) will confirm everything she wants to know: she likes you, and you like her back. Trust me, she is definitely smiling down at her phone.
5) Be cool
Simple advice, but after a great date, it can be tough sometimes. If you’re really attracted to her and had a great time, there will be a lot of excitement going on.
This is one of the more common causes of guys overdoing it when texting after a first date. It’s only natural but try to play it cool until you get to know each other.
The more you can learn to treat her similar to your friends, the better things will go. Don’t go declaring your love for her after the first date or showering her with compliments. As much as I’m sure you mean well, it’s going to raise a lot of red flags.
While it’s important to be straightforward, you don’t want to overwhelm this woman or creep her out. So, if you have super strong feelings after date one, it’s probably best to hang on to that. At least for a few weeks. However, go ahead and say you love spending time with her and want to keep getting to know each other.
6) Always lead with humor
This is another common theme throughout my articles - and for good reason. Having a sense of humor and being able to make her laugh is a powerful thing in the dating world.
The aim of my follow-up message after a date is always to make her laugh for that very reason. It’ll usually be something related to our conversations over that date. Maybe some type of joke about how I didn’t have a terrible time with her.
By this stage, she’s already spent enough time with me to know my sense of humor. So it's clear that it’s just a joke. It does allow me to get away with more than if I were serious so play your hand accordingly.
Time and time again I’ve heard “funny” being listed as the single most important factor for women when dating.
7) Texting after a first date––stay positive
Positive people are infinitely more fun to be around. This fact alone makes far more likable and allows you to build rapport quickly.
It’s a helpful trait to have throughout life in general and one you should be applying here. If you can combine positivity and humor from day one, you’re going to be so much more attractive.
Having been a very cynical person in the past, this is something I had to work on. I can tell you from experience that the benefits are significant for me in every part of my life. If you struggle to project positivity too, I’d recommend taking the time to work on that. Otherwise, you'll get a lot of canceled dates.
8) Go ahead and suggest a second date
Okay, so maybe not immediately (see point number three) but there’s no magical amount of time for you to wait. While some articles suggest dragging this out to build intrigue, I say go for it when the time is right.
As I mentioned, with modern dating, you don’t have much time to waste. When a man doesn’t explicitly express his interest in seeing a woman again? There’s a good chance she’ll be back on a dating app without giving it a second thought. If the two of you hit it off, it only makes sense to get another date on the books.
A lot of women appreciate it when guys take the initiative to continue a relationship. It shows confidence and maturity. A smart man will do everything in his power to keep a woman he really likes. So, don’t blow it! Tell her you’d like to see her again soon.
Rather than trying to “game” her, let the conversation flow naturally. Somewhere along the way you’ll end up talking about a shared interest or somewhere you’d like to check out. It really is as simple as suggesting a day to go do it. This is a great way to confirm a date via text.
“I’ve been meaning to check that place out. Why don’t we head over there Thursday night?”
Another option would be to flat out say something like, “Are you free Friday? I’d love to take you out.”
See how easy that is?
This comes with a caveat: I’ve heard from both guys and girls that they feel like they get stuck being “the planners” early on in a relationship. I see how this happens on both sides. And on your end, as a guy who’s interested in a girl, you’re pretty happy to do whatever she wants, and you want her to feel comfortable, so you let her make the decisions. But she can end up feeling pressured to always think ahead to plan the next date.
I once met a guy on OKCupid who seemed cool, but a little immature. He suggested the first date; I suggested the second. But instead of asking me out for a third date, he texted me this:
“I got my work schedule. I’m free next Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Didn’t suggest a place…an activity…even a time. Just handed over his schedule, so I could do the dirty work. It wasn't a deal-breaker, but it was a red flag that ended up ringing true when it came to making other decisions in our (very brief) courtship.
So, I get that you don’t want to get stuck as “the planner” throughout the whole course of your relationship any more than we do!
But early on, girls think it’s impressive when you take the initiative.
It shows us you’re confident and competent – like you could fix a tire or plan your stock portfolio on your own, too.
And the good news is that you don't need to put too much work into thinking of great second date ideas.
Suggest classic date ideas for your second date, unless a really unique plan popped up naturally in the course of your conversation.
Why? Drinks, dinner, a movie, a sporting event, a walk/hike, live music, lunch, a comedy show – these are all classically great dates because they take place in mostly public places and are situations that will enable you to learn about the other person – either in conversation or by seeing what their interests and tastes are, or what their sense of humor is like.
Like the texts suggest above, offer an idea that came up in your conversation on your first date. It's a natural suggestion! Foods you both like or want to try, movies you want to see, activities you both enjoy or want to check out together – all solid choices.
9) Sex is okay, in moderation
I don’t mean having sex; that’s a different article entirely. I’m talking about sexual conversation when texting after a first date.
It’s not something you should ever shy away from, but if every message is sexual, it gets a little creepy. Trying to initiate sexting this early on will probably be received as a bit sleazy too.
Over time, you’ll find the right balance for you, but you’re better off with too little here than too much.
10) Take what comes your way and be comfortable with silence
Almost an extension of point number five above, you don’t have to be texting daily. In fact, if you feel you need to force the conversation like this, it’s not going to go far.
If you have something to say, by all means, message her. There just isn’t a need for you to come up with something to text her daily until your next date.
In regular conversation, long periods of silence can be awkward and are often a bad sign. It makes sense that you might get anxious if you two don’t talk for a few days. But believe me, it’s fine.
For many women, I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a slight positive. You’re busy, she’s busy, neither of you are feeling desperate and so things are allowed to happen naturally. It’s a refreshing change.
If she replies “yes”…
Great! Lock in a day and time for that second date and have fun! Here's where it helps for you to get specific with dates and times to make the planning easier for both of you.
What to text:
"Sounds great. I'm free for dinner Thursday or Friday this week, or Monday next week. What's good for you?"
"Awesome! Looks like X movie is playing at 6:45, 7, or 8:30pm on Saturday. Or we could catch a matinee on Sunday?"
If she replies “no”…
It’s OK to be disappointed. But try not to be angry. After all, it was your first time meeting and there are no guarantees for chemistry. Hopefully, she’ll write you a nice message that explains her feelings. Even if you thought the date went great, respect what she has to say. She’s entitled to her own opinions; it’s just a shame they didn’t match yours this time!
If she gives you any constructive criticism, this is gold. Maybe she points out that you didn’t seem interested in her or you didn’t really look like your photos. Take these notes into consideration. They could be the key to acing your next first date!
Then, get back out there! Revise your profile or change up your pics, send some messages, and find someone who is excited to meet you!
Locked in the second date?
Yassss! It's just as important to prepare for this one as it was for the first. Check out this article on what to talk about on dates for easy ways to continue to get to know each other, and build momentum together, on your second date!
One Final Thought On Texting After A First Date
The last thing to note is if you didn’t feel a spark, it’s OK to express that, too. Just make sure you’re polite. Rejection sucks for everyone, but being ghosted can be even worse. Keep it simple and be as nice as possible. You don’t need to lie. But you also don’t have to go into detail about why you don’t want to date this person.
If you’re on the fence over whether you should send a post-first-date text, my advice is to go for it. More often than not, waiting too long will hurt your chances more than texting shortly after a date. Texting when you want to exhibits confidence and emotional intelligence––both of which are attractive qualities. So, text away, Romeo!