The Post Date Follow-Up
Sometimes the hardest part of a first date is not the date itself but rather figuring out what to do after you've parted ways. Do you call your date to tell them what a wonderful time you had? Or do you change your cell phone number and hope to never hear from them again? If you had a great time, you might be tempted to gush but before you invite your new flame to join you for Thanksgiving dinner (and tell your mom to add an extra plate) breathe.
That said you do have to do something. Thanks to the dawn of text messaging, the three day rule (i.e. wait three days before you call) is no longer valid. We live in an age of instant gratification - email, Twitter, even Nextflix on Demand - and our expectations in regards to communication, whether we admit it or not, have followed suit.
In the past, it was okay to wait a day or two or even three before following up with your date. But nowadays, you'll be lucky if your date hasn't deleted your number by then, especially if text messaging has served as your primary means of communication up until this point. So take the following into consideration and make your move.
Say Thank YouAs with deciding whether or not to kiss your date you should figure out what you want first. If you'd like to see your date again, send a simple text to let them know you enjoyed your time together. We recommended something open ended like, "Thanks for dinner. I had a great time." You may be tempted to set up your second date right away but you don't want to look over eager (read desperate) so keep it short and sweet for the time being.
If you don't want to see your date again, you can still say "thank you." In fact, you should, even if you were bored out of your mind and spent the majority of the evening flirting with the bartender for lack of anything better to do. But say it carefully. We suggest, "Thanks for dinner. Best wishes."
The second sentence is crucial. In saying, "Best wishes" "Take care" or "See you around," you're telling your date that you're not interested in pursuing anything further but you're also assuring them that there are no hard feelings. And if you're dating a co-worker or classmate, this could make all the difference between a civil co-existence henceforth and a truly terrible return to the office the next morning.
Safety FirstIf you're not entirely certain about how you feel about your date (or how he or she feels about you), you can fall back on the safety-first text. In the event that your date takes his or her own car home, hails a cab or grabs the bus, you can send a follow up text to ask if they made it home alright. This is especially effective if you're the guy, as it demonstrates concern on your part. Keep it simple: "Thanks for a great time tonight. I just wanted to make sure you made it home okay."
The good thing about the safety-first text is that unlike the thank-you text it requires a reply. You're date is obligated to respond and while they're letting you know that they made it home alive, they may also drop a hint or two about whether or not they'd like to repeat the experience. Plus, it seems chivalrous as opposed to clingy, and this is what you should be aiming for.
The Inside JokeIf you're uncomfortable with following up right away, wait a day or two and then send your date a brief email or text to let them know you're thinking about them. Reference something you saw or heard that reminded you of them and your time together.
For now, keep it lighthearted or even humorous if possible, such as, "Remember that lady we saw who was walking her turtle on a leash? Well, it turns out that turtle walking is a booming industry! I read about it in the paper today."
This lets your date know that you're on their mind without being too obvious about it. Plus it gives them the perfect excuse to get back in touch and keep the conversational ball rolling.
The Direct AskOf course, not all of us like to beat around the bush. If you'd like to see your date again and don't want spend the next week and a half emailing each other about turtles, just say it. Seriously. Wait until the end of your first date, or your first kiss if you've had one, look into your date's eyes and say, "I'd love to see you again."
If you're feeling less ballsy, ask, "What are you doing next Friday?" Or, if your inner chick magnet is shining bright, try, "So, when do I get to see you again?"
You can do this either in person or over the phone, but if you decide to call, make sure you wait at least 24 hours. And call at a convenient time (i.e. not when your date is in the middle of giving a presentation at work).
No Response?What if you had a great time but your date doesn't respond? Just make sure to limit your post-date follow up to one form of communication. In other words if you decide to email your date about turtles, don't then text him or her to ask if they made it home safely. And don't assume that their cell phone is broken or that their internet signal is on the fritz. Nine times out of ten, if someone wants to get in touch with you, they will. Actually it's more like ten out of ten, so if your date isn't responding, don't delude yourself into thinking they didn't get your message. They did. But they're ignoring you.
It sucks when this happens, especially if you felt a real connection. You may start to question your own judgment or wonder what you did wrong but the simple truth is they're just not interested. You need to accept this and move on, as difficult as it might be.
- Practice a few in-person follow up lines such as "When do I get to see you again?" or "Are you free Friday night?" If you feel uncomfortable saying them aloud, keep trying until you find one that works for you.
- If you decide to send a follow up text, ask a close friend or co-worker to read it over first. They'll be able to help you determine whether it sounds clingy or confident.
- Brainstorm a few second date ideas. Once you get back in touch after your first date, suggest one and see what happens.